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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31888

Title: Fabricating Fidelity: Nation-building, International Law, and the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange
Authors: Ozsu, Faik Umut
Advisor: Brunnee, Jutta
Knop, Karen C.
Department: Law
Keywords: nation-building
international law
population exchange
Near East
minority protection
mandates system
humanitarian intervention
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: This dissertation concerns a crucial episode in the international legal history of nation-building: the Greek-Turkish population exchange. Supported by Athens and Ankara, and implemented largely by the League of Nations, the population exchange showcased the new pragmatism of the post-1919 order, an increased willingness to adapt legal doctrine to local conditions. It also exemplified a new mode of non-military nation-building, one initially designed for sovereign but politico-economically weak states on the semi-periphery of the international legal order. The chief aim here, I argue, was not to organize plebiscites, channel self-determination claims, or install protective mechanisms for vulnerable minorities – all familiar features of the Allied Powers’ management of imperial disintegration in central and eastern Europe after the First World War. Nor was the objective to restructure a given economy and society from top to bottom, generating an entirely new legal order in the process; this had often been the case with colonialism in Asia and Africa, and would characterize much of the mandates system throughout the interwar years. Instead, the goal was to deploy a unique mechanism – not entirely in conformity with European practice, but also distinct from non-European governance regimes – to reshape the demographic composition of Greece and Turkey. I substantiate this argument by marshalling a range of material from international law, legal history, and historical sociology. I first examine minority protection’s development into an instrument of intra-European nation-building during the long nineteenth century, showing how population exchange emerged in the Near East in the 1910s as a radical alternative to minority protection. I then provide a close reading of the travaux préparatoires of the 1922-3 Conference of Lausanne, at which a peace settlement formalizing the exchange was concluded. Finally, I analyze the Permanent Court of International Justice’s 1925 opinion in Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, examining it from the standpoint of wide-ranging disputes concerning the place of religion and ethnicity in the exchange process. My aim throughout is to show that the Greek-Turkish exchange laid the groundwork for a mechanism of legal nation-building which would later come to be deployed in a variety of different contexts but whose precise status under international law would remain contested.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31888
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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