Sèvres Unveiled: The Struggle for Turkey's Future

From Imperial Demise to National Resurgence

The Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920, aimed to reconfigure the disintegrating Ottoman Empire after the First World War.

It imposed substantial territorial losses on Turkey, with regions allocated to Greece, Armenia, and other nations.

The treaty introduced mandates for Allied control in the Middle East. Economic and military restrictions were imposed on Turkey, including reparations.

However, widespread resistance led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk culminated in the Turkish War of Independence, resulting in the abrogation of Sèvres.

The subsequent Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 recognized the Republic of Turkey, acknowledging its sovereignty and establishing new borders.

Ottoman soldiers in the Middle East, 1917.


From 1900 to 1919, the Ottoman Empire experienced a tumultuous period marked by significant challenges and transformations.

At the turn of the 20th century, the empire was already grappling with internal strife, economic difficulties, and a decline in military power.

The Young Turks, a reformist movement, emerged in the early 20th century, aiming to modernize and rejuvenate the empire. However, internal tensions persisted.

As the Ottoman Empire became entangled in the First World War (1914-1918), it faced severe geopolitical consequences. Initially aligning with the Central Powers, including Germany and Austria-Hungary, the empire's military campaigns met with mixed success.

The disastrous Gallipoli Campaign and defeats on various fronts strained the Ottoman military and exposed internal weaknesses.

Ottoman Empire troops defending their position during the Gallipoli Campaign. The campaign would have a detrimental effect on the Ottoman Empire, leading to significant military losses, strained resources, and contributing to the empire's eventual decline during the First World War.

Roads to the Great War: Anzac Day Remembered: Colorized Photographs of Gallipoli (roadstothegreatwar-ww1.blogspot.com)

Cooks in the streets of Stamboul, Constantinople (Istanbul) in the 1890's. Although a bustling city, the Ottoman Empire itself was in a slow but irreversible decline.

Journey to Turkey during the time of the Ottoman Empire - Avenues.ca

A map accurately reflecting the steady decline of the Ottoman Empire prior to its entry into the First World War.

Ottoman Empire Map 1900 (animalia-life.club)

...faced military defeats and internal turmoil...

Amid the war, the Armenian Genocide unfolded, leading to the mass deportation and killing of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire.

This tragic event further exacerbated international criticism and weakened the empire's standing.

By 1918, the Ottoman Empire found itself on the precipice of monumental change as the First World War drew to a close.

The empire, having aligned with the Central Powers, faced military defeats and internal turmoil.

The once-mighty Ottoman forces, now strained and weakened, grappled with the consequences of their involvement in the war.

...the beginning of the end...

The Ottoman leadership, under the last Sultan Mehmed VI, witnessed the occupation of its capital, Istanbul, by Allied forces.

This critical juncture marked the beginning of the end for the Ottoman Empire, setting the stage for the challenges and negotiations that would follow in the post-war period.

The captial city of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the 1890's, a bustling, vibrant city. By 1918, after several years of war, the city found itself occupied by the victorious allied forces.

(20) Constantinople, CIRCA 1890 Colorized : pics (reddit.com)

...the "sick man of Europe"...

The Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920, marked a pivotal moment in the aftermath of the First World War, particularly in the reconfiguration of the Ottoman Empire's territorial boundaries.

As the Great War concluded, the Paris Peace Conference convened to address the geopolitical landscape reshaped by the conflict. The Ottoman Empire, once a sprawling imperial power, found itself on the losing side and faced significant dismantling as a consequence.

The treaty emerged against the backdrop of a post-war world grappling with the complexities of peace-building. The Ottoman Empire, known as the "sick man of Europe" prior to the war, was now subject to dissection, and the treaty sought to redefine its borders, influence, and internal structure.

This marked a departure from the centuries-old Ottoman rule that had spanned diverse territories from Southeast Europe to Western Asia.

A young boy watches Ottoman soldier march to war in 1914. Six years later, the defeated Ottoman Empire would find itself at the mercy of the victorious Allied powers.

(20) [Colorized] A boy in Istanbul, 1914. [1902x1542] : HistoryPorn (reddit.com)

...reflecting the broader principle of national self-determination...

The negotiations leading to the Treaty of Sèvres involved key Allied powers, including Britain, France, and Italy, each with its own interests and visions for the region.

