Turkey was the only power defeated in World
War I to negotiate with the Allies as an equal and to influence
the provisions of the resultant treaty. Ismet Pasha was the chief
Turkish negotiator at the Lausanne Conference, which opened in November
1922. The National Pact of 1919 was the basis of the Turkish negotiating
position, and its provisions were incorporated in the Treaty of
Lausanne, concluded in July 1923. With this treaty, the Allies recognized
the present-day territory of Turkey and denied Turkey's claim to
the Mosul area in the east (in present-day Iraq) and Hatay, which
included the Mediterranean port of Alexandretta (Iskenderun). The
boundary with the newly created state of Iraq was settled by a League
of Nations initiative in 1926, and Iskenderun was ceded in 1939
by France during its rule as mandatory power for Syria.
Detailed provisions of the treaty regulated
use of the straits. General supervisory powers were given to a straits
commission under the League of Nations, and the straits area was
to be demilitarized after completion of the Allied withdrawal. Turkey
was to hold the presidency of the commission, which included the
Soviet Union among its members. The capitulations and foreign administration
of the Ottoman public debt, which infringed on the sovereignty of
Turkey, were abolished. Turkey, however, assumed 40 percent of the
Ottoman debt, the remainder being apportioned among other former
Ottoman territories. Turkey was also required to maintain low tariffs
on imports from signatory powers until 1929. The Treaty of Lausanne
reaffirmed the equality of Muslim and non-Muslim Turkish nationals.
Turkey and Greece arranged a mandatory exchange of their respective
ethnic Greek and Turkish minorities, with the exception of some
Greeks in Istanbul and Turks in western Thrace and the Dodecanese
On October 29, 1923, the Grand National Assembly
proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk was named its president
and Ankara its capital, and the modern state of Turkey was born.
The Republic of Turkey
Ataturk, of "Father of the Turks." As president of Turkey
from 1922 to 1928, Ataturk introduced a series of legislative reforms
that adopted European legal systems and civil codes and thus overthrew
both the Shari'ah and the kanun . He legislated against the Arabic
script and converted Turkish writing to the European Roman script.
He legislated against the Arabic call to prayer and eliminated the
caliphate and all the mystical Sufi orders of Islam. It is not an
exaggeration to say that Ataturk is one of the most significant
political figures in Islam, for he was the first to theorize and
put into practice the secularization of the Islamic state and society.
Nothing like it had ever happened in the whole of Islamic history,
and, despite the radicality of Ataturks reforms, the Turkish republic
has remained an independent and secular Islamic state. Efforts to
emulate this secularization, however, have by and large been unsuccessful
in other Islamic states.