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100 years ago: The Treaty of Lausanne

by
28 July 2023

July 27th, 1923.

MUSTAPHA KEMAL has won, in an important respect, but a Pyrrhic victory, political but not economic. Towards the end of last week Turkish stocks showed a slight tendency to rise, in anticipation of the signature of the Treaty of Lausanne. It would be interesting to know why the Stock Exchange was optimistic about the matter. For the Turks have now murdered most of those who made her trade, and have expelled the rest. There can be no commercial future for a purely Turkish Smyrna, and the trade of Constantinople hangs on a slender thread. By their attitude at Lausanne to the concessions the Turks have irreparably damaged their credit with England; while the French, who have taken up so many Turkish loans, are scarcely likely to look at any more, now that they get but a third of the interest upon the old loans. The Ottoman Empire has gone, as an economic entity; what remains is an Anatolian State so blindly nationalist that it has eliminated every trace of the foreign elements which made its wealth; a State which stands to-day, as an acute writer has said, defiant and alone in a desolate and ruined land. But in these days economic ruin is political ruin also, and a generation hence there will be for Turkey another day of reckoning.

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