The Treaty of Sevres

At the end of World War One a series of treaties were signed and the Treaty of Sevres was one of them. It took more than fifteen months to draw the treaty up. This was signed with the Ottoman Empire and it set the process of annihilating the Ottoman Empire.

Countries Involved In Signing The Treaty

The treaty was signed on the 10th of August 1920 and the terms of the Treaty of Sevres left the Ottoman Empire infuriated and resentful by their treatment. For the victorious Allies it was signed by Great Britain, France and Italy. Russia was not a part of the treaty in spite of being an Allied power because in 1918 Russia had signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Ottoman Empire. Britain and France in the meantime had chartered different plans for the so called ‘Middle East.

Features Of Treaty Of Sevres

  • Britain took the control of Palestine and France took possession over Syria, Lebanon and some land in southern Anatolia.
  • East Anatolia and West Anatolia had been declared areas of France three years before the Treaty of Sevres as per the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1917.
  • Britain took control over Iraq and oil concessions were offered through the British controlled Turkish Petroleum Companywhich later became Iraq Petroleum Company.
  • The Kingdom of Hejaz was internationally recognized as an independent kingdom. Mecca and Medina were the prominent cities of this kingdom.
  • Smyrna which was a part of the Ottoman Empire came under the control of Greece as it was ancient Greek city. However this was decided by a plebiscite.
  • Thrace, situated between the borders of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, was also given to Greece.
  • Italy was given the Dodecanese Island and the coastal regions of Anatolia.
  • Dardanlles Straits of the Ottoman Empire was declared an international waterway and the Ottoman Empire had no control over it. Some ports near Constantinople were declared as “Free zones.”
  • Military restrictions were imposed on Ottoman Empire as was the case of other countries belonging to the Central Power. Along with this Allied powers could supervise the military terms of these countries.
  • The financial terms were as severe as the Treaty of Versailles. The complete control of finances and economy was taken over by the Allied forces.
  • The right to electoral reforms in the Ottoman Empire was brought about by this treaty.
  • Those thought to be involved in “barbarous warfare” had to be handed over to the Allied powers.

The Treaty of Sevres did not deal with the issue of Kurdistan effectively. Kurds did not accept the boundaries drawn for Kurdistan as Van was not included. So Kurds living in Turkey were recognised as Turks and those living in northwest Iraq were recognised as Iraqis. The Treaty of Sevres brought in the usage ‘Sick Man of Europe’. Ottoman Empire was first called “Sick Man of Europe” and later on it was used for countries which were economically backward. A plan to ratify the Treaty of Sevres was mooted by the Grand Vizier, Ahmed Pasha of the Ottoman Empire but the Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal rebelled against it and the ratification plan failed. In all ways a great empire was completely broken down by the Treaty of Sevres.

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