Turkısh Foreıgn Polıcy 1 Dersi 3. Ünite Özet

09.08.2022
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Turkish Foreign Policy During The Second World War, 1939-1945

Açıköğretim ders notları öğrenciler tarafından ders çalışma esnasında hazırlanmakta olup diğer ders çalışacak öğrenciler için paylaşılmaktadır. Sizlerde hazırladığınız ders notlarını paylaşmak istiyorsanız bizlere iletebilirsiniz.

Açıköğretim derslerinden Turkısh Foreıgn Polıcy 1 Dersi 3. 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 During The Second World War, 1939-1945

Introduction

Between 1939 and 1945, World War II created a new paradigm of political dynamics and realities. World War II has been by far the most devastating, traumatic, and violent of the armed conflicts. In particular, the Second Great War pushed the states to pursue new strategies in the international arena. As the war expanded to the extent that even the farthest corners of the world were threatened, it transformed into yet another World War. The minor and comparatively insignificant or weaker states helplessly strived to preserve their sovereignty by resorting to whatever international maneuvers they could implement: some formed alliances with the warring parties, while others signed treaties of mutual assistance and friendship.

Situated at the geo-political and geo-strategic center of the world, Turkey, some fifteen years after World War I, found herself in a multilateral dilemma. Turkey, as a new Republic founded in 1923, was yet again on the razor’s edge; it was forced to make the crucial but possibly fatal decision between remaining as a fully neutral country such as Switzerland, developing some internationally acceptable discourse to maintain a form of neutrality, or establishing some type of alliance with the warring parties.

Relations Between Turkey and the Warring Parties

The years between 1939 and 1945 corresponded to the Second World War, an extremely destructive period in which many countries were divided into two camps: the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers. Against the rise of German and Italian Fascism, the Western democracies of Britain and the USA formed an alliance with the communist Soviet Union.

The Ottoman Empire had experienced the trauma of the First World War and collapsed in the early 1920s. Therefore, the Ankara Government had to fight the War of Independence after the country had experienced an invasion by international forces. The Republic of Turkey was founded on the principles in line with those of Western democracies, but the country was lacking adequate military equipment and economic resources and had resolved not to take part in war unless its territorial integrity came under threat, a threat that became serious during the Second World War. The New Republic aimed basically to survive and maintain the nation’s territorial integrity.

The Interwar Period and the Legacy of Atatürk

At the core of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s foreign policy lay the principle of “ peace at home, peace in the world, ” which was his own maxim. The cadres that founded the Republic of Turkey and, most notably, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk cooperated closely with Western democracies and defined the priorities of Turkish foreign policy. During the prewar period, the focus of Turkish foreign policy was on maintaining the status quo.

Relations with Germany and Signing the Alliance Agreement with Britain and France

It is obvious that the Turkish decision makers had deemed it a mistake to ally with Germany during World War I and they did not want to repeat this mistake in World War II. When World War II broke out, the Turks presumed that the Allied nations would triumph and they therefore had built their foreign policy principles on this assumption. However, this is undoubtedly insufficient to understand the basics of Turkish foreign policy during the war as well as the period leading up to the war.

Turkey joined with Britain and France to form a coalition to balance the Axis powers. In fact, this coalition was established through the separate agreements.

Although Turkey developed economic, military, and diplomatic relations with both Britain and France, it acted very carefully to avoid harming its relations with Germany. During the 1930s, economic relations between the two countries increased. However, the volume of trade between the two countries fell by 10-15 percent in the aftermath of Turkey’s alliance with Britain in 1939. The Allies were reluctant to purchase the surplus exports, and thus the prices of Turkish exports fell. The increasing scarcity of imports resulted in shortages and the closure of factories. Thus, to find new customers for exports, Turkish leaders sought to revive trade relations with Germany.

