Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Ahmet Piriştina City Archive and Museum commemorated the Treaty of Lausanne, which is accepted as the title deed of the Republic of Turkey, with an exhibition and an interview as part of its 98th anniversary events.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Ahmet Piriştina City Archive and Museum (APİKAM), which sheds light on the history and culture of the city, commemorated the Treaty of Lausanne, which is accepted as the title deed of the Republic of Turkey, with an exhibition and an interview as part of its 98th anniversary events. In the first of the activities held in the garden of APİKAM, the exhibition titled “Full Independence and Lausanne” was opened. The exhibition, which conveys the process from the First World War to the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923, was hosted by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Deputy Mayor Prof. Dr. Suat Çağlayan and Historian and Writer Sinan Meydan. Speaking during the opening, Prof. Dr. Suat Çağlayan emphasized the importance of the Treaty of Lausanne for the Republic of Turkey and thanked everyone who contributed to the preparation of the exhibition. Çağlayan said, “It is correct to accept the Treaty of Lausanne as the title deed of the Republic of Turkey. However, before and after the historical processes should be evaluated. In my opinion, the first step on the way to the Treaty of Lausanne is the Sivas Congress. The answer he received from Mustafa Kemal Pasha after the Young Medical School Wisdom exclaimed that the mandate and protection should definitely be rejected, determined the path of the national struggle: 'Either Independence or death!' The fire of independence burning here brought the Turkish nation the victory of the War of Independence, and then this victory was crowned with the Treaty of Lausanne. I invite everyone to see the exhibition.” he said.
After the visitors toured the exhibition area, the conversation “Full Independence and Lausanne” was held with the participation of Sinan Meydan, in compliance with the epidemic measures. Historian and Writer Sinan Meydan started his speech by thanking Izmir Metropolitan Municipality for organizing events that remind Lausanne over and over again. Stating that learning and conveying history correctly is of great importance in terms of the process Turkey is in, Sinan Meydan said:
“Writing a new date”
“History is being changed. History written on the basis of documents until today is being destroyed and differentiated. The concept called 'New Turkey' is intended to be built on the written 'new history'. A lot of effort is put into this. People with the title of "professor" on television, change historical events and tell them without blushing. A 'professor' will appear on the screen and say, 'Lausanne is a defeat. İsmet Pasha does not hesitate to mislead people by saying that he lost Sudan there. I beg you. Do not try to learn history by watching purpose-built television programs. If I go out and tell you, don't learn history from television. Find and read the right resources. Tell your kids too. Unfortunately, the curriculum of the Ministry of National Education has changed and many topics that need to be addressed have been removed from the textbooks. Let's make sure our children learn our history correctly."
“Demography is very important”
Stating that if history is not learned and taught correctly, there will be incomplete interpretation of what happened, Meydan said, “If we can't learn from the past, we will fall into the mistakes made before. E.g; Turkey is currently facing a wave of irregular migration. As a result of these migrations that have continued for years, the demographics of some of our cities in Turkey have changed. Look, demographics are very important. After the First World War, in the Treaty of Sèvres, signed by the representatives of the Ottoman Empire and torn up by Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his friends, they wanted to turn us into a landlocked state in Central Anatolia. The imperialists aimed to keep all Anatolia under control by establishing Pontus in the north, Armenian in the east and Kurdish in the south. They put forward the demographic situation in order to have these states established! They tried to impose that the majority population in the cities should dominate. Today, there are parts of our southern regions where the Turkish population is less than the immigrant population. Intentionally changing the demographic structure is dangerous. We have to be aware of that,” he said.
“The Islands were not lost in Lausanne”
Meydan continued his words as follows: “I told you they are trying to change history, let me tell you one of the most popular examples of this, and then let's talk about the truth. They say; İsmet Pasha lost 12 candidates in Lausanne. No such thing. The 12 islands were occupied by Italy in the Tripoli War in 1911. In the Balkan War of 1912, Greece occupied the Aegean islands. At the Ambassadors Conference in 1914, 12 islands, excluding Meis, were given to Italy, and Aegean islands, excluding Bozcaada and Gökçeada, were given to Greece. When the First World War began, the Ottoman Empire did not have any islands that it actually owned. Even Meis, Gökçeada and Bozcaada, which were officially left to the Ottoman Empire at the Ambassadors Conference, were not actually in the Ottoman Empire. In other words, while going to Lausanne, none of the islands was in the hands of the Ottomans. So what did İsmet Pasha, who fought diplomatically in Lausanne as the winner of the War of Independence, do? After a tough struggle, he took back Gökçeada, Bozcaada and Rabbit Islands, which were under Greek occupation. In other words, İsmet Pasha did not leave the islands, he won when we had no islands. The Treaty of Lausanne, as Atatürk put it, is an unprecedented success in Ottoman history. Indeed, study the history of the Ottoman Empire, you will not find a treaty that we managed to get out of the table with as much gain as in Lausanne. Ask those who say Lausanne was a defeat to give you an example of a more lucrative treaty in Ottoman history than Lausanne. They can't. Lausanne is a great achievement. It is not an easy task to send the imperialist states from their homeland with an unprecedented victory and then confront them as an equal and modern state and make everyone accept that it is a fully independent state! They don't want us to know history as it is true, as I have told it. That's why they tell a fabricated history."
“No hidden substance”
Meydan, who denied the claim that the British wanted the caliphate to be abolished and that this request was accepted, said, “On the contrary, they wanted us to remain a religious state. If we examine the Treaty of Sèvres, we will see it there. In the Ottoman Empire, a multiple legal system was applied because it was a religious state. Minorities had their own law, members of different religions had their own, even capitulation holders had their own. When a non-Muslim committed a crime, he was tried not in Ottoman courts, but in the courts of the community to which he belonged. They wanted this to continue in Sevres and Lausanne. But İsmet Pasha came out and said, 'We are a modern state like you. We are not a religious state. We reject multiple law. Every citizen living in our country will be subject to an equal legal system!' With this attitude, many trump cards that the British and French wanted to use against us were taken away. There is one more thing they do not get tired of saying… Lausanne is a time-bound treaty and will end after its 100th year, and that secret matters will come into play… This is a lie. Lausanne is not a temporary agreement. There is no secret substance in Lausanne. Lausanne negotiations were conducted openly. All participating countries have minutes. These were published in newspapers. It is easy to access the Lausanne minutes and the decisions taken. Lausanne may be abolished if, God forbid, we go to war again. Those who always say that Lausanne has secret ingredients and that it will end in 100 years, must be longing for Sevres. Please let's learn the truth," he said.
“It is a victory for us”
Meydan concluded his speech as follows: “Dear people of Izmir, we are talking about Lausanne today. In previous years, it was spoken everywhere, even Lausanne was celebrated as a feast for two days all over the country. Then politics stepped in. The Democrat Party government felt uncomfortable when İsmet Pasha, who was his political rival, was referred to as the 'Hero of Lausanne' throughout the country. For this reason, the celebration of the Lausanne Festival was banned. Then we forgot, it's gone. Press Festival was replaced by the Lausanne Festival, and the celebrations of Hatay's joining the motherland were put. Putting other holidays in place of a national holiday in order to shade it… How similar is it to what we experience today? Lausanne is the title deed of the Republic of Turkey. It is an honorable treaty. It is victory. There is also a defeat part, but it is a defeat for the British. Following the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, the British Parliament did not ratify this treaty for a long time. Because the British saw Lausanne as a great defeat. You can see this when you look at the English newspapers published in those days. I commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, İsmet Pasha, and all our heroes with mercy and respect.”