Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2009
HISTORY OF TURKISH MODERNIZATION

Behçet Kemal YEŞİLBURSA

Demokrat Parti Dönemi Türkiye’nin Dış İlişkilerine Genel Bir Bakış (1950–1960)

In this article, an evaluation was made of the events occurring in Turkey’s foreign affairs during the Democrat Party period according to British documents., Turkey’s approach to foreign affairs of the period, such as NATO, the Korean War, the Balkan and Baghdad Pacts and the Cyprus Issue, as well as relations between Turkey and Britain and the other countries are examined. Key Words: Democrat Party, Turkish Foreign Policy, NATO, Cyprus Issue, Anglo-Turkish Relations. DEMOKRAT PARTİ DÖNEMİ TÜRKİYE’NİN DIŞ İLİŞKİLERİNE GENEL BİR BAKIŞ (1950–1960) ÖZET Bu makalede, İngiliz belgelerine göre, Demokrat Parti döneminde Türkiye’nin dış işlerinde yaşanan olayların genel bir değerlendirilmesi yapılmaktadır. Dönemin en önemli dış politika gelişmeleri, örneğin Türkiye’nin NATO’ya girişi, Kore Savaşı, Balkan ve Bağdat Paktları ve Kıbrıs Sorunu gibi, karşısında Türkiye’nin tavrı, başta İngiltere olmak üzere diğer ülkelerle olan ilişkiler ele alınmaktadır. Olaylar kronolojik sırayla aktarılmıştır. Anahtar Kelimeler: Demokrat Parti, Türk Dış Politikası, NATO, Kıbrıs Sorunu, Türk-İngiliz İlişkileri.
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Introduction This article evaluates the events occurring in Turkey’s foreign affairs during the Democrat Party period according to British documents. Turkey’s approach to foreign affairs of the period, such as NATO, the Korean War, the Balkan and Baghdad Pacts and the Cyprus Issue, as well as relations between Turkey and Britain and the other countries are examined. 1950
1950 was perceived as one of the most important years in the development of modern Turkey. It saw the first real free elections held since the rise of Atatürk, the end of the one-party system, and the fall from power, after 27 years, of the People’s Republican Party (PRP). Although these changes were of great constitutional significance, they did not affect the social and political structure of Turkey as deeply as might have been expected. The British Foreign Office viewed the regime which came into power on 14 May 1950 to be remarkably like its predecessor, a fact they attributed to the fact that the leaders of the Democrat Party (DP) were “essentially men of the same stamp as those of the PRP”, being from the same social groups and having a similar political outlook. Power had changed hands, but the change was one of “personalities rather than of policies”. Therefore, the foreign policy of the new government proved to be very little different from that of their predecessors; and its foundation remained the Anglo-Turkish alliance and friendship with the United States.1
The Democrats were critical of their opponents in the past for their failure to obtain more explicit commitments from the Western Allies. Thus, their prestige was to some degree involved in succeeding in this area, and it was to be expected that the Democrat Government would insist on a further guarantee of the security of Turkey. The tripartite declaration of 19 May 1950 was welcomed as reaffirming the interest of the British, American and French Governments in Turkey’s security; however, the Turks noticed that it involved no new commitment, and thus it did not satisfy Turkish Government.2
1 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. While it was true that the Democrat Party programme laid greater emphasis on agriculture than on industrialisation, and contemplated the gradual transfer of the State-owned industries to private hands; these policies, in an overwhelmingly agricultural country like Turkey, could hardly be expected to produce any very profound transformation of the national life. The real significance of the elections of 14th May, 1950, lay rather in the fact that for the first time in modern Turkey, power had changed hands by the normal constitutional process and as the result of the freely expressed judgment of the electorate. See FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 2 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951.
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As the international situation deteriorated, Turkey became increasingly aware of its isolation and continued to seek security in closer association with the West. In his opening speech in the National Assembly on 29 May 1950, the Prime Minister Adnan Menderes suggested that the Turkish Government intended to press for a further guarantee, when, he stated that his government would seek closer relations with the Middle Eastern countries and would draw the attention of Turkey’s friends and allies to the importance of the security of the Eastern Mediterranean. The British Ambassador to Ankara, Noel Charles, believed that at that time the Turkish Government had in mind some kind of Eastern Mediterranean Pact, linked with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).3 However, at the beginning of August 1950, a little while following the announcement of their decision to send troops to Korea, the Turkish Government officially renewed their application to be admitted to NATO. This approach received much publicity and a majority of the Turkish press assumed that the success of this application was “a foregone conclusion”. It was felt that the decision would strengthen greatly Turkey’s case for admission, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs did nothing to put an end to these optimistic reports.4
The disappointment was correspondingly great, however, when it became clear over time that neither would Turkey’s application be accepted, nor would the United States Government be prepared to offer the country a unilateral guarantee. The Turkish Government was left with no option but to accept the by far less desirable offer to associate Turkey with the military planning of the NATO, because of its concern with the defence of the Mediterranean. Although this offer aroused little interest among the Turkish public, considering their original expectations, the Turkish Government regarded it as a first step toward admission to NATO itself. The government refused to relax its efforts to obtain an American guarantee. This was the real object of its policy, and membership of NATO was desired because it would come with such a guarantee. Toward the end of the year, they appeared to be giving some thoughts again to the idea of an Eastern Mediterranean pact,
3 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. For Turkey’s admission to NATO, see Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, Ortadoğu’da Soğuk Savaş ve Emperyalizm, IQ Yayınları, İstanbul 2007. Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, “Turkey’s Participation in the Middle East Command and its Admission to NATO, 1950-52”, Middle Eastern Studies, Volume: 35, Number: 4 (October 1999), pp. 70-102. Yusuf Sarınay, Türkiye’nin Batı İttifakına Yönelişi ve NATO’ya Girişi, Ankara 1988. Hüseyin Bağcı, Demokrat Parti Dönemi Dış Politikası, İmge Yayınları, Ankara 1990. 4 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. For Turkey’s decision to send troops to Korea, see Fahir Armaoğlu, 20. Yüzyıl Siyasi Tarihi (1914-1980), Türkiye İş Bankası Yayınları, Ankara 1994. Kamuran Gürün, Dış İlişkiler ve Türk Politikası (1939’dan Günümüze Kadar), SBF Yayınları, Ankara 1983.
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covering Turkey, Greece and Egypt, with the participation of the United States and the United Kingdom. In the meantime, the Turkish Government asked how the British Government intended to implement the Anglo-Turkish alliance in case of need, intimating that they would welcome closer co-ordination of plans between the Turkish, British and American staffs.5 Since Turkey’s security depended largely on help from the West, the Turks followed the meetings between the representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Powers and the progress of Western rearmament very closely. They were very disappointed by the delays, and remained convinced that, with the exception of Britain, the countries of Western Europe would be incapable of making any effective contribution to their own defence. They viewed France as extremely defeatist, and they had difficulty understanding why Turkey, which had the largest army in Europe outside the Iron Curtain, and was both able and willing to fight, should be excluded from the pact, when other nations, who lacked the will to resist, were included. They believed that the defence of Europe could only be ensured by the participation of West Germany, and if possible of Spain.6
The Turkish Government, who was elected to the Security Council in October 1950, continued their support of the United Nations throughout the year. Turkish public opinion welcomed the American intervention in Korea, believing that the only way to stop the course toward a third world war was to meet force with force. The Foreign Minister replied on 30 June 1950 to a telegram from M. Trygve Lie, stating that the Turkish Government was sincerely willing to carry out its obligations under the United Nations Carter. This was followed at the end of July 1950 by the announcement that the Turkish Government had decided to offer a contingent of 4,500 men to send to Korea, an offer which reflected the Turkish Government’s sincere desire to support the United Nations in their stand against aggression. However, Charles believed that there was “no doubt that the Turkish Government hoped to ensure that Turkey would have an irrefutable claim for assistance if she herself was attacked, and also strengthen her case for admission to the Atlantic Pact”.7 The troops left for Korea at the end of September 1950 and were in action by November. They fought well and the Turks were proud of their exploits, although they had not expected that their losses would be as heavy as they turned out.8 There were no changes in Turkish relations with the Soviet
5 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 6 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 7 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 8 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951.
