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Treaty of Sèvres

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Title: Treaty of Sèvres  
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Subject: Eleftherios Venizelos, Treaty of Lausanne, History of Armenia, Turkish War of Independence, Turkish–Armenian War
Collection: 1920 in Armenia, 1920 in France, 1920 in the Ottoman Empire, Adana Vilayet, Adrianople Vilayet, Aftermath of World War I in Turkey, Aidin Vilayet, Aleppo Vilayet, Bitlis Vilayet, Eleftherios Venizelos, Erzurum Vilayet, Greco-Turkish War (1919–22), History of Armenia, History of Kurdistan, History of Modern Turkey, History of Palestine, Hüdavendigâr Vilayet, Konya Vilayet, Mamuret-Ul-Aziz Vilayet, Ottoman Empire–united Kingdom Relations, Paris Peace Conference, 1919, Peace Treaties of France, Peace Treaties of Italy, Peace Treaties of Japan, Peace Treaties of the Ottoman Empire, Peace Treaties of the United Kingdom, Peace Treaties of the United States, Sivas Vilayet, Treaties Concluded in 1920, Treaties Entered Into Force in 1920, Treaties of the Empire of Japan, Treaties of the French Third Republic, Treaties of the Kingdom of Greece, Treaties of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), Treaties of the Turkish War of Independence, Treaties of the United Kingdom (1801–1922), Trebizond Vilayet, Unratified Treaties, Van Vilayet, World War I Treaties
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Treaty of Sèvres

Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Peace Between the Allied and Associated Powers and the Ottoman Empire
Partitioning of Ottoman Turkey according to the aborted Treaty of Sèvres
Signed 10 August 1920
Location Sèvres, France
Condition Ratification by Ottoman Empire and four Principal Allied Powers.

Central Powers
 Ottoman Empire

Allied Powers
 United Kingdom

Depositary French Government
Languages French (primary), English, Italian
Treaty of Sèvres at Wikisource
Two of the signatories of the Ottoman Empire. Left to right: Rıza Tevfik; Grand vizier Damat Ferid Pasha; unknown; and ambassador Reşid Halis. Absent is the third signatory, Ottoman Minister of Education Hadi Pasha
A 1927 version of the map used by TBMM (later restored)

The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was one of a series of treaties[1] that the nations that constituted the Central Powers were made to sign subsequent to their defeat that marked the end of World War I. It was signed on 10 August 1920, which marked the beginning of the partition of, and the ultimate annihilation of, the Ottoman Empire. The harsh terms it stipulated, motivated mainly by the Gallipoli Campaign defeat of the Allied powers at the hands of the Turks, included the renunciation of all non-Turkish land that was part of the Ottoman Empire, as well as parts of Turkish land, to the Allied powers.[2] Notably, Eastern Mediterranean land was to be divided, yielding, amongst others, the British Mandate of Palestine and the French Mandate of Syria.[3] The terms of the treaty brewed hostility and nationalistic feeling amongst Turks. The signatories of the treaty, themselves representatives of the Ottoman Empire, were stripped of their citizenship by the Grand National Assembly led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,[4] and the treaty ultimately led to the Turkish War of Independence, when a new treaty, the Treaty of Lausanne was accepted by Atatürk and Turkish nationalists, and which effectively brought into being the modern day republic of Turkey.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed with the German Empire before this treaty to annul German concessions including economic rights and enterprises in the Ottoman sphere. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy signed a secret "Tripartite Agreement" at the same date.[5] The Tripartite Agreement confirmed Britain's oil and commercial concessions and turned the former German enterprises in the Ottoman Empire over to a Tripartite corporation. The terms of the Treaty of Sèvres were far more severe than those imposed on the German Empire in the Treaty of Versailles.[6][7] The open negotiations covered a period of more than fifteen months, beginning at the Paris Peace Conference. The negotiations continued at the Conference of London, and took definite shape only after the premiers' meeting at the San Remo conference in April 1920. France, Italy, and Great Britain, however, had secretly begun the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire as early as 1915. The delay occurred because the powers could not come to an agreement which, in turn, hinged on the outcome of the Turkish national movement. The Treaty of Sèvres was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and 1924.

