TURKEY: under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great if Crimea declares independence it returns to Turkey

03.17.2014  12:37  egalite.com.ua
Translated by Anna Mausi Shvets and edited by Voices of Ukraine

The Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reports that if the Autonomous Republic of Crimea announces its independence, then it falls under Turkish rule. This is being reported by ipress.ua with reference to Espresso TV.

Based on what the author of the article wrote, this is confirmed by the agreement which was signed 230 years ago by the Ottoman and Russian empires.

According to the agreement, signed by the the Russian empress Catherine the Great on April 19, 1783, the Crimean peninsula will pass from the Ottoman empire to the Russian empire.

“However, one of the most important points is the clause that stipulates conditions that if the peninsula does not declare its independence then it cannot be transferred to a third party. Otherwise, Crimea must automatically be returned under the aegis of Turkey,” claims the author.

He notes that in 1991, after the collapse of the USSR and the emergence of an independent Ukraine, Turkey has already had the formal right to reclaim Crimea.

“However, the Turkish government, then led by Turgut Ozal, given the geopolitical changes in northern Turkey and changes in the general world economic situation, did not defend that position. Turkey limited itself to demanding that the rights of Crimean Tatars, living as a minority in Crimea, be restored,” the author quotes from the publication of the Crimean Tatar agency QHA.

But if you want to join Crimea to Russia, it is necessary for it to first officially declare independence from Kyiv. “And in that moment, if all norms of international governance are followed, Turkey can announce: “I’m taking control of Crimea,” the author concluded.

Source: http://egalite.com.ua/news/1584

Related reading:
Lost Islamic History, “Did Russia Really Promise Crimea to Turkey?”

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75 Responses to TURKEY: under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great if Crimea declares independence it returns to Turkey

  1. chervonaruta says:

    Reblogged this on Euromaidan PR and commented:

    Crimea to return to Turkey under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great if it declares independence…

    • burak_tatar says:

      I am a citizen of Turkey and right now we are only slightly interested with the situation in Ukraine and Crimea. Actually I guess there is not even one percent chance that Turkey would want to activate such a term, if it is still applicable. Right now, Turkey is preparing for a very problematic local elections. Also the society is in a big confliction about Erdogan’s regime.

      These elections are much more important for the people in Turkey than the fate of the Crimea. Of course we should seperate the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea Question. But still, Turkey has to think about whether to continue with Erdogan or not.

      Also I don’t think that international relations would function that way. I mean, of course the treaties are important but the advantages of those treaties are only applicable when your state is strong enough. nobody would give you Crimea just because a treaty that you signed 2 hundred years ago. back then, Ottomans were stronger and they had a hope to re-capture Crimea, which was a muslim territory then. however it didn’t go that direction and Russians were able to control that area and much further for more than two hundred years. it would be funny to defy Russia to control Crimea and it would also be a deathly mistake.

  2. Wayne says:

    Interesting development.

    Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, and Romania would make a difficult to defeat alliance.


  3. Pingback: If Crimea declares independence it returns to Turkey | Euromaidan Wache Berlin

  4. Pingback: TURKEY: Under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great, Crimea returns to Turkey | JME

  5. Bizzaro Superman says:

    Come on Turkey! Take it back! Take it back! Show them ruskies who’s boss

  6. Libertarian Prick says:

    Interesting. Maybe conflict will emerge between Russia and Turkey. Hopefully President Obama keeps his fucking nose out of it this time, it’s for Europe to decide the fate of Crimea and Ukraine, not America.

    We’ve got our own problems.

    Good luck to those in Crimea and Ukraine. I hope everything goes well for you.

    • hjpop says:

      If conflict emerges between Turkey and Russia, there is a little thing called “NATO” which says that “An attack on one is an attack on all” which would trigger military action on behalf of Turkey. The US is part of NATO so it’s out of Obama’s hands at that point.

    • Henry Page says:

      It’s not a question of Obama keeping his nose out … the US and the RF are signatories to the Budapest Agreement (1994) wherein:

      1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;
      2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;
      3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;
      4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;
      5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;
      6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

      This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

  7. this would be pretty cool. I wonder what Putin thinks about this…

  8. Ege Partal says:

    Turkey and Soviet Russia signed a treaty saying that all other previous treaties between Russian Empire and Ottoman Empire have been canceled and should be disregarded… Just so you know.

