A Tug of War

A Tug of War

On November 27, 1922, the Finance and Economic Affairs Commission convened to discuss the capitulations and İsmet Pasha demanded that all the limitations that hindered the economic independence of Turkey be removed. He explained that a country cannot be independent with capitulations and that the situation of the foreigners in Turkey were already guaranteed with general laws that were in place as is the case in all civilized and independent countries, and that Turkish delegation would only accept being in a commission in line with these principles.(SOURCE)

The French delegation, coming from a country that had made great profits out of capitulations, insisted that capitulations be replaced with another system. İsmet Pasha refused the offer, completely aware that the new and unknown system could jeopardize the security or independence of the state.

Lord Curzon claimed that capitulations were based on rights given by the treaty and that even the Germans, the ally of the Ottomans, opposed the abolishment of the system. He also said that capitulations could not be abrogated unless they were replaced by a new system agreed upon by the parties.(SOURCE)

However, capitulations were non-negotiable for Turkey, no matter what happened. On December 28, 1922, the talks reached a dead-end. The proposals of the other side were rejected on the grounds they violated Turkish sovereignty. İsmet Pasha defended the Turkish case and said that “the Turkish justice system would be on par with the best justice systems in the world“. He considered the replacement of the system with a similar one, or assignment of foreign judges in Turkey and all other similar proposals, an assault on Turkey’s independence.(SOURCE)

Nothing came out of the discussions carried out under such circumstances. İsmet Pasha and the Turkish delegation refused to give into the demands of new restrictions, no matter under what guise they were presented, and fought off the pressure and oppression. The conference ended on February 4, 1923 without reaching an agreement.(SOURCE)

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