However, Turkey stayed away from signing an alliance agreement with Germany and established its relations only on the basis of “friendship.” The first breaking point in Turkey’s relationship with Germany occurred in 1939when alliance agreements were signed between Turkey and Britain. In addition, Turkey’s termination of chrome exports to Germany and its decision to sell all its chrome to Britain as of October 1943 played a major role in the deterioration of her relations with Germany.

Therefore, one may argue that the idea that Turkey pursued a balanced policy between Britain and Germany in 1939 is not well founded.

In addition, Turkey always felt the immediate Soviet threat, and this threat pushed Turkey to return to its traditional foreign policy that had been pursued for almost 150 years: British political and diplomatic support against the Soviet threat.

Italy was also a threat to Turkey. In particular, Italy’s intention to gain naval control in the Eastern Mediterranean and the concessions it claimed regarding the Aegean Sea worried the Turkish decision makers. This perceived threat had a great effect on the Turkish-British alliance. Italy threatened not only the interests of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean but also those of Britain concerning the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

Declaration of “Non-Belligerency” by Turkey

Despite the cooperation and collaboration established with Britain, Turkey declared its non-belligerency on the same day that Italy entered the war in 1940. However, as per the agreement with Britain in 1939, Turkey was bound to render to Britain and France all assistance in her power.

Moreover, the British came to understand that Turkey’s position was precarious. The British stated that they had hardly expected Turkey to do otherwise when Turkey declared non-belligerency and fully recognized the difficulties in which it found herself. The treaty was valuable as a potential rather than an actual asset. The British Ambassador to Ankara admitted that “Turkey at this stage would prove more of a liability than an asset”. In addition, Turkey generally informed Britain of its decisions in advance, and thus it would be incorrect to state that such an important decision was made without the consent of the British government.

The most important event confirming the robustness of Turkish-British alliance occurred in 1940 following the invasion of France by Germany. The critical question was whether the French defeat would destroy the delicate balance of power in the Mediterranean. Turkey was particularly worried about the French fleet: if they were to be in the service of the Axis, Turkey would be gravely threatened from the sea.

It was stated that “securing Turkey’s loyalty was a major factor in the British decision to destroy the French fleet. In fact, the bombing of the French fleet by Britain in an effort to “secure Turkey’s loyalty” actually verifies how cordial the Turkish-British alliance was at the time.

However, in 1940, Germany invaded France and Romania, Italy attacked Greece, and the outstanding successes of the Axis powers on almost all fronts caused public opinion in Turkey to increasingly criticize the İsmet İnönü government. The same anxiety was also deeply felt by İnönü and his government. Therefore, it may be concluded that Turkey gradually started to balance Britain in the mid-1940, not in 1939.

Maintaining Turkey’ S Neutrality

In 1941 and 1942, Turkey clearly followed a policy of balanced relations with the warring nations.

Getting Closer with Germany

Turkey decided to revise her close relations with Britain in 1941 to protect her national interests without frightening Germany. Thus, in 1941, Turkey was content to act in accordance with the permanent and enduring interests of the state that were mainly based on survival and the territorial integrity.

Italy’s entry into the war on the side of Germany and the perceivable effects of the war on the borders of Turkey resulted in the creation of a physical survival strategy. At this point, instead of following an aggressive policy to meet the threat coming from the West, Turkey preferred to establish good relations with the states that were potential threats. To this end, the Non-Aggression Pact was signed with Bulgaria on February 17, 1941. From this moment on, the word “non-belligerency” was replaced by the word “ neutrality ” in diplomatic circles.

Balancing the Relations

Being a balancer was a significant role to play for some states such as Turkey that were strategically located: neighboring the Balkans; having a coastal border with the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea; and acting as a strategic and cultural bridge between the continents. Given such hard times when the world was polarized into the Allied and Axis powers, Turkey’s ability to succeed in treating each party equally is an issue that needs to be examined closely.

