The Chester Project: One of the biggest symbols of the Industrial Revolution, the railway entered the Ottoman Empire many times before.
The first railway within the borders of the Ottoman Empire was built between Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt with the encouragement of the British. The first railway connecting the Ottoman to Europe was put into operation in the summer of 1888. Starting from the Austrian border and passing through Belgrade, Nis, Sofia and Edirne to Istanbul, the Orient Railways were now directly connected to London via Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Calais.
Transportation has always served the cultural, economic, political and military standardization in the regions it travels.
In the Ottoman Empire, the rebellions started and the country was weakened, and the transportation for the administrators of the Ottoman Empire was seen as the most effective and priority function for bu securing the unity of the land Osmanlı in addition to all these features and effects.
The 90 of the investment in Ottoman railways was foreign and the largest share in this capital belonged to France. In addition, the technical expertise needed for construction was entirely from Europe.
1 One of the first victories of the victorious states when World War I ended was the disarmament of the Turkish army and the confiscation of the existing railway line.
The Chester Project encompasses the privileges that a group led by American Rear Admiral Colby Mitchell Chester, trying to take in many areas, in particular the construction and operation of railways in Anatolia.
In the 1908 - 1914 period, the Chester Group first took this project to the government, which was established after the 1908 Young Turk revolution. The project that cannot be realized as a result of the interviews and preliminary studies is 1. With the outbreak of World War II he was shelved for a while. In later years, the project's interlocutor 1922 - 1923 years has not been in Kemalist Turkey's new government is being formed.
According to the Chester Project, the group company (Ottoman - American Development Company), which will be the owner of a concession, has no km. about 4.400 km in Anatolia without warranty or charge. The length of the railway would be built by three ports, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coast. On the other hand, it would have the right to operate all existing and existing mineral resources within the 40-kilometer strip with the 99 yearbook.
The railways to be laid would be in the form of a normal single line at the 1.435, and enough land would be left to lay a second line next to it. The route that the railways would pass was composed of the following lines;
1. Sivas - Harput-Ergani - Diyarbakir - Bitlis (south or north of Lake Van) - Van
2. Harput - Ovary
3. Mosul - Kirkuk - Sulaymaniyah. (In addition, new lines have been added with additional contract)
4. Location Samsun - Havza - Amasya - Zile - Sivas
5. Musaköy - (on 4. Line) - Ankara
6. Underwater (on 1. Line) - Erzurum - Dogubeyazit (Iran border)
7. Pikric or Askale (on 6. Line) - Black Sea coast (probably Trabzon)
8. Hacışefaatli (On the line 5.) - Kayseri - Ulukışla
The company would build two separate ports on the Black Sea coast, one in Samsun. He could also build a port in the Yumurtalık, on the Mediterranean coast, to cover the cost of construction.
In return, if the Turkish government wanted, it could nationalize the main lines by paying the equivalent of 30 years later. After the 99 year, which was the term of the agreement, all the facilities that the company had built and operated until then would naturally be handed over to the state.
The most striking feature of the concession agreement is the total 40 on both sides of the lines. was to give the company the right to operate all the underground resources (mine, mineral water, oil, etc.) available in a lane, or to be given to 99 for the year. In addition, the company would have the privilege to establish any kind of mineral processing plant. All kinds of legal, financial and administrative facilities (such as tax immunity in import and domestic purchases and the free use of the land for the use of the company) for the railway, port construction and operation would also apply to the extraction and operation of underground resources.
The fact that the right to extract and process all the underground resources in the area of 20 on both sides of the railway lines will be added to the project is a different dimension than being only a railway project; Oil.
The Chester Project included a number of separate concessions, including construction contracts calculated to cost 200 million to 300 million, and the operation of 10 billion dollars and other natural resources, according to the currency value of that period.
In the secret reports of the geological surveys conducted by the British, German, French and other groups on the territory covered by the Chester Concession, these lands can be used in oil, copper, gold, platinum, silver, iron, lead, zinc, tin, mercury, cobalt, magnesium, nickel, antimony, coal and salt-rich. It was estimated that the Van and Mosul provinces had a potential of 8 billion barrels of oil, and the Ergani copper mine had a high copper ore of 200 million tons.
Arthur Chester is also said to have created a project to build a new city on the southwestern bank of Ankara, including a map of the city, as part of this concession project. Within the scope of this project, government buildings, roads, streets, sidewalks of the city will be constructed, parks will be opened, lots of water will be brought to the city, electricity and lighting network will be established, tramways and telephone lines will be established. There will be two tunnels under each street, one of these tunnels would be for sewers, the other would be for electricity, telegraph and telephone wires and an artificial lake would be built in the middle of the city.
The Turkish Government took a decision on the Chester Project, which was discussed and voted at the Parliament, by giving the concession that the 29 was officially signed on April 1923, which was surprisingly demanding.
The US government, despite all the demands of the Chester Group, refrained from supporting the project from the very beginning, and did not intend to officially support the project, despite the fact that the Chester Project was formally recognized by the Ankara Government. There were two reasons for this. The second reason was the pressure on the US government by cooperating with the TPC, another US group, who had no interest in the Mosul Oil. In addition, the US government intends to continue its ”open door“ policy, which it has implemented around the world.
The international opposition, which started more and more negotiations, was further intensified by the ratification of the agreement. Because the concession of the many railways that were planned to be made in the signed agreement was given to other groups in the Ottoman period before: Russia, Germany, France and Great Britain claimed to have suffered financial damage with the Chester Convention.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Grand National Assembly government continues to negotiate Lausanne intensely, not only with the Greeks attacking and defeating Anatolia, but also with the states that defeated the Ottoman State in the First World War, and with all the liquidation cases of this empire that is now in history. had to face too.
During the Lausanne talks that started on 20 November 1922, Ottoman debts, Turkish - Greek border, Straits, Mosul, minorities and Capitulations were discussed. No agreement was reached on the removal of capitulations, the evacuation of Istanbul and Mosul.
The negotiations that started again on 23 April 1923 with mutual concessions continued until 24 July 1923 and this process resulted in the signing of the Lausanne Peace Treaty.
The National Pact within the borders of an independent Turkish state to recognize Lausanne up to agreement on everything except Mosul problems with the agreement, the parties have this issue to be resolved in future periods between Turkey and the UK, took a decision to be taken on the case can not be resolved League of Nations Council.
29 signed by the Turkish Government on December 1923 by the Turkish Government on the date of April 1923 by the Turkish Government that the Government of the United States was not abolished due to the lack of ownership of the project and the Ankara Government has repeatedly called the company for the implementation of the project. officials reported.
The Council of Nations 1925 decided in December in favor of Britain. Mosul 25 remained in Iraq on the condition that the year was under the British mandate.
As a result, the Chester Project remained a project and could not be implemented. The reason why the project has not been implemented is due to some sources; this project, the American support of the Kemalists in Lausanne to get pressure on the Europeans to use after a function to remain, the Mosul region in some sources to remain under the control of the British with the interest in the project and the withdrawal of the investor, in some sources with the current content and quality of this project, It is stated that it is impossible to implement it in the new period which is dominated by the European standardist - modern standardization method.
While the Chester Project is apparently a railway project, it is noteworthy that the imperialist states have demonstrated their struggle over the territory of the region, given the period in which they were implemented.
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