The representatives signed the treaty in an exhibition room at the famous porcelain factory[8] in Sèvres, France.[9]

The treaty had four signatories for the Ottoman Empire: Rıza Tevfik, the grand vizier Damat Ferid Pasha, ambassador Hadi Pasha, and the minister of education Reşid Halis, who were endorsed by Sultan Mehmed VI.

Of the Principal Allied powers it excluded the Great Britain, Alexandre Millerand for France, and Count Lelio Bonin Longare for Italy.

Among the other Allied powers, Greece did not accept the borders as drawn and never ratified it.[10] Avetis Aharonian, the President of the Delegation of the First Republic of Armenia, which also signed the Treaty of Batum on 4 June 1918, was a signatory of this treaty.


  • Aims of the Allies 1
  • Treaty terms 2
    • Kingdom of Hejaz 2.1
    • Armenia 2.2
    • Ottoman Empire 2.3
      • Military restrictions 2.3.1
      • International trials 2.3.2
    • France (Zone of influence) 2.4
    • Greece (Zone of Smyrna) 2.5
    • Italy (Zone of influence) 2.6
    • Kurdistan 2.7
  • Territorial losses (cessions) 3
    • Zone of Straits 3.1
    • Free zones 3.2
    • Thrace 3.3
    • Armenia 3.4
    • British Mandate of Iraq 3.5
    • British Mandate for Palestine 3.6
    • French Mandate of Lebanon 3.7
    • French Mandate of Syria 3.8
  • Fate of the treaty 4
  • Subsequent treaties 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Notes 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Aims of the Allies

The leaders of France, Britain, and the United States had stated their differing objectives with respect to the Ottoman Empire during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. The common theme was the sick man of Europe had come to his own end. However, it was a shock to the world when the treaty said the Allies were in agreement keeping the Ottoman Government of Istanbul,[11] which remained the capital of the Ottoman Empire, though with the reservations of the conditions of the treaty. The treaty called for the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire from Europe. The treaty imposed terms so severe that British policy seemed to have succeeded in strangling the sick man of Europe in his sick-bed in Asia Minor.[12]

The United States—having refused the Armenian mandate in the Senate—decided to not participate in the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire.[13] The U.S. wanted a permanent peace as quickly as possible, with financial compensation for its military expenditures. However, after the American Senate rejected Wilson's Armenian mandate, its only hope was its inclusion in the Treaty by the influential Greek prime minister, Eleftherios Venizelos.[14]

Treaty terms

An original map from 1920 illustrating the Treaty of Sèvres region.

The treaty solidified the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, in accord with secret agreements among the Allied Powers.

Kingdom of Hejaz

The Kingdom of Hejaz was granted international recognition. Estimated area of 100,000 sq mi (260,000 km2), and population of about 750,000. The biggest cities were Holy Places, namely, Mecca, with a population of 80,000, and Medina, with a population of 40,000. It formerly constituted the vilayet of Hejaz, but during the war became an independent kingdom under British influence.


First republic of Armenia – western borders defined by Woodrow Wilson

Armenia was recognized as an established state by the signed parties. (Section VI "Armenia", articles 88-93).

See also: Treaty of Alexandropol, Wilsonian Armenia and First Republic of Armenia

Ottoman Empire

A late 1918 map showing Europe before World War I, with new states formed after the great war in red. Includes the borders established by the Treaty of Sèvres.

The Allies were to control the Empire's finances. The financial control extended to the approval or supervision of the national budget, financial laws and regulations, and total control over the

Future developments of the tax system, the customs system, internal or external loans, or concessions could not be arranged without the consent of the financial commission of the Allied powers. To forestall the economic repenetration of Germany, Austria, Hungary, or Bulgaria the treaty demanded that the Empire liquidate the property of citizens of those countries in its territories. This public liquidation will be turned over to the Reparations Commission. Property rights of the Baghdad Railway passed out of German control.

Military restrictions

The Ottoman Army was to be restricted to 50,700 men; the Ottoman navy could only preserve seven sloops and six torpedo boats; and the Ottoman state was prohibited from obtaining an air force.

