Turkey President Erdogan stirs trouble over 1923 border treaty

The treaty, the founding basis of today's Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, has usually been seen inside the country as a triumph of its secular leadership led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

By: AFP | Istanbul | Updated: October 1, 2016 6:46 pm
Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey Greece, Greece Turkey, Turkey 1923, 1923 treaty, Aegean islands, news, latest news, world news, international news, Turkey news, Greece news, World War 1 “In Lausanne, we gave away islands (so near that) your voice can be heard if you shout across to them. Is this a victory?” said Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan. “They were ours. There are our mosques, our shrines there.” (source: AP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stirred up controversy over the treaty that almost a century ago set the borders of modern Turkey, alarming both neighbouring Greece and secular opposition at home. In a speech Thursday, Erdogan for the first time rejected the notion that the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was a “victory” for Turkey and wistfully lamented the loss of Aegean islands which are now Greek territory.

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The treaty — the founding basis of the modern Turkish state out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire — has usually been seen inside the country as a triumph of its secular leadership led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. For the secular opposition in Turkey, Erdogan’s comments have represented another dangerous lapse into neo-Ottomanism, signalling his regret that Ankara does not control territory stretching from Balkans to Africa as Constantinople did in Ottoman times. But for pro-Erdogan commentators his remarks were a timely reminder that modern Turkey has just a fraction of the territory controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

“You see the Aegean, don’t you?” Erdogan told local officials in the speech at his presidential palace. “In Lausanne, we gave away islands (so near that) your voice can be heard if you shout across to them. Is this a victory?” he asked. “They were ours. There are our mosques, our shrines there.”

Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey Greece, Greece Turkey, Turkey 1923, 1923 treaty, Aegean islands, news, latest news, world news, international news, Turkey news, Greece news, World War 1 Turkey President Erdogan for the first time rejected the notion that the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was a “victory” and wistfully lamented the loss of Aegean islands which are now Greek territory. (Google Maps)

Erdogan rounded on those who negotiated the treaty who included Ismet Inonu, Ataturk’s right-hand-man who would later succeed him as president and still a hero for secularists. “Those who sat at that table could not make the best of the agreement. Today we are suffering the consequences.”

After the Ottoman defeat in World War I, the existence of any future Turkish state had been in question. However thanks to the strategic brilliance of Ataturk and victory in the War of Independence against Greece, modern Turkey was founded in 1923 as a state stretching from the Mediterranean to Persia. The military victory and Lausanne Treaty reversed the outcome of the 1919 Treaty of Sevres which, if implemented, would have seen modern Turkey reduced to a rump around Istanbul and Anatolia.

Under the new borders enshrined in Lausanne, all the Aegean islands went to Greece, with the exception of Gokceada (Imroz) and Bozcaada (Tenedos). Several islands however had already been captured from the Ottoman Empire in a 1912 war.

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  1. K
    K P
    Oct 2, 2016 at 5:51 am
    Erdogan is a cunning fellow but certainly cannot be compared with legendary Bismark of Germany. Erdogan forgets that the treaty of Louisiana in 1923 resulted in the birth of modern Turkey signalling an inglorious end to the Caliphate supporters of which included only two Indians Rahmat Ali and Shaukat Ali. ottoman empire was based on undefined dictatorship of a confused and last of the Caliphate. Without 1922 treaty Turkey would have been reduced like Albania or Maldives Erdogan cannot repeat history itself.his overambitious may split Turkey into more sovereign nations like Kurds land and Armenia. Erdogan's dislike of Greece has not resulted in a diplomacy which would glorify Turkey instead an adversary like Austria is borne which would never allow Turkey to become a member of the Christian Club being dominated by Erdogan's sympathiser Angela Merkel whose unpority has surped Francois Holland of France. despite of economic boom indicated by Stock Market boon Turkey under Erdogan remains economically weak. Erdogan's friendship with Israel indicates Erdogan's growing fear of Iran. a dictatorship is not meant forever,its survival depends its capacity to maneuver the internal unrest and external threat. Erdogan is an expert manitor and situation in central Asia is in his favor. His fate will be influenced by the fate of All ad of Syria and the success or failure of Kurdish fighters in Syria . By K P Paswan
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