Lighthouse Concession Problems in the Turkish Straits and the Collected Passage Fees (1860-1950)


Collecting charge through passage of Straits initially began systematically with the Ottoman State. The initial charge collected fort he passage through the Straits was lighthouse service fees. Additionally, health service fees, mooring fees, rescue fees and towage fees were among the initial charges that civil ships had to pay. The number of passages through the Straits sharply increased, especially soon after the Industrial Revolution and the widespread effect of Western capitalism which was bolstred by industrial developments. Contrary to accelerated developments the Ottoman State could not develop and adapt both passage services and newly emerging lighthouse technologies. This incapability led to the granting of the lighthouse service concession in the Straits to a French company, and after that, rescue operations in the Straits were also undertaken by Western countries. In particular, the process of reclaiming the lighthouses concession from French company caused some serious problems, even during the first decades of Republican era. The concession was nationalized a few years after the Montreux Convention with the help of new conditions that emerged at the eve of World War II. In this paper, the granting process of the lighthouse concession to a French company, the problems related to that concession, the process of reclaiming and lighthouse revenues collected through the passage will be analyzed. Additionally, the development process of rescue and health service charges will also be discussed, shedding light on the charging policies for services provided in the Straits.


lighthouse Turkish Straits passage fee France company concession rescue health services