All About Turkey

Treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne

Treaty of Sevres

Peace treaty concluded in 10th of August 1920 after World War I at Sevres, France, between the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), on the one hand, and the Allies (excluding Russia and the United States) on the other. The treaty, which liquidated the Ottoman Empire and virtually abolished Turkish sovereignty, followed in the main the decisions reached at San Remo.

In Asia, Turkey renounced sovereignty over Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine (including Trans - Jordan), which became British mandates; Syria (including Lebanon), which became a French mandate; and the kingdom of Hejaz. Turkey retained Anatolia but was to grant autonomy to Kurdistan. Armenia became a separate republic under international guarantees, and Smyrna (modern Izmir) and its environs was placed under Greek administration pending a plebiscite to determine its permanent status.

In Europe, Turkey ceded parts of Eastern Thrace and certain Aegean islands to Greece, and the Dodecanese and Rhodes to Italy, retaining only Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and its environs, including the Zone of the Straits (Dardanelles and Bosphorus), which was neutralized and internationalized. The Allies further obtained virtual control over the Turkish economy with the capitulation rights.

The treaty was accepted by the government of Sultan Mehmed Vahdettin VI at Istanbul but was rejected by the rival nationalist government of Kemal Atatürk at Ankara. Atatürk's separate treaty with the USSR and his subsequent victories against the Greeks during the War of Independence forced the Allies to negotiate a new treaty in 1923 (Treaty of Lausanne).

Treaty of Lausanne

This treaty was signed on 24th of July 1923. The Sevres peace treaty imposed by the Allies on the Ottoman Empire after World War I had virtually destroyed Turkey as a national state. The treaty was not recognized by the nationalist government under Mustafa Kemal Pasha (later known as Atatürk). After the nationalist victory over the Greeks and the overthrow of the sultan during the War of Independence, Atatürk's government was in a position to request a new peace treaty. Accordingly, the signatories of the Treaty of Sevres and delegates of the USSR (excluded from the previous treaty) met at Lausanne, Switzerland. After lengthy negotiations a peace treaty was signed in 1923.

Turkey recovered Eastern Thrace, several Aegean islands, a strip along the Syrian border, the Smyrna (modern Izmir) district, and the internationalized Zone of the Straits (Bosphorus and Dardanelles), which, however, was to remain demilitarized and remain subject to an international convention. Turkey recovered full sovereign rights over all its territory, and foreign zones of influence and capitulations were abolished. Outside the Zone of the Straits, no limitation was imposed on the Turkish military establishment. No reparations were exacted.

In return, Turkey renounced all claims on former Turkish territories outside its new boundaries and undertook to guarantee the rights of its minorities. A separate agreement between Greece and Turkey provided for the compulsory exchange of minorities.

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