THE TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN THE ALLIED AND ASSOCIATED POWERS
SIGNED AT SÈVRES
AUGUST 10, 1920
PROTECTION OF MINORITIES.
Turkey undertakes that the stipulations contained in Articles
141, 145 and 147 shall be recognised as fundamental laws, and
that no civil or military law or regulation, no Imperial Iradeh
nor official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations,
nor shall any law, regulation, Imperial Iradeh nor official action
prevail over them.
Turkey undertakes to assure full and complete protection
of life and liberty to all inhabitants of Turkey without distinction
of birth, nationality, language, race or religion.
All inhabitants of Turkey shall be entitled to the free exercise,
whether public or private, of any creed, religion or belief.
The penalties for any interference with the free exercise of
the right referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be the
same whatever may be the creed concerned.
Whereas, in view of the terrorist regime which has existed in
Turkey since November 1, 1914, conversions to Islam could not
take place under normal conditions, no conversions since that
date are recognised and all persons who were non-Moslems before November 1, 1914, will be considered as still remaining such,
unless, after regaining their liberty, they voluntarily perform
the necessary formalities for embracing the Islamic faith.
In order to repair so far as possible the wrongs inflicted on
individuals in the course of the massacres perpetrated in Turkey
during the war, the Turkish Government undertakes to afford
all the assistance in its power or in that of the Turkish authorities in the search for and deliverance of all persons, of whatever
race or religion, who have disappeared, been carried off, interned
or placed in captivity since November 1, 1914.
The Turkish Government undertakes to facilitate the operations of mixed commissions appointed by the Council of the League of Nations to receive the complaints of the victims themselves, their families or their relations, to make the necessary
enquiries, and to order the liberation of the persons in question.
The Turkish Government undertakes to ensure the execution
of the decisions of these commissions, and to assure the security
and the liberty of the persons thus restored to the full enjoyment
of their rights.
Turkey undertakes to recognise such provisions as the Allied Powers may consider opportune with respect to the reciprocal
and voluntary emigration of persons belonging to racial minorities.
Turkey renounces any right to avail herself of the provisions
of Article 16 of the Convention between Greece and Bulgaria
relating to reciprocal emigration, signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine on
November 27, 1919. Within six months from the coming into
force of the present Treaty, Greece and Turkey will enter into a
special arrangement relating to the reciprocal and voluntary
emigration of the populations of Turkish and Greek race in the
territories transferred to Greece and remaining Turkish respectively.
In case agreement cannot be reached as to such arrangement,
Greece and Turkey will be entitled to apply to the Council of
the League of Nations, which will fix the terms of such arrangement.
The Turkish Government recognises the injustice of the law
of 1915 relating to Abandoned Properties (Emval-i-Metroukeh),
and of the supplementary provisions thereof, and declares them
to be null and void, in the past as in the future.
The Turkish Government solemnly undertakes to facilitate
to the greatest possible extent the return to their homes and re-establishment in their businesses of the Turkish subjects of
non-Turkish race who have been forcibly driven from their homes
by fear of massacre or any other form of pressure since January
1, 1914. It recognises that any immovable or movable property
of the said Turkish subjects or of the communities to which they
belong, which can be recovered, must be restored to them as
soon as possible, in whatever hands it may be found. Such
property shall be restored free of all charges or servitudes with
which it may have been burdened and without compensation of
any kind to the present owners or occupiers, subject to any
action which they may be able to bring against the persons from
whom they derived title.
The Turkish Government agrees that arbitral commissions
shall be appointed by the Council of the League of Nations
wherever found necessary. These commissions shall each be
composed of one representative of the Turkish Government, one
representative of the community which claims that it or one of
its members has been injured, and a ehairman appointed by the
Council of the League of Nations. These arbitral commissions
shall hear all claims covered by this Article and decide them by
The arbitral commissions will have power to order:
(1) The provision by the Turkish Government of labour for
any work of reconstruction or restoration deemed necessary.
