The Treaty of Lausanne was signed on July 24, 1923. This international treaty recognized the boundaries of the newly established modern state of Turkey.
The treaty followed the signing of the armistice at Mudanya on October 11, 1922 which was concluded after the national armies led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk defeated and expelled the Greek invading armies from Anatolia. The British, seeing their surrogates defeated and the Italian and French decidedly moving toward not confronting the national liberation movement of Turkey, lifted their occupation of Istanbul and the Straits and Turkish troops entered Istanbul on October 19, 1922. This Turkish victory led to the downfall of the Lloyd George government and the calling of the peace treaty by Britain.
The Turkish delegation to Lausanne was led by Ismet Inonu, the victorious commander of the Turkish national forces. Countries represented at the peace talks were Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania and Serbo-Croatia. Russia, Belgium and Portugal entered the treaty negotiations at later stages to discuss the status of the Turkish straits and financial matters concerning the defunct Ottoman Empire. The Unites States attended the treaty negotiations as an observer.
The negotiations began on November 21, 1922 and lasted over eight months. Turkey’s main concern was to achieve recognition of its borders as defined in its National Pact of 1920; gain control over the Turkish straits and end the capitulations. At the end of the conference, the Turkish borders gained international recognition with special provisions placed on Iskenderun and Mosul. The status of Iskenderun was later determined by a local referendum and the province legally joined Turkey’s borders on June 23, 1939. However, Mosul remained outside of Turkey’s borders and became part of Iraq. On the status of the Turkish straits, Turkey gained control of the straits with special provisions to regulate international commercial traffic and rights by the Black Sea littoral countries, which were codified in the Montreux Treaty on July 20, 1936.
The Turkish War of National Liberation was fought by a decimated nation against the most powerful imperial states of the time, Britain and France, and their cronies Italy and Greece. It culminated in a military victory on the battlefields and a diplomatic victory at Lausanne for the Turkish people and the international recognition of the Republic of Turkey. This victory became a source of inspiration for many other nations in their struggle against Western imperialism and independence for years to come.