The Turks built the balance so skillfully that they took steps to please the British while winking at the Germans. Despite all the efforts of Turkey, the Non-Aggression Pact signed with Germany was enough to frighten the British. The Non-Aggression Pact led the British to doubt Turkey’s loyalty, and it impaired Britain’s prestige, particularly in the Muslim world. Moreover, Turkey diverted the immediate peril toward its historic enemy, and it demonstrated a tendency to insist that at no time did Turks ever regard Russia as anything but their primary enemy. Only then did the British start to call Turkey a “neutral” state rather than a “non-belligerent ally”.

Hard Times, 1941-1942

Turkey expected that Germany would beat Russia whereas Great Britain would beat Germany. While balancing Germany and Britain on her own, Turkey expected her traditional enemy, Russia, to lose the war. However, by the end of April 1941, the Nazis had invaded all of Europe, and the Axis had even entered the islands around Turkey, while Rommel had advanced rapidly in North Africa. Therefore, Turkey anticipated that it might be the next target; Germany could attack Turkey through Iraq and Iran or even the Caucasus. Because Turkey had temporized during the negotiations on the friendship agreement, it had weakened its defense against the Germans in several ways.

Another pair of events in 1941 that must be emphasized are Rashid Ali’s coup, which took place in Iraq, and the invasion of Iran by Britain and the Soviet Union. In 1941, the German troops were continuously victorious, and the Allies suffered heavy losses on almost all fronts. In such a challenging period of the war, the Allies could not risk the occupation of Iran or Iraq by the Germans. In Iraq, Rashid Ali’s coup that supported Germany was repressed within a month, and Iraq was invaded as soon as it was understood that it had fallen under the influence of the Germans.

The Turkish decision makers calculated very well when to stop and when to act, and they repeatedly emphasized the smooth continuation of the Turkish-British alliance.

The year of 1942 was also a fluctuating period in the internal and external policy of Turkey. When the British and the Soviets signed the Mutual Assistance Agreement on May 26, 1942, the Turks thought that a secret agreement might have also been signed regarding the future of Turkey. Ultimately, the possibility of the Soviets dominating Eastern Europe alarmed Turkey after the United States had entered the war whole-heartedly and joined Britain in supporting the Soviets.

This anxiety made the anti-Soviet nationalist sentiments stronger in Turkey. It was believed that in a short period of time the views of Pan-Turkist movement would get materialized with the defeat and the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Germans. Ignoring the Turkish government’s policy of neutrality, Pan-Turk publications urged Turkey to join the war.

Late 1942 was another breaking point in relations between Turkey and Britain as well as Turkey and the Soviets. Turkey faced increased pressure from the successful counter-offensive of Britain at El Alamein and the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad in November 1942. Turkey was now considered a means for shortening the war.

The Rapprochement Between Turkey and The Allied Powers: The Year of Conferences, 1943

When a strong power is also a sea power, a “block” may lie directly between its territory and the territory of a land power or merely between the land power and the sea, access to which would bring the land power into conflict with the sea power. This was the case for Turkey during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and in World War II, particularly in the last phase of the war when Great Britain supported keeping İstanbul and the Straits out of Russia’s hands. It was an extremely difficult task for the British to moderate the endless requests of the Russians about the Straits while trying to convince Turkey to become involved in the war.

The Casablanca and Adana Conferences

The objectives of this task were discussed at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. Winston Churchill came to Casablanca having prepared plans for possible Turkish entry into the war. By the end of the Casablanca Conference, Churchill had taken what he had wanted very much: full authorization by great powers in executing his strategies concerning Turkey.

After the Casablanca Conference, Churchill decided to initiate negotiations with the Turkish authorities. Although Churchill was very hopeful that his pressure on Turkey would be fruitful, he was also aware that Turkey would not reveal a positive attitude, which would hurt Britain’s prestige. Yet Churchill was sure that he would obtain something substantial from the Turkish representatives, whom he knew had many reservations.

Wishing to address these reservations, Churchill told the Turkish President İsmet İnönü at the Adana Conference on January 30, 1943, that Turkey would be able to judge for herself any situation that might arise. He added that there might even be a moment in 1943 that Turkey would be strong and ready for entering the war, and Great Britain would have her strategic plans ready.