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Union. Although an article in Red Fleet in April 1950, which insisted once more on the need for a revision of the Straits Convention, was cause or concern, there was no renewal of direct Russian pressure.9 Relations with Bulgaria, however, worsened still further. A series of frontier incidents caused tension between the two countries in the first half of the year; and the Turkish press included reports of the persecution of the Turkish Moslems living in Bulgaria. These stories were confirmed by refugees who managed to escape to Turkey. Early in August 1950, the Bulgarian Government sent a note to the Turkish Minister in Sofia complaining about the “campaign of provocation” in the Turkish press, and demanding that Turkey admit within the next three months 250,000 members of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria who allegedly wished to return to Turkey. This demand put the Turkish Government in a considerably difficult position. While it was physically impossible for them to accept such a number of refugees, it was also impossible for them to refuse to admit fellow Turks who were undergoing persecution.10
In their reply, the Turkish Government refuted the Bulgarian accusations and accused the Bulgarians in turn of deliberately violating the Convention on Immigration annexed to the Turkish-Bulgarian Treaty of 1925, but agreed to receive Turkish immigrants at a reasonable rate, rejecting the impossible figure of 250,000 in three months and reserving the right to exclude political undesirables. The Bulgarians replied by accusing the Turkish Government of discriminating between immigrants for political reasons, and insisted that all should be accepted without distinction.11 In the meantime, refugees began to arrive at the Turkish-Bulgarian frontier in increasing numbers. Most of them were in a very bad state, having had all their property removed before leaving Bulgaria. Undesirables without visas succeeded in infiltrating into Turkey among these refugees, causing the Turkish Government to close the Turkish-Bulgarian frontier on 7 October 1950. It remained closed until the beginning of December 1950, when the Bulgarian Government agreed to take back a number of people who had entered Turkey illegally, and undertook not to issue in future exit permits from Bulgaria other than to those holding Turkish visas. In this way the Turkish Government hoped to be able to control the flow of immigration n the future. Up to the end of 1950, about 80,000 Turkish visas had been issued to Turks in Bulgaria, though considerably less had crossed the frontier at that time. It was the intention of the Turkish Government to accept as many of
9 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 10 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 11 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951.
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these refugees as their resources permitted.12 In 1950, Turkey’s relations with Greece became closer due to the common interests of the two countries in the defence of the Eastern Mediterranean. These relations were not seriously disturbed by the perturbation in Cyprus at the beginning of the year over the Enosis question. Turkish interest in this matter varied with that of the Greeks, and the official attitude of the Turkish Government was that the Cyprus question did not exist so long as the island remained under British administration. When they came to office, the Democrats went out of their way to offer assurances of friendship to the Greek Government, and agreement was reached between the two countries on the development and control of the Maritza River on the Greek-Turkish frontier in Thrace. When both Governments were invited to join in the military planning of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for the Mediterranean area, Turkey accepted a Greek invitation to begin staff talks. A Greek military delegation arrived in Ankara in December 1950 and an exchange of views took place; however, no specific agreement was reached.13
Turkey also sought to build closer relations with the countries of the Middle East. President Celal Bayar indicated, in his speech at the opening of the National Assembly on 1 November 1950, that the Turkish Government would welcome a revival of the Saadabad Pact between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the Turkish Government strongly opposed the negative attitude of the Arab States toward the United Nations intervention in Korea, making representations on this issue to the governments concerned. The Egyptian Government tentatively proposed the conclusion of a treaty of friendship with Turkey, to which the Turkish Government replied by suggesting a draft on the lines of their 1946 agreement with Iraq. The Turkish Government, closely concerned with Middle Eastern security, sympathised with the position of British Government in their dispute with Egypt over the presence of British troops in the Canal Zone. In a note dated 9 November 1950, the Turkish Foreign Minister assured Charles that the Turkish delegation to the United Nations in New York would be instructed to use their influence with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, leader of the Egyptian delegation, to persuade the latter “to adopt a realistic attitude towards this question”.14 A Treaty of Friendship and Conciliation was signed with Italy on 24 March 1950. However, the Foreign Minister denied that this was intended to be the first step towards
12 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 13 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 14 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951.
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a Mediterranean Pact.15 Turkey continued close commercial relations with Western Germany, and German influence was increasing. The new Consul-General of the Federal Republic in Istanbul arrived to take up his functions on 24 October 1950. The Turks regarded the rapid rearmament of Western Germany as essential and expressed strong disapproval of France’s hesitations on this point.16 For similar reasons, the Turks favoured Spain’s inclusion in NATO, and welcomed the United Nations decision to cancel the General Assembly resolution of 1946. The Turkish Minister to Spain, who had been absent since that date, returned to Madrid in November 1950; and it was mutually agreed between the governments of the two countries that the status of their respective legations would be raised to that of embassies at the beginning of 1951.17 1951
1951 was dominated by foreign affairs. Knox Helm, the British Ambassador to Ankara at that time, saw the emergence of Turkey from “comparative isolation” and its adoption of a more forward and active foreign policy as “a development perhaps as far-reaching as the peaceful revolution which occurred at the elections of 1950”.18 Turkey’s wish for an effective guarantee of its security by western powers, the main object of its foreign policy after the Second World War, was on the point of being realised by its official entry into NATO. In addition by associating itself with the Middle East Command proposals, Turkey established its position as one of the Four Powers acting together in the Middle East. She took the place which Helm believed belonged to it because of its geographical position as the bridge between the Middle East and the North Atlantic Treaty Powers.19
In Helm’s opinion, this new status brought about an increase in the confidence of the Turkish Government where foreign affairs were concerned, and their sense of their country’s importance in the world. For most Turks, the invitation to join NATO constituted a guarantee of their country’s policy of westernisation. He added that the Turks had become accustomed since the formation of the republic to think of their country as European, which appeared to
15 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 16 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 17 FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. 18 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. 19 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. For the Middle East Command, see Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, Ortadoğu’da Soğuk Savaş ve Emperyalizm, IQ Yayınları, İstanbul 2007. Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, “Turkey’s Participation in the Middle East Command and its Admission to NATO, 1950-52”, Middle Eastern Studies, Volume: 35, Number: 4 (October 1999), pp. 70-102.
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apply to a great deal of their military thinking as well as of their conception of Turkey’s cultural and historical missions. In his opinion, no Turkish Government, with the country’s hundreds of miles of common frontier with the Soviet Union, Iran and Iraq, could possibly afford to ignore any threat to the security of the Middle East or to be removed from any plans for its defence against Soviet aggression. However, as the Turkish Ambassador expressed in an interview at the Foreign Office the previous summer, “Turkey’s front door is in Europe and her back door in the Middle East”. Regarding itself as part of the west, Turkey’s vital concern was not only with the defence of its European frontier and the Straits, but even more with keeping open its lines of communication with the west.20 The western powers’ reluctance to admit Turkey to NATO was felt not merely as a danger to her security, but it also seemed a national humiliation that Turkey, with one of the strongest armies in Europe, should continue to be excluded from the defensive alliance of the west for reasons which, it was believed in Turkey, was unrelated to military necessity. Helm remarked that the British Government “bore the main brunt” of Turkish resentment.21
General Robertson’s visit to Ankara in February 1951 was not very fruitful, mainly because the Turkish Government was unwilling to commit itself in any way at that stage. However things were to change in May 1951 when it became apparent that the United States Government had given up their previous position of opposition to Turkey’s admission to NATO. This meant that Britain then appeared to be the main hindrance to Turkey’s long-standing ambition. The common opinion was that the resistance of the smaller powers could easily be overcome with the help of Britain, and that Turkey as an ally was entitled to special consideration by the British. However, it was Helm’s opinion that the main source of resentment could have been the belief that British Government did not appear to accept Turkey as culturally and historically a part of the European community. He added that the violent press campaign which developed against the British Government in May and June 1951 was partly the result of genuine indignation and was partly “no doubt encouraged by the Turkish Government”. Consequently, the state of Anglo-Turkish relations deteriorated to a position worse than it had been for many years. At the beginning of July 1951, however, the British Government promised to support Turkey’s admission to NATO on the condition that the country would take its place in a combined Allied Middle East Command. After this
20 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. 21 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952.