    • CZ says:

      No it doesn’t. Go to SovietHistory.org and look at the Treat of Moscow 1920. Read the whole thing, doesn’t say a word about voiding or nullifying any previous treaties. In fact, previous treaties are not mentioned AT ALL.

      • Someone who isn't an idiot says:


        I don’t speak Russian, but according to the translation of Article VI, it goes like this:

        Article VI

        Both Contracting Parties agree that all contracts heretofore entered into between the two parties meet mutual interests. They therefore agree to accept these contracts canceled and void.

        Government of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic declares, in particular, that it considers Turkey free from all her money or other obligations based on international instruments previously concluded between Turkey and the tsarist government.

        So yeah, you’re wrong CZ.

    • Except you don’t seem to understand English very well either. It says all prior contracts meet mutual interests, so they deem them null and void, which means that deeding over Crimea to Russia also has become null and void. So no Ege, CZ isn’t wrong.

      • Someone who isn't an idiot says:

        You’re mistaken and kinda contradicting your own point. CZ claims the Treaty of Moscow “doesn’t say a word about voiding or nullifying any previous treaties”, which is blatantly false, and you consider CZ to be right by saying that all prior contracts are deemed null and void. How much of a retard can you be?

      • Henry Page says:

        But the agreement is no longer between the RF and Turkey. The matter is now about Crimea ceasing to be part of Ukraine and its claim to independence follwing the referendum. That means that Turkey should have taken control of Crimea at that point and the fact that Russia allowed Crimea accession to the RF when, in fact, Crimea had no legal right to do so. It would then fall to one final argument: self-determination; but the self-determination status that stems from an illegal referendum would likely not be successful.

      • Henry Page says:

        There is also the matter that when the Russia transferred Crimea to Ukraine, both countries were part of the same bloc, i.e. Ukraine had no intervening independence, but it briefly did on the recent occasion of its sovereignty.

  9. Harald H. says:

    Seeing that I have not researched this on my own, but relying on the information in this article and my education as a professional in the law business (assuming such a stipulation exists):

    1. “He notes that in 1991, after the collapse of the USSR and the emergence of an independent Ukraine, Turkey has already had the formal right to reclaim Crimea.” If i have the possibility to exercise a certain right, gained by contractual obligation and I do not exercise this right, then I may have forsaken that right since I have decided to not exercise it when I could have. This is not to be confused with a situation in which i could have exercised such a right at any time. The fact that this right was tied to a certain trigger and I decided against exercising it when that trigger was activated is critical to this example.

    2.If in case of the 1991 incident such a trigger was not activated, then I do not see why it would right now. The declaration of the crim as “independent” is not a step to be taken seriously. There is no intent whatsoever for an independent state . It is seen as a “necessary step” for annexation by russia. If I did anything like this in a civil context, this would be a very relevant objection and I do not see a reason why it should be otherwise in international law.

    Now, of coure I could be very wrong on either of those points or certain parts of them. If that is the case, please correct me, but support this by facts. Also I should note that I have somewhat of a problem with the enforcement of international law. I see some difficulties when trying to enforce “international law” without a legal and universally recognised body to enforce such laws.

    If there is no universally recognized body, then it all boils down to “i do what I want and pursue my interests because I am stronger than you and you can’t stop me”. While serving certain interests, I dont see the worldwide legitimacy of such actions.

    Please also realize that I am a European Citizen, if such a thing exists and very much desire a strong and firm reaction to the russian behaviour. I do think it is in our best interest to not let such an act stand. However. I also ask the politicians to be honest about this. As little as the crimean conflict has to do with russian people in danger, it has to do with a “legal” claim of turkey or any other nation. If the Ukraine in fact did overthrow its elected government I do not see why you would not let the people of a certain region decide their own fate (compare the “Saaarland” and “Alsace”). However I do agree that whatever “vote” happened in the crimea is not in accordance with international standarts by a long shot. I see no reason to recognize this vote. This being said I do believe in the right of a people to make its own decisions, no matter how stupid. So if the cirmea decides to get annexed by russia they should be allowed this, the same as I would allow Texas to secede from the US. Go see how strong you are on your own/ with partners that want you for certain resouces only. Same goes for Russia pissing off the world. Go ahead, just dont come crying after.

    • Henry Page says:

      But people exercising self-determination – as they did recently in Crimea – where the act was considered illegal under national (Ukrainian) law and international laws, then surely the territory would have to have a UN protectorate status until the matter was resolved?

