Treaty of Lausanne

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The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty that delimited the boundaries of modern Greece and Turkey. It was signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 24, 1923 by Greece, Turkey and other countries (including the Allied Powers) that fought in the First World War and in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

It superseded the stillborn Treaty of Sevres which was considered "unacceptable" by the newly founded Turkish government replacing the monarchy in Istanbul. After the expulsion of the Greek forces by the Turkish army under the command of Kemal Atatürk, there was a need to extensively revise the Treaty of Sevres. On October 20, 1922 the peace conference was opened, and after strenuous debates, it was interrupted on February 4, 1923. After reopening on April 23, the treaty was signed on July 24 after a total of 8 months of long and arduous discussions. İsmet İnönü was the lead negotiator of Turkey and Eleftherios Venizelos for Greece. The treaty provides for the independence of the Republic of Turkey but also for the protection of the ethnic Greek minority in Turkey and the religious muslim minority in Greece. Greek population from Turkey were exchanged with the Turkish population of Greece. The Greeks of Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos were excluded (about 400.000 at that time), but also the non turkish muslims and pomaks of Greece (about 25.000 at that time).

Since signing the treaty, each party has claimed that the other has violated its provisions. Greece has seen its ethnic minority population in Turkey diminish from several hundred thousands in 1923 to a mere couple of thousand today, and has reasons to claim that this is because of systematic anti-minority law measures enforced. On the other hand, although the muslim minority in Greece has increased significantly since 1923, Turkey questions the treaty by claiming that the desribed as muslim (non-ethnic) minority in Greece must be considered to be ethnic turkish.

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