The First Secret Agreement of WWI: Annexation of Istanbul and Turkish Straits to Tsarist Russia, (March-April 1915)


BILIG, no.89, pp.1-27, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 89
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.12995/bilig.8901
  • Title of Journal : BILIG
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-27


Four secret agreements concerning partition of the Ottoman Empire, were signed during WWI. The first one was Istanbul Agreement, signed in between March and April 1915. Italy was signatory of the second; London Agreement which was signed a few days later. Sykes-Picot of May 1916 was signed by France and the United Kingdom. Having objected to Sykes Picot, Italy was the third signatory of the last agreement of Saint Jean de Maurienne of April 1917, promised her a larger part in the Ottoman Empire. Among these four secretly negotiated and signed agreements, subject matter of Istanbul Agreement was directly related with the status of Istanbul and Turkish Straits. After having occupied northern Black Sea in the late 18th century, Tsarist Russia had a greater interest in the status of the Turkish Straights, in accordance with security and trade. Russia's desire for annexation of Turkish Straits and Istanbul at the beginning of the WWI, realized with Britain and France's consent. Exchange of aide-memoires during naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign resulted at their consensus on Russia's annexation of Istanbul and Turkish Straits.