President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saying “Now, you see Aegean (sea) right? We have given away the islands (that are so close to us) you can hear when one shouts (from there). Is this victory?” has become a current issue in Turkey. Politicians, journalists and historians made statements about the Treaty of Lausanne.
Thereon, another statement came from Melih Gökçek, the Mayor of Ankara. In his personal account, he tweeted “ THE SMARTY PANTS LAUSANNERS. LOOK WE HAVE GIVEN AWAY THE DARK BLUE ISLAND TO GREECE IN LAUSANNE. YOU CALL LAUSANNE A VICTORY WITHOUT SHAME.” and shared a map claiming it belongs the islands lost in Lausanne.
In the result of the investigation we conducted, it appears that the image belongs to a Greek Islands ferry tour operated by Estamos Travel.
When you search for “Greek Islands Map” in Turkish on Google, you can see the image in the first row.
“The Island Given Away in Lausanne”
Let’s dig further and analyze the claim “the islands given away in Lausanne”.
“The Aegean Islands” defines a large area and there is no treaty that these islands given away in one time. The islands were given away in different treaties with different countries.
One of these treaties is the Treaty of Ouchy, signed in 1912. The Dodecanese, which were already under Italian occupation, were given to Italy. The article stating “the future of Aegean Island will be decided by the great powers.” in the following Treaty of London in 1912, shaped the Treaty of Athens, signed on November 14th 1913.
“The Great Powers” decided to give Dodecanese, except Kastellorizio, to Italy and Gökçeada and Bozcaada to Greece. In 1915, Kastellorizio was invaded by France in 1915 and it was relinquished to Italy in 1921. The islands under the control of Italy were given to Greece in the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947.
Historian think that Turkey did not have any any islands when the talks in Lausanne had started. Historian İlber Ortaylı claims that “there was nothing to talk about political borders in Lausanne”.
**For more information and comments about Aegean Islands(in Turkish):