The Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916 | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916

With the Ottoman Empire drawn into the war the Entente powers assumed that its defeat and dismemberment were inevitable. They negotiated between themselves which portions of the Empire they would take.

In 1915 Prime Minister Herbert Asquith appointed the de Bunsen Committee to identify the Ottoman territories that were of interest to Britain. They considered the port of Haifa in Palestine to be a useful transport link to Mesopotamia, but they did not see any value in the rest of Palestine.

The British saw the French as their main rivals for Ottoman territory in the Middle East. With the de Bunsen recommendations in mind, British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes met with French representative Francois Georges-Picot and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonow to negotiate a Russian-British-French agreement on the division of these territories. Commonly known as the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 allocated territory and zones of influence to Britain, France, Russia and Italy. Palestine was allocated a ‘special’ international administration. At this time all the territory was still under Ottoman rule.