Andrew Andersen





“Old Constantinople” by Luigi Premazzi


Sultan Muhammad V


Kemal Ataturk

On August 10 1920, competent representatives of 14 nations including Armenia, signed “the Treaty of Peace between Allied and Associated Powers and Turkey” in Sevres (France). The treaty officially put an end to the Ottoman Empire and in fact, abolished Turkish sovereignty.


Basing on its provisions, Turkey agreed to British and French protectorate over Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Syria (Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan and Palestine), recognized independence of Hejaz, Asir and Yemen, granted autonomy to Kurdistan (the province of Diyarbekir and southern part of Van province), ceded Smyrna (now Izmir) and Eastern Trace to Greece and Western Armenia (the provinces of Bitlis, Erzerum and nouthern part of Van province) to the Armenian Republic. Additionally, eastern half of Trebizond province was to be partitioned between Armenia and Georgia thus providing Armenian Republic full access to the sea. The Zone of the Straits formally remained Turkish but was to be neutralized and internationalized.


While accepted by the government of Sultan Muhammad V in Constantinople, the treaty of Sevres was rejected by the new nationalist government formed in Ankara by Kemal Ataturk. Turkish nationalists refused to transfer the assigned territories to Greece and especially to Armenia and Georgia. Ataturk even claimed that Turkey had enough forces to take over all the South Caucasus if needed.



Unlike Greece controlling not only the assigned territories but occupying area of western Anatolia, Armenian Republic seemed unable to take over the territories assigned to her by the treaty. Facing 50 000 strong Turkish army of Nizam Karabeqir Pasha at her pre-treaty borders, Armenia could boast less than 30 000 soldiers. In spite of the fact that according to their British allies, Armenian army was the best trained and the most disciplined among other armies of the South Caucasus, it was exhausted both morally, physically and financially as a result of the series of almost non-stop warfare starting with 1917.





Click on the map to enlarge

The Turkish-Armenian relations in the aftermath of the Treaty of Sevres, were marked by the following misbalance: Armenia was willing to take over the territory legally assigned to her by the Allies but was unable to do so while the Turks unwilling to submit to the treaty, had both the possibilities and aspirations to take over all the remaining Armenia. The further development of the situation in the South Caucasus demonstrated that Armenia could not count on any serous external help while Turkey enjoyed both diplomatic and military support on behalf of the Soviet Russia and its puppet-state of Soviet Azerbaijan.


As a result of the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922) and Turkish-Armenian War (Sept.-Dec., 1920), both won by the Turks, the Allied powers had to revise some of the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres. According to the Treaty of Lausannes (24.07.1923), Greece had to return to Turkey the city of Smyrna (Izmir) with the surrounding area, Eastern Trace and the island of Imbroz. Turkey was given back all the territories previously assigned to Armenia and Georgia (the two countries that by that time already been absorbed by the USSR). The Treaty of Lausannes also confirmed Turkish rights to the additional territories conquered by the Turks from Armenia and Georgia in 1920-21 and ceded to them by the Treaty of Kars (13.10.1921).


During wars of 1919-22 and after the end of all military operations, Turkish government and armed forces performed large ethnic cleansing as a result of which Turkey was left without its Armenian, Assyrian and Greek population.