Italo-Turkish War
Overview
 
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War (also known in Italy as the Guerra di Libia, "Libyan war", and in Turkey as the Trablusgarp Savaşı, "Tripolitan war") was fought between the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.

As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

, Fezzan
Fezzan
Fezzan is a south western region of modern Libya. It is largely desert but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys in the north, where oases enable ancient towns and villages to survive deep in the otherwise inhospitable Sahara.-Name:...

, and Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya.Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it was part of the Creta et Cyrenaica province during the Roman period, later divided in Libia Pentapolis and Libia Sicca...

. These provinces together formed what became known as Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

.

During the conflict, Italian forces also occupied the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

.
Encyclopedia
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War (also known in Italy as the Guerra di Libia, "Libyan war", and in Turkey as the Trablusgarp Savaşı, "Tripolitan war") was fought between the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.

As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

, Fezzan
Fezzan
Fezzan is a south western region of modern Libya. It is largely desert but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys in the north, where oases enable ancient towns and villages to survive deep in the otherwise inhospitable Sahara.-Name:...

, and Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya.Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it was part of the Creta et Cyrenaica province during the Roman period, later divided in Libia Pentapolis and Libia Sicca...

. These provinces together formed what became known as Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

.

During the conflict, Italian forces also occupied the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. Italy had agreed to return the Dodecanese Islands to the Ottoman Empire according to the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912 (also known as the First Treaty of Lausanne (1912), as it was signed at Ouchy Castle in Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, Switzerland.) However, the vagueness of the text allowed a provisional Italian administration of the islands, and Turkey eventually renounced all claims on these islands in Article 15 of the Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

 in 1923.

Turkey had to withdraw all its military forces and administrative agents from Libya according to Article 2 of the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912 (per Article 22 of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.)

Although minor, the war was a significant precursor of the First World War as it sparked nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 in the Balkan states. Seeing how easily the Italians had defeated the weakened Ottomans, the members of the Balkan League
Balkan League
The Balkan League was an alliance formed by a series of bilateral treaties concluded in 1912 between the Balkan states of Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia, and directed against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time still controlled much of the Balkan peninsula...

 attacked the Ottoman Empire
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

 before the war with Italy had ended.

The Italo-Turkish War saw numerous technological advances
Second generation warfare
Second generation warfare is a term created by the U.S. military in 1989, referring to the tactics of warfare used after the invention of the rifled musket and breech-loading weapons and continuing through the development of the machine gun and indirect fire....

 used in warfare, notably the aeroplane
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

. On October 23, 1911, an Italian pilot, Captain Carlo Piazza, flew over Turkish lines on the world's first aerial reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 mission, and on November 1, the first ever aerial bomb
Airstrike
An air strike is an attack on a specific objective by military aircraft during an offensive mission. Air strikes are commonly delivered from aircraft such as fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters, and others...

 was dropped by Sottotenente
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

 Giulio Gavotti
Giulio Gavotti
Giulio Gavotti was an Italian Lieutenant and pilot, who fought in the Italo-Turkish War. He set two firsts in the history of aerial warfare of heavier-than-air flyers: he was the first man to make an aerial bombardment, as well the first to perform a night mission.-Aerial bombardment:On the 1...

, on Turkish troops in Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, from an early model of Etrich Taube aircraft.

It was also in this conflict that the future first president of the Republic of Turkey and leader of the Turkish War of Independence
Turkish War of Independence
The Turkish War of Independence was a war of independence waged by Turkish nationalists against the Allies, after the country was partitioned by the Allies following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I...

, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

, distinguished himself militarily as a young officer
Binbashi
Binbashi or Bimbashi is a major in the Turkish army, of which term originated in the Ottoman army. The title was also used for a major in the Khedivial Egyptian army as Bimbashi...

 during the Battle of Tobruk
Battle of Tobruk (1911)
Battle of Tobruk or Nadura Hill Battle was a small engagement in the Italo-Turkish War. It is famous due to the involvement of Kemal Ataturk.-Background:Tobruk was a port with strategic importance...

.

Background

The claims of Italy over Libya dated back to discussions after the Congress of Berlin
Congress of Berlin
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans...

 in 1878, in which France
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 and Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 had agreed to the occupation of Tunisia
French occupation of Tunisia
The French conquest of Tunisia occurred in two phases in 1881: the first consisting of the invasion and securing of the country before the signing of a treaty of protection, and the second consisting in the suppression of a rebellion...

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 respectively, both parts of the then declining Ottoman Empire. When Italian diplomats hinted about possible opposition by their government, the French replied that Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 would have been a counterpart for Italy. In 1902, Italy and France had signed a secret treaty which accorded freedom of intervention in Tripolitania
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

 and Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. However, the Italian government did little to realize the opportunity and knowledge of Libyan territory and resources remained scarce in the following years.