In Adana, Churchill conducted negotiations with the Turks very skillfully, and while he induced fear of the Russians in the Turks, he left the final decision to the Turks as to whether to enter the war.

Further Pressure on Turkey to Enter the War

The Casablanca and Adana Conferences revealed how important the possible Turkish involvement in the war was for Britain. The impartial stance of Turkey hampered the Anglo- Soviet plans that aimed to end the war as soon as possible and quickly defeat the Germans in the Balkan and Mediterranean theaters of the war. For this reason, Churchill decided to push Turkey to take Britain’s side in the war.

When the Allies began to raise the question of belligerency, the Turks were less perilously situated than they had been earlier. In 1943, the Allies were gaining the upper hand, and Germany was clearly on the losing end.

In addition, Russia sought to persuade Britain and the United States that it was essential to make changes in the Montreux Convention in a way that the new straits regime would satisfy Moscow. The Soviets resorted to different tactics to carry the Straits question to the allied conferences.

Following the Moscow Conference, however, at the First Cairo Conference (November 22- 26, 1943), the British gave a warning to the Turks that they had to join the war immediately. Moreover, the Teheran Conference (November 28-December 1, 1943) marked a turning point in the allied nations’ strategy toward the Turkish position.

Turkish Foreıgn Policy in the Final Years of the War: 1944-1945

After the second Cairo Conference, the British assumed “an attitude of unusual coolness” toward Turkey. They cancelled their military mission and limited the war supplies early in 1944. They warned Turkey in April 1944 that they would impose an embargo like those imposed on other impartial nations if Turkey insisted on sending strategic materials to Germany. The British were not alone in this warning; the United States also agreed with the British strategy. This was the moment that Turkey feared economic breakdown because of her tough resistance to meeting the demands of the Allies. Furthermore, the major concern of Turkey was that the Soviet Union was getting stronger each day, and the support of the Western Allies was its main hope for protecting itself against a strong Soviet Union.

Change in the Turkish Strategy Toward the Germans

Turkey reviewed its foreign policy strategy toward the Germans. In April 1944, Turkey declared that it would stop exporting chrome ore to Germany.

After the passage of some small German warships disguised as commercial vessels had been protested by the British, Turkey agreed that the Straits would be closed to all German ships.

Finally, when the Americans and the British demanded that Turkey end all diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany, Turkey made the crucial decision to do so on August 2, 1944. However, the German ambassador to Ankara, Franz Von Papen , warned Turkey by saying that “in very serious terms that such a breaking of relations as is planned under pressure of the United Kingdom would deprive Turkey, finally, of her freedom of action which up to now has been jealously guarded by her as a proud nation.

The Soviet Demands

The increased Soviet hostility toward Turkey was readily apparent in the summer of 1944. In July 1944, for example, the Russians had complained about the Western Allies’ proposal that Turkey’s breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany was not in conformity with the agreement earlier arrived at Moscow. On February 23, 1945, Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan. The actual reasons behind this decision were being able to participate in the United Nations Conference that would be held in San Francisco and appeasing the victorious Allied nations. However, almost immediately after the war, the British and the Turks narrowed their differences. The British Government discussed whether the “explicit promises” given by Stalin at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 toward respecting the territorial integrity of Turkey were remised by the Russians. As such, the fear of the Turks that its interests might be sacrificed by Great Britain in an attempt to divide Europe with the Russians into spheres of influence did not materialize. Given the Soviet purposes, the British increasingly supported Turkish interests.

The disagreements about their national interests and policies between the Soviets on the one side and the Americans and British, on the other resurfaced at the Potsdam Conference, held in 1945. By the time the Truman Doctrine was enunciated, Greece and Turkey had become the focal point of East-West confrontation. The United States had to play the leading role toward protecting Western interests against the Soviet expansionism. These aims were very clear regarding Turkey. Although a “hand with the Turks” was demanded and received at Casablanca by Churchill, now there was no one except the Americans to play this role.

