What Exactly Happened at Lausanne?

President Erdogan has been bashing the Treaty of Lausanne as being a defeat for Turkey, resulting in loss of Ottoman lands, rather than a victory. It is good at these times to read what the parties to the treaty themselves had to say at the time. The English certainly saw it as a humiliating defeat (Lord Curzon). Pat Walsh, on his blog, quotes from their dispatches and commentary from the time. And the Irish took hope.


Turkey refused to have terms imposed upon her that would dilute her sovereignty, even though Britain fought tooth and nail to maximize her Imperial influence over the region. The Turkish delegation also refused to be railroaded into a take it or leave it deal imposed by an arbitrary deadline. When Curzon said his train was standing at the station and it was “now or never” the treaty remained unsigned by the Turks. Curzon, after delaying his train in the expectation they would submit, left empty handed on his train. The British returned a few months later and the Treaty was signed on July 24th 1923.

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