Eastwest 71

POINT OF VIEW – New borders


Recent events would suggest the time has now come for most of the world’s diplomatic establishments to rewrite Middle Eastern geopolitics and revise the details of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

At the end of the First World War, establishing a new framework for the Middle East and the bordering areas that had belonged to the defeated Ottoman Empire did not turn out to be an easy task. The powers which had emerged victorious were in fact required to meet twice, once in Sevres in 1919 and a second time in Lausanne in 1923, in order to reach an agreement on the broad outline of a new geographical arrangement, one which they hoped would be long-lasting. But Ataturk’s victory over those who aimed to undermine Turkey’s historical nucleus had made it impossible to translate the initial decisions reached in Sevres into practice. By 1923, just four years after they were introduced, the plans were already irreparably out of date. Those who enjoy remarking upon the ironies of history might appreciate knowing that the first treaty was signed in a beautiful hall located in the Porcelain Museum in Sevres and turned out to be even more fragile than the plates, saucers, sugar bowls and trinkets that had framed the signing.

To keep reading, purchase the pdf file of this issue

To subscribe to the magazine please access our subscription page here