Treaty of Sevres is a valid document under public international law – lawyer
YEREVAN, AUGUST 10, ARMENPRESS. On the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Sevres (10 August 2020), the Armenian Cause Foundation published No. 3 of its Reprints series. It is a scientific article “On the Validity of the Treaty of Sevres and the Arbitral Award of Woodrow Wilson”, by Aida Avanessian, PhD in Law. The Article was first published in 2017, in the “Armenian Yearbook of International and Comparative Law”. It was last revised on 1 May 2020.
ARMENPRESS reports in the article Avanessian notes that it’s essential to separate the issue of validity of the Treaty from the subject of its enforceability from the perspective of generally recognized and accepted principles of international law.
According to the author, the criteria applied for determination of the validity of a treaty is if the delegation signing the treaty on behalf of a State had been authorized to sign the said treaty and whether by doing so they have not exceeded the powers granted to them.
For verification of the authority of Turkey’s delegation who signed the Treaty reference should be made to a few historical facts.
- Between the period from 1918 to 1920 Turkey was ruled by Sultan Muhammed the Fourth who had the authority of signing treaties on behalf of Turkey according to Article 7 of the working Turkish Constitution of the time.
- On 22 July 1920, that is when the terms of the Treaty were already known, the Sultan invited the Shoray-e Saltant (the Crown Council) to examine and decide on the execution of the Treaty. The execution of the Treaty was approved in that meeting and the Treaty was signed on behalf of Turkey by a delegation headed by Damad Ferid Pasha (the other members of the delegation were General Hamdi Pasha, Riza Tavfik Bay and Rishad Halis Bay (the Turkish Ambassador in Bern).
Thus, it is undeniably clear that the Treaty was signed for Turkey by its duly authorized representatives.
To examine the question if Turkey’s representatives have exceeded their powers by signing the Treaty it must be pointed out that the draft of the Treaty was submitted, by the representatives of the Allied Powers, to Turkey’s representatives in May 1920.
Subsequently, comments raised by Turkey were examined and, after making minor changes in the draft, the final text was prepared and submitted to Turkey on 17 July 1920. It was this draft of the Treaty that was tabled and approved in the 22 July 1920 session of Shuray-e Saltanat (Crown Council) which means that the representatives of Turkey had signed the Treaty within and without exceeding the powers granted to them.
Thus, it can be concluded that Treaty of Sevres is a valid document under public international law.