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The Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi (less correctly spelled as Unkiar Skelessi) was a treaty signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1833, following the aid of Russia against the Pasha of Egypt in 1833.


Muhammad Ali of Egypt, ostensibly only a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, was seeking to increase his personal power and gain control over Palestine, Syria, and Arabia. In late 1831, he took his newly reformed army into Syria, resulting in the Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833) against the Ottoman Sultan, Mahmud II. Ali easily defeated Ottoman forces and threatened Constantinople itself. This led to the Convention of Kutahya in May 1833, which left Muhammad Ali in control of Syria and Arabia. The sultan called for aid to Great Britain. Great Britain was also against the Pasha, but didn't come to his aid because of the revolutionary climate in Europe. While France was sympathetic to Muhammad Ali, Nicholas I sent a Russian army to the assistance of the Ottoman Empire. In return for his help Nicholas I made the Sultan sign the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi.

The Treaty

On 8 July 1833, the Russians and Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi. This treaty amended certain articles of the Treaty of Adrianople of 1829. Under the Treaty the annual indemnity payments required of Turkey were curtailed.[1] However, the Treaty bound Turkey and Russia to a promise of mutual assistance should either be attacked by a foreign power—a defensive treaty.[1] A secret article exempted the Ottoman Empire from sending military forces; instead, they were to close the Dardanelles to all non-Russian ships—possibly an offensive treaty.[2][3]

Britain and France were suspicious of the treaty, fearing that Ottoman had given Russia freedom of action to send warships through the Dardanelles. Thus creating the offensive treaty that worried Russian European opponents. Doubts, about the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi were, however, quelled in 1841 by the London Straits Convention.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Karl Marx, "Palmerston: Fifth Article" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 12 (International Publishers: New York, 1979) p. 379.
  2. Karl Marx, "Palmerston: Fifth Article" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 12 p. 379.
  3. Efraim Karsh (2001). Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East. Harvard University Press. p. 35. 

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