The Italian press began a large-scale lobbying campaign in favour of an invasion of Libya
History of Libya as Italian Colony
The History of Libya as an Italian colony began in the 1910s and lasted until February 1947, when Italy officially lost all the colonies of the former Italian Empire.-First years:...

 at the end of March 1911. It was fancifully depicted as rich in minerals, well-watered, and defended by only 4,000 Ottoman troops. Also, the population was described as hostile to the Ottoman Empire and friendly to the Italians: the future invasion was going to be little more than a "military walk", according to them.

The Italian government was hesitant initially, but in the summer the preparations for the invasion were carried out and Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of...

 began to probe the other European major powers about their reactions to a possible invasion of Libya. The Socialist
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 party had strong influence over public opinion. However, it was in opposition and also divided on the issue. It acted ineffectively against a military intervention. (The future fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 leader Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 – at this time still a left-wing Socialist – took a prominent anti-war position.)

An ultimatum was presented to the Ottoman government led by the Committee of Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

 (CUP) party on the night of 26–27 September. Through Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n intermediation, the Ottomans replied with the proposal of transferring control of Libya without war, maintaining a formal Ottoman suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

. This suggestion was comparable to the situation in Egypt
Khedivate of Egypt
The Khedivate of Egypt was an autonomous tributary state of the Ottoman Empire.- Rise of Muhammad Ali :The Egypt Eyalet was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. The eyalet was ruled locally by the Mamluk military caste and their various beys , who started to fight amongst themselves for control of...

, which was under formal Ottoman suzerainty, but was actually controlled by the United Kingdom. Giolitti refused, and war was declared on September 29, 1911.

Opening manoeuvres

Despite the time it had had to prepare the invasion, the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) was largely unprepared when the war broke out. The Italian fleet appeared off Tripoli in the evening of September 28, but only began bombarding the port on October 3. The city was conquered by 1,500 sailors, much to the enthusiasm of the interventionist minority in Italy. Another proposal for a diplomatic settlement was rejected by the Italians, and the Turks determined therefore to defend the province.

The Turks did not have a full army in Trablusgarp
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

 (Libya). Many of the Ottoman officers had to travel there by their own means through Europe. They organized local Arabs and Bedouins for the defence against the Italian invasion.

Italian landing in Libya

The first disembarkation of Italian troops occurred on October 10. The Italian contingent of 20,000 troops was deemed sufficient to accomplish the conquest at the time. Tobruk
Tobruk
Tobruk or Tubruq is a city, seaport, and peninsula on Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt. It is the capital of the Butnan District and has a population of 120,000 ....

, Derna and Khoms were easily conquered, but the same was not true for Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

. The first true setback for the Italian troops happened on October 23, when poor placement of the troops near Tripoli led them to be almost completely encircled by more mobile Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

, backed by some Turkish regular units
Second Army (Ottoman Empire)
The Second Army of the Ottoman Empire was one of the field armies of the Ottoman Army. It was formed in the late 19th century during Ottoman military reforms.- Order of Battle, 1877:In 1877, it was stationed in what is now Bulgaria...

. The attack was portrayed as a simple revolt by the Italian press, but it nearly annihilated much of the small Italian expeditionary corps.

The corps was consequently enlarged to 100,000 men who had to face 20,000 Arabs and 8,000 Turks. The war turned into one of position. Even some of the earliest examples of utilisation in modern warfare of armoured cars and air power by the Italian forces had little effect on the initial outcome.

Trench phase

The Arabs and Turks, estimated at 15,000, made frequent attacks by day and night on the strongly entrenched Italian garrison in the southern suburbs of Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

. The four Italian regiments of infantry acted on the defensive and were supported by the San Marco and Agordat. The Italians rarely attempted a sortie.

An attack of 20,000 Turks was repulsed on November 30 with considerable losses. Shortly after this the garrison was reinforced by the 57th infantry regiment from Italy. The battleship Regina Elena also arrived from Tobruk. During the night of December 14 and 15 the Turks attacked in great force, but were repulsed by aid of the fire from the ships. The Italians lost several field guns.

At Derna the Turks and Arabs were estimated at 3500, but they were being constantly reinforced and a general assault on the Italian position was expected. The Italian and Turkish forces in Tripoli and Cyrenaica were constantly reinforced. The withdrawal of the Turks into the interior enabled them to reinforce their troops considerably.

