Treaty of Turkmenchay
The Treaty of Turkmenchay (Russian: Туркманчайский договор, Persian: عهدنامه ترکمنچای) was an agreement between Persia (modern Iran) and the Russian Empire, which concluded the Russo-Persian War (1826–28). It was signed on 21 February 1828 in Torkamanchay, Iran. By the treaty, Persia ceded to Russia control of several areas in the South Caucasus: the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh Khanate, which had been Persian vassal states. The boundary between Russian and Persia was set at the Aras River.
The treaty was signed for Persia by Crown Prince Abbas Mirza and Allah-Yar Khan Asaf al-Daula, chancellor to Shah Fath Ali (of the Qajar Dynasty), and for Russia by General Ivan Paskievich. Like the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan, this treaty was imposed by Russia, following military victory over Persia. Paskievich threatened to occupy Tehran in five days unless the treaty was signed.
Terms of the treaty
By this treaty:
- Article 4: Persia renounced all claims over the Erivan Khanate (most of present-day central Armenia), the Nakhchivan Khanate (most of the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan), the Talysh Khanate (southeastern Azerbaijan), and the Ordubad and Mughan regions (now also part of Azerbaijan), and also reiterated the cessions made to Russia in the Treaty of Gulistan.
- Article 6: Persia promised to pay Russia 10 korur in gold or 20 million silver rubles (in 1828 currency).
- Article 7: Russia promised to support Abbas Mirza as the heir to the throne of Persia on the death of Shah Fath Ali. (This clause became moot when Abbas Mirza predeceased Shah Fath Ali.)
- Article 8: Persian ships lost full rights to navigate all of the Caspian Sea and its coasts, henceforth given to Russia.
- Persia recognized capitulation rights for Russian subjects in Persia.
- Article 10: Russia gained the right to send consular envoys anywhere in Persia.
- Article 10: Persia must accept commercial treaties with Russia as Russia specified.
- Article 13: Prisoners of war were exchanged.
- Persia officially apologized for breaking its promises made in the Gulistan Treaty.
- Article 15: Shah Fath Ali Shah promised not to charge or persecute any inhabitant or official in the region of Iranian Azerbaijan for any deed carried out during the war or during the temporary control of the region by Russian troops. In addition, all inhabitants of the aforementioned district were given the right to move from Persian districts to Russian districts if they wished to do so within one year.
The treaty also stipulated the resettlement of Armenians from Azarbaijan to the Caucasus, which also included an outright liberation of Armenians taken captive by Persia since 1804 or 1795. This resettlement replaced the 20,000 Armenians who moved to Georgia between 1795 to 1827.
According to Prof. Svante Cornell:
|“||In 1812 Russia ended a war with Turkey and went on the offensive against Iran. This led to the treaty of Gulistan in 1813, which gave Russia control over large territories that hitherto had been at least nominally Iranian, and moreover a say in Iranian succession politics. The whole of Daghestan and Georgia, including Mingrelia and Abkhazia were formally ceded to Russia, as well as eight Azeri Khanates (Karabakh, Ganja, Sheki, Kuba, Shirvan, Talysh, Baku, and Derbent). However as we have seen the Persians soon challenged Russia’s rule in the area, resulting in a military disaster. Iran lost control over the whole of Azerbaijan, and with the Turkemenchai settlement of 1828 Russia threatened to establish its control over Azerbaijan unless Iran paid a war indemnity. The British helped the Iranians with the matter, but the fact remained that Russian troops had marched as far as south of Tabriz. Although certain areas (including Tabriz) were returned to Iran, Russia was in fact at the peak of its territorial expansion.||”|
According to the Cambridge History of Iran:
|“||Even when rulers on the plateau lacked the means to effect suzerainty beyond the Aras, the neighboring Khanates were still regarded as Iranian dependencies. Naturally, it was those Khanates located closest to the province of Āzarbāījān which most frequently experienced attempts to re-impose Iranian suzerainty: the Khanates of Erivan, Nakhchivān and Qarābāgh across the Aras, and the cis-Aras Khanate of Ṭālish, with its administrative headquarters located at Lankarān and therefore very vulnerable to pressure, either from the direction of Tabrīz or Rasht. Beyond the Khanate of Qarābāgh, the Khān of Ganja and the Vāli of Gurjistān (ruler of the Kartli-Kakheti kingdom of south-east Georgia), although less accessible for purposes of coercion, were also regarded as the Shah's vassals, as were the Khāns of Shakki and Shīrvān, north of the Kura river. The contacts between Iran and the Khanates of Bākū and Qubba, however, were more tenuous and consisted mainly of maritime commercial links with Anzalī and Rasht.
The effectiveness of these somewhat haphazard assertions of suzerainty depended on the ability of a particular Shah to make his will felt, and the determination of the local khans to evade obligations they regarded as onerous.
Massacre at the Russian Embassy
In the aftermath of the war and signing of the treaty, anti-Russian sentiment in Persia was rampant. On 11 February 1829, an angry mob stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran and slaughtered almost everyone inside. Among those killed in the massacre was the newly appointed ambassador to Persia, Aleksander Griboyedov, a celebrated Russian playwright. Griboyedov had previously played an active role in negotiating the terms of the treaty.
- Zirisnky, M. “Reza Shah’s abrogation of capitulation, 1927-1928” in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah 1921-1941. Stephanie Cronin (ed.) London: Routledge, 2003, p. 81: “The context of this regime capitulations, of course, is that by the end of the reign of Fath Ali Shah (1798-1834), Iran could no longer defend its independence against the west... For Iran this was a time of weakness, humiliation and soul-searching as Iranians sought to assert their dignity against overwhelming pressure from the expansionist west."
- "Griboedov not only extended protection to those Caucasian captives who sought to go home but actively promoted the return of even those who did not volunteer. Large numbers of Georgian and Armenian captives had lived in Iran since 1804 or as far back as 1795." Fisher, William Bayne;Avery, Peter; Gershevitch, Ilya; Hambly, Gavin; Melville, Charles. The Cambridge History of Iran Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 339.
- (Russian) A. S. Griboyedov. "Записка о переселеніи армянъ изъ Персіи въ наши области", Фундаментальная Электронная Библиотека
- Bournoutian, George. "The Politics of Demography: Misuse of Sources on the Armenian Population of Mountainous Karabakh." Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, (1996, 1997 ), p. 103.
- Svante Cornell. Small nations and great powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond: Curzon Press, 2001, p. 37.
- Gavin R.G. Hambly, in The Cambridge History of Iran, ed. William Bayne Fisher (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 145-146
- See Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia. New York: Kodansha Globe, 1997, ISBN 1-56836-022-3
- H. Pir Nia, Abbas Eghbal Ashtiani, B. Agheli. History of Persia. Tehran, 2002. p. 673-686. ISBN 964-6895-16-6
- Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907
- Iran-Russia relations
- List of treaties
- Treaty of Akhal
- Treaty of Gulistan
- (Russian) Text of the Treaty of Turkmenchay