The goal of Great Britain was simple and clear: preventing the Russian expansionism. Within two hundred years, Russia fought no less than seven wars with Turkey in an attempt to reach the Mediterranean by way of İstanbul; but, when Turkey was not strong enough to oppose Russia, England came to her aid. The historical mission of Great Britain, once again, continued with a firmer realism.

Introduction

Between 1939 and 1945, World War II created a new paradigm of political dynamics and realities. World War II has been by far the most devastating, traumatic, and violent of the armed conflicts. In particular, the Second Great War pushed the states to pursue new strategies in the international arena. As the war expanded to the extent that even the farthest corners of the world were threatened, it transformed into yet another World War. The minor and comparatively insignificant or weaker states helplessly strived to preserve their sovereignty by resorting to whatever international maneuvers they could implement: some formed alliances with the warring parties, while others signed treaties of mutual assistance and friendship.

Situated at the geo-political and geo-strategic center of the world, Turkey, some fifteen years after World War I, found herself in a multilateral dilemma. Turkey, as a new Republic founded in 1923, was yet again on the razor’s edge; it was forced to make the crucial but possibly fatal decision between remaining as a fully neutral country such as Switzerland, developing some internationally acceptable discourse to maintain a form of neutrality, or establishing some type of alliance with the warring parties.

Relations Between Turkey and the Warring Parties

The years between 1939 and 1945 corresponded to the Second World War, an extremely destructive period in which many countries were divided into two camps: the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers. Against the rise of German and Italian Fascism, the Western democracies of Britain and the USA formed an alliance with the communist Soviet Union.

The Ottoman Empire had experienced the trauma of the First World War and collapsed in the early 1920s. Therefore, the Ankara Government had to fight the War of Independence after the country had experienced an invasion by international forces. The Republic of Turkey was founded on the principles in line with those of Western democracies, but the country was lacking adequate military equipment and economic resources and had resolved not to take part in war unless its territorial integrity came under threat, a threat that became serious during the Second World War. The New Republic aimed basically to survive and maintain the nation’s territorial integrity.

The Interwar Period and the Legacy of Atatürk

At the core of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s foreign policy lay the principle of “ peace at home, peace in the world, ” which was his own maxim. The cadres that founded the Republic of Turkey and, most notably, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk cooperated closely with Western democracies and defined the priorities of Turkish foreign policy. During the prewar period, the focus of Turkish foreign policy was on maintaining the status quo.

Relations with Germany and Signing the Alliance Agreement with Britain and France

It is obvious that the Turkish decision makers had deemed it a mistake to ally with Germany during World War I and they did not want to repeat this mistake in World War II. When World War II broke out, the Turks presumed that the Allied nations would triumph and they therefore had built their foreign policy principles on this assumption. However, this is undoubtedly insufficient to understand the basics of Turkish foreign policy during the war as well as the period leading up to the war.

Turkey joined with Britain and France to form a coalition to balance the Axis powers. In fact, this coalition was established through the separate agreements.

Although Turkey developed economic, military, and diplomatic relations with both Britain and France, it acted very carefully to avoid harming its relations with Germany. During the 1930s, economic relations between the two countries increased. However, the volume of trade between the two countries fell by 10-15 percent in the aftermath of Turkey’s alliance with Britain in 1939. The Allies were reluctant to purchase the surplus exports, and thus the prices of Turkish exports fell. The increasing scarcity of imports resulted in shortages and the closure of factories. Thus, to find new customers for exports, Turkish leaders sought to revive trade relations with Germany.

However, Turkey stayed away from signing an alliance agreement with Germany and established its relations only on the basis of “friendship.” The first breaking point in Turkey’s relationship with Germany occurred in 1939when alliance agreements were signed between Turkey and Britain. In addition, Turkey’s termination of chrome exports to Germany and its decision to sell all its chrome to Britain as of October 1943 played a major role in the deterioration of her relations with Germany.

Therefore, one may argue that the idea that Turkey pursued a balanced policy between Britain and Germany in 1939 is not well founded.

