Romanian Prisoners of War in the Ottoman Territories During the First World War

Türkkan Tunalı Y.

CTAD-CUMHURIYET TARIHI ARASTIRMALARI DERGISI, vol.13, no.25, pp.80-116, 2017 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 25
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.80-116
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The issue of prisoners of the World War I has lately been a popular study among the scholars of history. Foreign academic studies are mostly based on the reports of the Entente States' embassies and their national committees of the Red Cross as well as on the memorials of Entente prisoners. On the other hand, the Turkish historiography mainly studies the Ottoman prisoners of war while the academic studies about Entente States' POWs interned in Turkey, principally focus on the British prisoners. However, in particular, there is not any study about the Ottoman State's Romanian prisoners who were captured in the Romanian Front and were transferred to Anatolia to be held in the camps in Turkey. As soon as Romania's entering the World War I in August 1916, Spain-as a neutral state of the war-undertook the task of protecting Romanian rights and interests in the Ottoman State in November. Thus, the Legation of Spain in Istanbul conducted all official proceedings of Romanian subjects in the Ottoman territory, regarding the Ottoman Government. Spanish diplomatic reports of 19161917 hereby, shed light on Romanian military and civilian prisoners brought in Turkey. The reports also provide information about the agenda, such as the Legation's interference on behalf of Romanians before the Ottoman Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the correspondence with the Romanian Government; the visit of the Samatya Prisoners' Camp, living conditions of the prisoners, humanitarian aid, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners and even the conditions of the Ottoman army. This paper aims to examine these reports and study the Ottoman State's policy that was officially established by the Regulation Regarding the Prisoners ( 1915) towards the POWs in general and its approach to the Romanian prisoners in particular. The paper is based on the primarily the diplomatic reports of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the documents of the Ottoman Period of the State Archives of the Prime Ministry and of the Turkish Red Crescent Archive, as well as the academic studies on the subject. Within the scope of the documents mentioned above, it is aimed to show how the