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development, the campaign of criticism lessened and there Helm noticed some evidence that the Turks’ wished to make amends, adding that “certainly Britain once again enjoys the friendly press in Turkey to which Britain had grown accustomed”.22
The reputation of the Democrat Government was tightly connected with securing membership to NATO and with doing so on what they conceived to be equal terms. The decision of principle to accept the entry of Turkey and Greece into the pact was made at the meeting of the NATO Council at Ottawa in September 1951.Helm commented that to accept entry into the Pact subject to any conditions not imposed on other nations would have been, in the eyes of the Turkish Government, inconsistent both with Turkey's national dignity and her military security. This particularly meant that Turkey would insist on taking its place not only in NATO as a political organisation, but also in the European Command structure, like the other members of the Pact. While it was true that Turkey had given the British Government repeated assurances that once the question of the admission of Turkey into the pact had been settled it would be ready to play its full part in Middle East defence; the Turkish Government did not regard these assurances as a commitment to relinquish membership of General Eisenhower’s European Command. The entry of Turkey into NATO and the establishment of a Middle East Command were, in their view, two separate questions which should not be connected together.23 The Turkish Government therefore refused the suggestion presented to them by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, General Bradley and General Lechéres on behalf of the British, American and French Governments during discussions in Ankara on 13 October 1951 that Turkey should be included in the Middle East Command based on Egypt. The reasons for this were both political and military. Politically they viewed the suggestion as inconsistent with Turkey's status as a European power. They believed that Turkey was as strategically part of Europe as Greece; and they could not be satisfied with an arrangement under which Turkey would have assumed the full obligations of a member of NATO, without the corresponding advantages which they hoped to obtain from membership of General Eisenhower’s Command. The argument that Turkey as a full member of the political organisation of the NATO and, at the same time, a founder member of the Middle East Command, would enjoy special privileges and advantages was unfounded in Helm’s opinion. Unlike SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), the Middle East Command
22 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. 23 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952.
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was not “a going concern”, and it was not certain when it would be established, especially considering the attitude of Egypt. Thus, it did not meet the immediate requirements of Turkish security. Yet, it was obvious to the Turkish Government that the members of the proposed Middle East Command were not bound together by any political link on the lines of NATO and that the obligations of its members were thus undefined. Finally, Helm believed that the Turkish Government probably feared that in an emergency, as members of a Middle East Command under a British Supreme Commander, they would not be able to rely with full confidence on the strategic support of the American armed forces in the Mediterranean area. He stated that the solution which they seemed to favour was that Turkey be placed under Admiral Carney’s Southern European Command, and that they had probably received some “covert encouragement from American sources to believe that this solution could be obtained”.24
Nevertheless, Turkey’s refusal to accept the Middle East Command as an alternative to membership of SHAPE did not mean, that it was preparing to turn its back on the Middle East. The other aspect of the Turkish Government’s anxiety to be admitted to NATO was the desire to play a more prominent political role in the Middle East. The Turkish Government firmly believed that the organisation of the defence of that area was both necessary and urgent and that the substitution of an allied force for the British troops in Egypt offered the only chance of a solution to the Anglo-Egyptian dispute, which they saw as a serious threat to the security of the Middle East. Thus, they were ready to associate themselves as founder members of the proposed Middle East Command with proposals which were presented to Egypt in October 1951, and they participated both in the subsequent approach to the other Middle East States and in the Four Power declaration on the Middle East Command made by the Allied Foreign Ministers in Paris on 10 November 1951.25
Turkey’s accession into NATO and its support for the Middle East Command proposals led to the Soviets applying direct pressure on the country for the first time since 1946. At the beginning of November the Turkish Government were informed in a note that the Soviet Government viewed Turkish adherence to NATO and the construction of bases on Turkish territory with American assistance as evidence of the imperialist powers’ intention to
24 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. 25 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952.
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use Turkey for aggressive purposes against the Soviet Union. This note was followed on 24 November by one declaring the proposed. Middle East Command as “aggressive in intention” and stating that Turkey and the other founder members of the Command “would bear the responsibility for the situation which might arise from its establishment”. Helm noted that the Turkish Government, “fortified their increased feeling of security”, responded to these attacks with “great firmness and confidence”. Their reply to the first Soviet note placed the responsibility for the world situation of that time on the Soviet Government themselves and affirmed that Turkey was considering only self-defence by taking such military measures. In their reply about the Middle East Command, the Turkish Government wished to go further to launch a counter-attack by revealing Soviet activities in Arab countries. However, Helm added, while the Turkish Government did not believe that the tone of their reply would affect Soviet policy, they did not wish to appear provocative by taking a different line from the other three governments. As a result, the reply eventually sent was expressed much more moderately. On 10 December Köprülü, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave the verbal assurance in the National Assembly that he had refrained from giving the Soviet Union in writing; that is, that Turkey did not intend to cede to other nations’ bases on its territory, and that such bases be would only be used in the event of aggression in collaboration with Turkey's allies.26
In relation to the Iranian oil dispute, Turkish opinion was at first somewhat divided given the natural tendency to sympathise with a neighbour seeking to free itself from foreign influence. There was also some concern at the possibility that the British Government might decide on armed intervention and cause an international crisis at Turkish borders. However, the stubbornness of the Iranian Government led to them losing much Turkish sympathy. Consequently, the Turkish Government declared their willingness to support the British case when the issue was brought before the United Nations. A similar situation was apparent in Egypt, when the Turkish Government were at first reluctant to take sides over the question of the Suez Canal tankers. However, they firmly supported the decision of the British Government to ignore the abrogation of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and maintain British troops in the Canal Zone. Turkish opinion was angered by anti-Turkish demonstrations in Egypt, and the relations between the Turkish and Egyptian Governments became “distinctly cold”. The Turkish Government informed the Egyptian Ambassador in Ankara that their
26 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952.
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acceptance of his successor’s credentials would not mean recognition by Turkey of King Farouk’s new title of King of Egypt and the Sudan.27 Helm remarked that American influence in Turkey continued to increase, the popularity of the United States Government benefiting from the fact that they were the first great power to announce their support for Turkey’s entry into NATO. Consequently, they earned most of the credit for the final result. There were the “usual criticisms” of the amount of American military and economic aid; however, the increasing numbers of American technicians and instructors with the Turkish forces, the frequent visits of high-ranking military and political representatives and the appearance in Turkish waters of important American naval forces continued to “impress the Turks with the power of the United States”.28 1952
This year was characterised by Turkey’s sense of growing international importance and the desire for close military collaboration with its neighbours and allies. Having rid themselves of the suspicions held by their predecessors, the Turkish Government continued to follow an active foreign policy, and Helm commented that by the end of the year they were able to “boast the achievement of several long-cherished aims”.29 On 16 February 1952 Turkey was formally invited to become a signatory to NATO, a significant event for the Turks, who now saw confirmed their status as a European nation. Previously they had expressed clearly that they did not regard association with the proposed arrangements for the Middle East Defence as a satisfactory alternative to joining SHAPE; and that only full integration into the European Command, under the same conditions as other signatories of the Treaty, would be acceptable in their eyes. Therefore, the announcement on the 25th February that the NATO meeting in Lisbon had agreed for Turkey’s land and air forces to be placed under Admiral Carney’s South European Command was a satisfactory outcome for them. Nevertheless, they still had one reservation: they were unwilling to place their land and air forces under the command of an Italian general. Once more matters were arranged to their satisfaction when in July General Ridgway announced the formation of a South Eastern sector
27 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. 28 FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. For relations between Turkey and the United States, see Namık Behramoğlu, Türkiye-Amerika İlişkileri, Demokrat Parti Dönemi, Yar Yayınları, İstanbul 1973. Hasan Köni, "1950–1955 Yılları Arasında Amerikan Belgeleriyle Türk-Amerikan İlişkileri", Avrasya Dosyası, Cilt 1, No 4, (Kış 1994), s. 21-29. George McGhee, ABD-Türkiye-NATO-Ortadoğu, Çev. Belkıs Çorakçı, Bilgi Yayınevi, Ankara 1992. Oral Sander, Türk-Amerikan İlişkileri: 1947–1964, SBF Yayınları, Ankara 1979. 29 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953.
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of the South European Command; the Headquarters of which was established in Izmir in September by a United States officer, General Wyman. In November Turkish forces participated in their first NATO exercise, “Operation Longstep”.30
Continuing the stance they had taken during 1951, the Turkish Government expressed willingness to discuss arrangements for the defence of the Middle East once their claims for inclusion in the European Command of NATO had been satisfied. They initially approached the problem of Middle East defence cautiously, however. Helm accounted for this partly to their reluctance to involve themselves in policies they felt would make them unpopular in the Arab states; and partly to a “lingering distrust of the motives of British Government in urging a Middle East Defence Organisation”, and a lack of faith in Britain's power to defend the Middle East in the circumstances of that time. Helm continued to state that, in any case, their first ideas placed “undue emphasis” on the need for careful preparation to determine the “juridical, political and military foundations” on which the proposed Organisation was to be based. However, over time their ideas became more flexible; and in their reply to the United Kingdom memorandum on the establishment of a Middle East Defence Organisation, handed to them in August, while they repeated their ideal preference for firmer “juridical and political foundations”, they endorsed most of the United Kingdom proposals and restated their willingness to be co-sponsors of the Organisation. They also supported the United States view that the Arab states should be brought into the discussions at an early stage and not be invited to join an Organisation which had already been brought into existence. Finally, during their visit to London in October 1952, the Turkish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs reached complete agreement with the British Government on the preliminary procedure for the establishment of the Organisation, and offered to take the initiative in informing the Arab states about participation in it. Their original idea was to approach Iraq first; but they later realised that conditions in that country did not favour such an approach. By the end of the year they had reverted to their original view that Egypt was the key to Arab participation.31 Turning their attention to Middle East defence, the Turkish Government and public became more interested in Middle Eastern affairs in general. They observed events in Iran and Egypt with concern. While they recognised the rights of British Government in Iran and condemned Dr. Musaddiq’s intransigence and his alliance with reactionaries; at the same time they tended
30 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. 31 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953.