The treaty aimed not only to penalize the Ottoman Empire for its role in the war but also to address the aspirations of various nationalities within its borders, reflecting the broader principle of national self-determination.

By understanding the geopolitical intricacies leading up to the Treaty of Sèvres, the motivations behind its clauses and the challenges it posed for the Ottoman Empire and the emerging nation-states in the Middle East can also be understood.

A charming commune

Sevres, a charming commune on the southwestern outskirts of Paris, holds a history deeply intertwined with the artistic and industrial endeavors of France.

Dating back to the 17th century, Sevres gained prominence as a hub for pottery and porcelain production.

In 1738, the establishment of the Royal Porcelain Factory marked a pivotal moment, bringing international acclaim to Sevres for its exquisite craftsmanship.

Throughout the 19th century, Sevres continued to flourish as a center for artistic innovation. The factory produced masterpieces, commissioned by royalty and collectors alike, showcasing the finest French porcelain techniques.

The artistic renaissance mirrored broader societal changes, as Sevres transitioned from a traditional artisanal community to a symbol of industrial prowess.

As the First World War engulfed Europe in 1914, Sevres found itself on the front lines, enduring the hardships and disruptions of the conflict.

The town's porcelain industry adapted to wartime demands, contributing to the war effort with specialized production. Sevres, however, also faced the challenges of occupation and economic strain during these tumultuous years.

Auguste Monceau Bakery at 6 rue Trayon, Sevres. 1908.

Sèvres - Page 2 - CPArama.com

By 1918, Sevres stood as a testament to resilience, having weathered the storm of war while maintaining its reputation as a cradle of artistic achievement.

The post-war period would see the continuation of Sevres' legacy as a center for craftsmanship and creativity, blending tradition with the evolving currents of modernity.


The Treaty of Sèvres was signed on the 10th August 1920 and sought to redefine the map of the Middle East by imposing significant territorial and political changes upon the once-mighty Ottoman Empire.

One of the primary features of the treaty was the redrawing of borders, an exercise that had far-reaching implications for the Ottoman Empire.

Territories were allocated to various nations, with provisions for self-determination for certain ethnic groups.

The Anatolian heartland of the empire faced partition, with regions like Smyrna (modern-day İzmir) and Eastern Thrace designated for Greek administration, while the Kurds and Armenians were promised autonomous regions.

Original map from 1920 illustrating the Treaty of Sèvres region (not depicting the zones of influence).

Lt. Colonel Lawrence Martin. Geographer of the Institute of Politics at Williamstown, MA, 1921-27


...the treaty imposed significant demilitarization and disarmament measures...

The treaty also introduced the concept of mandated territories, placing former Ottoman territories under the control of Allied powers.

The League of Nations was entrusted with overseeing these mandates, which included areas like Palestine and Iraq.

This marked a departure from the Ottoman system and laid the foundation for the creation of new nation-states in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the treaty imposed significant demilitarization and disarmament measures on the Ottoman Empire, severely limiting its military capabilities.

Similar to the other Central Powers that faced defeat, the Ottoman Empire found itself subjected to military constraints. The Ottoman Army was restricted to a force of 50,000 personnel.

Provisions of the treaty explicitly prohibited the establishment of an air force, and the navy was capped at thirteen vessels, comprising six schooners and seven torpedo boats.

The Ottoman delegation at Sèvres comprising the three signatories of the treaty. Left to right: Rıza Tevfik BölükbaşıGrand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha, the Ottoman education minister Mehmed Hâdî Pasha and ambassador Reşat Halis.

SevresSignatories - Treaty of Sèvres - Wikipedia

...adding an economic dimension to the punitive measures...

Additionally, the Treaty of Sèvres incorporated clauses granting the Allies the authority to oversee and ensure compliance with these specified military terms.

Reparations and financial obligations were outlined, adding an economic dimension to the punitive measures.

The provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres were not solely punitive but also reflected the geopolitical ambitions and interests of the Allied powers.

Partition of the Ottoman Empire after the Treaty of Sèvres.

(20) Partition of the Ottoman Empire (treaty of Sèvres, 1920) : MapPorn (reddit.com)

Allied ambitions

The treaty emerged as a manifestation of the individual ambitions and geopolitical strategies of the key Allied powers, each led by influential statesmen and leaders who sought to advance their nation's interests in the post-First World War landscape.

...crucial for safeguarding British imperial interests...

For Britain, under the leadership of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, imperial considerations played a pivotal role.

