IS THE SÉVRES TREATY STILL IN FORCE?
The Armenian propagandists claim that the Sévres Agreement, which provided for the establishment of an Armenian State in eastern Anatolia, is still legally in force, and use it to base their claims for the "return" of "Armenian lands". In fact, this agreement was never put into force. It was superseded and replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne, and thus no longer has the force of law. In addition, after the Tashnaks established an Armenian Republic in Erivan on 28 May 1918, it signed the Batum Treaty of 4 June, 1918 with the Ottoman Government. This treaty was described by Foreign Minister Hadisian of the Armenian Republic as involving the full disavowal on the part of the latter of all claims on the territory or people of the Ottoman Empire including its Armenians and the lands claimed by the Armenian nationalists:
"The Armenians of Turkey no longer think of separating from the Ottoman Empire. Their problems no longer are even the concern of relations between the Armenian Republic and the Ottomans Relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Republic are excellent, and they must remain that way in future. All Armenian political parties feel the same way. Continuation of this good neighbourly spirit is one of the principal points of the program recently announced by the Armenian Government, of which I am Foreign Minister. "(43).
Even the Tashnak organ Hairenik stated on 28 June 1918:
"Russia's policy of hostility toward Turkey emboldened the Armenians of the Caucasus; that is why the Caucasus Armenians were involved in clashes between two friendly races. Thank goodness that this situation did not last too long. Following the Russian Revolution, the Armenians of the Caucasus understood that their security could be achieved only by having good relations with Turkey, and they stretched out their hands to Turkey. Turkey also wanted to forget the events of the past, and grasped the out-stretched hand in friendship. We agree that the Armenian Question has been resolved and left to history. The mutual feelings of suspicion and enmity created by foreign agents should be eliminated.''(44)
These declarations make it clear that the Armenian Issue was closed by the agreements concluded, following World War I; that- the events that had taken place were the responsibility of the Russians and Armenians, not of the Turks, and that if anyone had been mistreated it was the Turks, no-one else. It is true that the World War I settlement was reopened for a time by the Armenian Republic. Despite the Tashnak declarations, Armenian bands began to raid into eastern Anatolia in the summer of 1918. On 28 May 1919, in the first anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Republic by the Tashnaks, it declared that "Armenia has annexed Eastern Anatolia" thus laying claim to the territories of eastern Anatolia which had been returned to the Ottoman Empire following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. To examine the Armenian claims and recommend a settlement, American President Wilson sent an American investigation committee to Anatolia in the fall of 1919 under the leadership of General James G. Harbord. It toured through Anatolia during September and October, and then reported to Congress that:
"The Turks and Armenians lived in peace side by side for centuries; that the Turks suffered as much as the Armenians at the time of the deportations; that only 20% of the Turkish villagers who went to war would be able to return to their homes: that at the start of World War I and before the Armenians never had anything approaching a majority of the population in the territories called Armenia; that they would not have a majority even if all the relocated Armenians were returned; and the claims that returning Armenians would be in danger were not justified. "(45) As a result of this report, in April 1920 the American Congress rejected the proposal, which had been made to establish an American Mandate over Anatolia for the purpose of
enabling the Armenians to establish their own state in the East.
On 10 August 1920 the Armenians joined in signing the long-hoped-for Treaty of
Sévres, which provided that the Ottoman government would recognize the establishment of an
independent Armenian state, with boundaries to be determined by President Wilson. This treaty
was, however, signed only by the Ottoman Government in Istanbul, while most Turks, and
most of the country accepted the leadership of the Ankara government, led by Mustapha
Kemal, who actively opposed the treaty and its provisions.
In the meantime, following the Armistice of Mondros which concluded the fighting of World War I in 1918, the province ofAdana was occupied by the French. The British occupied Urfa, Marash and Antep but later left these also to the French. As French forces occupied these provinces, in south and southeast Anatolia, they were accompanied by Armenians wearing French uniforms, who immediately began to ravage Turkish villages and massacred large numbers of Turks. These atrocities stirred the Turks of the area to resist, once again leading to the spreading of propaganda in Europe that Turks were massacring Armenians. This time, however, since the French themselves were forced to send the Armenians to the rear to end the atrocities, the Armenian claims were evidently false, and no-one really believed them.
After the American Congress rejected a Mandate over Anatolia, the Armenian Republic in the Caucasus, starting in June 1920, attacked Turkey, sending guerrilla bands as well as organized army units into eastern Anatolia, and undertaking widespread massacres of the settled population. The Ankara government moved to the defense in September, and within a short time the Armenian forces were routed, eastern Anatolia was regained, and order and security re-established. By the Treaty of Gumru (Alexandropol) signed by the Ankara Government and the Armenian Republic on 3 December 1920, both sides accepted the new boundaries and acknowledged that the provisions of the Treaty of Sévres were null and void. The Armenians also renounced all territorial claims against Turkey. Shortly after this the Red Army entered Erivan and established the Soviet Armenian Government. However through a revolt in Erivan on 18 February 1921 the Tashnaks once again took over control of Armenia. The new Vratzian Government sent a committee to Ankara on 18 March asking for Turkish assistance against the Bolsheviks, a strange event indeed considering that only two years ago the Tashnaks had organized an Armenian invasion of Turkey. The Tashnak government did not last very long, however, and the Soviets soon regained control of Erivan. On 16 March 1921 Turkey signed the Moscow Treaty with the Soviet Union, by which the boundaries between Turkey and the Soviet Union were definitively drawn. As arranged in this agreement, on 13 October 1921 Turkey signed the K-ars Agreement with Soviet Armenia, confirming the new boundaries between the two as well as their agreement that the provisions of the Treaty of Sévres were null and void once and for all. The situation on the southern front was settled by the Treaty of Ankara signed with France on 20 October 1921. France evacuated not only its own troops, but also the Armenian guerillas and volunteers who had cooperated with them, and most of the Armenians who had gathered at Adana in the hope of establishing an Armenian state there. Many of these Armenians were settled in Lebanon. This agreement made possible the subsequent return of Hatay to Turkey, thus fulfilling the provisions of the Turkish national pact, which had been drawn up by Mustapha Kemal, and the leaders of the Turkish War for Independence. All these settlements effectively nullified Armenian ambitions for a state in eastern Anatolia. The Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923 in place of the Treaty of Sévres, did not even mention the Armenians, which is why Armenian nationalists even today try to resurrect the Sévres treaty which never really was put into force.
(43) SCHEMSI, Kara, op. cit., p. 31.
(44) SCHEMSI, Kara, op. cit., pp. 31- 32.
(45) URAS, Esat, po. Cit., pp. 682-683