19/4/1917 Italy secures its share of the Turkish spoils

The war is not yet won but the Allies have been busily agreeing a post-war division of the Ottoman Empire. Constantinople and the Straits have been promised to Russia while the Sykes-Picot agreement has carved up the Middle East between Britain and France.

Italian leaders have been a bit late to this party, as their main interests are in the domination of the Adriatic. Nevertheless, if there are spoils to be had then the Italians want in on them. So they have staked claims to the entire south west of Anatolia.

French, British and Italian leaders meet today at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to clarify their plans for the partition of Turkey (Russia’s disordered state means that its allies have gone ahead without Russian representatives). Italy is promised control of the areas around Konya and Smyrna and influence over an area to the north. Given their non-existent contribution to the war against Turkey and their lack of success in the war as a whole, this promise is quite an achievement for Sidney Sonnino, the Italian foreign minister.

image source; this is the map as signed by Arthur Balfour, Britain’s foreign minister later in the year. The A and B areas on the map are the British and French zones from Sykes-Picot, with the areas northwest and southeast of them to be spheres of influence.

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