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to view his regime as the only alternative to Communism, but confessed desperation at finding a way out of the existing stalemate. Regarding General Nequib, they saw him as an “Egyptian Atatürk” and hoped that he would at last be able to provide a stable administration for Egypt. Other than general bids for Arab friendship, Helm remarked that the Turkish Government’s own approach to Middle Eastern problems was uncertain, despite claiming to understand psychologically their former subjects; adding that toward the end of the year a new current of appeasement could be detected in their thoughts on Arab affairs , “springing most probably from perplexity”,.32
Turkey’s accession to NATO and her association with Greece in the new command arrangements also aroused the interest of the Turkish Government regarding the defence of the Balkans. Their concern of the defence of Thrace, which had been encouraged in the spring by Field Marshal Montgomery, augmented their desire for closer relations with Greece and Yugoslavia. Helm noted that both Turks and Greeks made determined efforts to overcome the animosities which had formerly divided them. The Greek Prime Minister, Venizelos, came to Turkey in February, and the King and Queen of the Hellenes paid a state visit in June. The Turkish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Athens in April and the President of the Republic returned the royal visit in November. All these visits were accompanied by expressions of goodwill, and all received the maximum publicity in Turkey. A Turkish-Greek mixed commission, set up as a sequel to the visit of Venizelos, made some progress on a number of small problems existing between the two countries. Military talks were held, and both countries carried out joint naval exercises in the Aegean. Helm saw the “occasional outbursts of irritation in the Turkish press” as evidence that, beneath the pomp of state occasions and the propaganda, the Turks were still distrustful and suspicious of the Greeks. However, he added that on the whole the Turkish Government were “remarkably successful in playing, down the points of difference between the two peoples”.33 Regarding Yugoslavia, contacts with the country developed quickly after June, with both the Turkish Foreign Minister and the Yugoslav Ambassador in Ankara emphasising the bonds of sympathy and common interest” that existed between the two countries. Over the remaining part of the year military, press and civic delegations exchanged visits. A Turkish Parliamentary delegation was invited to Yugoslavia during which both Marshal Tito and
32 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. 33 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953.
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Turkish statesmen made “flattering references to the value and necessity of military co-operation in the face of a common danger”. The Turkish Government encouraged by the success of the parallel Greco-Yugoslav exchanges and by the Secretary of State’s visit to Marshal Tito, developed their new friendship with enthusiasm and laid the foundations for more detailed military conversations on Balkan defence.34 Turkey’s accession to NATO, her sponsorship of the Middle East Defence Organisation, and her efforts to promote Balkan defence did not go unnoticed by her communist neighbours. Early in the year both Soviet Russia and Bulgaria expressed their protests against her “subservience to the aggressive designs of Anglo-American imperialism”; over the following months, Soviet policy towards Turkey was marked by occasional outbursts of abusive propaganda. In addition, the frontier with Bulgaria remained closed and fairly quiet throughout the year.35 Helm remarked that at the beginning of 1952 Anglo-Turkish relations had been damaged by a enduring suspicion of the Turks that the British Government were planning to exclude Turkey from SHAPE and “lure her into some inferior arrangement” for reasons of self-interest only. However, all such suspicions disappeared as the year progressed, and the conversations held with the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during their successful official visit to London in October showed “a large measure of agreement” between the governments of both countries covering the whole field of international relations. At the end of the year, the remaining sources of friction were economic in origin: the Turks continued to fail in their repayments on the Armaments Credits and they resisted a negotiated settlement of these debts; and Turkey’s heavy adverse balance of trade with the United Kingdom, of which, Helm noted, the Turkish Government and press “seemed determined to make a political issue”.36
Turkey remained on good terms with the United States. The growing American influence that came about due to the modernisation of the Turkish economy and armed forces with United States assistance began to be felt throughout Turkish life. Numerous important American visitors called at Ankara and departed with “extravagant praises of the virtues of their hosts”. Helm noted that the Turkish Government generally followed the State Department line in foreign affairs. With regards to other European nations, French influence weakened, and doubts about the French defence effort and disapproval of French policy in North Africa were frequently expressed. The German Federal Republic re-opened its Ankara
34 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. 35 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. 36 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953.
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Embassy during the summer; and the Germans continued to regain some of their former influence, particularly in the field of commerce.37 1953
1953 was another year in which the Democrats continued to show the activity and self-confidence in the field of international affairs characteristic of its policy since it assumed office. Turkey’s election to the United Nations Security Council in October 1953, only a year after her previous tenure had expired, came as a welcome, but well-deserved in Helm’s opinion, recognition of her new international standing. A year earlier, the country had obtained NATO membership which, for the Turks, was the validation of her claim to be reckoned as a western power; and Helm noted that since then, the country spared no effort to play a full part in that organisation. Further progress was made with the modernisation of the Turkish armed forces. The NATO Air sub-command for South-East Europe was established at Izmir, where the Land sub-command had already been set up, and the naval sub-command at Istanbul. Turkey proved anxious to co-operate closely with its NATO partners, particularly with the United States who supplied the country with military and economic assistance to a similar degree to that of previous years. Moreover, United States continued, though more restrainedly, to flatter the Turks by acclaiming the country as “one of the most stalwart bulwarks of Western defence”.38 Turkey felt that it could make its own contribution to the Western defence system in South-East Europe by involving Yugoslavia. It played a leading role in the negotiations with the latter and with Greece which resulted in the signature of the Balkan Treaty at Ankara at the end of February.39 It was Turkey’s hope that this treaty would ultimately develop into a full military alliance and that if Yugoslavia could be somehow integrated into the NATO defence system, it might help to reduce the tension between that country and Italy over Trieste. However, Helm noted that the Trieste question was one in which the Turkish Government tried at all costs to avoid becoming directly involved, since they were anxious not to offend either to their NATO ally, Italy, or their Balkan Pact ally, Yugoslavia.40
37 FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. 38 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954. 39 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954. 40 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954.
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While Turkey’s relations with its Western neighbours were developing satisfactorily, the same could not be said for the progress with the Arab states. At the beginning of the year, Turkey still believed it might be more able than the other western powers concerned to persuade the Arabs to take on a less negative attitude to the Western proposals for Middle Eastern defence. The Arab states, however, feeling that Turkey had “sold out to the West”, were not inclined to respond to her approaches for closer relations. As the months passed, Turkey became increasingly more disillusioned by their attitude. Relations with Syria in particular became very uneasy when it became apparent that the latter was considering the revival claims to Hatay. When the United States Secretary of State visited Ankara in June, the Turkish Government suggested that the four Western powers should not wait for the Arab states any longer but go ahead as best they could on their own to set up a basic Middle East defence organisation, which the countries of the region would be invited to join. For reasons beyond Turkish control, progress in this direction was not possible before the end of the year, but the Government remained firmly convinced of the necessity for some arrangement to “fill the strategic gap on Turkey’s eastern flank”.41
In this year, Anglo-Turkish relations remained “generally cordial”. Helm reported that the Turks were much disappointed that the British Foreign Minister was unable to pay his proposed official visit to Ankara in April; however a successful visit to Istanbul by the commander in Chief Mediterranean took place in July, and the Secretary of state for War was able to accept an invitation to visit Ankara in October. The Turkish Government realised the importance of helping the British as much as they could to maintain the latter’s position in the Middle East. Their attitude to the Anglo-Egyptian negotiations over the Suez Canal base left nothing to be desired; and they welcomed the fall of Dr. Musaddiq, with the possibilities which this opened for an Anglo-Iranian settlement and a more stable regime in Iran. Regarding Cyprus, Turkish policy remained completely opposed to any modification of the status of the island, although Greek Enosis agitation was reflected in increasing Turkish sensitivity with regard to the situation of the Turkish Cypriot community. On the whole, the Turkish authorities appreciated the openness which the British showed in discussing the international problems of mutual concern and responded by turning to them for advice more frequently. Helm commented that there were no major divergences in the political field during 1953, although there were some Turkish apprehensions at the eagerness of the British to enter
41 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954.
