Gokay, B (2019) Turkish Neutrality in the Second World War and relations with the Soviet Union. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. (In Press)

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Abstract

According to official Turkish and Western historiography, following the key victories against the Nazi German forces, the Soviet leadership changed its position and started putting pressure on Turkey. Accordingly, the Soviet-Turkish relations changed significantly almost overnight from being considered friendly until March 1945, when Molotov initiated his note denouncing the 1925 Treaty of Friendship and Non-Aggression with Turkey and demanded a base in the Straits area and the return of Kars and Ardahan to the Soviet Union. Only after such hostile demands, the Turkish government decided to move away from the Soviets and requested help from the US. I have several points of reservation about this line of argument: firstly, the Soviet-Turkish relations were never very friendly. Essentially, a common enemy incited provisional collaboration between the two. Secondly, for the leadership of the Turkish Republic, alliance with the Soviet Union was always counted as temporary, and their essential foreign policy aim had always been to be accepted by the Western system of alliance. Thirdly, the Soviet demands regarding the Turkish Straits were in no sense a surprise, a shock, to anyone. For centuries, the rulers of Russia had wanted some kind of control over the Straits, linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Finally, many existing accounts focus on the Soviet demands regarding the Straits and Eastern Anatolian provinces in isolation. The crisis over the so-called Soviet demands and Turkish response happened at a time the global inter-state system was going through one of its major transformations: as the Second World War was coming to its end, the American administration had the ambition to impose a New World Order, which would first meet the interests of the US. The former imperial powers, British Empire most significantly, no longer had the financial and military capacity to hang on to their vast territories.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjsb20/current - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 08:36
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2019 08:37
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6921

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