Sèvres, Treaty of 1920

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sèvres, Treaty of (1920)


signed on August 10 at Sèvres (near Paris) by the sultan’s Turkish government and the victorious allied powers in World War I (1914–18)—Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Hejaz, Czechoslovakia, Dashnak Armenia, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The Treaty of Sèvres, an integral part of the Versailles-Washington system, aimed not only at severing the Arab lands from the Ottoman Empire but also at partitioning Turkey, suppressing the Kemalist Revolution, and creating a base of operations for the imperialist intervention in Soviet Russia.

The Treaty of Sèvres was based on the clauses of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and on the decisions of the San Remo Conference of Powers in April 1920. At the time the treaty was signed, most of Turkey was occupied by the troops of the imperialist powers. The Treaty of Sèvres made Palestine and Iraq mandates of Great Britain and Syria and Lebanon mandates of France. Turkey renounced all claims to the Arabian Peninsula and to the countries of North Africa, recognized the British protectorate over Egypt and the British annexation of Cyprus, and ceded the Dodecanese Islands to Italy. Eastern Thrace and Edirne (Adrianople), as well as the Gallipoli Peninsula, were ceded to Greece. The area of the Straits, which was to be completely demilitarized, was placed under the control of the International Straits Commission established by the Entente. Thus, the Treaty of Sèvres deprived Turkey of access to the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the treaty, arbitration by the president of the USA was to determine the boundary between Turkey and Dashnak Armenia. The USA hoped to obtain a mandate over Armenia. The borders of Kurdistan, which was separated from Turkey, were to be determined by an Anglo-French-Italian commission.

The Treaty of Sèvres reestablished the capitulations system. It granted the Entente powers the de facto right to interfere in Turkey’s domestic affairs, and it limited the Turkish armed forces to 50,000 soldiers and officers, including 35,000 gendarmes.

The Treaty of Sèvres aroused tremendous indignation among the Turkish people. The government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, formed in April 1920, rejected the treaty, and even the sultan did not dare to ratify it. Owing to Soviet Russia’s military and political support of Turkey’s struggle (the Soviet-Turkish Treaty of 1921), intensified contradictions among the imperialist powers, and the decisive victory over the imperialist interventionists in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–22, the government of M. Kemal (Atatürk) was able to obtain the official abrogation of the Treaty of Sèvres at the Lausanne Conference (1922–23).


Sevrskii mirnyi dogovor.… Moscow, 1927.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.