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into talks with the Russians. He added that the only real difficulties were related economic affairs when the British found themselves “in trouble” for their failure to “buy Turkish” to the degree the Turks had wished. On the more positive side, in August a solution to one particular “long-standing irritant” was found with the arrival at an agreement for the settlement of the Turkish debts under the 1938/9 Armaments Credits.42
Turkey came in for its share of what Helm called “the Soviet peace offensive” following the Stalin’s death. On 31 May 1953, the Soviet Government sent a note informing the Turkish Government that since it had no territorial claims on Turkey, it now considered it possible “to ensure the security of the Soviet Union in the area of the Straits on conditions acceptable alike to the Soviet Union and to Turkey”. In July, the Turkish Government sent a non-offensive reply, expressing satisfaction at the abandonment of territorial claims and reminding the Soviet Government that the straits question was regulated by the Montreux Convention. This was followed immediately by a second Soviet note protesting against the then forthcoming British and United States naval visits to Istanbul. The Turks replied that these visits were permitted under the Montreux Convention and that, thus, they were none of Russia’s concern. They did not reply to an ensuing Soviet note on the same subject. Helm remarked that the Turkish Government was “in no way impressed” by these Russian manoeuvres and was certain that there had been no change in the stance of the Soviets. One matter that did constitute a cause for concern for the Turkish government, however, was that the apparently more conciliatory Soviet line might, by confusing Western opinion, undermine the determination of the Western powers to strengthen their defences and pave the way to negotiations which might involve concessions to Russia. Helm noted that Turkey remained firmly convinced that any modifications that Soviet tactics might have undergone were due to the growth of the strength of the West. As a result, the Turks believed that the Western powers should stand firm in their policy of further strengthening their unity and power.43 1954 The Russian threat was to be the main preoccupation of the Turkish government in their foreign affairs in 1954. They were convinced that any changes that may have occurred in Russian methods, such as the more friendly tone which the Moscow radio adopted on
42 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954. 43 FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954.
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Turkey’s National Day of this year, were because of the progressively increasing strength of the Western Powers and reflected no change in the basic objectives of the Soviets. They thus believed that the free world should increase efforts to build up its strength and unity. They also continued to play their role fully in NATO affairs. Persuaded of the necessity for a German military contribution to Western defence, the Turkish Government welcomed the results of the Nine-Power Conference in London, making it clear that they considered Turkey entitled to join the Western European Union whenever appropriate.44 The Turkish Government also thought that they might be able make a direct contribution to the strengthening of the defence of the free world by bringing in Yugoslavia, on the one hand, and their eastern neighbours on the other. As a result, they actively promoted the expansion of the Balkan Pact, which had been concluded in the previous year, into the Treaty of Alliance between Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia which was signed at Bled on 9 August 1954 after series of negotiations following President Tito’s visit to Ankara in April 1954. They were well aware of the fact that for the maximum advantage for Western defence to be derived from this treaty there needed to be some link between it and NATO, and it had to lead to greater co-operation between Italy and Yugoslavia in particular. Indeed, as James Bowker pointed out “Turkish anxiety to explore the possibilities of including Italy in the Balkan Alliance at the earliest possible date, gave rise to considerable suspicions in Belgrade and Athens during the later stages of the negotiation of the alliance”.45 A shadow was thrown over the relations between Greece and Turkey, almost as soon as the alliance had been signed, by the decision made by the Greek Government to take the Cyprus question to the United Nations. This led to numerous outbursts against Greece in the Turkish press, which Bowker thought showed that the long-standing Turkish suspicions of Greek territorial ambitions were “still very alive”, and how easy it would be to revive the old antagonism between Turks and Greeks.46 The Turkish Government were concerned that this unfortunate development should not damage Greco-Turkish relations more than was could be avoided and did their best to calm public excitement in the country. However, it would not have been in their interest to ignore the intensity of public feeling in Turkey on this matter. Having been unsuccessful in
44 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 45 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 46 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955.
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their attempt to dissuade the Greek Government from proceeding with the issue at the United Nations, they made it clear at New York that Turkey had its own direct interest in Cyprus and was firmly opposed to any change in the status quo. On the arrival at the outcome, the Turkish Prime Minister emphasised in a statement that he “regarded the issue as closed and an irritant to Turco-Greek co-operation definitely removed”.47 After the conclusion of the Balkan Alliance, the Turkish Government returned their attention to the strengthening of their other flank. Soviet protests did not discourage them, and they had already concluded a pact with Pakistan in April which included some military clauses of a general nature. Realising that this would have little military significance so long as the gap between the two countries was not filled, the pact was deliberately left open for the adhesion of other powers of a similar mind. However, the possibility of making further progress in this direction was complicated by the uneasy state of Turkey's relations with the Arab States, Egypt in particular, Turco-Egyptian relations having reached a very low level with the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador from Egypt in January. More hopeful prospects seemed to appear with the signature of the Anglo-Egyptian heads of agreement in July and the Egyptian Government's decision to permit the reactivation of the Suez base in the event of an attack on Turkey. After a visit by the Crown Prince of Iraq in September, Nuri Said, the new Iraqi Prime Minister, accepted an invitation to visit Istanbul in October for a series of discussions, at which the Turks did whatever they could to remove Iraqi suspicions of Turkish intentions and to reach agreement on a common programme aimed at exploring the possibilities of setting up a regional defence system.48 In the meantime, Turkish relations with Egypt improved and it was agreed between the Turkish Government and Nuri Said that Menderes should take advantage of his projected visit to Cairo to explore the ground with the Egyptian Government. Menderes’s visit to Cairo was postponed until some time after the New Year because of the subsequent internal troubles in Egypt, although a group of leading Turkish journalists visited Egypt in December and were received well. However, Bowker noted that statements made during that month by Egyptian leaders “seemed designed to make it plain that any initiative that Turkey might take jointly with Iraq towards regional defence would not have the support or approval of Egypt”. The visits to Turkey of the King of Jordan and the Libyan Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs were significant given the context of Turkey’s policy of seeking to improve its
47 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 48 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955.
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relations with the Arab States.49 Turkey’s relations with the United States were still very close, and American aid made a further substantial contribution to the equipment and expansion of the Turkish armed forces and Turkey’s military budget. President Bayar’ official visit to the United States in January was successful, and in June, shortly after the elections, Menderes visited Washington. On the occasion of this latter visit, Menderes was successful in obtaining the assurance that American military and economic aid to Turkey would be continued at its level of that time, as far as possible. In November the United States Government provided Turkey with additional aid when they agreed to supply a quantity of cereals which it needed as a result of its poor harvest.50 The visits paid by Dr. Adenauer to Turkey in March, and the Turkish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs to Bonn in October, “marked a further stage in the return of Germany to the important position, particularly in the commercial field, which she enjoyed in Turkey before the last war” according to Bowker.51 Turkey’s relations with the United Kingdom continued to be “generally satisfactory” in 1954. Bowker commented that it was “unfortunately inevitable” that the British was having difficulties with the Turks over their inability to pay their commercial debts, a condition experienced by most of Turkey’s trading partners. However, he added that, unlike the previous year, in 1954 these divergences were not marked by the same aggressive press campaign over British failure to “buy Turkish”. Having failed to press the Turks to agree to a multilateral settlement in OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation), the British finally invited them to present proposals for a bilateral settlement of their commercial debts, and an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited London for informal talks in November. Consequently, agreement was reached on a draft arrangement accepted as it stood by the Turkish Government, and it was agreed that the same Turkish official should return to London early in the New Year to finalise the settlement. In the meantime, Bowker commented that one unfortunate result of this unsatisfactory situation was a further decrease in Anglo-Turkish trade exchanges, although important contracts had been secured by British firms during the year for capital development projects.52
49 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 50 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 51 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. 52 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955.
