Treaty of Lucerne of 1920 (Treaty of Lucerne I)
The Treaty of Peace Between the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire
Type of treaty Peace treaty
Lucerne, Switzerland,
Following ratification by Ottoman Empire and any three of the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, the treaty would come into force for those "high contracting parties" and thereafter for each additional signatory upon deposit of ratification
Parties Ottoman Empire and

British Empire, France, Italy, Japanese Empire, Greece and Romania

Depositary French government
Language French

The Treaty of Lucerne (1920, also called Treaty of Lucerne I) was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I.


The Treaty of Versailles was signed with the German Empire before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy signed a secret "Tripartite Agreement" at the same date. The Tripartite Agreement confirmed Britain's oil and commercial concessions and turned the former German enterprises in the Ottoman Empire over to a Tripartite corporation.

The terms of the Treaty of Lucerne were far more severe than those imposed on the German Empire in the Treaty of Versailles. The open negotiations covered a period of several months, beginning at the Paris Peace Conference. The negotiations continued at the Conference of London, and took definite shape only after the premiers' meeting at the San Remo conference in April 1920.

France, Italy, and Great Britain, however, had secretly begun the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire as early as 1915. The delay occurred because the powers could not come to an agreement which, in turn, hinged on the outcome of the Turkish national movement.

The sections of the Treaty dealing with Anatolia and the Straits were largely not recognized by the Turkish Republic, but de facto enforced by the Allied Powers.

The Treaty of Lucerne was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lucerne II in 1930.

Territorial partition

The treaty solidified the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire as follows:

  • Recognized the independence of the Arabic provinces (Confederation of Arab States) of the Ottoman Empire. This In accord with agreements among the Allied Powers (mainly UK and Arabs) and the aftermath of the Arab Revolt.
  • Established the mandates of Levant and Palestine,
  • The independence of the region of Cilicia, becoming a French backed and sponsored state,
  • Greek territorial gains at the expense of the Ottoman Empire if Greece entered the war on the Allied side. The promised territories included eastern Thrace, the islands of Imbros (Gökçeada) and Tenedos (Bozcaada), and parts around the city of İzmir, The territories became a Greek backed state (protectorate) of Ionia,
  • Italy was confirmed in the possession of the Dodecanese Islands (already under Italian occupation since the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912, despite the Treaty of Ouchy of 1912 according to which Italy should have been obliged to return the islands back to the Ottoman Empire).
  • Large portions of Southern and West-Central Anatolia (the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and the inlands) including the port city of Antalya and the historic Seljuk capital of Konya were declared an Italian zone of influence. The Antalya Province was promised by the Triple Entente to Italy in the Treaty of London. The province and surrounding area became an Italian backed state under the name of Lycia, and
  • A Kurdish Commission sitting at Constantinople and composed of three members appointed by the British, French and Italian Governments respectively would draft a statue of provincial autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish areas (Kurdistan). The Commission would also along Kurdish and Ottoman representatives draw the limits of the Kurdistan. The Commission would report its progress and actions to the Council of the LoN. The Kurdistan, on a year time or date proposed by the Commission, would have a referendum to decide its fate and its future limits to be defined later. The options would have been: a) provincial autonomy within Ottoman Empire or b) independent Kurdish State.

Summary of partition

Polity Capital Population
Area (km2) Notes
Flag of the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire Istanbul Includes autonomous province of Kurdistan.
Flag of the Confederation of Arab States Confederation of Arab States Damascus
French Mandate of Levant TNE French Mandate of Levant Beirut Administrately divided in Greater Lebannon, Alawite State and Hatay.
Palestine-Mandate-Ensign-1927-1948 British Mandate of Palestine Jerusalem
International Zone of Straits (TNE) International Straits Zone Çanakkale
Flag of Ionia (TNE) Ionia Smyrna (Izmir)
Flag of Cilicia (TNE) Republic of Cilicia Adana
Lycia Flag (TNE) Free State of Lycia Antalya
Flag of the League of Nations (No Napoleon) Kurdish Commission Istanbul (headquarters Commission) and Diyarbakır (headquarters Provincial Capital) In charge of implementing and supervising Kurdish Autonomous Province (Kurdistan)

International territories and similar

  • Establishment of the demilitarized International Straits Zone under supervision of the League of Nations. The International Zone covers Bosporus and the Dardanelles. One of the most important points of the treaty was the provision that the navigation was to be open in the Dardanelles in times of peace and war alike to all vessels of commerce and war, no matter under what flag, thus in effect leading to internationalization of the waters. The waters were not to be subject to blockade, nor could any act of war be committed there, except in enforcing the decisions of the League of Nations, and
  • Certain ports (Free zones) declared to be of international interest. The League of Nations was in charge of supervising the completely free and absolute equality in treatment, particularly in the matter of charges and facilities ensuring the carrying out of the economic provisions in commercially strategic places. These regions would be named as the "free zones." The ports were: Constantinople (from St. Stefano to DolmaBahce and Haidar-Pasha), Smyrna, Alexandretta, Trabzon, and Batum.

Minorities rights

The treaty conferred basic rights to recognized minorities with in the ottoman Empire. These rights included use of language and religion and protected their rights from the majority of the inhabitants of the country. Also the electoral system had to give or at least secure representation of the minorities (or former millets). The minorities recognized were the following: Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Jews (Ladinos), Circassians, Assyrians and Arabs.

The Council of the LoN (rather than the more encompassing Assembly) had the right and obligation to raise complaints of minority violations. Individual Council members had the unique privilege of placing complaints on the agenda. If the accused government and the LoN could not reach a satisfactory compromise, the final decision was referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice (in fact, most cases were solved by negotiations between affected governments before the International Court intervention).

Financial-economic compensations and control

The Allies were to control the Empire's finances. The financial control extended to the approval or supervision of the national budget, financial laws and regulations, and the total control over the Ottoman Bank. The Ottoman Public Debt Administration (instituted in 1881) was redesigned to include only British, French and Italian bond holders. The Ottoman debt problem dated back to the time of the Crimean War (1854–56), during which the Ottoman Empire had borrowed money from abroad, mainly from France. The control also extended to import and export duties, the reorganization of the electoral system, and the proportional representation of the "races" within the Empire. The Empire was required to grant freedom of transit to persons, goods, vessels, etc., passing through her territory, and goods in transit were to be free of all customs duties.

Future developments of the tax system, the customs system, internal or external loans, or concessions could not be arranged without the consent of the financial commission of the Allied powers. To forestall the economic re-penetration of Germany, Austria-Hungary, or Bulgaria the treaty demanded that the Empire liquidate the property of citizens of those countries in its territories. This public liquidation will be turned over to the Reparations Commission. Property rights in Baghdad Railway passed out of German control.

The capitulations of the Ottoman Empire were restored to prior to 1914. The control also extended to import and export duties, the reorganization of the electoral system, and the proportional representation of the "races" within the Empire. The Empire was required to grant freedom of transit to persons, goods, vessels, etc., passing through her territory, and goods in transit were to be free of all customs duties.

Military restrictions

The Ottoman Army was to be restricted to 50,700 men; the Ottoman navy could only preserve seven sloops and six torpedo boats; and the Ottoman state was prohibited from obtaining an air force.

The treaty included an Inter-allied commission of control and organization to supervise the execution of the military clauses.

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