Sykes-Picot Agreement and Treaty of Sèvres, two influential 20th-century pacts, played significant roles in shaping the Middle East’s modern borders, particularly those of Turkey. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed during World War I, divided the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces between Britain and France. However, it was the Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920, that defined Turkey’s current borders. This treaty was a humiliation for the Ottoman Empire, as it carved up its territory, leaving it with a fraction of its former size.

Turkey’s borders were not finalised until the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which superseded the Treaty of Sèvres. This treaty recognised the Republic of Turkey, defined its borders, and marked the end of the Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of Lausanne is still significant today, as it underpins Turkey’s territorial integrity.

While the Sykes-Picot Agreement and Treaty of Sèvres were instrumental in shaping the Middle East, they are also controversial. Critics argue that they ignored local identities and aspirations, leading to ongoing conflicts. Meanwhile, the Treaty of Lausanne is viewed in Turkey as a triumph, marking the birth of the modern Turkish state.

Despite their historical significance, these treaties are often misunderstood or misrepresented. The Sykes-Picot Agreement did not draw the Middle East’s current borders, and the Treaty of Sèvres was never fully implemented. Therefore, their impact, while substantial, is complex and nuanced.

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