In addition, Turkey always felt the immediate Soviet threat, and this threat pushed Turkey to return to its traditional foreign policy that had been pursued for almost 150 years: British political and diplomatic support against the Soviet threat.

Italy was also a threat to Turkey. In particular, Italy’s intention to gain naval control in the Eastern Mediterranean and the concessions it claimed regarding the Aegean Sea worried the Turkish decision makers. This perceived threat had a great effect on the Turkish-British alliance. Italy threatened not only the interests of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean but also those of Britain concerning the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

Declaration of “Non-Belligerency” by Turkey

Despite the cooperation and collaboration established with Britain, Turkey declared its non-belligerency on the same day that Italy entered the war in 1940. However, as per the agreement with Britain in 1939, Turkey was bound to render to Britain and France all assistance in her power.

Moreover, the British came to understand that Turkey’s position was precarious. The British stated that they had hardly expected Turkey to do otherwise when Turkey declared non-belligerency and fully recognized the difficulties in which it found herself. The treaty was valuable as a potential rather than an actual asset. The British Ambassador to Ankara admitted that “Turkey at this stage would prove more of a liability than an asset”. In addition, Turkey generally informed Britain of its decisions in advance, and thus it would be incorrect to state that such an important decision was made without the consent of the British government.

The most important event confirming the robustness of Turkish-British alliance occurred in 1940 following the invasion of France by Germany. The critical question was whether the French defeat would destroy the delicate balance of power in the Mediterranean. Turkey was particularly worried about the French fleet: if they were to be in the service of the Axis, Turkey would be gravely threatened from the sea.

It was stated that “securing Turkey’s loyalty was a major factor in the British decision to destroy the French fleet. In fact, the bombing of the French fleet by Britain in an effort to “secure Turkey’s loyalty” actually verifies how cordial the Turkish-British alliance was at the time.

However, in 1940, Germany invaded France and Romania, Italy attacked Greece, and the outstanding successes of the Axis powers on almost all fronts caused public opinion in Turkey to increasingly criticize the İsmet İnönü government. The same anxiety was also deeply felt by İnönü and his government. Therefore, it may be concluded that Turkey gradually started to balance Britain in the mid-1940, not in 1939.

Maintaining Turkey’ S Neutrality

In 1941 and 1942, Turkey clearly followed a policy of balanced relations with the warring nations.

Getting Closer with Germany

Turkey decided to revise her close relations with Britain in 1941 to protect her national interests without frightening Germany. Thus, in 1941, Turkey was content to act in accordance with the permanent and enduring interests of the state that were mainly based on survival and the territorial integrity.

Italy’s entry into the war on the side of Germany and the perceivable effects of the war on the borders of Turkey resulted in the creation of a physical survival strategy. At this point, instead of following an aggressive policy to meet the threat coming from the West, Turkey preferred to establish good relations with the states that were potential threats. To this end, the Non-Aggression Pact was signed with Bulgaria on February 17, 1941. From this moment on, the word “non-belligerency” was replaced by the word “ neutrality ” in diplomatic circles.

Balancing the Relations

Being a balancer was a significant role to play for some states such as Turkey that were strategically located: neighboring the Balkans; having a coastal border with the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea; and acting as a strategic and cultural bridge between the continents. Given such hard times when the world was polarized into the Allied and Axis powers, Turkey’s ability to succeed in treating each party equally is an issue that needs to be examined closely.

The Turks built the balance so skillfully that they took steps to please the British while winking at the Germans. Despite all the efforts of Turkey, the Non-Aggression Pact signed with Germany was enough to frighten the British. The Non-Aggression Pact led the British to doubt Turkey’s loyalty, and it impaired Britain’s prestige, particularly in the Muslim world. Moreover, Turkey diverted the immediate peril toward its historic enemy, and it demonstrated a tendency to insist that at no time did Turks ever regard Russia as anything but their primary enemy. Only then did the British start to call Turkey a “neutral” state rather than a “non-belligerent ally”.

