Today we celebrate the 95th Anniversary of the Lausanne Peace Treaty. It was through this treaty that Turkey finally gained back its political and economic sovereignty, in the aftermath of what was possibly the most turbulent years of its history. Witnessing the catastrophic decline of the Ottoman Empire after the superimposed Sevres Treaty and the hardships of the ensuing War of Independence, Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish nation saw many of their dreams fulfilled with the signing of Lausanne.
The Lausanne Peace Conference was concluded on July 24 1923 between the Turkish delegation headed by Ismet Inonu and England, France, U.S.S.R., Italy, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, Yugoslavia and Belgium. The Conference saw long days of arduous negotiations which lasted for over 8 months due to Turkey’s unyielding demands for complete independence. Finally, on this day 95 years ago, Turkey emerged triumphant out of the Lausanne negotiations and gained her well-deserved independence, which paved the way for the proclamation of the Republic 3 months later.
Turkey became the only successor state among the crumbled empires of WWI that did not join the revisionist camp in the 1930s. In other words, out of all the peace treaties signed after WWI, Lausanne became the only one to survive WWII. The success of this document and the atmosphere of peace it has been safeguarding for 95 years, owe much to the realistic and equitable balance drawn between the former warring blocs during negotiations.
The major underlying principle guiding the Turkish state following the Lausanne Peace Treaty has been “Peace at Home, Peace on Earth” – Atatürk’s well-known motto. The same principle explains the friendly nature of Turkey’s relations with the United States. Being the major organization conjuring up the voices of Turkish-Americans, ATAA has always been and will continue to be a major player in helping the two countries diversify and strengthen their ties.
Wishing all Turkish Americans a Joyful Lausanne Anniversary!