This labour shall be recruited from the races inhabiting the
territory where the arbitral commission considers the execution
of the said works to be necessary
(2) The removal of any person who, after enquiry, shall be
recognised as having taken an active part in massacres or deportations or as having provoked them; the measures to be taken
with regard to such person's possessions will be indicated by the
(3) The disposal of property belonging to members of a community who have died or disappeared since January 1, 1914,
without leaving heirs; such property may be handed over to the
community instead of to the State
(4) The cancellation of all acts of sale or any acts creating
rights over immovable property concluded after January 1,
1914. The indemnification of the holders will be a charge upon
the Turkish Government, but must not serve as a pretext for
delaying the restitution. The arbitral commission will, however
have the power to impose equitable arrangements between the
interested parties, if any sum has been paid by the present
holder of such property.
The Turkish Government undertakes to facilitate in the
fullest possible measure the work of the commissions and to
ensure the execution of their decisions, which will be final. No
decision of the Turkish judicial or administrative authorities
shall prevail over such decisions.
All Turkish nationals shall be equal before the law and shall
enjoy the same civil and political rights without distinction as
to race, language or religion.
Difference of religion, creed or confession shall not prejudice
any Turkish national in matters relating to the enjoyment of
civil or political rights, as for instance admission to public employments, functions and honours, or the exercise of professions
Within a period of two years from the coming into force of the
present Treaty the Turkish Government will submit to the
Allied Powers a scheme for the organisation of an electoral system based on the principle of proportional representation of
No restriction shall be imposed on the free use by any Turkish
national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce,
religion, in the press or in publications of any kind, or at public
meetings. Adequate facilities shall be given to Turkish nationals
of non-Turkish speech for the use of their language, either orally
or in writing, before the courts.
The Turkish Government undertakes to recognize the validity
of diplomas granted by recognised foreign universities and
schools, and to admit the holders thereof to the free exercise of
the professions and industries for which such diplomas qualify.
This provision will apply equally to nationals of Allied
powers who are resident in Turkey.
Turkish nationals who belong to racial, religious or linguistic
minorities shall enjoy the ame treatment and security in law
and in fact as other Turkish nationals. In particular they shall
have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their
own expense, and independently of and without interference by
the Turkish authorities, any charitable, religious and social institutions, schools for primary, secondary and higher instruction and other educational establishments, with the right to use
their own language and to exercise their own religion freely
In towns and districts where there is a considerable proportion
of Turkish nationals belonging to racial, linguistic or religious
minorities, these minorities shall be assured an equitable share
in the enjoyment and application of the sums which may be
provided out of public funds under the State, municipal or other
budgets for educational or charitable purposes.
The sums in question shall be paid to the qualified representatives of the communities concerned.
The Turkish Government undertakes to recognise and respect
the ecclesiastical and scholastic autonomy of all racial minorities
in Turkey. For this purpose, and subject to any provisions to
the contrary in the present Treaty, the Turkish Government
confirms and will uphold in their entirety the prerogatives and
immunities of an ecclesiastical, scholastic or judicial nature
granted by the Sultans to non-Moslem races in virtue of special
orders or imperial decrees (firmans, hattis, berats, etc.) as well
as by ministerial orders or orders of the Grand Vizier.
All laws, decrees, regulations and circulars issued by the
Turkish Government and containing abrogations, restrictions or
amendments of such prerogatives and immunities shall be considered to such extent null and void.
Any modification of the Turkish judical system which may be
introduced in accordance with the provisions of the present
Treaty shall be held to override this Article, in so far as such
modification may affect individuals belonging to racial minorities.
In towns and districts where there is resident a considerable
proportion of Turkish nationals of the Christian or Jewish religions the Turkish Government undertakes that such Turkish
nationals shall not be compelled to perform any act which constitutes a violation of their faith or religious observances, and shall
not be placed under any disability by reason of their refusal to
attend courts of law or to perform any legal business on their
weekly day of rest. This provision, however, shall not exempt
such Turkish nationals (Christians or Jews) from such obligations as shall be imposed upon all other Turkish nationals for the
preservation of public order.
The Principal Allied Powers, in consultation with the Council
of the League of Nations, will decide what measures are necessary
to guarantee the execution of the provisions of this Part. The
Turkish Government hereby accepts all decisions which may be
taken on this subject.