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This article is dedicated for the 90th Anniversary of the Lausanne Peace Treaty...
Turkey’s International Recognition Marked
by the Lausanne Treaty on July 24, 1923

Lausanne Peace Treaty
Gentlemen, I don't think it is necessary any further to compare the principles underlying the LAUSANNE PEACE TREATY with other proposals for peace.  This treaty is a document declaring that all efforts, prepared over centuries, and thought to have been accomplished through the Sevres Treaty to crush the Turkish nation have been in vain.  It is a diplomatic victory unheard of in the Ottoman history!

1927
M. Kemal Atatürk
The Great Speech

Dr. Gul CELKAN

Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
Adjunct faculty at MGSC, GA

For wars to have long lasting effects and to ensure the safety and sustainability of the victory won on the battlefront, peace treaties are signed between the victorious side and the defeated party. The War of Independence launched by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on May 19, 1919 ended in victory on August 30, 1922 following the expulsion of the Allied Forces and the Ottoman Sultan by the Turkish Army under the command of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The Turkish National Movement rejected the Treaty of Sevres that had meant the “death decree” of the Ottoman Empire.

Following the nationalist victory over the Greeks and the overthrow of the sultan, Mustafa Kemal's government was in a position to request a new peace treaty. Accordingly, the signatories of the Treaty of Sèvres 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, Izmir, and the internationalized Zone of the Straits, 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 (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed.).

The Peace Conference of Lausanne was opened on November 20, 1922 and Ismet İnönü was the chief negotiator for Turkey. Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary, was the chief negotiator for the Allies, while Eleftherios Venizelos negotiated on behalf of Greece. The negotiations continued many months. The Treaty was signed on July 24, 1923 following eight months of arduous negotiation.

The Preamble reads as follows:
The British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Roumania and the Serb-Croat-Slovens State of the one part, and TURKEY, of the other part;
Being united in the desire to bring to a final close the state of war which has existed in the East since 1914,
Being anxious to re-establish the relations of friends and commerce which are essential to the mutual well-being of their respective peoples,
And considering that these relations must be based on respect for the independence and sovereignty of States,
Have decided to conclude a Treaty for this purpose, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries:
His Majesty The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dominions Beyond The Seas, Emperor of India:
The Right Honourable Sir Horace George Montagu Rumbold, Baronet, G.C.M.G., High Commissioner at Constantinople;
The President of the French Republic:
General Maurice Pellé, Ambassador of France, High Commissioner of the Republic in the East, Grand Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour;
His Majesty The King of Italy:
The Honourable Marquis Camillo Carroni, Senator of the Kingdom, Ambassador of Italy, High Commissioner at Constantinople, Grand Cross of the Orders of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and of the Crown of Italy;
M.Giulio Cesare Montagna, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Athens, Commander of the Orders of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy;
His Majesty the Emperor of Japan:
Mr. Kentaro Otchiai, Jusamini, First Class of the Order of the Rising Sun, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Rome;
His Majesty the King of the Hellenes:
M. Eleftherios K. Veniselos, formerly President of the Council of Ministers, Grand Cross of the Order of the Saviour;
M. Demetrios Caclamanos, Minister Plenipotentiary at London, Commander of the Order of the Saviour;
His Majesty the King of Roumania:
M. Constantine I. Diamandy, Minister Plenipotentiary;
M. Constantine Contzesco, Minister Plenipotentiary;
His Majesty the King of the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenes:
Dr.Miloutine Yovanovitch, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Berne;
The Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey:
Ismet Pasha Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy for Adrianople;
Hassan Bey, formerly Minister, Deputy for Trebizond;
Who, having produced their full power, found in good and due form, have agreed ….

Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed between the Ankara and Washington governments in Lausanne, Switzerland on August 6, 1923. Ismet İnönü, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ankara government and Joseph Crew, the American representative at the Lausanne Conference signed this Treaty. The “other” Treaty of Lausanne meant commercial and political ties were established between Turkey and America, and the new treaty meant the United States recognized the independence and sovereignty of the new Turkish State.

The new treaty was accepted in Turkey to be an extension of the original Treaty of Lausanne while in America it brought about a lot of controversy that delayed its ratification, and in 1927, it was rejected by the US Senate. However, after long debates, another treaty very identical to the Treaty of Lausanne was signed between the two countries in 1930.

However, it should not be put into oblivion the reason why America was represented by Joseph Crew and not a higher ranking official. America was not at war against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. However, she had great interests in the Mesopotamia and the Middle East region. An article published in New York Times dated November 21, 1922 explains this fact very openly.

Wilson's fourteen points dating from 1918 signaled the administration’s intention to pursue an activist foreign policy in Middle Eastern affairs. During the Versailles Conference in 1919, Woodrow Wilson began to consider the possibility of extending American involvement in the Middle East as far as taking on as mandate for an independent Armenia. The largest Christian community in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians had been the focus of the efforts of the American diplomatic and commercial activities in the Empire.

John Vander Lippe in his article “The ‘Other’ Treaty of Lausanne”, explains the American involvement in the peace process:

“When the European Powers invited the United States to participate in the negotiations, the Americans responded that "the United States was neither at war with Turkey nor a party to the armistice of 1918 and does not desire to participate in final peace negotiations or to assume responsibility for the political and territorial adjustments which may be effected." The United States wanted to limit its involvement, yet was concerned about the impact of negotiations at Lausanne on American interests in the Middle East. In early October 1922, Bristol wrote to Charles Evans Hughes, the Secretary of State: "As the United States is one of the capitulatory powers with extensive vested interests in Turkey, we cannot afford to remain inactive while the Allies give their consent to important changes in the capitulatory regime." As a result of these concerns, the State Department took three steps to assure the protection of American interests. First, the United States sent observers to the conference to make certain American interests were not adversely affected by the negotiations. Second, it presented the European Allies with a list of American interests and concerns in the negotiations, and third, the United States announced its intention to negotiate a separate treaty with the new Turkish Government, at an appropriate time.”

