Turkısh Foreıgn Polıcy 1 Dersi 2. Ünite Özet

09.08.2022
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Turkish Foreign Policy İn The Early Years, 1923-1938

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Açıköğretim derslerinden Turkısh Foreıgn Polıcy 1 Dersi 2. Ünite Özet için hazırlanan  ders çalışma dokümanına (ders özeti / sorularla öğrenelim) aşağıdan erişebilirsiniz. AÖF Ders Notları ile sınavlara çok daha etkili bir şekilde çalışabilirsiniz. Sınavlarınızda başarılar dileriz.

Turkish Foreign Policy İn The Early Years, 1923-1938

Introduction

Turkish foreign policy from the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 to the onset of WWII in 1939 was primarily guided by the foreign policy understanding of Atatürk , the founder of Modern Turkey.

The Main Features of Turkish Foreign Policy During the Atatürk Era

Baskın Oran (2001a: 46) stresses two defining features of Turkish foreign policy laid down by Atatürk; namely, Status quoism and Westernism. Status quoism means attachment to and preservation of existing order. According to Oran (2001a: 47), there were four main reasons behind the status quoist foreign policy understanding of Turkey during the Atatürk era. First, it was a newly-established state lacking economic and military capabilities to pursue pro- active foreign policy.

Atatürk’s Westernism did not dictate complete obedience to the West. On the contrary, it was “ Westernism in spite of the West”

The Treaty of Lausanne

The Lausanne Peace conference of 1922-1923 was organized to formally end WWI after Turkish victory over Greece in Anatolia.

Both the Istanbul government and the Ankara government were invited to the Lausanne Peace Conference.

While the Istanbul government led by the Sultan was willing to compromise for the survival of the throne and the Empire, the Ankara government would accept nothing less than complete independence and sovereignty over Anatolia.

Atatürk therefore announced the abolition of the Sultanate on November 1, 1922.

The main issues negotiated at the Lausanne Peace Conference include territorial and military issues, foreigners’ rights and capitulations, as well as economic issues and the Ottoman debts. e negotiations of the Lausanne Peace Conference were held in two rounds. e first round took place between 21 November 1922 and 4 February 1923. It revealed the participant states’ disagreement over Capitulations, the Straits, and the Ottoman debts.

The Mosul Problem

The Mosul problem could be seen as the only major issue for Turkish foreign policy during the rest of 1920s. After Lausanne, the Republic of Turkey was established on 29 October 1923. Turkey thereafter initiated a pro-Western transformation process by adopting the European legal system, reforming its education system based on the Westinspired scientific methods, embracing a European style dress code and adopting Latin alphabet.

Although Turkey declared that it would not recognize the League’s decision, Turkish government then consented to the decision through a bilateral agreement with Britain in 1926. Despite its protests, Turkey was aware that it was not militarily and economically ready to fight the British for Mosul (Hale, 2000: 51). Signed in 5 June 1926 in Ankara, the agreement confirmed Turkey’s withdrawal from Mosul and the payment to Turkey 25% of the local oil revenues for 25 years.

The Italian Threat and the Quest for International Partnerships

Throughout the 1930s, Turkish decision- makers increasingly felt threatened from Italy’s offensive intentions in its foreign policy and aimed to form international partnership and enter into regional alliances to prevent an Italian aggression into Turkish territories. After the Lausanne Treaty in 1923, the Italian-Turkish relations entered into a period of thaw. Italy even provided military and financial assistance to Turkey in the late 1920s. However, following the Great Depression, Italy started to exercise an aggressive foreign policy. It refused to be bound by international agreements it had signed, remilitarized the Dodecanese islands , and invaded Ethiopia and Albania. Italy’s revisionist foreign policy ambitions in the 1930s were alarming for Turkey (Hale, 2000).

Critical Foreign Policy Issues in the Late 1930s: The Turkish Straits and the Sanjak Issue

The Turkish Straits and the future of the Sanjak of Alexandretta were among the critical issues in the late 1930s that would have posed a threat to both its relations with big powers at the time and the relative security and stability in the region. We will review both issues in some detail below.