The treaty included an Inter-allied commission of control and organization to supervise the execution of the military clauses.

International trials

The treaty required determination of those responsible for the "barbarous and illegitimate methods of warfare… [including] offenses against the laws and customs of war and the principles of humanity". Article 230 of the Treaty of Sèvres required that the Ottoman Empire "hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Ottoman Empire on August 1, 1914." However, the Inter-allied tribunal attempt demanded by the Treaty of Sèvres were eventually suspended.

France (Zone of influence)

France received Syria and neighbouring parts of Southeastern Anatolia, including Antep, Urfa and Mardin. Cilicia including Adana, Diyarbakır and large portions of East-Central Anatolia all the way up north to Sivas and Tokat were declared a zone of French influence.

Greece (Zone of Smyrna)

The expansion of Greece from 1832-1947, showing in yellow territories awarded to Greece by the Treaty of Sèvres but lost in 1923.

The occupation of Smyrna established Greek administration on May 21, 1919. This was followed by the declaration of a protectorate on July 30, 1922. The Treaty transferred "the exercise of her rights of sovereignty to a local parliament" but leaving the region under the Ottoman Empire. According to the provisions of the Treaty, Smyrna was to be administered by a local parliament and it also gave the people of Smyrna the chance of a plebiscite after five years on whether they wished to join Greece as opposed to remaining in the Ottoman Empire. This plebiscite would be overseen by the League of Nations. The treaty accepted Greek administration of the Smyrna enclave, however the area remained under Turkish sovereignty.

Italy (Zone of influence)

Italy was confirmed in the possession of the Dodecanese Islands (already under Italian occupation since the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912, despite the Treaty of Ouchy according to which Italy should have been obliged to return the islands back to the Ottoman Empire). Large portions of Southern and West-Central Anatolia (the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and the inlands) including the port city of Antalya and the historic Seljuk capital of Konya were declared an Italian zone of influence. Antalya Province was promised by the Triple Entente to Italy in the Treaty of London.,[16] and the Italian colonial authorities wished the zone to become an Italian colony under the name of Lycia.[17]


A Kurdistan region was scheduled to have a referendum to decide its fate, which, according to Section III Articles 62–64, was to include the Mosul Province .

There was no general agreement among Kurds on what its borders should be because of the disparity between the areas of Kurdish settlement and the political and administrative boundaries of the region.[18] The outlines of Kurdistan as an entity were proposed in 1919 by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti) at the Paris Peace Conference.He defined the region's boundaries as follows:

"The frontiers of Turkish Kurdistan, from an ethnographical point of view, begin in the north at Ziven, on the Caucasian frontier, and continue westwards to Erzurum, Erzincan, Kemah, Arapgir, Besni and Divick (Divrik?); in the south they follow the line from Harran, Sinjar Mountains, Tel Asfar, Erbil, Süleymaniye, Akk-el-man, Sinne; in the east, Ravandiz, Başkale, Vezirkale, that is to say the frontier of Persia as far as Mount Ararat."[19]

This caused controversy among other Kurdish nationalists, as it excluded the Van region (possibly as a sop to Armenian claims to that region). Emin Ali Bedir Khan proposed an alternative map which included Van and an outlet to the sea via Turkey's present Hatay Province.[20] Amid a joint declaration by Kurdish and Armenian delegations, Kurdish claims on Erzurum vilayet and Sassoun (Sason) were dropped but arguments for sovereignty over Ağrı and Muş remained.[21]

Neither of these proposals was endorsed by the treaty of Sèvres, which outlined a truncated Kurdistan located on what is now Turkish territory (leaving out the Kurds of Iran, British-controlled Iraq and French-controlled Syria).[22] However, even that plan was never implemented as the Treaty of Sèvres was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne. The current Iraq-Turkey border was agreed in July 1926.

Also article 63 grants explicitly full safeguard and protection to the Assyro-Chaldean minority. This reference was later dropped in the treaty of Lausanne.

