According to a statement by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Treaty of Lausanne is neither holy scripture, nor the holy book, and should be reexamined in light of securing a better deal for Turkey.
As part of a speech at a conference entitled “The Spirit of Turkey’s New Security” by the Police Academy that was held at the Presidential Palace, Turkish President Erdogan, referring to the Treaty of Lausanne, said:
“The Turkish Republic is the last state that we founded with whatever was left over from all the self-sacrifices we were able to make…The Republic of Turkey is not the first state to which this has happened, lets not fool ourselves. We are heirs of a nation that saw its territory expand to 22 million kilometers. Shortly before the Republic was founded, we had 3 million kilometers which kept diminishing until all we had left was 780,000 kilometers. Some may be offended at my mention of Lausanne. But why does it bother you? Unfortunately, in the Lausanne Treaty, some of our 3 million kilometers were taken away from us, leaving us with only 780,000. They took land right from under our noses and are proud of it. And they say that we came out of the treaty successfully. How can you call giving your land away success?”
According to the electronic edition of Cumhuriyet, Erdogan also said “Of course we salute all of Lausanne’s successes, but Lausanne is not an unquestionable or holy scripture. Of course we will discuss it. Looking towards 2023, we are aware that this may upset the interests of many, but we will still go ahead with it.”
Erdogan’s provocative statements come at a time when the European Union is questioning whether to continue negotiations with Turkey concerning its accession, given that the heads of major political groups announced that they intend to vote on whether or not to end the EU-Turkey dialogue this Thursday, given that “evidence concerning the violation of human rights in the country is very disturbing.”
As recently as one month ago, Erdogan claimed that Ankara “gave away” Aegean islands to Greece under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, a pact that defined the borders of modern Turkey following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.