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Formalizing DisplacementInternational Law and Population Transfers$
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Umut Özsu

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717430.001.0001

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‘A Subject which Excites the Deepest Interest throughout the Civilised World’

‘A Subject which Excites the Deepest Interest throughout the Civilised World’

Legal Diplomacy at the Conference of Lausanne

Chapter:
(p.70) 3 ‘A Subject which Excites the Deepest Interest throughout the Civilised World’
Source:
Formalizing Displacement
Author(s):

Umut Özsu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717430.003.0004

This chapter considers the text and travaux préparatoires of the convention by which the compulsory Greek–Turkish exchange was governed. Reading statements at the 1922–3 Conference of Lausanne, it explains the convention’s role in shaping the juridico-political architecture of post-Ottoman Turkey. Nearly all delegates agreed that the exchange would need to be undertaken with ‘technical’ legal instruments. This, however, did not prevent those at the negotiating table from drawing upon the very ethno-nationalism they sought to elide through reliance upon legal ‘technique’. Crucially, this strained engagement with ethno-nationalism found expression in the question of how the exchange would bear upon the status of non-Muslims remaining in Turkey. The Mandate System was believed to be incompatible with conditions in Turkey, and minority protection to be insufficient to ensure order. Recourse was thus had to the compulsory exchange, a mechanism that would keep the risk of majority–minority conflicts to a minimum.

Keywords:   population transfer, international law, Exchange Convention, Conference of Lausanne, minority protection, nation-building, nationalism, Greece, Turkey

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