The Montreux International Straits Convention

The straits of Gallipoli and Istanbul are not only crucial passages enabling transportation between Europe and Asia, but also function as important trade routes and natural security corridors across several regions. Therefore, any changes in the political status of the straits might have a direct impact on the security and economy of the Balkans, the Middle East and the Black Sea. e Ottoman Empire had governed the straits undisputedly over 300 years until 1774 when Russia was given commercial access to the straits. Especially, following the First World War, the Ottomans lost control over the straits since the provisions of the Sevres Treaty in 1920 enforced a strict international jurisdiction over the straits. e Sevres Treaty was never realized since Turkey won the War of Independence and signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1923. However, the administration of the straits was still under the authority of an international committee of the League of Nations.

The Accession of the Sanjak of Alexandretta (Hatay)

The Sanjak of Alexandretta , which had been under the Ottoman sovereignty for a long time, was transferred to the French mandate as part of Syria following the First World War. France and Turkey agreed to give a special status to Alexandretta within the French Syria. is special status helped secure the cultural and social rights of the local Turkish community. In 1936, France decided to recognize the independence of Syria and Lebanon. Turkey was concerned about the political status of the Turkish community in Alexandretta. Therefore, just like in the case of the straits, the Turkish government applied the League of Nations in order to maintain the special status of the local Turks. An agreement under British mediation was achieved in 24 January 1937 and the Sanjak of Alexandretta was granted autonomy within Syria. The Hatay government, given the threatening situation in Europe, decided to join Turkey as the 64th city of the Turkish Republic in 30 June 1939, only a week after the signature of the mutual assistance pact between Turkey and France.

An Assessment of Turkish Foreign Policy in the Early Years of the Republic

Overall, this chapter discussed the main undertakings of Turkish foreign policy during the Republican period. Atatürk’s foreign policy was defined by four main features: Status quoism , Westernism, Pragmatism and Multilateralism . As a newly established republic, Turkey aimed to preserve its independence and sovereign equality in international arena by avoiding use of force and resorting to diplomatic practice. During the first decade, Turkey mainly focused on the pro-Western reform process at home and therefore Turkish government reflected a low profile in its foreign relations. e only remarkable developments in Turkish foreign policy during the 1920s were the Treaty of Lausanne that won Turkey its independence and the Mosul problem with Britain regarding the status of Northern Iraq. During the second decade, Turkey was much more assertive in its foreign policy. e primary reason for this was the world economic crisis that considerably altered the post-First World War international order.

The chaotic multipolar international system triggered by the Great Depression enabled Turkey to take a step back from status quoism and conduct a more assertive foreign policy remaining loyal to Westernism, multilateralism and pragmatism.

Atatürk was the mastermind behind Turkey’s successes in foreign policy throughout the 1930s. His foreign policy vision fit perfectly into the role of holder of balance.

Introduction

Turkish foreign policy from the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 to the onset of WWII in 1939 was primarily guided by the foreign policy understanding of Atatürk , the founder of Modern Turkey.

The Main Features of Turkish Foreign Policy During the Atatürk Era

Baskın Oran (2001a: 46) stresses two defining features of Turkish foreign policy laid down by Atatürk; namely, Status quoism and Westernism. Status quoism means attachment to and preservation of existing order. According to Oran (2001a: 47), there were four main reasons behind the status quoist foreign policy understanding of Turkey during the Atatürk era. First, it was a newly-established state lacking economic and military capabilities to pursue pro- active foreign policy.

Atatürk’s Westernism did not dictate complete obedience to the West. On the contrary, it was “ Westernism in spite of the West”

The Treaty of Lausanne

The Lausanne Peace conference of 1922-1923 was organized to formally end WWI after Turkish victory over Greece in Anatolia.

Both the Istanbul government and the Ankara government were invited to the Lausanne Peace Conference.

While the Istanbul government led by the Sultan was willing to compromise for the survival of the throne and the Empire, the Ankara government would accept nothing less than complete independence and sovereignty over Anatolia.

Atatürk therefore announced the abolition of the Sultanate on November 1, 1922.

The main issues negotiated at the Lausanne Peace Conference include territorial and military issues, foreigners’ rights and capitulations, as well as economic issues and the Ottoman debts. e negotiations of the Lausanne Peace Conference were held in two rounds. e first round took place between 21 November 1922 and 4 February 1923. It revealed the participant states’ disagreement over Capitulations, the Straits, and the Ottoman debts.

The Mosul Problem

The Mosul problem could be seen as the only major issue for Turkish foreign policy during the rest of 1920s. After Lausanne, the Republic of Turkey was established on 29 October 1923. Turkey thereafter initiated a pro-Western transformation process by adopting the European legal system, reforming its education system based on the Westinspired scientific methods, embracing a European style dress code and adopting Latin alphabet.

