A “National Congress” for Economic Sovereignty: The Context and Objective of the Economic Congress of Turkey (1923)


Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19448953.2024.2310912
  • Journal Name: Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Keywords: 1923, Economic Congress, economic independence, liberalism versus national economy, National Sovereignty
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The Economic Congress of Turkey and Mustafa Kemal’s (Atatürk) inaugural speech are often seen in the literature as symbolic messages sent during the Lausanne peace negotiations. While many studies suggest that Turkey, by convening this congress, was expressing its desire to align with the Western world and endorse liberal economic principles, the situation was more nuanced. Mustafa Kemal and the Congress did not advocate for ideas that would favour foreign capital and Great Powers. One of the central themes of the Economic Congress was ‘economic independence’, aligning with the pre-existing concepts of National Economics. There was strong opposition to capitulations and privileges rooted in the National Economics tradition, accompanied by a scepticism towards the ‘West’, with an emphasis on independence.