Hunkar-Iskelesi, Treaty of (1833)

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Mutual defense agreement between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

In February 1833, the Egyptian army of Ibrahim Pasha reached Kutahya in Ottoman Turkey, less than 200 miles (322 km) from Constantinople (now Istanbul), seat of the Ottoman Empire. With few options short of capitulation, the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II sought help from his former enemy, Czar Nicholas I of Russia. Nicholas complied, and Russian troops and ships were dispatched to the Bosporus (Turkish straits). Though the Russian presence did not save the sultan from severe concessions to Ibrahim and his father Muhammad Ali, viceroy of Egypt, it did force Ibrahim to temper his demands and depart from Kutahya. Having helped the sultan, Nicholas demanded payment in the form of a defensive alliance. The Treaty of HunkarIskelesi, named after the Russian camp, was concluded on 8 July 1833. Concluded for eight years, it bound the sultan to close the Turkish straits to warships in times of war, and it provided for Russian aid if the Ottoman Empire was attacked. Though defensive, the treaty greatly alarmed the other European powers, who believed that it gave the Russians preponderant influence in Constantinople. Britain protested against the treaty and over the next years worked assiduously to reverse this setback to British interests in the Ottoman Empire.

See also ibrahim ibn muhammad ali; mahmud ii; muhammad ali; straits, turkish.


Anderson, M. S. The Eastern Question, 17741923: A Study in International Relations. London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's, 1966.

Hurewitz, J. C., trans. and ed. The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics, 2d edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975.

Shaw, Stanford, and Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. 2 vols. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 19761977.

zachary karabell