Although Turkey declared that it would not recognize the League’s decision, Turkish government then consented to the decision through a bilateral agreement with Britain in 1926. Despite its protests, Turkey was aware that it was not militarily and economically ready to fight the British for Mosul (Hale, 2000: 51). Signed in 5 June 1926 in Ankara, the agreement confirmed Turkey’s withdrawal from Mosul and the payment to Turkey 25% of the local oil revenues for 25 years.

The Italian Threat and the Quest for International Partnerships

Throughout the 1930s, Turkish decision- makers increasingly felt threatened from Italy’s offensive intentions in its foreign policy and aimed to form international partnership and enter into regional alliances to prevent an Italian aggression into Turkish territories. After the Lausanne Treaty in 1923, the Italian-Turkish relations entered into a period of thaw. Italy even provided military and financial assistance to Turkey in the late 1920s. However, following the Great Depression, Italy started to exercise an aggressive foreign policy. It refused to be bound by international agreements it had signed, remilitarized the Dodecanese islands , and invaded Ethiopia and Albania. Italy’s revisionist foreign policy ambitions in the 1930s were alarming for Turkey (Hale, 2000).

Critical Foreign Policy Issues in the Late 1930s: The Turkish Straits and the Sanjak Issue

The Turkish Straits and the future of the Sanjak of Alexandretta were among the critical issues in the late 1930s that would have posed a threat to both its relations with big powers at the time and the relative security and stability in the region. We will review both issues in some detail below.

The Montreux International Straits Convention

The straits of Gallipoli and Istanbul are not only crucial passages enabling transportation between Europe and Asia, but also function as important trade routes and natural security corridors across several regions. Therefore, any changes in the political status of the straits might have a direct impact on the security and economy of the Balkans, the Middle East and the Black Sea. e Ottoman Empire had governed the straits undisputedly over 300 years until 1774 when Russia was given commercial access to the straits. Especially, following the First World War, the Ottomans lost control over the straits since the provisions of the Sevres Treaty in 1920 enforced a strict international jurisdiction over the straits. e Sevres Treaty was never realized since Turkey won the War of Independence and signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1923. However, the administration of the straits was still under the authority of an international committee of the League of Nations.

The Accession of the Sanjak of Alexandretta (Hatay)

The Sanjak of Alexandretta , which had been under the Ottoman sovereignty for a long time, was transferred to the French mandate as part of Syria following the First World War. France and Turkey agreed to give a special status to Alexandretta within the French Syria. is special status helped secure the cultural and social rights of the local Turkish community. In 1936, France decided to recognize the independence of Syria and Lebanon. Turkey was concerned about the political status of the Turkish community in Alexandretta. Therefore, just like in the case of the straits, the Turkish government applied the League of Nations in order to maintain the special status of the local Turks. An agreement under British mediation was achieved in 24 January 1937 and the Sanjak of Alexandretta was granted autonomy within Syria. The Hatay government, given the threatening situation in Europe, decided to join Turkey as the 64th city of the Turkish Republic in 30 June 1939, only a week after the signature of the mutual assistance pact between Turkey and France.

An Assessment of Turkish Foreign Policy in the Early Years of the Republic

Overall, this chapter discussed the main undertakings of Turkish foreign policy during the Republican period. Atatürk’s foreign policy was defined by four main features: Status quoism , Westernism, Pragmatism and Multilateralism . As a newly established republic, Turkey aimed to preserve its independence and sovereign equality in international arena by avoiding use of force and resorting to diplomatic practice. During the first decade, Turkey mainly focused on the pro-Western reform process at home and therefore Turkish government reflected a low profile in its foreign relations. e only remarkable developments in Turkish foreign policy during the 1920s were the Treaty of Lausanne that won Turkey its independence and the Mosul problem with Britain regarding the status of Northern Iraq. During the second decade, Turkey was much more assertive in its foreign policy. e primary reason for this was the world economic crisis that considerably altered the post-First World War international order.

The chaotic multipolar international system triggered by the Great Depression enabled Turkey to take a step back from status quoism and conduct a more assertive foreign policy remaining loyal to Westernism, multilateralism and pragmatism.

Atatürk was the mastermind behind Turkey’s successes in foreign policy throughout the 1930s. His foreign policy vision fit perfectly into the role of holder of balance.

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