İnönü describes the American actions during the conference as friendly and helpful, yet guarded and concerned with protecting their interests. The American posture fit with the Turkish vision of the United States as a distant and amicable power. According to İnönü, when Grew approached him to establish a relationship with Turkey, İnönü felt he could extend the same terms to America as contained in the Lausanne Treaty with the Europeans, in order to normalize Turkish foreign relations. However, Joseph Grew was apprehensive about the treaty. In a letter to Secretary of States Charles Evans Hughes on the day of the signing, he wrote: "The Treaty...is far from what I should have wished to have it. It represents a considerably greater number of concessions on our part...than...on their part."

Edward Meade Earle of Columbia University pointed out that the treaty was not designed to remake history, but merely to establish normal relations between the United States and the Turkish Republic. Earle continued to argue that opponents of the treaty were hypocritical:

"In every thousand persons, who assert that national minorities and foreigners will not obtain justice in Turkish courts, it would be difficult to find one who does not pass over in silence the fact that ‘Negroes’ enjoy little protection from court in the South, and that there is no such thing as judicial impartiality toward the Japanese on the Pacific coast...It is not necessary to multiply illustrations of our willingness -nay, our eagerness- to mete out one measure to the Turks, another to other peoples, and yet a third to
ourselves."

.Washington-Nov20

Many arguments continued to surface throughout the period during and after World War II, at a time when America expanded its commitments in the Middle East. In the case of Turkey, two images contended in the minds of policy-makers: the land of the "Terrible Turk" dating from the Ottoman period, versus the strategic ally and the "open door" in the Middle East. As a result, old feelings of mistrust and the new need to establish trust linked various strands in American foreign policy making, transforming Turkey's image into one of an elusive ally.

An article entitled “The Grand Finale” that appeared in the Time magazine (1923) claims that Ismet Pasha and Joseph G. Grew, U. S. Observer, who settled the Turco-American Agreement enabled the U. S. A. to receive all the privileges of the Straits Convention (regulation of shipping on the Bosporus) without signing it. Mutually satisfactory set-were made of the questions of taxation on U. S. companies, protection of Christian minorities, damages to Americans during the War.

The Lausanne Peace Treaty contains 143 articles, and is divided into five parts —political, financial, economic, communications and general clauses. The most important points settled in these sections are: a general state of peace between Turkey and the Allied and Associated Powers; regulation of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Turkish territories; fixing of Turkish frontiers; exchange of Greek and Turkish populations to their national countries.

An article that appeared in The Financial Times on March 17, 2007 reads, “Against all odds at the end of the First World War, Ataturk rallied his countrymen from the heart of the Turkish homeland and beat back the Western powers that had tried to divide the last remnant of the Ottoman Empire with the Treaty of Sevres-and defeated rebellious minority groups that tried to secede and carve out separate countries from the Anatolian heartland. Consequently, the modern Republic of Turkey was held together in the beginning by the will of Ataturk and a strong nationalism based upon pride in being a Turkish citizen.”

Regardless how the US intake of the Lausanne Treaty is, Ataturk described the Lausanne Treaty as a turning point in history of Turkey. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Lausanne, the then president of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer said, “The Treaty has opened gates of a free and modern life to Turkish nation on their territories. The Treaty was beyond a peace agreement following the war. The Treaty has a character arranging political, legal, economic and social relations of our state in the international platforms. The Lausanne Treaty confirmed military victory of the Turkish people following the War of Independence in legal and political fields. Fundamental characteristics of the Republic of Turkey were included in the treaty.”

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who always reiterated the significance of the Treaty of Lausanne said it marked a turning point in Turkish history. This was a political victory won by the Turkish people, and it has no equal in the history of the Ottomans. This Treaty has great value for the Turkish nation, and our youth who knows the value of this treaty should compare it with treaties signed in the past. Ataturk said in 1927 that it was his duty to remember and express his respects to Ismet Pasha who resisted all kinds of political manipulations in Lausanne, and reached victory at the end signing the Treaty with the gold pen sent to him from Ankara by Ataturk.

Lausanne Treaty

References:
Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1439 24 Jul 03/BBCMonitoring/(c) BBC
Ataturk, The Great Speech
Grew, Joseph. Turbulent Era; A Diplomatic Record of Forty Years: 1904-1945. Boston, 1952. v.1
Inonu, Ismet, Hatiralar (Memories) v. 2
“Lausanne Peace Treaty”, Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
www.mfa.gov.tr
Kocaturk, Utkan. Ataturk’s Ideas and Thoughts, Ataturk Research Center, 3rd ed. 2008.
Lippe, John Vander, “The “other” Treaty of Lausanne: The American Public and Official Debate on Turkish-American Relations” The Turkish Year Book, v. 23 dergiler.ankara.edu.tr/dergiler/44/683/8687.pdf‎
The Financial Times, London, March 7, 2007.
“The Treaty of Lausanne” www.tc-america.org/issues-information
“The Grand Finale.” Time, 8/6/1923, Vol. 1, Issue 23
www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/332502/Treaty-of-Lausanne‎

Dr. Gul Celkan
Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
Adjunct faculty at MGSC, GA

Map credits:
http://commons.wikimedia.org
http:/www.hri.org


Written for The Light Millennium for the 90th Anniversary of the Lausanne Peace Treaty - posted on July 25, 2013.


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