The Turkish President Erdogan and his followers are always talking about that they should update the Treaty of Lausanne or even they are claiming that it will expire on 2023 and they are saying that the country will be free from certain obligations.

They have pretty wild claims and I didn't really tap in the full list of claims. But, they are mostly talking about the usage of the valuable natural resources like oil, gas or boron (I am not sure if boron is valuable as they claim though). More wilder, they are saying there will be a referendum in Mosul and Kirkuk to ask if they want to be part of Turkey. Really wild claims!

But, what I am curious and I want to ask in this platform is like this. Are there, really, any obligations of the treaty that are still in effect? I know that Bosphorus and Dardanelles are kind of international waters under the supervision of Turkish authority. But, is there anything else that Turkey can't do due to the agreement? If there is, is there really an expiry date for the obligations?

This was an ongoing narrative from the islamic party. Moreover; recently, Erdogan has talked about the revisiting the treaty again when he was talking with the Greek journalist. Turkish T24 Newspaper Article

I highly suspect that this is just a internal politics BS like most of his other claims. Yet, I would like to be enlightened from an expert worked in this area.


There is a historian/journalist Murat Bardakci who had written about the subject and he said the claims are completely BS. But, I want to get a fresh opinion. The article is, unfortunately, in Turkish and the Google translate doesn't work well for Turkish.

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    What has your research shown? What do the standard sources say, and why don't those answers satisfy you? can you link to the wild claims? or to the treaty?
    – MCW
    Dec 7, 2017 at 9:20
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    Thanks for the interest. I am not a historian unfortunately. The sources that I see are in Turkish and they are blended with the internal politics and I don't like to any side of this almost tribal conflict. Yet, there is a historian/journalist who had written about it and he said the claims are completely BS. But, I wanted to get a fresh opinion about this. haberturk.com/yazarlar/murat-bardakci/… Unfortunately, the Google translate doesn't work well for Turkish.
    – Ömer
    Dec 7, 2017 at 15:15
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    Excellent - please include that comment in the question. Documenting preliminary research is important here; you've clearly done the research, so the focus will turn to the subject of the question.
    – MCW
    Dec 7, 2017 at 15:27
  • Mosul has a large Kurd population. Given Turkey's relations with the Kurds, the idea of Mosul joining Turkey should go over like poo in the punch bowl.
    – tj1000
    Jan 24, 2018 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


Of course, many stipulations of the treaty are still in effect. The borders it delimited remains the international border of today. The Republic of Turkey continues to be recognised internationally. The ancient capitulations are still abolished. The forced population exchanges have happened and are not being reversed.

Control of the Turkish Straits, as you mentioned, was regulated as a demilitarised zone in an annex to the Treaty of Lusanne. That Convention, however, have long been superseded by the Montreux Convention of 1936.

So basically the fantastical claims are no more than a conspiracy theory, concocted variously as a looming threat or as an excuse for real or perceived difficulties. The Treaty of Lausanne does not have an expiry date. The text of the treaty can be read here.

  • Great answer and that was my impression as well. But, I just couldn't help myself to wonder when Erdogan is speaking about it even in the foreign newspapers. The politics and lies these days are beyond my comprehension. It is good that you mentioned about Montreux Convention. I had forgot that part. Thanks.
    – Ömer
    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:19

The Treaty of Lausanne, like any other international treatiy, is valid for a hundred years. But the thing is, after a hundred years, if both sides that are involved in the treaty have not came up with a new treaty, the old one is still considered as valid.

I am from Turkey and even though I oppose him, I don't think that Erdoğan is stupid enough to believe that he will be free from the obligations of the treaty.

This propaganda is for pump up the the project "Kanalistanbul", because when this project first came up, the opposing media in Turkey declared that "No one will use this canal because it is free to pass through Bosphorus". So they tried to pull off a lie like that. Also the project will have disastrous effects on Istanbul.

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    The Treaty of Lausanne, like any other international treatiy, is valid for a hundred years. Source, please ?
    – Bregalad
    Jan 24, 2018 at 7:08

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