The cost of the war was defrayed chiefly by voluntary offerings of all Islam. Turkish officers and men, weapons, ammunition, and all kinds of supplies were constantly sent across the Egyptian and Tunisian frontiers, notwithstanding their neutrality. The Italians occupied Sidi Barrami on the coast between Tobruk and Solum to prevent contraband and troops from entering across the Egyptian frontier, while the naval blockaders guarded the coast and captured several sailing ships with contraband.

Successively Italian troops landed at Tobruk
Tobruk
Tobruk or Tubruq is a city, seaport, and peninsula on Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt. It is the capital of the Butnan District and has a population of 120,000 ....

 after a brief bombardment on December 4, 1911, occupied the seashore and marched towards the hinterlands facing weak resistance
Resistance (military)
In military terminology, resistance or organised resistance refers to the ability of a military unit to continue to oppose an attack. Resistance ends when a unit surrenders, when all members of unit are killed or captured, or when a unit disperses...

. Small numbers of Turkish soldiers and Libyan volunteers were later organized by Captain Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

. The small 22 December Battle of Tobruk
Battle of Tobruk (1911)
Battle of Tobruk or Nadura Hill Battle was a small engagement in the Italo-Turkish War. It is famous due to the involvement of Kemal Ataturk.-Background:Tobruk was a port with strategic importance...

 resulted in Mustafa Kemal's victory. With this achievement, he was assigned to Derna War quarters to coordinate the field on 6 March 1912.

On 3 March 1912, 1,500 Libyan volunteers attacked Italian troops who were building trench
Trench
A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground. Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide , and by being narrow compared to their length ....

es near Derna. The Italians, who were outnumbered but had superior weaponry, held the line. A lack of coordination between the Italian units sent from Derna as reinforcements and the intervention of Turkish artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 threatened the Italian line, and the Arabs attempted to surround the Italian troops. Further Italian reinforcements, however, were able to stabilise the situation, and the battle ended in the afternoon with an Italian victory.

On September 14, the Italian command sent three columns of infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 to disband the Arab Turkish camp near Derna. The Italian troops occupied a plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

, interrupting Turkish supply lines. Three days later, the Turkish commander, Enver Bey, attacked the Italian positions on the plateau. The larger Italian fire drove back the Turkish soldiers, who were surrounded by a battalion of Alpini
Alpini
The Alpini, , are the elite mountain warfare soldiers of the Italian Army. They are currently organized in two operational brigades, which are subordinated to the Alpini Corps Command. The singular is Alpino ....

 and suffered heavy losses. A later Turkish attack had the same outcome. After that, operations in Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya.Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it was part of the Creta et Cyrenaica province during the Roman period, later divided in Libia Pentapolis and Libia Sicca...

 ceased until the end of the war.

Naval warfare

In January 1912 the Italian cruiser Piemonte, with the Soldati Artigliere class destroyers Artigliere and Garibaldino, sank seven Turkish gunboats (Ayintab, Bafra, Gökcedag, Kastamonu, Muha, Ordu and Refahiye) and a yacht (Sipka) in the Battle of the Kunfuda Bay. Then, on 24 February, in the Battle of Beirut
Battle of Beirut (1912)
The Battle of Beirut was a naval battle off the coast of Beirut during the Italo-Turkish War. Italian fears that the Ottoman naval forces at Beirut could be used to threaten the approach to the Suez canal led the Italian military to order the destruction of the Ottoman naval presence in the area...

, two Italian armoured cruisers attacked and sank an Ottoman casemate corvette
Corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

 and six lighter
Lighter (barge)
A lighter is a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. Lighters were traditionally unpowered and were moved and steered using long oars called "sweeps," with their motive power provided by water currents...

s, retreated, then returned and sank an Ottoman torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

. The Avnillah alone suffered 58 killed and 108 wounded. By contrast the Italian ships not only took no casualties, but no direct hits from the Ottoman warships at all. Italy had feared that the Ottoman naval forces at Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 could be used to threaten the approach to the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. The Ottoman naval presence at Beirut was completely annihilated and casualties on the Ottoman side were heavy. The Italian navy gained complete naval dominance of the southern Mediterranean for the rest of the war.

Although Italy could extend its control to almost all of the 2,000 km of the Libyan coast between April and early August 1912, its ground forces could not venture beyond the protection of the navy's guns and were thus limited to a thin coastal strip. In the summer of 1912, Italy began operations against the Turkish possessions in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 with the approval of the other powers that were eager to end a war that was lasting much longer than expected. Italy occupied twelve islands in the sea, the so-called Dodecanese
Dodecanese
The Dodecanese are a group of 12 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group generally defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. They belong to the Southern Sporades island group...