Territorial losses (cessions)

Date States
Square Miles (km2)
1914 Ottoman Empire 1,589,540 km2 (613,724 sq mi)
1918 (Sèvres Treaty)
Ottoman Empire
453,000 km2 (174,900 sq mi)
Wilsonian Armenia
160,000 km2 (60,000 sq mi)
350,000 km2 (136,000 sq mi)
370,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi)
260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi)
91,000 km2 (35,000 sq mi)
190,000 km2 (75,000 sq mi)

Zone of Straits

Map (made in 1920) of Western Turkey, showing the Zone of the Straits in Treaty of Sèvres.

The Zone of Straits was planned to be established covering both the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. One of the most important points of the treaty was the provision that the navigation was to be open in the Dardanelles in times of peace and war alike to all vessels of commerce and war, no matter under what flag, thus in effect leading to internationalization of the waters. The waters were not to be subject to blockade, nor could any act of war be committed there, except in enforcing the decisions of the League of Nations.

It included not only the Straits proper but also the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara.

Free zones

Certain ports were to be declared to be of international interest. The League of Nations were completely free and absolute equality in treatment, particularly in the matter of charges and facilities insuring the carrying out of the economic provisions in commercially strategic places. These regions will be named as the "free zones." The ports were: Istanbul from St. Stefano to DolmaBahce, Haidar-Pasha, Smyrna, Alexandretta, Haifa, Basra, Trabzon, and Batum.


Thrace, up to the Chatalja line, islands of Imbros and Tenedos, and the islands of Marmara ceded to Greece. The sea line of these islands declared international and left to administration of "Zone of Straits."


Map showing "Wilsonian Armenia" ceded to the First Republic of Armenia.
Map (made in 1920) of Eastern Turkey, showing the extent of Armenia according to President Wilson's boundary decision in Treaty of Sèvres.

Armenia was given a large part of the region according to the border fixed by President of the United States of America which was referred as "Wilsonian Armenia";[23] including provinces which did not have significant Armenian populations remaining after the war.

British Mandate of Iraq

The details as reflected in the treaty regarding the British Mandate of Iraq were completed on April 25, 1920, at the San Remo conference.

Oil concession in this region was given to the British-controlled Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) which had held concessionary rights to the Mosul Vilayet (province). With elimination of the Ottoman Empire with this treaty, British and Iraqi negotiators held acrimonious discussions over the new oil concession. The League of Nations voted on the disposition of Mosul, and the Iraqis feared that, without British support, Iraq would lose the area. In March 1925, the TPC was renamed as the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), and granted a full and complete concession for a period of 75 years.

British Mandate for Palestine

The three principles of the British Balfour Declaration regarding Palestine were adopted in the Treaty of Sèvres:


The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Palestine officially fell under the British Mandate.

French Mandate of Lebanon

The French Mandate was settled at the San Remo Conference. Comprising the region between the Euphrates River and the Syrian Desert on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and extending from the Alma Dagh Mountains on the south to Egypt on the south; Area of territory about 60,000 sq mi (160,000 km2) with a population of about 3,000,000. Lebanon and an enlarged Syria, which were later assigned again under League of Nations Mandate. The region was divided under the French into four governments as follows: Government of Aleppo from the Euphrates region to the Mediterranean; Great Lebanon extending from Tripoli to Palestine; Damascus, including Damascus, Hama, Hems, and the Hauran; and the country of Mount Arisarieh.

French Mandate of Syria

Faisal ibn Husayn, who had been proclaimed king of Syria by a Syrian national congress in Damascus in March 1920, was ejected by the French in July of the same year.

Fate of the treaty

While the treaty was under discussion, the Turkish national movement under Mustafa Kemal Pasha split with the monarchy based in Istanbul,[24] and set up a Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara in April 1920.

On October 18, the government of Damat Ferid Pasha was replaced by a provisional ministry under Ahmed Tevfik Pasha as Grand Vizier, who announced an intention to convoke the Senate with the purpose of ratification of the Treaty, provided that national unity were achieved. This required seeking for cooperation with Mustafa Kemal. The latter expressed disdain to the Treaty and started a military assault. As a result, the Turkish Government issued a note to the Entente that the ratification of the Treaty was impossible at that time.[25]

Eventually, Mustafa Kemal succeeded in his fight for Turkish independence and forced the former wartime Allies to return to the negotiating table.

