The Treaty of Lausanne, the truth and Erdogan – Written by Nikos G. Sakellaropoulos

Erdogan’s statements with which he denies  the Treaty of Lausanne, certainly is nothing more than one more clowning act of the Sultan, in an effort to stimulate a portion of his compatriots ultranationalism.

He said among other things:

Νίκος Γ. Σακελλαρόπουλος
Writes Nikos G. Sakellaropoulos, contributor journalist of Emvolos

 “July 15th (day of the recent coup) is the anniversary of the Second War of Independence of the Turkish Nation. And so we have to remember it. They (threatened us) with the Treaty of 1920 and convinced us to (accept) the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Some tried to deceive us by presenting Lausanne as a victory. (But) in Lausanne we ceded the (now Greek) islands, where if you shout from the Aegean coast, you will be heard across,” said the Turkish president and he added:

” We continue to struggle for which is the shelf and what is (the boundary between Greece – Turkey) in the air and on the ground. Cause of all this, are those who sat at the table (to negotiate) the specific Treaty. Those who sat in these positions did not vindicated us and now we are “reaping” the problems (that the Treaty caused) “, to conclude with: “If this coup had succeeded, they would have forced us to sign a treaty that would make us to look back on the one of the Sevres.”

Let’s see, though the historical facts that are neither denied, nor can be reversed..

The Treaty of Lausanne, named after the city of Switzerland it was signed on July 24, 1923 from Greece, Turkey and other countries that fought in the First World War and the Asia Minor Campaign. This is the peace treaty that set the boundaries of modern Turkey, by giving them Eastern Thrace, the islands of Imvros and Tenedos, a strip of land along the border with Syria and the Izmir region (Smyrni). Still, the Dodecanese where ceded to Italy as per the Treaty of Sevres and (Turkey) relinquished all claims to the old parts of the Ottoman Empire outside its borders and guaranteed the rights of minorities in Turkey.

The truth is that the Treaty of Lausanne was characterized as favorable for Greece since, it had suffered the debacle of the Asia Minor disaster. And another truth is that despite the humiliation of 1922, the Greek side, when the movement of Plastiras – Gonatas – Phocas was established it made two moves: firstly they assigned to Eleftherios Venizelos the International representation of the country and secondly they instructed Theodoros Pangalos to organize the army of Evros and to fortify the region.

Especially the second, with rapid reactions which reached even to the executions of the unruly and undisciplined military deserters and uncontrollable elements of the disbanded Greek army, created in a very short while, superiority of the Greek army in Evros and in Thrace. So, that some people were talking about the necessity of a new attack of Greece against Turkey, to occupy Constantinople.

Venizelos, on the other hand, with elaborate diplomatic actions, arrived in Lausanne with the back of Greece protected. So under the weight of speedy regrouping of the Greek army, the Turks did not have the margin for many diplomatic maneuvers, especially when the International environment did not permit it and aimed to create states with purely national and religious characteristics.

There in Lausanne and beyond the Treaty itself which involved Italy and Syria, there was a separate agreement between Greece and Turkey. A compulsory population exchange between the two countries and the demilitarization of the Aegean islands was decided. Specifically, 1.650.000 Turkish nationals (other speak of about 2.000.000) of Christian religion moved from Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace to Greece and from Greece to Turkey 670.000 Greek citizens, of Muslim religion. The religion rather than race was the main criterion for the exchange.

The Treaty also ordered Greece to pay in kind, war reparations. The repayment was made with the extension of the Eastern Thrace Turkish territories beyond the limits of the agreement. The islands of Imvros and Tenedos were ceded to Turkey on condition that they would be ruled on favorable terms for the Greeks. The Ecumenical Patriarch ceased to be an Ethnarch and the Patriarchate came under special International legal regime. In turn, Turkey renounced all claims to the old parts of the Ottoman Empire outside its borders and guaranteed the rights of minorities in Turkey.

In essence, the Treaty of Lausanne marked the final transition from the multiethnic and multireligious Empire to the homogeneous National States. Previously, the Treaty of Versailles and related Treaties signed in 1919-1920, closing the exhausting Great War had as main characteristic precisely the dissolution of the empires and in their place, the creation of modern European nation-states in Central and Eastern Europe.

And these cannot be challenged by any Erdogan …