, but this raised the discontent of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, which feared that this could fuel the irredentism
Irredentism
Irredentism is any position advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. Some of these movements are also called pan-nationalist movements. It is a feature of identity politics and cultural...

 of nations such as Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Greece, causing imbalance in the already fragile situation in the Balkan area. The only other relevant military operation of the summer was an attack of five Italian torpedo boats in the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 on 18 July.

Irregular war in Libya

With a decree of 5 November 1911, Italy declared its suzerainty over Libya, although it controlled only some coastal stretches which were almost under siege by the local troops, with the exception of the area around Tripoli. Italian authorities adopted many repressive measures against the rebels, such as public hanging as a retaliation for ambushes. Italy could not move beyond a stalemate although it had vastly superior arms and outnumbered Turks and Arabs by four to one, fully controlling the coastal cities.

Treaty of Lausanne

Italian diplomats decided to take advantage of the situation to obtain a favourable peace deal. On October 18, 1912, Italy and the Ottoman Empire signed a treaty in Ouchy
Ouchy
Ouchy is a commune, port, and popular lakeside resort located south of the city of Lausanne in Switzerland at the edge of the Lake Léman ....

 near Lausanne (the First Treaty of Lausanne).

The main provisions of the treaty, often also called Treaty of Ouchy to distinguish it from the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

, were as follows:
  • The Ottomans will withdraw all military personnel from Trablus and Benghazi vilayets (Libya) but in return, Italy would return Rhodes and twelve Aegean islands nearby back to Turks.
  • Trablus and Benghazi vilayets will have a special status and a naib
    Naib
    Naib is an Arabic term for a local leader in some parts of the Ottoman Empire and eastern Caucasus.Naib or NAIB may also refer to:*National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics...

    (regent) and a kadı
    Qadi
    Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

    (judge) will represent the Caliph
    Caliph
    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

    .
  • Before the appointment of these kadıs and naibs, the Ottomans will consult the Italian government.
  • The Ottoman government will be responsible for the expenses of these kadıs and naibs.

Aftermath

The invasion of Libya was a costly enterprise for Italy. Instead of the 30 million lire
Italian lira
The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro...

 a month judged sufficient at its beginning, it reached a cost of 80 million a month for a much longer period than was originally estimated.

After the withdrawal of the Ottoman army the Italians could easily extend their occupation of the country, seizing East Tripolitania, Ghadames
Ghadames
Ghadames or Ghadamis is an oasis town in the Nalut District of the Fezzan region in southwestern Libya.-Geography:Ghadames lies roughly to the southwest of Tripoli, near the borders with Algeria and Tunisia. Ghadames borders Illizi Province, Algeria and Tataouine Governorate, Tunisia.The oasis...

, the Djebel and Fezzan
Fezzan
Fezzan is a south western region of modern Libya. It is largely desert but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys in the north, where oases enable ancient towns and villages to survive deep in the otherwise inhospitable Sahara.-Name:...

 with Murzuk
Murzuk
Murzuk is an oasis town and the capital of the Murzuq District in the Fezzan region of southwest Libya. Murzuk lies on the northern edge of the Murzuq Desert, a desert of ergs or great sand dunes, and section of the Sahara Desert.-History:...

 during 1913. The outbreak of the First World War with the necessity to bring back the troops to Italy, the proclamation of the Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 by the Ottomans and the uprising of the Libyans in Tripolitania forced the Italians to abandon all occupied territory and to entrench themselves in Tripoli, Derna, and on the coast of Cyrenaica. The Italian control over much of the interior of Libya remained ineffective until the late 1920s, when forces under the Generals Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio, 1st Duke of Addis Abeba, 1st Marquess of Sabotino was an Italian soldier and politician...

 and Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani, 1st Marquis of Neghelli , was an officer in the Italian Regio Esercito who led military expeditions in Africa before and during World War II.-Rise to prominence:...

 waged bloody pacification campaigns. Resistance petered out only after the execution of the rebel leader Omar Mukhtar
Omar Mukhtar
Omar Mukhtar , of the Mnifa, was born in the small village of Janzour, near Tobruk in eastern Barqa in Libya. Beginning in 1912, he organized and, for nearly twenty years, led native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya. The Italians captured and hanged him in 1931...

 on September 15, 1931.
Because of World War I, the Dodecanese
Dodecanese
The Dodecanese are a group of 12 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group generally defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. They belong to the Southern Sporades island group...

 islands remained under Italian military occupation. According to the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

, Italy was supposed to cede all of the islands except Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 to Greece, in exchange for a vast Italian zone of influence in southwest Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.

Yet the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War and the foundation of modern Turkey created a new situation that made the enforcement of the terms of this treaty impossible. In article 15 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

, which superseded the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, Turkey formally recognised the Italian annexation of the Dodecanese islands.

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