    • bendixon89 says:

      Thank you for replying with a intelligent and sensible manner. Too much nonsense being said. Maybe everyone should go back up and read Burak tartar said. His statement regarding the current condition of the Turkish regime, the feelings of domestic stability in Turkey among the citizenry, and their lack of concern or care for the Crimean peninsula, is the single most important thing here. Lastly, Turkey should NOT be a NATO partner. the west gains nothing by Turkish partnership and they have been a great burden to NATO politically.. Ergodans regime has caused tremendous destabilization in Syria and Iraq. He has provoked Russia on numerous occasions, he has been a driving source in the crushing of the Kurdish population, etc…

  10. Midiarbite says:

    Libertarian. Turkey is NATO. So yeah we may be forced to get involved.

  11. John Smith says:

    Well then Kars and Igdir should be returned to Armenia. Smyrna and Constantinople to Greece, and Northern Cyprus back to Cyprus. Can’t forget Antioch to Syria. Fair is fair Turkey.

    • tulay d says:

      Well, neither of these places declared independence though. Your argument fails.

    • You ll wait for this more time…These cities are our country except Cyprus…if you are brave ,come and get it… Cuz we got with our blood ,if you have such an ass.We are always here…

    • derfallbright says:

      You are right ……sometime various agreements written 50 years ago can cause you in trouble. If you recall the invasion of Poland by the Germans triggered a defense thready Great Britain had with Poland. WWII at that point could not be prevented.

    • Batuhan says:

      Well, Istanbul has 13.000.000 population, it’s more crowded than entire Greece. As a Turk, I think it would be a great scene to watch if Greece takes Istanbul and try to populize entire city.

    • Bora says:

      Then we should better ask all three continental once again and declare our rule on… ottomans.are back. This is funny. People are here talking about an agreement and you are just throwing words. Turkey does not interested to declare anything on Crimea but also interested about rights of Turkish minorities live in there. Nothjng more than that !

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  14. jtofgc says:

    Why the hell would you write a headline that is flat out contradicted by the actual text of your article? Did you even read your own damned article?

    It says that under the treaty, Crimea is supposed to be returned to the Ottoman Empire if it is transferred to another sovereign and does NOT declare independence first.

    • The Ottoman Empire fell just after WWI. With Constantinople as its capital and control of vast lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for over six centuries. It was dissolved in the aftermath of World War I; the collapse of the empire led to the emergence of the new state of Turkey in the Ottoman Anatolian heartland, as well as the creation of modern Balkan and Middle Eastern states. source: wikipedia

  15. sad but true says:

    So Turkey remembers this treaty but forgets the genocide of the Armenians? I doubt it.

  16. Martin says:

    How about this for thought- modern day Turkey denies any responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Empire against its Armenian population in what is known as the Armenian Genocide. Turkey claims that it was done by the Ottoman Empire, a different nation than contemporary Turkey, ultimately a “different leadership.”
    With that said, if Turkey can, without guilt, deny responsibility for implementing such a massacre, then it has no right to any claims to Crimea, because Turkey did not exist at the time of such an agreement.

    • Kartuli says:

      You talk about Armenian Genocide as if every nation hasn’t commuted such crimes, especially Armenians against Georgians, Turks and Azeris. Your propaganda is for uneducated and ignorant.

      • shro says:

        It is very interesting point of view. First you brutally kill millions of innocent people, then you say you didn’t do it, and then you say “Ah, common, everyone is doing it!”
        Maybe some nations did it too, but the Turks were the first and it is honorable to take responsibility.

    • turkoman20 says:

      the genocide is a catastrophic word, which was invented to describe the holocaust. before the ottomans, russians did far worse to Circassians in the caucasus. actually that was the inspiration for the C.U.P. government. there is no meaning to deny that a huge massacre occured at that time between armenians and turks or russians and circassians. but the main reason was the lack of authority in this case. most of the deaths were unintentional, but predictable. it was not like nazi’s case.

      Armenian case should be examined by the unprejudiced historians. nowadays it is more like a political problem and nobody seems to be listening the historians.

      • bendixon89 says:

        historians are pretty clear on it maybe in turkey they say differently…. but every other historian in the world considers it a genocide by definition. the ottoman TURKS attempted to remove in their entirety, the Armenian population from Turkish land. That is genocide. The Nazis attempted the same: to remove the jewish population, when the muslim regents in palestine refused to allow more jews into their land, the regents suggested an alternative method:extermination. then, the extermination campaign began. I find it ironic that during the reign of this great islamic empire, the armenians were massacred en masse. then after the fall of that empire, many of its leaders were left in place under british rule, and then suggested extermination of yet another race of people… hmm. odd

  17. taras says:

    Ottoman empire does not exist and is not Turkey. Russia is not 3rd party in the transaction. I am ukrainian. Ukraine! Please elect a government. How can Crimea do a referendum so fast but a democratic country, that is ran by unelected officials, cannot have an election?

    • Bruno Dias says:

      Protip: in reality, it wasn’t a referendum.

      • guy says:

        Agreed, and neither will be the ‘upcoming’ UKR election, or the one that didn’t happen that put the current set of stooges into power..

        Ukraine needs to stop putting puppets on its left or right hands and just get its own head. LET RISE A TRUE LEADER

  18. Anonymous says:

    If modern Turkey gets Crimea, then modern Armenia should get half of Turkey. Armenia under Ottoman rule spanned roughly half of their peninsula.

  19. LastWordFreak (@Iastwordfreak) says:

    Pointless article. We live in the world of Empire and the Gun and law and contracts are what the winner say it is. Can we all return to reality now ..

  20. macdaddy357 says:

    Modern Turkey isn’t the Ottoman Empire, and Modern Russia is not the Tsar’s empire. This agreement is about as meaningful than one between The Confederate States of America and SIam.

  21. Erik says:

    Turkey military go. says we did not do those things Ottomans did… so talking Crimea belongs to Turkey is worth zero to none.

  22. alweso says:

    Any treaty signed with or by the Ottoman Empire have been rendered ineffective following the dissolution of the empire. The Republic of Turkey cannot abide by or take advantage of any treaty that it has not signed.
    If turkey was to even make this claim on an international platform it would become a laughing stock.
    The Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey are two fundamentally different entities.

    • damalenfant says:

      Um….dissolution of the empire? Soviet union, anyone, anyone?

    • griningizemi says:

      Actually, after the collapse of Ottoman Empire, Turkey has paid back the Ottomans’ debts (till the mid 1950s). That means, European countries took Turkey as the legal heir of Ottomans. In that case, one can say that Turkey can take advantage of a previous treaty.

  23. Foxcrawl says:

    So Turkey can raise the problem to the Russians. Much of the situation is caused by US and fucking EU who agreed on Kosovo independence despite being since old age Serbian territory. That was a clear and absolute precedent for Russia who used all the previous cases. The played the cards well. What is next? Transnistria, a narrow stripe of just 100.000 people. Stalin was quite smart to plant the russians almost everywhere at exchange of removal of local population which was expelled to Siberia.

  24. Pingback: Should Crimea be claimed back by Turkey under old treaty between Ottoman Empire and Russia’s Catherine the Great? » Foxcrawl

  25. Kişi says:

    Dünyada çok garip bir görüş var: Ermeni Soykırımı. Türkiye bu soykırım iddiası üzerine birçok araştırma yapmış Ermenilerle birlikte görüşmeyi teklif etmiştir. Ancak Ermeniler bunu her seferinde reddetmiş ve emperyalist devletlerde “Ermeni soykırımı olmadığını söylemeyi” yasaklamışlardır. Gerçekten Ermeni soykırımı olup olmadığını bilmek isteyen birisi Türkiye’deki araştırmacılarla görüşmelidir. Zira bu konuda en çok araştırma yapan ve ortaya sonuçlar koyan Türk araştırmacılardır. Geçenlerde de İsviçre’de Ermeni soykırımı olmadığı, bunu iddia eden bir Türk yazarın salınmasıyla kısmen kanıtlanmıştır.

    Şimdi diğer konuya gelelim: Kırım. Türkiye’nin Kırım ile uzaktan yakından hiçbir alakası yoktur. Zamanında yapılan anlaşmalarla Türkiye, şimdiki toprakları dışında herhangi bir toprakta hak iddia etme yetkisine sahip değildir. Ayrıca 1783 yılında yapılan o anlaşma şu an geçersizdir. Ki geçerli olsa bile Türkiye, şu anki çökmüş durumu ile Rusya’ya karşı herhangi bir girişimde bulunamaz.

  26. Reblogged this on reporting on Ukraine and commented:
    An interesting twist to the Crimea narrative

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  28. shro says:

    According to this map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pontic_steppe_region_around_650_AD.png), Crimea was Bulgarian. It was taken away against all international laws by the Khazars. Now Bulgaria could insist on taking back the peninsula. A few times since then Bulgaria had the chance to claim its right, but given the geopolitical changes and the global economic situation, limited itself to demanding that the rights of Bulgarians, living as a minority in Crimea, be preserved.
    At any moment Bulgaria can announce “I’m taking control of Crimea.”

