The British support. The CUP tried all

The first preference of alliance for the Ottomans was overwhelmingly with the British side, not only due to its overall strength but also due to the centuries old Turco-British friendship. Numerous attempts on the highest level from 1908 to 1913 were made by the Ottoman leadership to secure the British support. The CUP tried all means possible for a formal alliance including deploying a diplomatic mission headed by Kamil Pasha, the Grand Vizier of its time but the sincere efforts came to nothing as Britain’s reply was always a negative one softened by a carefully diplomatic tone. However, a possible alliance with Britain was not completely ruled out until Lord Kitchener told the Ottoman ambassador to London, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha in a private meeting during the July Crisis of 1914 that the Entente was not willing to see the Turks on their side in case of a general war.
When examined in context, the British decision of gradually terminating its traditional alliance with the Ottomans seems almost inevitable for a variety of reasons. In both public and government opinion there was a negative shift regarding the Ottomans. The British viewed the Christian minorities in the Balkans as subject to a cruel Islamic oppression and blamed the Ottomans of massacring 60 000 Bulgarians during the revolts of 1876. The British leadership changed from a pro-Turkish Conservative, Disraeli to an anti-Turkish liberal, Gladstone who had accused his predecessor (a converted Jew) for hating Christian liberty. Also, the construction of the Suez Canal (1869) and the annexation of Egypt (1882) decreased the strategic importance of the alliance with Ottomans. Furthermore, the 1877-1878 Russo-Ottoman War, which resulted in total Ottoman defeat was instrumental in changing the traditional yet pragmatic British policy of guarding Ottoman territorial integrity. Anticipating the possibility of total Ottoman collapse in the hands of the Russians, London was now interested in reaching a deal with the other European Powers about the future partitioning of the soon to be deceased sick man of Europe. This attitude could easily be seen from the British PM Lord Salisbury’s letter to the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sait Pasha in June 1895, twelve years before the Anglo-Russian Entente:
“General feeling in Britain is increasingly to the effect that the Ottoman Empire will not continue to exist. What contributes to the existence of the Ottoman Empire is the fact that Britain is not allied with Russia. If an alliance comes out, the Ottoman Empire will perish.”
To add insult to the injury, the authoritarian ruling style of Abdulhamit II (1978-1908) was yet another obstacle for a healthy relationship with the British, as he was profoundly unpopular in London’s liberal circles. Not only the Sultan was unpopular, he was also considered a danger since he was open in using his Caliph of the ummah status to provoke the Islamic subjects within the British colonies. Hence, it is of no surprise that when the Young Turks (the core of CUP) ended the Abdulhamit era and reinstalled the Constitutional Rule, bilateral relations with Istanbul were strengthened; nevertheless the hopeful atmosphere did not last long as the Young Turks too turned authoritarian once consolidating their power. The British political elite eventually found no difference between the Young Turks and the Old Turks and the mutual relations continued to decline until the Great War.