The making of Turkey's western alliance : 1944-1952
Çetiner, Yusuf Turan
Criss, Nur Bilge
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This study analyses the formulation of Turkish foreign policy in the period 1944 to 1952 and considers the making of Turkey’s Western Alliance in this context. The thesis aims at indicating that Turkey’s resolute quest for a Western alliance in the aftermath of WW II was a natural end-result of the experiences inherited from wartime diplomacy. While Turkey’s sensitivity against the bloc strategy of world powers was continuing, it was evaluated by the makers of Turkish foreign policy that aggression could emerge from the totalitarian regimes which combined their forces or by one of them. Previously, the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 had demonstrated that the danger could emerge as a collective movement. Shortly afterwards, it was understood that the split in this bloc had not removed the threat either. In this framework of analysis, the thesis discusses that forced by the conditions of an unpredictable international environment, Turkey constantly sought the ways to enhance its security; an effort which eventually paved the way to the formation of an alliance with the West. In order to deepen the discussion in this context, the thesis makes a comparative study of Turkish foreign policy of the period in concern as well. Thus, attitudes of consecutive governments as mainly divided between those run under the Presidency of İsmet İnönü and the Democrat Party era after May 14, 1950 elections towards the course of international events are explored. On this premise, a contention is advanced that the making of Turkey’s Western Alliance and its adherence to NATO was the end-product of a variety of incidents and policies which operated towards this effect. Turkey’s participation in the plannings for a Middle Eastern Defence Organization (MEDO) and its decision to assign a combat force of a brigade size in the UN Command in Korea are evaluated as the main events of this process. In 1946, facing the Soviet assertiveness in global affairs, it was increasingly felt by the makers of Turkish foreign policy that maintaining an alliance with Britain and the USA was of utmost priority. At this juncture, Britain was pursuing a regular withdrawal policy from its global status which hampered London to develop a strategic partnership with Ankara. In its turn, Washington was not in favour of extending its commitments and had the opinion that as far as the coordination of security plannings were concerned Turkey was in Britain’s area of responsibility. It was the Truman Doctrine that marked a complete change in the US perception of Turkey and Greece. The thesis aims to shed light on a set of matters, the futile efforts around the MEDO and the concurrent hot conflict over Korea being the most significant ones. The period subsequent to the elections of May 1950 after which the Democrat Party administration decided to push Turkey to its limits - through hasty attempts at times - where the reflexes of benovelent neutrality towards the Allied side inherited from WW II left its place to an active search for security and partnership with the West is examined as the last phase in this process. In this framework, the thesis also aims to elaborate that the continuation of politics by war, and the continuation of war by politics continued throughout 1950 and 1952 which finally paved the way to the first enlargement of Western Alliance within the framework of NATO by the inclusion of Turkey and Greece.