The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne has been the most consequential treaty for the Eastern Mediterranean during the past century and has attracted much scholarly attention. It established the borders of the newly founded Republic of Turkey and defined her relations with Cyprus. Yet, there is a particular provision of the Treaty that has escaped scholarly scrutiny. This paper explores the violation of article 21 that provided for emigration of Muslim Cypriots to Turkey by the British imperial officials in Cyprus. Drawing upon archival material, this paper demonstrates the threefold significance of the acquisition of Turkish citizenship by Muslim Cypriots. Firstly, it demonstrates the stance of the newly formed Turkish Republic towards the Muslim community of the former Ottoman space. Secondly, it underlines the aspiration of a large portion of Muslim Cypriots to be part of the newly formed Turkish Republic. Thirdly, and most importantly, it corroborates the British imperial strategy on the island and the significance of the continuation of the existence of a Muslim minority. The value of the Lausanne Treaty for Cyprus and the relationship between the British rule and the Muslim community of the island was paramount.
- British Empire
- Treaty of Lausanne