British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George

Securing control over strategic regions in the Middle East, such as Iraq and Palestine, was seen as crucial for safeguarding British imperial interests, particularly in maintaining access to the Suez Canal and securing vital sea routes to India.

Lloyd George's vision was deeply intertwined with the preservation and expansion of the British Empire.

The Suez Canal in 1905. British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George saw the Treaty of Sèvres as an opportunity for the British to maintain access to the Suez Canal - vital if it were to keep control of its vast global empire.

Suez Canal, Red Sea, 1905 - Stock Image - C044/8356 - Science Photo Library

...Clemenceau aimed to establish a French sphere of influence...

French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau

France, led by Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, harboured historical ties to the Levant and envisioned a robust French presence in the region.

Clemenceau aimed to establish a French sphere of influence in Syria and Lebanon, foreseeing economic and strategic advantages.

France's aspirations were driven by a desire to regain influence lost during the war and to ensure a position of strength in the post-war world.

French soldiers peer out of the Mingasson trench at the Bimont farm on the 12th February 1917. The high casualty rate suffered by the French during the First World War, motivated its prime minister - Georges Clemenceau - to seek compensation in the form of territorial gains for France.

Frederic Duriez/Exclusivepix Media


...Italy's ambitions faced challenges...

Italy, initially dissatisfied with its territorial gains, was led by Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando.

Italy's aspirations for territorial expansion in Anatolia were fueled by promises made during the war, and Orlando sought economic advantages and geopolitical prominence.

However, Italy's ambitions faced challenges, both domestically and within the broader Allied framework, leading to a certain degree of discontent.

Italian Prime Minister, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando

...sow the seeds for future conflicts...

The diverse visions and goals of these leaders within the Allied camp contributed to the intricate web of territorial allocations and mandates articulated in the Treaty of Sèvres.

The resulting geopolitical landscape reflected not only the aftermath of war but also the intricate interplay of national interests, alliances, and power dynamics among the victorious Allied nations.

This complexity would shape the course of history and sow the seeds for future conflicts in the Middle East.

1935 Ethnic Map of Syria During the French Mandate. The French mandate, stemming from the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, significantly influenced the region's political landscape. This mandate not only delineated Syria's borders but also played a pivotal role in shaping the country's destiny, impacting its internal affairs and contributing to broader global diplomatic dynamics.

(23) 1935 Ethnic Map of Syria During French Mandate : History_Maps (reddit.com)

Territorial Changes and Mandates

The Treaty of Sèvres was a watershed moment in the reconfiguration of the Ottoman Empire's territorial boundaries, introducing profound changes that echoed through the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.

The details of the treaty itself had been thrashed out at the San Remo Conference, held in April 1920.

This was a post-First World War gathering where Allied powers, including Britain, France, and Italy, decided the allocation of League of Nations mandates in the Middle East.

It laid the groundwork for the Treaty of Sèvres, shaping the geopolitical landscape of the region.

The treaty delineated a comprehensive redrawing of borders, dramatically altering the map of Anatolia and the Ottoman heartland. Territories were earmarked for redistribution among Allied powers and aspiring nation-states, reflecting the principle of national self-determination that had gained prominence during the Paris Peace Conference.

Smyrna (modern-day İzmir) and Eastern Thrace were designated for Greek administration, embodying the concept of ethnic or national homogeneity.

Map depicting the territorial changes that occured in the Aegean Sea region, including the Greek administration of East Thrace after the Treaty of Sèvres.

Thrace, Greek Occupation (1920 - 1922) - Dead Country Stamps and BanknotesDead Country Stamps and Banknotes (dcstamps.com)

Simultaneously, the treaty promised autonomy to the Kurds and Armenians, envisioning the creation of self-governing regions. However, the actual implementation of these promises faced considerable challenges and would become a source of contention in the years that followed.

...fueled discontent and resistance among local populations...

Palestine, 1920. After the Treaty of Sèvres, this former part of the Ottoman Empire came under British administration.

Detailed Map of Palestine (1920-1929) by ShahIsraeli on DeviantArt

The concept of mandated territories, introduced by the treaty, added another layer to the geopolitical transformation. Former Ottoman territories, including Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, were placed under the supervision of Allied powers.

The League of Nations assumed the responsibility of overseeing these mandates, which were presented as a transitional phase towards self-determination.