Arabs were unwilling to accept French rule in Syria, the Turks around Mosul attacked the British, and Arabs were in arms against the British rule in Baghdad. There was also disorder in Egypt.

Subsequent treaties

In course of the Turkish War of Independence, the Turkish Army successfully fought Greek, Armenian and French forces and secured the independence of a territory similar to that of present-day Turkey, as was aimed by the Misak-ı Milli.

The Turkish national movement developed its own international relations by the Treaty of Moscow with the Soviet Union on 16 March 1921, the Accord of Ankara with France putting an end to the Franco-Turkish War, and the Treaty of Alexandropol with the Armenians and the Treaty of Kars fixing the eastern borders.

Hostilities with Britain over the neutral zone of the Straits were narrowly avoided in the Chanak Crisis of September 1922, when Armistice of Mudanya was concluded on 11 October, which led the former Allies of World War I to return to the negotiating table with the Turks in November 1922. This culminated in 1923 in the Treaty of Lausanne, which replaced the Treaty of Sèvres and restored large territory in Anatolia and Thrace to the Turks.

See also


  • Treaty of Peace between the British Empire and Allied Powers and Turkey UK Treaty Series No.11 of 1920; Command paper Cmd.964


  1. ^ Category:World War I treaties
  2. ^
  3. ^ See: Sykes-Picot
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Times (London), 27. Idem., Jan. 30, 1928, Editorial.
  6. ^ Isaiah Friedman: British Miscalculations: The Rise of Muslim Nationalism, 1918–1925, Transaction Publishers, 2012, ISBN 1412847494, page 217.
  7. ^ Michael Mandelbaum: The Fate of Nations: The Search for National Security in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Cambridge University Press, 1988, ISBN 9780521357906, page 61 (footnote 55).
  8. ^ Helmreich, Paul C. (1974). From Paris to Sèvres: The Partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference of 1919–1920. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press. p. 320.  
  9. ^ "The Treaty of Sèvres, 1920". Harold B. Library,  
  10. ^
  11. ^ Finkel, Caroline (2005). Osman's Dream. Basic Books. p. 57. Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930.. 
  12. ^ "Foreign News: Lausanne Treaty". Time Magazine. April 14, 1924. 
  13. ^ "Congress Opposes Armenian Republic; General Sentiment Is Against Assuming Responsibility for New Republic". The New York Times. April 27, 1920. pp. 2, 353. 
  14. ^ Gibbons, Herbert Adams. "Venizelos". Political Science Quarterly 36 (3): 519.  
  15. ^ Barlas, Dilek (2004). "Friends or Foes? Diplomatic Relations between Italy and Turkey, 1923-36". International Journal of Middle East Studies (Cambridge University Press) 36 (2): 250.  
  16. ^ Treaty of London at
  17. ^ Franco Antonicelli, Trent'anni di storia italiana, 1915-1945, Torino, Mondadori Editore, 1961. p. 25
  18. ^ Hakan Özoğlu, Kurdish Notables and the Ottoman State: Evolving Identities, Competing Loyalties, and Shifting Boundaries p. 38. SUNY Press, 2004
  19. ^ Şerif Pasha, Memorandum on the Claims of the Kurd People, 1919
  20. ^ Hakan Özoğlu,ibid p. 40
  21. ^ M. Kalman, Batı Ermenistan ve Jenosid p. 185, Istanbul, 1994.
  22. ^ Arin, Kubilay Yado, Turkey and the Kurds – From War to Reconciliation? UC Berkeley Center for Right Wing Studies Working Paper Series, March 26, 2015.
  23. ^ ARTICLE 89
  24. ^ Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57;"Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930.".
  25. ^ Current History, Volume 13, New York Times Co., 1921, "Dividing the Former Turkish Empire" pp. 441-444 (retrieved October 26, 2010)

Further reading

  • Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914–1922. New York: H. Holt.  

External links

  • Text of the Treaty of Sèvres
  • Armenia and Turkey in Context of the Treaty of Sevres: Aug - Dec 1920, on "Atlas of Conflicts" by Andrew Andersen.
  • Map of Europe and Treaty of Sèvres at
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