by Francis Owtram
The Treaty of Lausanne (signed 23 July 1923) formally ended the struggle between the Allies (Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Romania and Yugoslavia) and Turkey [now known officially as Türkiye/the Republic of Türkiye].
It was the ultimate treaty concluded on the finish of the First World Warfare and its outcomes stay in place to at the present time. The official title is the ‘Treaty of Peace with Turkey’, however it may be argued that by suppressing sure aspirations, notably of the Kurds, it ushered in a century of battle.
From Sèvres to Lausanne
For Turkey it marked a shift from the dictated peace of the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres – which might have decreased Turkey to a rump of territory in Anatolia – to a peace by which the Republic underneath its chief Mustapha Kemal Atatürk joined the membership of countries as an equal sovereign state unencumbered by onerous Capitulations and humiliating authorized stipulations on the remedy of foreigners.
The Armistice of Mudros, Lord Curzon and the Mosul Query
Signed on the finish of the First World Warfare, the Armistice of Mudros (30 October 1918) had ostensibly led to a ceasefire between the British and Ottoman armies however the former raced ahead to occupy Mosul on 14 November 1918.
This left town and province of Mosul – and its purported huge oil wealth – in British palms. The Mosul query was born: ought to the Mosul vilayet be a part of Turkey or the brand new nation of Iraq? The inclusion of Mosul was a key level within the Nationwide Pact Challenge accredited by the Turkish Parliament, which had additionally been accredited within the remaining days of the Ottoman Parliament.
It was envisaged that this query might be resolved on the Lausanne convention. The top of the British delegation was the Overseas Secretary and former Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. He was adamant in regards to the significance of retaining Mosul underneath British affect and resisted Turkish makes an attempt to settle the matter on the convention. Curzon requested a paper from J E Shuckburgh of the India Workplace on arguments towards leaving Iraq, level 6 of which was: ‘By leaving the nation we will lose the prospect of controlling the event of what might show to be one of many nice oil fields of the long run. The benefit of retaining an oilfield underneath British affect is a matter on which the Admiralty could have one thing to say.’
As an alternative, the query of Mosul was handed over to the League of Nations, which, underneath a committee headed by a Belgian, dominated that Mosul ought to be a part of the brand new British-controlled mandate of Iraq. In 1926, the Brussels Line was drawn because the boundary of Iraq, and Iraq agreed to pay Turkey 10 per cent royalties on Mosul’s oil assets for 25 years.
The Peoples Left Behind by the Treaty of Peace with Turkey
The delegates who convened from 1922-23 had been notable for who was absent: Syrians and Palestinians tried to attend however had been excluded, whereas no Armenian, Persian [Iranian] or Kurdish delegation was invited. The British negotiator, Lord Curzon, didn’t even deign to satisfy the consultant of the Sharif of Mecca, who had fought on Britain’s aspect within the struggle.
The Greeks of Smyrna: From Asia Minor to Nea Smyrni
Catastrophe had befallen the Greeks of Smyrna [Izmir]. Having thrown off Ottoman rule within the Greek Warfare of Independence (1821), the Greek military had been inspired by the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, to try to rewrite historical past and recapture lands in Asia Minor. Constantinople [Istanbul] was the capital of the Byzantine Empire earlier than it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453. Initially profitable, the Greek forces had been turned again by a Turkish army revived underneath Atatürk.
The Treaty of Lausanne accepted as a fait accompli that the Greek inhabitants of Smyrna was pushed into the ocean because the Turkish forces incinerated their houses, forcing them to rebuild in Athens in a district generally known as Nea Smyrni (New Smyrna). Underneath the phrases of the Treaty, large obligatory inhabitants exchanges on the idea of faith and ethnicity befell between Greece and Turkey.
The Armenians: Warfare, genocide and struggling
Though the time period genocide was not coined till 1944, the tried extermination of the Armenian individuals, tradition and society that befell between 1915–16 throughout the First World Warfare is now extensively accepted (exterior of Turkish state narratives) because the Armenian genocide, when girls and youngsters had been marched into the Syrian desert to die. This tragedy additionally created an unlimited variety of Armenian and Assyrian refugees, however the Armenians had been to not get hold of a sovereign state till the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Left Behind at Lausanne: The Kurds and their quest for an impartial state
British imperial strategists thought-about the convention successful: they reasoned that they had achieved the very best they might in tough circumstances. For the Kurds, nevertheless, Lausanne dashed their hopes. The distinction between the articles of the defunct Treaty of Sèvres, which explicitly envisaged areas of Kurdish autonomy and an impartial state, and the Treaty of Lausanne the place any point out of a Kurdish homeland is totally absent, is marked.
For Turkey, Lausanne might be portrayed because the end result of a victorious revival instigated by Atatürk, the Turkish hero of Gallipoli. Nonetheless, for most of the peoples of the post-Ottoman house the results of the Treaty of Lausanne nonetheless resonate painfully a century later. For the Greeks it ended their irredentist dream of retaking Constantinople and made greater than 1,000,000 refugees. For the Palestinians it paved the best way for the lack of their land; for Armenians and Assyrians it was no compensation for his or her expertise of displacement and genocide. As for the Kurds it drove a stake via their aspirations for statehood and saved up battle for the century to return.
Kristian Coates-Ulrichsen, The Center East within the First World Warfare (Hurst, 2014)
Jonathan Conlin and Ozan Ozavci (eds) They All Made Peace – What’s Peace? The 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the New Imperial Order, (Ginko, 2023)
Francis Owtram, ‘Oil, the Kurds and the Drive for Independence: An Ace within the Gap or a Joker within the Pack’, in A. Danilovich (ed) Iraqi Kurdistan in Center East Politics (Routledge, 2016)
Francis Owtram, ‘The State We’re In: Postcolonial sequestration and the Kurdish quest for independence because the First World Warfare’, in Michael Gunter (ed) The Routledge Handbook on the Kurds (Routledge, 2018)
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