Palestine, under British administration, and Syria and Lebanon, under French control, exemplified this new mandate system.

However, the inherent tension between the principle of self-determination and the imposition of external authority fueled discontent and resistance among local populations, laying the groundwork for future conflicts.

The formal transfer of the Dodecanese Islands to Italy occurred, accompanied by Italy's acquisition of influence in the coastal region of Anatolia. Simultaneously, the Dardanelles Straits underwent a significant transformation into an international waterway, divesting the Ottoman Empire of control over it.

...specific ports near Constantinople were designated as "free zones...

A busy Kara-Keui Bridge, Constaninople (Istanbul) in the 1890's. After the Treaty of Sèvres, specific ports near the capital were designated 'free zones'.

Journey to Turkey during the time of the Ottoman Empire - Avenues.ca

Smyrna was placed under the effective administration of Greece, even though it maintained a technical affiliation with the Ottoman Empire.

The Treaty of Sèvres further granted the residents of Smyrna the opportunity to participate in a plebiscite, allowing them to decide whether they preferred to join Greece or continue their association with the Ottoman Empire.

The League of Nations was designated to oversee and facilitate this plebiscite process.

Additionally, specific ports near Constantinople were designated as "free zones" due to their perceived international significance, signifying a status exempt from direct national control.

Following the Treaty of Sèvres, Smyrna came under Greek control, establishing a significant shift in its governance and marking a pivotal moment in regional history.

The Treaty of Sèvres fell short in addressing the matter of Kurdistan. Although there was an initial consensus on the borders defining Kurdistan, nationalist Kurds opposed the agreement due to its omission of a region known as Van.

Consequently, the outcome resulted in some Kurds residing in Turkey, where the government categorized them as Turks, while others settled in northwest Iraq, identified as Iraqis.

The repercussions of these decisions reverberated across the region, shaping the geopolitical dynamics and sowing the seeds for conflicts that would define the course of the 20th century in the Middle East.

Nationalist Reactions and Resistance

The treaty intended to reshape the geopolitical fabric of the Ottoman Empire, encountered vehement resistance from Turkish nationalists, setting in motion a series of events that would redefine the region.

The treaty's imposition of territorial losses, especially in Anatolia, sparked a fierce nationalist response within Turkey.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a revered military leader and later the founder of modern Turkey, emerged as the charismatic figurehead rallying against the perceived injustice of the treaty.

The nationalists rejected foreign interference and sought to preserve the territorial integrity of what would become the Republic of Turkey.

Ankara, under the leadership of Atatürk, became the epicentre of resistance against the provisions of Sèvres. The nationalists not only contested the territorial dismemberment but also rejected the imposition of foreign control and influence on Turkish affairs.

The Turkish War of Independence, ignited in 1919, was a direct consequence of this resistance, with battles fought on multiple fronts to repel foreign forces.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led Turkey through a transformative period, abolishing the Ottoman Empire, establishing the Republic of Turkey in 1923, and implementing political, social, and cultural reforms to modernize the nation.

medyasanat | grafik tasarım / web logo afiş illüstrasyon (wordpress.com)

...a betrayal of national sovereignty...

Crucially, the nationalists' resistance found resonance among a broad spectrum of Turkish society, uniting disparate factions under a common cause.

The Treaty of Sèvres, seen as a betrayal of national sovereignty, galvanized support for the nationalist movement, fostering a collective determination to defy the imposed terms.

The nationalist response to the Treaty of Sèvres laid the groundwork for the modern Turkish state and significantly shaped the course of post-war history in the region.

Map of Early Republic of Turkey. Titled as "Motherland". The Treaty of Sèvres (1920) imposed unjust terms on the Ottoman Empire, galvanizing Turkish resistance. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's leadership in the ensuing Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) led to the abolition of Sèvres, paving the way for the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

(20) Map of Early Republic of Turkey. Titled as "Motherland" : MapPorn (reddit.com)

International response

The Treaty of Sèvres encountered widespread disappointment and criticism, particularly from key Allied powers like the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.

In the UK, public sentiment questioned the feasibility and wisdom of the treaty, as British Prime Minister David Lloyd George faced domestic opposition amid concerns over imperialistic ambitions.

France, represented by Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, encountered challenges both internationally and domestically, with opposition arising within France and from the League of Nations.

Italy, led by Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando, expressed dissatisfaction over perceived betrayal by the Allies, contributing to Italy's overall disillusionment.

