The Lausanne Conference : the evolution of Turkish and British diplomatic strategies, 1922-1923
By the end of the First World War the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and was in a state of disintegration. The Mudros Armistice which ended the war between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies in October 1918 was the final stage of this process; the Treaty of Sevres which followed the Armistice confirmed it. However, the National Independence Movement which emerged in Anatolia from the ruins of the Empire rejected the proposed peace terms and set itself up as an alternative government based at Ankara. It drew up the National Pact which set out the desiderata of the Nationalists, and it won a decisive victory over the Greeks who landed in Anatolia in 1919. This military victory made a peace conference imperative and enabled the Turks to negotiate peace terms with the Allies on an equal footing. The peace treaty which was signed at Lausanne on July 24, 1923 finalised the Turkish Peace Settlement, putting an end to the centuries-old Eastern Question. The object of this dissertation is to examine the motives and strategies of Britain and Turkey at the Lausanne Conference in their efforts to obtain the peace terms best suited to their interests. The focus throughout is on the factors influencing the attitude of the delegations, the instructions they received from their respective foreign ministries and the formulation of their strategies. The thesis consists of six chapters. The introductory chapter presents a brief account of events prior to the Conference. Chapter II deals with the historical background by giving a summary of the political and military events leading up to the Conference. Chapter III gives an account of the strategies of Britain and Turkey and aims to assess the respective strength and weakness of the two parties prior to the Conference. Chapter IV examines the negotiations between Britain and Turkey during the first phase of the Conference. The central axis of this examination is the Turco- British strategy which shows the critical shift in the policy of the Turks following their realisation that peace could not be made unless they came to terms with Britain. Chapter V investigates the events following the breakdown of the Conference to the re-opening with the second phase. It covers the measures taken by both sides to be in a stronger position vis-a-vis each other in preparation for the second phase of the negotiations. Chapter VI discusses the negotiations and the final settlement, concentrating mainly on the strategies of both sides in the second phase of the Conference.