Hard Times, 1941-1942

Turkey expected that Germany would beat Russia whereas Great Britain would beat Germany. While balancing Germany and Britain on her own, Turkey expected her traditional enemy, Russia, to lose the war. However, by the end of April 1941, the Nazis had invaded all of Europe, and the Axis had even entered the islands around Turkey, while Rommel had advanced rapidly in North Africa. Therefore, Turkey anticipated that it might be the next target; Germany could attack Turkey through Iraq and Iran or even the Caucasus. Because Turkey had temporized during the negotiations on the friendship agreement, it had weakened its defense against the Germans in several ways.

Another pair of events in 1941 that must be emphasized are Rashid Ali’s coup, which took place in Iraq, and the invasion of Iran by Britain and the Soviet Union. In 1941, the German troops were continuously victorious, and the Allies suffered heavy losses on almost all fronts. In such a challenging period of the war, the Allies could not risk the occupation of Iran or Iraq by the Germans. In Iraq, Rashid Ali’s coup that supported Germany was repressed within a month, and Iraq was invaded as soon as it was understood that it had fallen under the influence of the Germans.

The Turkish decision makers calculated very well when to stop and when to act, and they repeatedly emphasized the smooth continuation of the Turkish-British alliance.

The year of 1942 was also a fluctuating period in the internal and external policy of Turkey. When the British and the Soviets signed the Mutual Assistance Agreement on May 26, 1942, the Turks thought that a secret agreement might have also been signed regarding the future of Turkey. Ultimately, the possibility of the Soviets dominating Eastern Europe alarmed Turkey after the United States had entered the war whole-heartedly and joined Britain in supporting the Soviets.

This anxiety made the anti-Soviet nationalist sentiments stronger in Turkey. It was believed that in a short period of time the views of Pan-Turkist movement would get materialized with the defeat and the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Germans. Ignoring the Turkish government’s policy of neutrality, Pan-Turk publications urged Turkey to join the war.

Late 1942 was another breaking point in relations between Turkey and Britain as well as Turkey and the Soviets. Turkey faced increased pressure from the successful counter-offensive of Britain at El Alamein and the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad in November 1942. Turkey was now considered a means for shortening the war.

The Rapprochement Between Turkey and The Allied Powers: The Year of Conferences, 1943

When a strong power is also a sea power, a “block” may lie directly between its territory and the territory of a land power or merely between the land power and the sea, access to which would bring the land power into conflict with the sea power. This was the case for Turkey during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and in World War II, particularly in the last phase of the war when Great Britain supported keeping İstanbul and the Straits out of Russia’s hands. It was an extremely difficult task for the British to moderate the endless requests of the Russians about the Straits while trying to convince Turkey to become involved in the war.

The Casablanca and Adana Conferences

The objectives of this task were discussed at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. Winston Churchill came to Casablanca having prepared plans for possible Turkish entry into the war. By the end of the Casablanca Conference, Churchill had taken what he had wanted very much: full authorization by great powers in executing his strategies concerning Turkey.

After the Casablanca Conference, Churchill decided to initiate negotiations with the Turkish authorities. Although Churchill was very hopeful that his pressure on Turkey would be fruitful, he was also aware that Turkey would not reveal a positive attitude, which would hurt Britain’s prestige. Yet Churchill was sure that he would obtain something substantial from the Turkish representatives, whom he knew had many reservations.

Wishing to address these reservations, Churchill told the Turkish President İsmet İnönü at the Adana Conference on January 30, 1943, that Turkey would be able to judge for herself any situation that might arise. He added that there might even be a moment in 1943 that Turkey would be strong and ready for entering the war, and Great Britain would have her strategic plans ready.

In Adana, Churchill conducted negotiations with the Turks very skillfully, and while he induced fear of the Russians in the Turks, he left the final decision to the Turks as to whether to enter the war.

