The Greeks respect Atatuerk

The Treaty of Sèvres

The Ottoman Empire was allied with the German Empire in World War I and was therefore one of the losers of the war. The Treaty of Sèvres (see: Paris Suburbs) imposed harsh conditions on the empire. So Armenia was supposed to become independent and large areas were occupied. Mesopotamia (later the Kingdom of Iraq) and Palestine were subordinated to Great Britain, Lebanon and Syria went to France and Thrace and Smyrna in Asia Minor to Greece.

Resistance: The Turkish Liberation War (1919-1923)

Resistance arose against the occupiers. The Turkish Liberation War began. This was led by Mustafa Kemal, a general. His movement was very popular and after elections and a national assembly finally formed a new government - parallel to the government of the still incumbent sultan. Kemal and his followers did not recognize the Treaty of Sèvres.

Greco-Turkish War

At the same time, the Greco-Turkish War began in 1919. The Turks drove the Greeks out of the Greek-occupied territories in Asia Minor by 1922. For the Greeks this meant the "Asia Minor Catastrophe". The idea of ​​a "Greater Greece" was thus shattered. From 1922 onwards, there was a large exchange of population between the two countries, because more than a million Turkish citizens lived in Greece.

Establishment of the Republic of Turkey

The Treaty of Sèvres was changed after the victory of the Turks. The state borders that are still valid today were recognized in the new "Treaty of Lausanne" in July 1923. In October 1923, Mustafa Kemal finally proclaimed the republic. The sultan and with it the monarchy had overthrown. Kemal was nicknamed "Ataturk" by the government: father of the Turks.


Kemal Ataturk carried out numerous far-reaching reforms until his death in 1938, which were intended to transform Turkey into a modern state. These included: banning the veil for women, introducing the Gregorian calendar instead of the Islamic calendar, introducing the metric system, adopting various legal systems from other countries, introducing women's suffrage.