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In the political field, British and Turkish policy remained very harmonious. In the case of Cyprus, in particular, the Turkish Government showed itself most ready to co-operate with the British Government, who were “no less anxious than they to see the status quo preserved” and to prevent the issue going to the United Nations. The Prime Minister accepted the suggestion that a party of leading United Kingdom journalists should visit Turkey to measure the intensity of Turkish opposition to the Greek claim to Cyprus. The visits, presented as a return of hospitality for the successful visit of a party of Turkish journalists to the United Kingdom in September as the guests of the British Government, were successful. The very clear explanation of the Turkish views on the issue, given to other members of the United Nations and of NATO, in particular, “contributed appreciably to the finally satisfactory outcome” at New York. On the whole, in Bowker’s opinion, the relations of confidence built up with the Turkish authorities paid off well. They proved eager to secure British approval for their various diplomatic initiatives, such as their negotiations for the Turco-Pakistan pact and for the Balkan Alliance. Moreover, together with the Prime Minister in particular, they kept the British Embassy in Ankara “fully and frankly informed” of their plans to attempt to establish a Middle East defence organisation, obviously anxious that Britain should not relinquish any of its defence responsibilities in the area and convinced that for any regional defence organisation to be effective needed to have the full support and eventual participation of Britain and the United States. Although the Secretary of State had not been able to return the visit paid by the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to London in 1952, visits by Mr. Birch, then Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, were met well by the Turkish authorities as were also the visits of General Keightley, Commander-in-Chief Middle East, Field-Marshal Montgomery and Admiral Mountbatten.53 1955 This year saw the first success in Turkey’s policy of strengthening her Eastern flank, which it had worked hard to develop the previous year, with the signature on 24 February, in Baghdad, of the Treaty of Mutual Co-operation between Turkey and Iraq. When the United Kingdom acceded in April, followed by Pakistan in September and Iran in October, it was possible to set up the Ministerial Council of what was then on to be known as the Baghdad
53 FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. For the Turco-Pakistani Pact, see Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, “The American Concept of the Northern Tier Defence Project and the Signing of the Turco-Pakistani Agreement, 1953-54”, Middle Eastern Studies, Volume: 37, Number: 3, (July 2001), pp. 59-110.
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Pact, provided for under Article 6. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held in Baghdad in November, at which the Permanent Organisation of the Pact was established. Bowker remarked that this rapid development of the Northern tier policy, and the creation of the nucleus of a Middle East defence system was largely a result of Turkey’s persuasive initiative. Since so much had been achieved so fast, the Turkish Government strongly believed that it was time to encourage Jordan to join the Pact, which would in turn, they hoped, pave the way for Lebanon to follow. The Turkish President and Acting Foreign Minister did all they could to influence King Hussein and the Jordan Prime Minister during the President’s visit to Jordan in October. However, the events which followed the subsequent visit of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff to Amman in December disappointed the Turks greatly. These developments in the Middle East took place against the backdrop of a number of formal and informal visits exchanged between official personalities of Turkey and the Middle Eastern States.54 Although Turkey continued to exchange trade with Israel it a high rate, the latter was open in its resentment at Turkey’s policy of close association with the Arab States, and in particular its acceptance of the exchange of letters attached to the Baghdad Pact relating to the United Nations resolutions on Palestine.55
Progress in building up a defence system on Turkey’s Eastern flank was counteracted by a slowing down in the Balkan alliance. At the meeting of the Balkan Alliance Council of Foreign Ministers in Ankara at the end of February, the Turkish Prime Minister expressed his opinion that the time had come to forge a link between the Alliance and NATO. He also took the opportunity of his visit to Yugoslavia in May to press the theme further. The disappointment over the lack of Yugoslav response was made all the more severe by the announcement shortly after the visit of the Russian visit to Yugoslavia, of which Turkey had no prior knowledge. Bowker remarked that the Yugoslavs later admitted that they were deliberately playing down the military aspect of the Balkan Alliance, which the Turks regarded as being essentially the same as preventing it from further effective development.56
The solidarity of the Balkan Alliance received further blows with the development of the Cyprus issue, which later in the year was to result in a sharp conflict between Turkey and
54 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. For the Baghdad Pact, see Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, The Baghdad Pact: Anglo-American Defence Policies in the Middle East, 1950-1959, Frank Cass, London, 2005. 55 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 56 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956.
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Greece. The outcome of the Greek appeal to the United Nations at the end of 1954 was regarded as on the whole satisfactory. Until late summer Turkish Government continued to do all they could to put a stop to further excitement over the question, hoping to prevent it from becoming a serious Turco-Greek issue. The British Government’s invitation to attend the tripartite conference in London in August 1955 was accepted gladly as giving them another opportunity to publicly state the Turkish thesis. However, remarked Bowker, the outbreak of violence in Cyprus and the fears of the Turkish community there meant it was impossible to restrain Turkish public opinion. On the day before the conference the Prime Minister made a very forthright statement which caused further excitement among the people. At the conference, Zorlu gave a clear and convincing argument stating the historical and geopolitical grounds for Turkey’s interest in Cyprus and the country’s concern to see the existing status of the island maintained. However, as Bowker put it
“his summary rejection of the British Government’s proposals compared unfavourably with the slightly less rigid attitude of the Greek delegation, this juncture, the wholesale looting by Turkish mobs of Greek shops and churches in Istanbul, and of certain Greek property in Izmir, dealt a shattering blow to Turkey’s good name abroad and to twenty-five years of patient work in building up of Turco-Greek friendship and for a time even threatened Greece’s continued participation in NATO.”57
Menderes expressed extreme remorse at and promised compensation to the sufferers. Martial Law decreed that the press were prevented from both criticising the Government on internal matters and also from publishing news about Cyprus or Greece or any other question liable to incense the public. Freedom was only restored to the press once Martial Law had been raised in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir in December. While the Turkish Government made honourable amends for the attacks on the Greek Consulate and the property of Greek officials attached to the NATO Headquarters at Izmir, and to meet the latter’s claim for compensation; at the end of the year the promised bill providing for compensation for riot victims had still not been presented to the Grand National Assembly. In the meantime, replying to a Turkish reminder addressed to them and to the Yugoslav Government that a further meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Balkan Alliance was due, the Greek government announced that they could not consider attending the meeting until the Turkish Government had fulfilled their promise to provide compensation. Bowker commented that relations between the two countries were damaged further by charges brought against the Turkish Consul-General and Vice-consul at Salonika of having introduced by the diplomatic bag the
57 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956.
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bomb the explosion of which in the house where Atatürk was born had been responsible, in the Turks’ opinion, for touching off the September riots in Istanbul and Izmir.58 The United States preserved their status as foremost foreign country in Turkish eyes with its continued contribution to the equipment and expansion of the Turkish armed forces and Turkey’s military budget, and the presence in Turkey of thousands of Americans engaged in administering it. However, as Turkey’s economic difficulties increased, it tended more and more to exploit her position as the Eastern bastion of NATO in support of her claims for further help. Turkey’s continuous warning of the Americans throughout the year along with a rigid refusal to accept United States advice on the measures which the country needed to take to reorganise its economy led to a loss of a good deal of American good will. Zorlu’s visit to Washington in early June did not improve matters, nor did the Turkish Government’s successive attempts to gain the direct support of the Republican Party for their claims by by-passing the American Administration.59
At the end of the year, while anxious to see signs of grace in the new Government’s economic programme, the United States were still waiting for some concrete proof of a change of heart. Fielding terms of politics, Turkey complained of what it viewed as a tailing off in United States support for its Middle East policy and was disappointed when the latter did not join Baghdad Pact.60 Relations with France were marred by French opposition to the Baghdad Pact and by Turkish distrust of the country’s Middle Eastern and North African policy. Although Turkey supported France over Algeria in the United Nations on the grounds that it was an internal affair, Bowker added that there was “no serious political collaboration between the two countries”.61 Turkey participated in the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung in April at which her delegation, led by the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, exercised, in Bowker’s terms, “a discreetly moderating influence”. It then became a member of the Afro-Asian group in the United Nations. Though Turkey hoped to be able to exercise a continuous restraining influence on this group, it also found it necessary to make some concessions to their anti-Western views.62 Both economic and political relations with the Federal German Republic were continued, and the Federal German Minister of Defence and the Chief of Staff
58 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. For the Cyprus issue, see Cihat Göktepe, British Foreign Policy Towards Turkey, 1959-1965, Frank Cass, London 2003. Fahir Armaoğlu, Kıbrıs Meselesi, 1954-1959, SBF Yayını, Ankara 1963. 59 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 60 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 61 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 62 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956.