Further Pressure on Turkey to Enter the War

The Casablanca and Adana Conferences revealed how important the possible Turkish involvement in the war was for Britain. The impartial stance of Turkey hampered the Anglo- Soviet plans that aimed to end the war as soon as possible and quickly defeat the Germans in the Balkan and Mediterranean theaters of the war. For this reason, Churchill decided to push Turkey to take Britain’s side in the war.

When the Allies began to raise the question of belligerency, the Turks were less perilously situated than they had been earlier. In 1943, the Allies were gaining the upper hand, and Germany was clearly on the losing end.

In addition, Russia sought to persuade Britain and the United States that it was essential to make changes in the Montreux Convention in a way that the new straits regime would satisfy Moscow. The Soviets resorted to different tactics to carry the Straits question to the allied conferences.

Following the Moscow Conference, however, at the First Cairo Conference (November 22- 26, 1943), the British gave a warning to the Turks that they had to join the war immediately. Moreover, the Teheran Conference (November 28-December 1, 1943) marked a turning point in the allied nations’ strategy toward the Turkish position.

Turkish Foreıgn Policy in the Final Years of the War: 1944-1945

After the second Cairo Conference, the British assumed “an attitude of unusual coolness” toward Turkey. They cancelled their military mission and limited the war supplies early in 1944. They warned Turkey in April 1944 that they would impose an embargo like those imposed on other impartial nations if Turkey insisted on sending strategic materials to Germany. The British were not alone in this warning; the United States also agreed with the British strategy. This was the moment that Turkey feared economic breakdown because of her tough resistance to meeting the demands of the Allies. Furthermore, the major concern of Turkey was that the Soviet Union was getting stronger each day, and the support of the Western Allies was its main hope for protecting itself against a strong Soviet Union.

Change in the Turkish Strategy Toward the Germans

Turkey reviewed its foreign policy strategy toward the Germans. In April 1944, Turkey declared that it would stop exporting chrome ore to Germany.

After the passage of some small German warships disguised as commercial vessels had been protested by the British, Turkey agreed that the Straits would be closed to all German ships.

Finally, when the Americans and the British demanded that Turkey end all diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany, Turkey made the crucial decision to do so on August 2, 1944. However, the German ambassador to Ankara, Franz Von Papen , warned Turkey by saying that “in very serious terms that such a breaking of relations as is planned under pressure of the United Kingdom would deprive Turkey, finally, of her freedom of action which up to now has been jealously guarded by her as a proud nation.

The Soviet Demands

The increased Soviet hostility toward Turkey was readily apparent in the summer of 1944. In July 1944, for example, the Russians had complained about the Western Allies’ proposal that Turkey’s breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany was not in conformity with the agreement earlier arrived at Moscow. On February 23, 1945, Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan. The actual reasons behind this decision were being able to participate in the United Nations Conference that would be held in San Francisco and appeasing the victorious Allied nations. However, almost immediately after the war, the British and the Turks narrowed their differences. The British Government discussed whether the “explicit promises” given by Stalin at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 toward respecting the territorial integrity of Turkey were remised by the Russians. As such, the fear of the Turks that its interests might be sacrificed by Great Britain in an attempt to divide Europe with the Russians into spheres of influence did not materialize. Given the Soviet purposes, the British increasingly supported Turkish interests.

The disagreements about their national interests and policies between the Soviets on the one side and the Americans and British, on the other resurfaced at the Potsdam Conference, held in 1945. By the time the Truman Doctrine was enunciated, Greece and Turkey had become the focal point of East-West confrontation. The United States had to play the leading role toward protecting Western interests against the Soviet expansionism. These aims were very clear regarding Turkey. Although a “hand with the Turks” was demanded and received at Casablanca by Churchill, now there was no one except the Americans to play this role.

The goal of Great Britain was simple and clear: preventing the Russian expansionism. Within two hundred years, Russia fought no less than seven wars with Turkey in an attempt to reach the Mediterranean by way of İstanbul; but, when Turkey was not strong enough to oppose Russia, England came to her aid. The historical mission of Great Britain, once again, continued with a firmer realism.

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