In 1920, Britain and France signed the Treaty of Sèvres, partitioning the Ottoman empire between them. But after the reorganized Ottoman army defeated French and British forces and Turkey was founded as a modern nation-state, the treaty was scrapped. Nick Danforth argues that, while the Sykes-Picot treaty (in which France and Britain divided other parts of the Middle East) gets considerably more attention, Sèvres left its own important legacy:
Sèvres has been largely forgotten in the West, but it has a potent legacy in Turkey, where it has helped fuel a form of nationalist paranoia some scholars have called the “Sèvres syndrome.” . . . Turkey’s foundational struggle with colonial occupation left its mark in a persistent form of anti-imperial nationalism, directed first against Britain, during the cold war against Russia, and now, quite frequently, against the United States. . . .
[L]ooking at history through the lens of the Sèvres treaty suggests a deeper point about the cause-and-effect relationship between European-drawn borders and Middle Eastern instability: the regions that ended up with borders imposed by Europe tended to be those already too weak or disorganized to successfully resist colonial occupation. Turkey didn’t become wealthier and more democratic than Syria or Iraq because it had the good fortune to get the right borders. Rather, the factors that enabled Turkey to defy European plans and draw its own borders—including an army and economic infrastructure inherited from the Ottoman empire—were some of the same ones that enabled Turkey to build a strong, centralized, European-style nation-state.