Friday, August 19, 2011

The Treaty of Ouchy

So, I was doing some casual reading the other day on the unhappy politics of the Ottoman Empire pre-World War One.

You may at this time think or even say out loud "Why, why for the love of God?".  Well, that does not matter.  Suffice it to say that my eye-admittedly slightly glazed over in boredom-was drawn to a passing mention of The Treaty of Ouchy.

As a pleasing cross linguistic phrase with a new meaning this one delights me, displacing that long time fave The Diet of Worms.

Maybe just knowing that there was a Treaty of Ouchy is sufficient, but if you want to know a bit more you could go here Ouchy!

The short form version is that it was the treaty that ended the now almost entirely forgotten Italo-Turkish war of 1911/1912. Fought mostly in Libya-some things seem constants-it was pretty much a shameless land grab by Italy, the Ottoman Empire being so rotten from within that all the Great Powers were eager to grab bits of real estate.  It was in some ways a dress reversal for World War One, and answers the interesting question of what happens when two more or less incompetent militaries mix it up.  Answer: inconclusive results that cost more than either side expected.

The Treaty has a bunch of clauses relating to some Greek islands that Italy also wanted, but the parts I found interesting were:

Article 7, an Italian engagement to suppress Italian post offices in the Ottoman Empire whenever other powers do so.  ('cause ya know, those Italian post offices just can't be up to any good.  And Allah be praised we will deal with their treachery just as soon as everyone else does.)


Article 9, a Turkish engagement to restore dismissed subjects of Italy to their administrative positions in the Empire without loss of retirement pension rights (you have to live in Wisconsin to appreciate this one, we have had protests that paralyzed state government over reducing public employee pensions, so it is interesting to see that one minor war has been fought at least in part over the issue!)

Ouchy Castle!  In Ouchy Switzerland.  This is where the Treaty of Ouchy was signed.  It looks like a very pleasant place.  Probably it is pronounced differently there than here.  It is near Lausanne, so is likely in the French speaking part of Switzerland.  "Oo-shay"?


Rob said...

Yes; it's Franco-Helvetia. Yes, it's probably oo-shay or oo-shee, depending on demeanor and birth region.

(Yes, I adore Switzerland. They've managed universal health care and a 3% unemployment rate in spite of being culturally heterogenous.)

And yes, now you've got me scanning historical maps of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks for that! :-)

Anonymous said...

Further to Italian post offices: I've lived in Italy on and off for several years and, while the Italian lead the world in several fields, they are pretty much bottom of every league table where post offices are concerned. Last year I made the mistake of going on pension day and my local branch both lost the keys to the safe (wth!!!) and ran out of stamps! Nor is this atypical. I always say to visitors that an hour in an Italian post-office you see the true Italy: there is almost always some shouting and when my mother recently visited us in Italy she was jostled by a nun. All this to say Italian postoffices in the Ottoman Empire were likely a lethal weapon, worth several divisions in the field! Take care. Beach

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to find the full text of the Treaty of Ouchy online. Could you post it in here if you have a link? Pretty please?

Anonymous said...

Found it: