Bringing them together : Turkish-American relations and Turkish democracy, 1945-1950
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At certain times, the U.S. has been a complementary player in helping different countries to democratize without interfering in the affairs of the host country. During the Cold War, this policy owed to Washington’s anti-Communist disposition. Most of the time, anti-Communism, freedom, and democracy were used interchangeably. This thesis talks about such a case where the U.S. kept a close eye on the transition to democracy, namely Turkey from 1945 until 1950. Primary U.S. policy towards Turkey at the onset of the Cold War was to keep the Soviet Union out. Meanwhile, Turkish leaders’ democratic credentials, particularly those of Atatürk and İnönü, were the triggering factors for democratization. Treating the two traditionally separate phenomena, however, needs to be reconsidered. The thesis will look at the historical record to analyze how Turkish democratization was a factor in the relations between the U.S. and Turkey at the beginning of the Cold War. Contrary to expectations, the U.S. did not exert pressure on Turkey to democratize as Turkey moved steadily on that path. Also interestingly, Turkish statesmen and intellectuals saw democracy and the U.S. partnership as the manifestation of their modernization and Westernization. This point offers itself as another building block for the thesis.