In the last century of the previous millennium, many events were recorded, affecting and determining the situation even today in our region. One of them was the appearance in Turkey of the so-called “Young Turks’ together with Kemal as their leader. The events definitively marked not only the creation of this country as we know it today but also subsequent developments. The Treaty of Sevres plays an important role still today.
In 1920, European diplomats assembled at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres porcelain factory in the Paris suburb of Sèvres to sign the Treaty as part of the effort to remake the Middle East after the Ottoman Empire fell. The connection between this event and the British Mandate for Palestine and the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon is somehow linked. In a larger context, it was part of a set of agreements that were signed by the Central Powers and the Allied Powers after their defeat in World War I.
Three significant signatories represented the Ottoman Empire: first, Ex-Ambassador Hadi Pasha; second, Ex-Minister of Education Rıza Tevfik Bölükbaşı; and third, the second secretary of the Ottoman embassy in Bern, Reşat Halis. On the part of European powers, Alexandre Millerand signed for France, Count Lelio Longare for Italy, and George Dixon Grahame for the United Kingdom. The treaty was signed on August 10, 1920.
France, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Italy were granted large parts of Ottoman territory by the treaty. Also, large occupation zones within the Ottoman Empire were considered. The conditions required the relinquishment of most territory that was not occupied by Turkish people and its transfer to the Allied administration.
The years have passed, and much has changed since then, with many Turks, mainly Islamists, reacting forcefully to the present situation. More and more often, the Ottoman Empire is mentioned and turned against by those (descendants of the Young Turks) who ousted the last sultan of Turkey, Mehmet the 6th, indirectly seeking to restore a new sultan to the leadership of Turkey, eventually marking a new Ottoman empire. However, their behaviour is incomprehensible in the West, namely trying to cancel the achievements of the Young Turks and Kemal after the First World War, namely the Treaty of Lausanne. (The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which followed the Treaty of Sèvres, ended the conflict and aided in the formation of the Republic of Turkey.)
Even though this treaty is largely forgotten in the West, it has had a significant influence in Turkey, which has led to a form of nationalist paranoia that some scholars have called the 'Sèvres syndrome'. Sèvres certainly plays a role in Turkey’s security matters, such as Kurdish separatism and the Armenian genocide. Moreover, Turkey's initial struggle against foreign powers was directed first against Britain, then, during the Cold War, against Russia, with the United States being the latest phase.
The destruction of their Turkish state by Sèvres has left many local nationalists feeling frightened, while some Kurdish nationalists still envision the state they could have achieved.
Regions, not only in Turkey but also in the Middle East, indeed ended up with borders imposed by Europe that were too weak or disorganised to successfully continue existing. Kurdish nationalists, for example, might claim that Turkey’s borders are actually wrong, but when European imperialists tried to create a Kurdish state at Sèvres, many Kurds fought alongside Ataturk to upend the treaty. Kurds had joined up to fight with the Turkish national movement. Religious Kurds preferred continuing under Turkish or Ottoman rule over Christian domination. But it started becoming increasingly apparent that the state they had envisioned and fought for would be significantly more Turkish. Even though some later regretted their choice, unfortunately, the decision had already been made.
Turkey is profiting from the artificial nature of the European-made state in the Middle East, despite their inability to create viable ties with their neighbours.
Turkey has been able to reap the political and economic benefits of its victory over the Treaty of Sèvres for more than a century but has not been able to create a more flexible political model that makes border and national identity disputes irrelevant. However, things have changed. The violence that Turkey has seen in the past few years threatens fragile elements in the region. An Ottoman return has been causing unexplained behaviour in Turkey, which is facing a threatening situation. Their behaviour can now be comprehended as part of a continuous effort to reinstate the Ottoman Empire sultanate, which was overthrown by the “Young Turks.”
Among their plans is cancelling the treaty of Lausanne. But if the Treaty of Lausanne is annulled and the Treaty of Sèvres, which was accepted by Sultan Mehmet the 6th, is reinstated, even temporarily, then we will have developments. Due to Turkey's inability to modernise the state and create positive links with its neighbours, a new Sevres-like treaty must be put in place.
The proposal outlined so far takes into account the present geopolitical status coupled with the Turkish inability to become the leader of the existing nations and tribes living in the region of Anatolia or Small Asia.
According to the new interim treaty, Eastern Thrace and Izmir return to Greece (but temporarily), which only after a future referendum will decide exactly where its people want to belong. The dilemma the citizens of the present-day wider region will face is whether to vote for Europe or Asia.
However, the new interim Treaty of Sèvres will also have several peculiarities. The new territories due to the temporary union with Greece will now be part of the European Union, which supervises and guarantees both the application of European legislation and the democratic integrity of the newly temporarily annexed area. Moreover, the Union itself will assume almost exclusively the leadership management of these new territories and supervise the European law to be applied. The new regions will elect their representatives to the European Union, whose citizens will also be able to move freely within the European Union, with Turkish probably becoming another official language of the European Union.
As far as the regions of eastern Thrace are concerned, we have the following: This is divided into two sub-regions: regional and central. The peripheral includes a) Eastern Thrace and b) the current non-central city (referred to as Istanbul from now on) and the central (referred to as Constantinople from now on), which represents approximately the ancient capital of the Byzantine Empire. It becomes administratively independent and becomes the headquarters of the Eastern Security Region (GSS's Eastern Security Region) of the third pillar (United Nations-NATO), in which countries of the eastern periphery (Balkans, Black Sea, and Middle East) might become members.
The Bosphorus and the straits, through Constantinople, are internationalised, while parts of the former Ottoman Empire are re-annexed and given to the Kurds, but under international supervision.
In short, a part of present-day Turkey is temporarily detached and integrated through Greece into the European Union, thus finally acquiring a voice within, while another (Kurdish) acquires partial independence but is under external control. Regarding the third, Turkey, as a member of the GSS, acquires light control over the entire region (previously Ottoman).