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Aug 09 2018

Turkish historians downgrade Sèvres Treaty to document

The Turkish History Institution (TTK), a group with a major influence over the Turkish school history curriculum, is to stop calling the Treaty of Sèvres a treaty, its president announced.

The agreement, signed in 1920 between the allied powers and the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War One, would have sliced much of the remaining empire up into colonies controlled by European powers.

But after a movement of national resistance led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk saw successes against the tired allied armies, the treaty was superseded by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which defined most of the borders of the modern Turkish Republic.

TTK President Refik Turan said calling Sèvres a treaty gave it undue legitimacy, as it was not ratified by either the sultan or the Ottoman parliament.

“This may seem like a detail, but it is important, because it seems in the minds of our children and the public (to be a treaty). There is a document out there, but it is not a treaty,” he said.

“Sèvres never reached the level of an agreement with the state of the Republic of Turkey or even the Ottomans … Sèvres is a document that shows the intentions of a group of the great powers, and which shows that their intentions have not changed (today) even if 100 years have passed.”

Turan said Sèvres was part of a blueprint for a British-led New World Order, and it was important to know about the treaty for this reason.

The Ottoman Empire, which entered World War One by bombing a series of Russian ports on the Black Sea, had been handed the heaviest punishment by the allies despite not being responsible for the outbreak of the war, he said, and the West had not given up trying to enforce it.