hostilities commenced simultaneously in the Balkans, the Crimea
and on the Caucasian-Georgian border, a Russian fleet, which came
from the Sea of Asov, ravaged the Turkish Black Sea coast and even
showed signs of forcing an opening through the straits. At the same
time a second Russian fleet sailed from the Baltic to the Mediterranean,
where it was supported by a British fleet under Admiral Elphinstone.
After attempting a landing in Greece, the Russians and British clashed
with the Turks on 5th July 1770 at Chesme (C;:e_me), near the island
of Chios. The Turkish Mediterranean fleet perished. Elphinstone
then attempted to force a passage through the Dardanelles in order
to appear before Constantinople and join forces with the Russian
Black Sea fleet. But he had to give up this plan because the Russians,
for some unknown reason, did not co-operate.
This series of setbacks made the Turks urge
peace negotiations but the Russians dawdled. The war dragged on
and the Turks were able to drive the Russians back across the Danube
(1773), albeit not for long. Soon afterwards they attacked again
in Dobruja but failed to capture Silestre and Warna. During this
streak of bad luck, Mustafa III died on 24th December 1773 and was
succeeded by his brother, Abdul-Hamid I, who reigned from 1774 to
The Peace of Kaynarca
I did everything in his power to save what he could. He began negotiations
with the Russians, who went to negotiate the Peace of Ki.i_iil Kaynarca
on 21st July 1774. The negotiations only lasted for seven hours.
As usual, when peace must be made at any cost, the Russian conditions
were draconian in their harshness. The Russians secured the right
of free navigation on the Black Sea, unobstructed passage into the
Mediterranean, respectful treatment of their ambassadors, free access
to the Holy Sepulchre for Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem and protection
for all Christians on Ottoman soil. This last was a concession which
later generated severe conflicts since this privilege had already
been granted to the French by Suleiman the Magnificent.
Moreover, Abdul-Hamid I lost the Sea of Asov
and the Crimea and had to renounce all claim to Moldavia and Wallachia.