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were given particular attention during their visit to Turkey in October.63 There was a change in Turkey’s traditional mistrust of Russia. Although on several occasions the Russians suggested through various channels that they would like to develop closer cultural, economic or political relations with Turkey, Bowker commented that the Turks remained firm in their stance that improvement of relations between Russia and Turkey could only be possible through an improvement of relations between Russia and the West as a whole.64
Bowker made reference to the comment of the “Times” correspondent in Istanbul who, referring to political relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom, wrote that there had probably never been a moment since the Crimean War when there had been so few points of conflict between the two countries. The Turkish Government kept the British Government continuously and closely informed of their policy both in regard to the Balkan alliance and in the Middle East. Menderes on more than one occasion expressed his appreciation of British Government’s support of his efforts to consolidate and expand the Baghdad Pact. Similarly, the United Kingdom’s adherence to the Pact in April was warmly welcomed in Turkey and it acted to forge a further bond of alliance between the two countries. Menderes repeatedly referred to the importance which he attached to the United Kingdom, the only western power with forces in the area at that time, continuing to play an active role in the defence of the Middle East. The Turkish Government’s support of the British Government’s position in Cyprus was unfaltering, and they maintained that Britain's occupation of the island was necessary to allow it to carry out its treaty obligations in the Middle East, and that as long as British rule was maintained there was no Cyprus question in Turkey’s opinion. By the end of the year, while the lack of certainty about the results of the discussions between the Governor of Cyprus and Archbishop Makarios, and between the British Government and the Greek Government, particularly regarding their effect on the question of self-determination, had made the Turkish Government genuinely apprehensive and the Turkish public increasingly restless, the Foreign Office remarked that the Turkish Government’s representations to the British Government on the subject remained “objective and moderately expressed”.65
63 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 64 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. 65 FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956.
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1956 International developments were an increasing source of anxiety for Turkey as the year advanced. The country made its voice heard and its influence felt in a variety of international forums. The loss of momentum on the part of NATO, the state of suspended animation the Balkan Alliance was in, and the arrested development of the Baghdad Pact had created a sense of growing isolation for the Turks already in the first part of the year. The deterioration of the situation in the Middle East following on Colonel Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal and later the Israeli attack on Egypt and the Franco-British intervention caused an increase in Turkey’s anxieties, particularly as the internal situation in Syria made obvious Soviet penetration of the Middle East area south of its borders.66 Bowker noted that there was little that Turkey could do to enliven the Balkan Alliance. Although Yugoslavia, showed signs of renewed interest in the Alliance, the Greeks continued to emphasise that nothing could be done to revive the tripartite alliance while the existing tension continued with Turkey over Cyprus. Following the visit of the Greek Prime Minister to Belgrade in December, the Turkish Government asked the Yugoslav Government to explain their present attitude to the Alliance in view of what seemed to be the aim of the Greek Government to use it as an instrument for strengthening relations between Greece and Yugoslavia while excluding Turkey.67 In the Middle East, Turkey played an active role, repeatedly calling the attention of Britain and the US to the pressing necessity of strengthening the Baghdad Pact throughout the year. This was one of the themes developed by the Turkish Prime Minister during the British Foreign Secretary’s visit to Ankara in March. The nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Nasser confirmed the views which the Turks had frequently expressed about his dangerous ambitions and Bowker commented that “in private they made little secret of their disappointment that Britain had not intervened with force at that juncture”. Turkey accepted promptly the invitation to attend the conference on Suez convened in London in August, when, as at the Second London Conference in September, the Turkish Delegation, headed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported the Anglo-French proposals. In a memorandum communicated to the US and Britain in September, the Turkish Government drew attention to the particular threats to Turkey arising from the increasing evidence of
66 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 67 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957.
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Russian aims in Syria and the supposed violation of Turkish air space by Russian military aircraft. The memorandum called for the early accession of the US to the Baghdad Pact as the most effective means of giving it the strength and stability which it urgently needed. After the Anglo-French intervention in the Suez Canal following the Israeli attack on Egypt, Menderes, at the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the four Muslim members of the Baghdad Pact hurriedly gathered at Tehran, effectively supported the Shah of Iran in deprecating any idea of removing Britain from the Alliance. At the subsequent meeting of the Four in Baghdad ten days later, Menderes gave more timely encouragement to Nuri Said. At the same time he thought it pertinent to agree to the insistent request of the other three Muslim members of the Pact that Turkey should withdraw her Minister from Israel.68 The Turkish Government played a lading role in bringing to the attention of NATO the situation in the Middle East and its potentially disturbing outcomes for the Western Alliance. The attendance at a NATO Council meeting of the Turkish Acting Foreign Minister at the end of November was followed the next month by Menderes’ participation for the first time at the Ministerial meeting of the Council, at which a Turkish memorandum was circulated and the situation in the Middle East accepted as a subject which NATO should keep under continuing scrutiny. The Turkish Government viewed this as a first step towards forging some link between NATO and the Baghdad Pact which would allow regular contacts between the two groupings and some measure of military planning.69 On the Cyprus issue, the Turkish Government continued to state that they could not agree to any solution which kept alive the possibility of Enosis. Thus, they rejected the proposals which the British Government put to them in June for a date to be fixed for considering the application of self-determination, in spite of the carefully thought out safeguards for Turkey’s interests which the proposals contained.70 However, the Turkish Government accepted Lord Radcliffe’s report on a Constitution for Cyprus published in December as a basis of discussion, which they did in the framework of the British Government’s statement of policy made at the time of the publication of the report, which established the principle of eventual application of self-determination equally to the Turkish and Greek communities in the island and accepted partition as a possible ultimate
68 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 69 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 70 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957.
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solution. By this time the Turkish Government had arrived at their own conclusion that partition was the only practical solution of a problem which was continuing to create a dangerous tension in relations between the Turks and the Greeks. Their acceptance of the British Government’s proposals as a basis for discussion showed their belief that a Constitution would prove impracticable and expressed the wish that, if this proved to be the case, the British Government would cease their attempts in that direction and proceed immediately to the conception of integral application of the principle of self-determination. Bowker believed that the short visit paid to Turkey by Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies for the purpose of explaining the British Government’s proposals to the Turkish Government contributed greatly towards their favourable reception.71 The official visit of the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Ankara in March 1956 gave the Turkish Government and Menderes in particular an opportunity to demonstrate their often repeated wish to work in all aspects of foreign policy in close consultation and co-operation with Britain. Bowker commented that the discussions of the Foreign Secretary with Menderes covered a wide range of subjects and the reference in the communiqué, issued at the end of the visit, to an “effective and lively friendship being more than a formal document referred to only in times of crisis”, was generally regarded as an appropriate description of Anglo-Turkish relations. As stated earlier, the British position in regard to Egyptian nationalisation of the Suez Canal was supported by Turkey, and after the subsequent Anglo-French intervention the Turkish Government worked actively to mitigate its effects on Britain’s relations with the three other Muslim members of the Baghdad Pact, and to preserve her associations with the Pact. As far as Cyprus was concerned, Turkey’s attitude continued to be that the problem existed only because of the fact that Britain had accepted the possibility of eventually relinquishing her rule over the island.72 Friendly approaches to Turkey from Russia continued through most of the year, hinting of large-scale economic assistance. Turkey maintained her attitude of “cold reserve” and became increasingly disturbed as the year advanced over growing Russian penetration of the Middle East area, particularly in Egypt and Syria. However, the year passed without any of the signatories of the Montreux (Straits) Convention asking for an amendment of any of its provisions.73 The US, with her numerous teams administering military and economic
71 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 72 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 73 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957.
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assistance, provided the most material support and enjoyed the closest and the most widespread day-to-day relations with Turkey. The support remained on more or less the same scale as the previous year, despite Turkish hopes of greater favours.74 There was evidence during the year, through exchanges of visits of various kinds, of the wish to develop further economic and political relations with Germany, although at the end of the year arrangements for a contract for Turkey to supply a large quantity of small arms and ammunition had not been finalised. Turkey’s relations with other European countries were mostly concerned with arrangements for continuing commercial exchanges and liquidating arrears of Turkey’s debts.75 There were exchanges of formal visits with countries of the Baghdad Pact and Afghanistan, and the King of Libya visited Turkey in July 1956. However, very little happened during the year to emphasise Turkey’s membership of the Afro-Asian group of nations.76 1957 On the whole, 1957 was a troubled year for Turkey. In foreign affairs the country was directly involved in the continuing effects of the Anglo-French intervention on the Suez Canal on the Middle East and the Baghdad Pact, and later in the critical developments which arose from the Soviet penetration of Syria. The unresolved Cyprus question continued to trouble relations with Greece.77 The problem of Cyprus had entered into a critical and, as noted in a minute by C.T. Brant, “possibly explosive” phase. At the close of the year the country was still united in agreement with the Cyprus policy of partition. However, if Menderes failed to satisfy Turkish opinion on the Cyprus question, Bowker believed that the sum of his difficulties may well have led to his being unseated.. On the positive side, Menderes had managed to guide Turkey through some worrying international problems. He still had continued Turkish support for NATO and the Baghdad Pact; he dealt “coolly and steadily” with the propaganda campaign held against Turkey (inter alia) by Soviet Russia over Syria, in the early autumn; and he kept up his responsibilities in the exchanges of letters between Soviet and Western leaders.78
74 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 75 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 76 FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. 77 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 78 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Minute by C. T. Brant, 18 February 1958.
