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Russo-Turkish wars

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Updated: 22.09.2003

Series of wars fought between Russia and the Ottoman Empire from the 17th to the 19th century.

Russia waged the early wars (1676-1681, 1686, 1689) in a fruitless attempt to establish a warm-water port on the Black Sea. In the war of 1695-96, however, Peter I captured the fortress of Azov, but subsequent attempts (1710-1712, 1735-1739) by the Russians to seize the Balkans failed, leading to the Treaty of Belgrade.

In Catherine II's reign the first major Russo-Turkish war (1768-1774) pushed Russian borders south and gave Russia a vague right of protection over the Ottoman sultan's Christian subjects under the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca.

Russia gained control of the Crimean Peninsula in 1783 and the entire western Ukrainian Black Sea coast in 1792. A subsequent war (1806-1812) led to the Treaty of Bucharest.

In the 19th century wars were fought over the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, the Caucasus, and Crimea. The war of 1828-29 ended in the Treaty of Edirne (1829), which ceded large tracts to Russia.

The Crimean War (1853 - 1856), however, was a major diplomatic setback for Russia. The 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War pitted Russia and Serbia against Turkey over autonomy for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia was victorious, but the gains it achieved under the Treaty of San Stefano (1878) were restricted by the Congress of Berlin (1878), imposed by Britain and Austria-Hungary.

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