For its part, Turkey and a resurgent Iran are cynically using the simmering crisis to advance its own agenda: rebuilding military and economic bridgeheads along the “eastern flank” of the Arabian Peninsula, from Oman to southern Iraq, the part of the world from which they were driven out by the Royal Navy in 1917, exactly one hundred years ago. The local chessboard is overflowing with too many enthusiastic players, at a time when many British and American politicians seem to have lost interest in this part of the world: this does not bode well for the long-term stability of MENA. Yesterday was the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Sèvres contract. The Treaty of Sèvres saw the Ottoman Empire fragmented, Greece, Syria and Armenia receiving old lost countries, the creation of an independent Kurdistan and France, Britain and Italy having zones of influence in former Ottoman territories. Among the signatories of the treaty were the victorious powers of the First World War (notably Great Britain, France and Italy) and the Ottoman Empire. Formally on the basis of this treaty, the Ottoman Empire was divided and the Turkish Republic was founded under the presidency of Mustafa Kamal Atatürk. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire also had to give up its political and financial rights over Egypt and Sudan. In addition, at a memorial ceremony in 2016, Erdogan said he opposed any understanding of history that in 1919 marks the beginning of the 1,000-year history of his nation and civilization: “He who forgets our last 200 years, even 600 years with his victories and defeats, and jumps directly from the ancient Turkish history to the Republic, is an enemy of our nation and state, he explained. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Britain, France, Italy and Greece divided Anatolia and colonized the territory that is now Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, however, reorganized the remnants of the Ottoman army and thwarted this attempt at division with clever diplomacy and several years of war. Subsequently, the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 recognized Atatürk`s victory and fixed the borders of modern Turkey. Lausanne then became part of the founding myth of the country. For a while, it even had its own public holiday, Lausanne Day, where children were dressed in costumes depicting disputed regions of Anatolia for primary school games. . . .