The United States, under President Woodrow Wilson, distanced itself from the treaty, aligning with a broader trend of non-involvement and disillusionment with traditional diplomatic approaches.

US President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson opposed the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sèvres, favoring a more lenient approach. He envisioned a fair and just peace settlement that respected the principle of self-determination for nations.

Woodrow-Wilson-.jpg (550×833) (wp.com)

This convergence of disappointments and criticisms highlighted the complex tapestry of international reactions to the Treaty of Sèvres, emphasizing the divergent expectations and challenges faced by the global community in the post-First World War era.

Turkish War of Independence propaganda poster. The Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) was fueled by the harsh terms imposed on Turkey in the Treaty of Sèvres, prompting resistance to foreign intervention and the establishment of a sovereign nation.

(1583) Pinterest

Beyond the primary Allied powers, the terms of the treaty sparked a diverse range of reactions from other nations, further complicating the international response.

Japan, while supportive of the treaty, harboured its own imperialistic ambitions in Asia, raising eyebrows and concerns among other Allies.

Greece, despite gaining territories under the treaty, faced internal dissent and opposition, highlighting the challenges of reconciling national aspirations with complex geopolitical realities.

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire's successor, the Republic of Turkey, vehemently rejected the treaty, leading to the Turkish War of Independence.

The Arab world, often fragmented by colonial interests, viewed the treaty with suspicion, sensing a continuation of external interference.

The intricate web of international responses reflected a global landscape grappling with the aftermath of war, national aspirations, and the complexities of post-war diplomacy.

Role of colonial powers

The treaty had a profound impact on the colonial powers, particularly Britain and France, as it solidified and expanded their influence in the Middle East.

The territorial adjustments and mandates outlined in the treaty served to enhance the imperial reach of these colonial powers, ushering in a new era of dominance.

For Britain, the acquisition of territories like Iraq and Palestine marked a strategic consolidation of its imperial interests.

Controlling these regions provided Britain with not only valuable resources but also a critical geopolitical advantage, ensuring dominance over key trade routes and securing access to the Suez Canal.

The treaty essentially facilitated the extension of British imperial authority in the aftermath of the First World War.

Similarly, France capitalized on the provisions of the treaty to establish a robust presence in Syria and Lebanon. Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau's vision of a French sphere of influence in the Levant aligned with France's historical ties to the region.

This expansion allowed France to assert its economic and strategic interests, contributing to the perpetuation of its colonial empire.

The Suez Canal, "The Short Cut of the Empire,"  Empire Marketing Baord Poster. The Empire Marketing Board was formed in May 1926 by the Colonial Secretary Leo Amery to promote intra-Empire trade and to persuade consumers to 'Buy Empire'. Control of the Suez Canal gave the United Kingdom a huge amount of influence over trade.

The Suez Canal, The Short Cut of the Empire, Original Empire MArketing Baord Poster | David Pollack Vintage Posters (dpvintageposters.com)

Nazareth, Palestine in 1920.  The British mandate in Palestine, stemming from the Treaty of Sèvres, strategically benefited Britain by securing access to the Suez Canal and bolstering regional influence. Control over Palestine allowed the British to maintain stability, safeguard vital sea routes, and manage tensions amid the local population's pursuit of national independence.

NAZARETH, PALESTINE, c1920 Photograph by Granger - Fine Art America

...the mandate system effectively prolonged colonial rule...

The mandates introduced by the treaty further entrenched colonial powers in the region.

The League of Nations entrusted Britain and France with administering territories like Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, granting them considerable control over these mandated areas.

While ostensibly framed as a transitional phase towards self-determination, the mandate system effectively prolonged colonial rule and solidified the influence of the League of Nations' major powers.

The port of Beirut, Lebanon in the 1920's. The French mandate over Lebanon, awarded as part of the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres, provided economic and strategic advantages, securing influence in the Middle East and fostering cultural ties while expanding their colonial interests.

(20) Beirut Port 1920 :'( : lebanon (reddit.com)

...exploitation of these resources further fueled the imperial ambitions of Britain and France...

The rise of colonial powers following the Treaty of Sèvres also had economic dimensions. Access to the rich resources of the Middle East, coupled with control over crucial trade routes, bolstered the economic prosperity of the colonial powers.

The exploitation of these resources further fueled the imperial ambitions of Britain and France, contributing to their sustained dominance in the region.

