British Policy towards the Straits: From İstanbul to Lausanne, 1915-1923
Keywords: İstanbul, Lausanne, England, Straits Policy, 1915-1923
Great Britain was the major actor in the international diplomacy regarding the Straits and İstanbul in the aftermath of WWI, as it had been the case in the nineteenth century. She played a significant role and determined the developments of the period. Two principal changes occurred in the traditional British Straits policy: first to establish the principle of freedom of transit for merchant ships and warships of all flags, and secondly to remove Turkey completely from the guardianship of the Straits by neutralizing its shores and establishing a separate state of Straits. This new policy, which is based upon punishment, did not actually support the traditional British interests followed by the statesmen from Lord Palmerston to Edward Grey. Especially the methods used by the British Politicians for the achievement of the principal objectives were open to criticism, and caused counter reactions on the part of the Turks; therefore expectations were not realized. Thus, in time, a series of events made it impossible for the project to end the Turkish sovereignty over the entire Straits area; and Britain was forced to retreat from her new Straits policy. Especially the Chanak crisis put the final blow on the British Straits policy and this significantly influenced the course of the Lausanne Peace Talks.