100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

The Italian-Turkish War Ends

At the Congress of Berlin in 1878 France and Great Britain agreed to their occupation of Tunisia and Cyprus. To appease Italy it was agreed that Tripoli in Northern Africa would be occupied by the Italians. This was reinforced by a 1902 treaty between Italy and France that called for intervention in Tripolitania and Morocco. After nationalists whipped up war fever, Italy attacked Ottoman possessions in Tripolitania in late September 1911. The Italian-Turkish War had begun.

Italy possessed a far more modern military force than the Ottoman Empire. They seized major cities and used the first aircraft during wartime.


The Italians dropped the first bomb from an airplane during war, used the first radio and many other advanced technological events. The Italian Navy attacked Turkey, shelling the Dardanelles and sinking Ottoman ships. Italy dug in at northern Africa, controlling only some coastal stretches which were almost under siege by Arabs and Turkish troops. The Italian occupation was brutal and repressive. The fighting had reached a stalemate even though Italy possessed superior weapons and a large troops advantage. The war was a financial disaster for Italy. With hostilities commencing in the Balkan War, the Ottoman Empire was desirous of a truce.

On October 18, 1912 the Treaty of Luasanne was signed between the Ottomans and Italy. Independence was granted to Tripolitania and Cyrenaica long enough for the North African provinces to come under Italian control. Libya, as well as the Dodecanese Islands were returned to the Ottoman Empire and the Ottoman Sultan would continue as the Caliph of Libyan Muslims.

Turkish and Italian delegations at Lausanne
October 1912


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