In essence, the Treaty of Sèvres played a pivotal role in consolidating and expanding the influence of colonial powers in the Middle East.

Economic and Reparation Clauses

The economic and reparation clauses embedded in the treaty  played a crucial role in reshaping the financial landscape of the Ottoman Empire and imposing punitive measures on the defeated nation.

These provisions aimed at both compensating the Allied powers for the costs incurred during First World War and restructuring the economic framework of the Ottoman state.

Under the terms of the treaty, the Ottoman Empire was obligated to pay reparations to the Allied powers as a form of restitution for war-related damages.

The financial burden imposed on the Ottoman government was considerable, reflecting the economic strain experienced by the victorious Allies during the conflict.

The reparations were intended not only to cover the costs of war but also to serve as a punitive measure against the Ottoman Empire, holding it accountable for its role in the war.

Ottoman soldiers marching through Gaza, April 1917. The Ottoman Empires alignment with the Central Powers in the First World War would ultimately cost it dearly.

Colors of History (@colorsofhistory) • Instagram photos and videos

...imposition of economic controls aimed to ensure compliance...

The economic clauses of the treaty went beyond reparations, delving into the broader restructuring of the Ottoman economy.

The treaty sought to dismantle certain economic privileges and concessions enjoyed by the Ottoman government, placing constraints on its fiscal policies.

The imposition of economic controls aimed to ensure compliance with the terms of the treaty, tying economic stability to the fulfilment of the Allied demands.

Furthermore, the treaty introduced provisions related to the Ottoman public debt, outlining mechanisms for its settlement and transfer.

This aspect of the economic clauses reflected the intricate financial intricacies negotiated during the post-war period, reflecting the broader concerns of the Allied powers over the economic stability of the region.

Turkish delegation signing the Treaty of Sevres, 10th August 1920.

The Treaty of Sѐvres: A Historic Event – Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group

The economic and reparation clauses of the Treaty of Sèvres, while ostensibly seeking restitution and stability, contributed to the economic hardships faced by the Ottoman Empire.

These measures played a role in shaping the economic trajectory of the region in the aftermath of the First World War, setting the stage for subsequent negotiations and developments during the transitional period leading to the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

Legacy and Revision - Treaty of Lausanne

The shortcomings of the treaty became increasingly evident in the face of widespread opposition and geopolitical shifts.

Recognizing the need for a more viable and sustainable solution, the parties involved engaged in diplomatic negotiations that resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne.

This treaty, signed in Switzerland in 1923, replaced Sèvres and acknowledged the emergence of the Republic of Turkey as a sovereign and independent state.

The Treaty of Lausanne marked a departure from the punitive measures of Sèvres and sought to establish a more equitable framework for international relations in the region.

It recognized the territorial integrity of the newly formed Turkey and outlined new boundaries, formally ending hostilities and solidifying the diplomatic recognition of the republic.

Borders of Turkey set by the Treaty of Lausanne, which replaced the Treaty of Sèvres in 1923.

Treaty of Lausanne - Wikipedia

...a catalyst for change...

In essence, the legacy of the Treaty of Sèvres lies in its role as a catalyst for change and its unintended consequences.

The subsequent revision through the Treaty of Lausanne reflected a pragmatic acknowledgment of the evolving geopolitical realities and set the stage for a more stable and inclusive regional order.


The Treaty of Sèvres and its subsequent revision through the Treaty of Lausanne marked a pivotal moment in the reshaping of the Middle East and had far-reaching consequences that extended beyond the region.

The demise of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey not only redrew the map of the Middle East but also significantly influenced the global political spectrum.

The ending of the Ottoman Empire was a seismic shift that reverberated through the geopolitical landscape.

The emergence of the Republic of Turkey under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk not only marked the establishment of a modern, secular state but also disrupted traditional power structures in the region.

This transformation had repercussions on the political dynamics of the Middle East and contributed to the emergence of a more assertive and nationalistic Turkey.

Front page of the Treaty of Sèvres.

Treaty of Sevres (archive.org)

Istanbul in the 1930's. After the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the new Republic of Turkey evolved into a modern, secular state.

d0307df124c76afa2791dd08d63cb8b6.jpg (898×898) (pinimg.com)

...contributed to a sense of disillusionment and resentment among nationalist factions...

In the broader context of Europe, particularly during the interwar period, the rise of far-right political parties, including the Nazis in Germany, was influenced by the geopolitical realignments brought about by the aftermath of the First World War.

The Treaty of Sèvres and the subsequent events in Turkey contributed to a sense of disillusionment and resentment among nationalist factions in various nations.

The redrawing of borders and the imposition of treaties on defeated nations fueled sentiments of nationalism and victimhood, sentiments that far-right movements exploited to gain support.

The rise of far-right ideologies in Europe was, in part, a reaction to the perceived injustices of the post-war settlement.

The nationalist fervor that had played a role in the Turkish War of Independence found echoes in Europe, contributing to the appeal of far-right movements that promised to restore national pride and power.

Rise of the far-right: The perceived injustices of the treaties signed at the Paris Peace Conference would help fuel the rise of the Nazis' and other extremist political parties in an unstable post-First World War world.

Hitler's Rise the Colour Films - colour footage - the life of Hitler (hdclump.com)

...a lasting impact on nationalist sentiments...

In conclusion, the Treaty of Sèvres and the events leading to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey not only transformed the political landscape in the Middle East but also played a role in shaping the broader political currents in Europe.

The redrawing of borders and the reconfiguration of states had a lasting impact on nationalist sentiments, contributing to the rise of far-right ideologies that would come to define the tumultuous interwar period in Europe.

Further reading

Rogan skillfully navigates the complex narrative of the Ottoman Empire's demise during the First World War. Rogan provides a compelling account, blending historical analysis with personal narratives, shedding light on the war's impact on the Ottoman society. The book delves into the geopolitical intricacies, military strategies, and the human toll of the conflict, offering a comprehensive and engaging exploration of a pivotal period in Middle Eastern history. Rogan's meticulous research and storytelling make this work a valuable resource for understanding the empire's collapse.

Marios Adamides' "Modern Turkey and the Syndrome of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920" presents a thought-provoking analysis of the lasting impact of the Treaty of Sèvres on modern Turkey. Adamides skillfully explores the historical and psychological dimensions of the treaty, unraveling its enduring influence on Turkish national consciousness. The book adeptly navigates through intricate details, providing a nuanced understanding of the subject matter. An insightful and well-researched work, Adamides contributes significantly to the discourse on Turkey's historical identity and the consequences of the Sèvres Treaty.

Heather Lehr Wagner's "The Division of the Middle East: The Treaty of Sèvres (Arbitrary Borders)" adeptly examines the ramifications of the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres on the Middle East, shedding light on the creation of arbitrary borders. Wagner navigates the intricacies of post-First World War geopolitics, unraveling the consequences of imperial decisions. Well-researched and accessible, the book provides valuable insights into the region's historical complexities, making it an essential read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the Middle East's modern boundaries.

The book “The Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920) and Its Aftermath: Settlements, Problems and Perceptions” edited by Sorin Arhire and Tudor Roşu offers multiple perspectives on the Paris Peace Conference and its aftermath. It provides new insights into this crucial point in twentieth-century history from the viewpoints of the Great Powers, the small countries struggling for independence, and the neutral parties. The volume delves into the winners, the losers, and the complexities of the settlements during this significant period.

Margaret MacMillan's "Paris 1919" offers a captivating account of the post-World War I peace conference, delving into the negotiations that shaped the Treaty of Versailles. While the focus is on the broader peace settlement, MacMillan expertly weaves in the intricacies of regional agreements like the Treaty of Sèvres, providing a comprehensive perspective on the Middle East's transformation. Her meticulous research and engaging narrative make this work an invaluable exploration of the complex geopolitical landscape emerging from the Paris Peace Conference.

Paul C. Helmreich's "From Paris to Sèvres" meticulously examines the partition of the Ottoman Empire during the 1919-20 Peace Conference. This comprehensive hardcover delves into the intricate negotiations and decisions that led to the Treaty of Sèvres, offering a thorough exploration of the geopolitical transformations in the Middle East. Helmreich's scholarly work presents a valuable resource for understanding the complexities of post-First World War diplomacy, providing insights into the consequential reshaping of the Ottoman Empire and its lasting impact.



Lt. Colonel Lawrence Martin. Geographer of the Institute of Politics at Williamstown, MA, 1921-27



















Nick Danforth


Ishaan Tharoor







Leonard V. Smith


Sifiso Cyprian Shezi





Frederic Duriez/Exclusivepix Media