Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Turco-Italian War

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TURCO-ITALIAN WAR. The acquisition of territory in north Africa by France shortly after the Franco-Prussian War had created deep resentment in Italy, which feared the loss of prestige on the Mediterranean. Especially alarming to Italy was the seizure of Tunis in 1881, by France. This incident, more than any other single factor, led Italy to enter the Triple Alliance (q. v.) with Austria and Germany. Thus protected, Italy set forth to acquire possessions in Africa, in rivalry with France. To weaken the Triple Alliance, however, France hastened to arrive at an agreement with Italy over their separate spheres of influence in Africa. Thus doubly strengthened, Italy declared war against Turkey on Sept. 29, 1911, choosing that time probably because of the disorder in the internal affairs brought about by the Young Turk Revolution. Italy immediately landed troops in Tripoli, and Cyrenaica, which was the territory in Africa coveted. Here the war was fought out, and because of the difficulty of the Turks in bringing troops to this distant possession, the Italians were able to gain a long series of victories. On Oct. 18, 1912, Turkey signed a treaty surrendering this territory to Italy, at Lausanne, Switzerland. Throughout the war all the other European countries had maintained an attitude of strict neutrality, with the exception of Russia, which had vetoed the Italian plans for an attack on the Dardanelles. There can be no doubt that Turkey would not have signed the Lausanne treaty had it not been for the fact that already Montenegro had fired the first shot of the campaign of invasion already threatened by the Balkan states.