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  38. Someone who is trying to be honest says:

    As I know this must sound slightly otherwise. “Under Ottoman Empire treaty with Catherine the Great if Crimea STOPS BEING RUSSIAN it returns to Turkey.” See the difference? I just inform people of what I have been taught. Following simple logic, we must admit that it was unreal for the people of that epoch, epoch of big empires, to make an agreement about so-called Crimean Independence. What is independance for empires? Nonsense! In fact, if you had the opportunity to suggest them to write so, they would think you are a fool. I indeed deem that the Ottomans were weakened by war they lost and this would be more realistic that Catherine made Turkey to pass to her Crimea peninsula by force, but suggesting to take it back when it stops being a Russian territory. These words about alleged Independence just could not be said, it’s not in the style of that century. Though, if course, I’d like to work with seen documents of Turkey or Russia archives which only are able to tell me the truth. Excuse me, Turkey media sentences just don’t merit my trust. Like almost any shitty media in the world, but that is a different story.

    • Henry Page says:

      The situation of Crimea, and Ukraine, and even other, now EU countries, shows the Russian political hypocrisy for wielding its hegemony on those states whilst criticising others of using undue influence. Crimea was at no risk within Ukraine and to suggest that it was is obvious nonsense. The same goes for the eastern oblasts of Ukraine. The only motive here is regions dominated by Russian ethnics fomenting trouble in order to promulgate a plebiscite to vote themselves into Russia, thereby stealing the territory of the originating state, in this case Ukraine.

      It stands as a testimony to the threats and intimidation that the Russian Federation will use on its neighbours to get its own way.

  39. Scott says:

    100% correct Henry. Your posts speak from a posture of someone well researched in the history of that area of the world as well as sound thoughts sprinkled with common sense. Have you been to Ukraine? When I spent time in Donetsk…when the airport was there, everyone got along fine and life was ok, not great, but as well as can be expected dealing with the oligarch cronies of the then Kremlin-leaning president. I don’t think you’ll find any civilian of the Donbass region say life is better now under separatists rule. While there I saw no evidence of language police outlawing native Russian speaking people and no one was arrested for speaking the language of the region. To use such a ruse, as was foisted on the uninitiated watching the Crimean ‘invasion’ of little green men, would be laughable. I guess Putin really does drink his own cool aide. Hahaha!!! If memory serves me there was a little Austrian-born guy in the 1920-30’s who claimed the same for the German people in areas bordering Germany. We all now what happened after that…the Third Reich was born and 7 Million Jews were exterminated!

    While some got side-tracked talking about the Armenian genocide (another tragedy of mankind), let’s not forget what the friendly big brother Russia, under Stalin did. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the abolition of private ownership of land and the concentration of the remaining peasants in party-controlled “collective” farms. This was followed in 1932-33 by a “terror-famine,” inflicted by the State on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and certain other areas by setting impossibly high grain quotas, removing every other source of food, and preventing help from outside–even from other areas of the Soviet Union–from reaching the starving populace. The death toll resulting from the actions described in this book was an estimated 14.5 million–more than the total number of deaths for all countries in World War I. Read the book, ‘The Harvest of Sorrow’, acclaimed by many historians as an exhaustively researched work.

    Propaganda is raging so you can watch this and form your own opinion, but remember that the Ukrainian army is fighting a ‘ground’ war since the separatist do not have an air force, not one of their own anyway. They have however shot down well over a dozen Ukrainian aircraft using missile systems of various technological maturity. The one that took down the MH-17 Malaysian Airliner however was taken down at over 33,000 feet. To do that you need an advanced missile guidance system which would require training. While thinking about this keep in mind that MH-17 flight path was over Ukraine for awhile UNTIL it passed over separatists-controlled territory….coincidence anyone????

    Putin’s inner circle of wealthy oligarchs are beginning to bleed some serious cash as the sanctions continue to bite deep along with the global oil glut. Putin doesn’t care how much Russian’s suffer with the fall of the Ruble. After all, he is nothing more than a KGB thug in a rich mans suit. He only understands one thing….power! And sooner or later he’s going to run into a bigger, meaner thug who will punch him in the mouth and hand him his teeth!

    Here’s to a strong and independent Ukraine!

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