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Seeking a Solution for Mosul

Seeking a Solution for Mosul

The Turkish government demanded that the conference be held in Izmir, because communication between Lausanne and Turkey would be difficult. The real reason behind this request was their desire to closely follow the progress of the conference and prevent the loss of battlefield gains at the negotiation table. However, according to international traditions, the conference had to be held on neutral ground. Therefore, the invitation to Lausanne was accepted following a meeting at the TBMM (the Turkish Parliament) on October 29, 1922.

Some of the proposals and suggestions discussed at the Turkish Parliament concerning Mosul before the delegates left are as follows:

Iraq border:

Delegates will request that Sulaymaniyah, Mosul and Kirkuk are returned to Turkey. If any unexpected situation arises during the conference, the instructions of the Council of Ministers should be awaited. Certain economic privileges, for instance, privilege in oil operations, can be offered to Britain.

Syrian border:

The border with Syria should be pushed further south and southeast. Best efforts will be made to correct this border. The border should start at Re’si ibn Hayr, continue along Harm, Al-Muslimiyah, Maskanah and Euphrates road, Deir Ez-Zor and finally end at Mosul for the south border.

The desired Syrian border would be connected to Mosul, Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk and would complete the southern border of the National Pact. This short but definitive instruction was essentially based on the National Pact, and demanded that certain land issues that remained unsolved with the Armistice of Mudros be solved (the Straits, Istanbul and Eastern Thrace). (SOURCE)

Mustafa Kemal made it clear on many occasions that he considered Mosul as a Turkish land and that he wouldn’t accept the British mandate. For instance, on December 25, 1922, he explained his clear stance on Mosul during an interview he gave to Paul Herriot of Le Journal at Çankaya:

We declared many times that vilayet of Mosul is a part of the land within our national borders. The parties opposing us at Lausanne are perfectly aware of this. We made great sacrifices to build the borders of our country. We adopted a peaceful attitude although it was against our interests. From now on, trying to take apart even the smallest part of our national land from Turkey would be highly unfair. We will never accept it (SOURCE)

During the independence war, Mustafa Kemal’s plan had always been making Mosul a part of Turkey again and he made his intentions clear on numerous occasions. When the special correspondent of the newspaper Tanin sent a telegram to Mustafa Kemal and asked him about the Mosul vilayet, Mustafa Kemal answered in Amasya on October 22, 1919 and said,

Mosul vilayet is within the borders that were effective on the day the ceasefire was signed, which is October 30, 1918. It is a Muslim majority province and will never leave the Ottomans.” (SOURCE)

Mustafa Kemal, on December 28, 1919, the day after his arrival in Ankara, gave a speech to his visitors and counted Mosul, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah among the places under Turkish control on the day of the signing of the ceasefire and reiterated that those places constituted national borders (SOURCE)

When the United Telegraph correspondent asked Mustafa Kemal about how the Turkish nationalists saw the US and Britain, in an interview on January 17, 1921 he said that the US was friendlier and continued:

As to Britain, our nation is offended by their imperialist and exploitative attitude (SOURCE)

Mustafa Kemal also explained why Mosul was important for the British:

Mosul is very important for the British as it is the region closest to Kurdistan. British desired to keep Mosul for various reasons because Mosul is the closest route to Soviet Union, to Iran and the most convenient region to exert pressure on Turkey (SOURCE)

In other words, Mustafa Kemal was perfectly aware that the British deep state focused on Mosul for the purpose of being able to corner Turkey, and he knew that Mosul was going to be one of the most challenging topics in Lausanne.

Winston Churchill, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, said on September 12, 1922,

If Britain and Ankara are forced to fight, it seems inevitable that Kemalist forces will march to Mosul. In such an event, even if the British loses these lands at war, it has to take it back not by military means, but in the Peace Conference. (SOURCE)

Given that Churchill operated under the auspices of the British deep state for his entire political career, his words clearly demonstrate the British deep state’s approach to the issue. Unsurprisingly, his instructions were followed precisely.

  New Turkey on the way to Lausanne


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