Lausanne in the Turkish and World Press

DOI :10.26650/B/AA7SS52.2024.009   
EditorMustafa BudakAnıl Dincel

Exactly one hundred years ago, on July 24, 1923, the Lausanne Peace Treaty was signed. Generally, this treaty is considered as a treaty that ensures the recognition/registration of the new Turkish state by the international system. Another meaning of this is the recognition of Türkiye’s independence by the international system. This issue of independence, in particular, is extremely important, because it meant freedom from the state / country that had declared its financial bankruptcy at the beginning of the last quarter of the 19th century (1875) and had to accept the Ottoman Public Debt Administration (Düyûn-ı Umumiye) six years later (1881). Moreover, the Ottoman Empire, and especially the Muslim Turkish nation, had been in a war that had lasted ten years since the Balkan Wars. At the same time, the liberation in question meant the end of this state of war.
Although this situation of war seems to have ended with the Armistice of Mudros (30 October 1918), which ended the First World War for the Ottoman Empire, this was not the case; in response to the occupation of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace by the Allied Powers, it turned into an armed resistance movement called “the National Struggle”, led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha. Finally, this independence struggle was victorious on August 30, 1922; and after the signing of the Armistice of Mudanya on October 11, 1922, the Lausanne Conference (November 20, 1922), in which a peace treaty was to be signed, had begun. Meanwhile, the government of Grand Vizier Damad Ferid Pasha had signed the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920, with the consent of Sultan Vahdeddin in order to end the above-mentioned situation of war in a peaceful way. However, this treaty, which Atatürk called “the assassination document” in his famous work, Nutuk (The Speech), was not put into effect due to both the success of the National Struggle and the fact that it was not officially approved by Sultan Vahdeddin afterwards. Let us immediately point out that this negative feature of the Treaty of Sèvres served an important function as a criterion in the old regime-new regime debates in terms of both representing the Ottoman Empire, the old regime, and covering the negative aspects of the Lausanne Treaty. Therefore, the Treaty of Sèvres has been a kind of “negative comparison subject” in the evaluations of the Lausanne Treaty of the official historical understanding of the Republic of Türkiye, and as a result, the Treaty of Lausanne has been compared with the Treaty of Sèvres, which has “zero power”, and has been tried to be given a “victory degree”.
We are not going to enter into the victory-defeat discussions for the Lausanne Treaty. However, we should say that these discussions make it difficult to understand the recent period history including Lausanne in an accurate and realistic way and turn the debates into a pro/anti-Republican by moving them to an ideological basis. Thus, the Treaty of Lausanne remains on a political-ideological ground and can in no way be the “object of history” in any way, which prevents the normalization of recent history.

SubjectsHistory, History


PublisherIstanbul University Press
Publish Date29.03.2024
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