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In foreign affairs, Turkey pursued the role as appropriate to its position as a Middle East power on the Eastern flank of NATO with past associations with the Arabs. It continued to base its Middle East policy on the Baghdad Pact, with Britain as a full active member and strengthened by the formal accession of the US. The meeting of the Regional Members of the Pact in Ankara January provided the occasion for the three non-Arab members to overcome Iraq’s continuing hesitation to re-admit Britain after the latter’s virtual exclusion as the result of the Suez intervention and led the way for a full meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Pact at Karachi in May 1957.79 Although Turkey had in the past drawn attention to the dangerous situation which resulted from the steady Russian penetration of Syria, the situation in that part of the region was exacerbated by the replacement in August of General Nazimuddin by General Bizri as Chief of the Syrian General Staff, which was followed by changes in the command of the Police and Security Forces and the dismissal and arrest of Army Officers. After this, the Turkish Government, which had met with warm approval the new political moves of the US in the Middle East as announced in the Eisenhower Doctrine and explained to Richards during his visit to Turkey in March, appealed to the US Government for more active help to redress the situation which they saw as threatening a hostile encirclement of the Eastern flank of NATO. Bowker pointed out that Loy Henderson’s hurried visit to Turkey and the Lebanon produced a “confused agreement of the necessity of a firm Arab response to the Syrian danger”, but that realisation of this objective was frustrated by Aral’s reluctance to adopt an attitude of firmness against other Arabs publicly. This reluctance was strengthened by the fear felt by friendly Arab Governments of their own public opinion resulting from the publicity and public speculation which surrounded Henderson’s visit. Turkey seemed to be sceptical of the likelihood of effective action by friendly Arab States and to have considered the possibility of “going it alone” against Syria. However, by the time the Syrian complaint had been brought to the General Assembly of the United Nations in October, the Turkish Government was already completely absorbed in preparations for the General Election.80 As events turned out, the Russians gained considerable advantage from an appropriate propaganda designed to present Russia as the friend of a nationalist Syrian regime threatened by “warmongering imperialists and their tools”. In the meantime, the Regional Members of
79 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 80 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958.
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the Baghdad Pact, encouraged by Nuri Said, were calling increasingly noisy attention to the necessity of making some progress towards solving the Israel-Arab problem if Russian penetration of the area, so greatly helped as it was by exploiting Arab-Israeli differences, was to be effectively checked. On the initiative of King Faisal of Iraq, a hurried meeting of the four regional representatives was called, in Ankara in early December in which it was agreed that Menderes should explain the views of the group on this issue at the meeting of the Heads of Governments of the NATO Powers in Paris. Menderes did so accordingly, but the publication of his remarks, which Bowker remarked were “outspoken”, on the Syrian situation caused some discomfort in Iraq, and from Syria notes of protest to both Turkey and the NATO countries. At the end of the year, Turkey had not publicly declared support of any particular basis for a settlement over Palestine; although, in an exchange of letters attached to the Turco-Iraqi Pact of 1955, the Turks remained on record as advocating the implementation of the United Nations Resolutions of 1947 and 1948.81 During the year, the Turkish Government repeatedly indicated their support for Lebanon and Jordan, although a projected gift of arms to the Lebanon was withdrawn in December when Lebanon failed to support Turkey in the United Nations on Cyprus. The action of the Iraqi Delegation at New York in voting for the Greek resolution on Cyprus in the Political Committee and later abstaining in the Assembly caused resentment in Turkey, which was later calmed when the Iraqi Government disavowed their action of Delegation.82 Zorlu’s visit to Riyadh in September gave the Turkish Government reason to believe that King Saud had developed a much clearer understanding of the dangers of Russian penetration of Syria and of the stabilising qualities of the Baghdad Pact. However, King Saud maintained his opinion that Turkey’s continuance of diplomatic relations with Israel constituted a serious hindrance to closer co-operation between Saudi-Arabia and Turkey.83 In the early summer an effort, which Bowker commented on as being seemingly personally directed by Menderes, was made, to improve relations with Egypt. Menderes’s personal attendance at a reception at the Egyptian Embassy on the occasion of the establishment of the Egyptian Republic was followed by a visit to Cairo by the Turkish Minister of Commerce to attend the Cairo Trade Fair, and a return visit by the Egyptian Minister of Commerce to Turkey to visit the Fair at Izmir. The effect of these gestures was dissipated by the Syrian
81 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 82 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 83 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958.
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crisis and Menderes informed Bowker in November that Nasser was now “so far committed to Russia there was no longer any ground for hoping that something could still be made of him”.84 Turkey continued her attitude of cool reserve towards Russia. Repeated assurances from Russia of its readiness to give economic aid to Turkey resulted in a visit to Moscow by a delegation of the Is Bank (Turkish Bank of Affairs) and the conclusion of an agreement under which Russia was to build a glass, and a caustic soda factory in Turkey. However, the Russian suggestion for talks on political questions received a reply indicating that the Turkish Government did not consider there to be any political questions to be discussed between the two countries. The Syrian crisis produced a letter from Bulganin to Menderes containing “scarcely veiled threats” of the consequences of a Turkish move against Syria, to which Menderes returned a firm reply. Later Menderes was among the Heads of Governments of the NATO Powers to receive a further letter from Bulganin on the day before the meeting of NATO Heads of Government in Paris in December at which he was warned of the dangers to Turkey of “tying herself to America”.85 During the successive visits to Turkey of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and the King of Afghanistan, the Turkish Government were able to speak realistically of the dangers of close association with Russia and to help towards an improvement in the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turco-Afghan relations were slightly marred at the end of the year following the publication of Menderes’s reference to Afghanistan as a country where Russian penetration was a danger in his speech at the NATO Council meeting in Paris in December. 86 The State visit to Turkey in May 1957 of the President of Federal Germany accompanied by the German Foreign Minister was a sign of a further strengthening of Turco-German relations in the political, economic and cultural fields, though the hopes of widespread German participation in Turkey’s capital development programme were not fully realised. The visit to Turkey in November 1957 of the President of Italy provided an open display of Italy’s increasing desire to play a part in the Middle East as a NATO Power.87 The US continued as before to sustain Turkey’s defence and economy, with 45% of all Turkey’s imports were financed by that country). Turkey’s sense of dependence on America was
84 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 85 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 86 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 87 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958.
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greatly increased by the Syrian crisis and the aforementioned subsequent developments. Gratitude for firm US support during that period, and desire for US accession to the Baghdad Pact as the best and only means, according to the Turks, of effectively strengthening the Baghdad Pact, served to lessen the fairly constant dissatisfaction felt over the amount of American financial aid. The Turkish Government continued to seek the US Government’s advice and support on all points connected with their policy in the Middle East throughout the year. 88 Although the United States was, of all other countries, the most constantly and powerfully in their mind, the Turkish Government continued explicitly to give special importance to Turkey’s friendship and close association with Britain, and to Britain’s playing a positive role in the Middle East. The visit to Turkey in 1957 of the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, the Commander-in-Chief Middle East Land Forces and the Commander-in-Chief Middle East Air forces were taken as occasions by the President Bayar and the Prime Minister Menderes to give expression to such assurances.. During the early part of the year, the Turkish Government continued to work for Britain’s resumption of activities as a full member of the Baghdad Pact. Bowker pointed out that they were also particularly helpful in permitting air passage across Turkey to RAF aircraft, to which the Syrian route was closed. The agreement concluded in July 1957 between the BOAC and Turkish Airways, under which the latter obtained a credit for the purchase of five Viscount aeroplanes and the BOAC invested £500,000 in Turkish Airways, and the exchange of letters in August 1957 under which the Turkish Government obtained a credit for the purchase and refit of four destroyers of the British Reserve Fleet represented special efforts made by the British Government in 1957, in spite of the financial shortage in Britain, to meet Turkey’s requirements in two important fields.89 The only shadow on Turco-British relations during the year arose from developments over Cyprus that revealed the ever latent Turkish fear that Britain, sooner or later, would adopt a solution of the Cyprus issue which took insufficient account Turkey’s interests. The release of Archbishop Makarios in March caused the most violent outburst of the year in the press and among the public, which the Turkish Government for some time did little to calm in
88 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. 89 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958.
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spite of firm assurances from Her Majesty's Government that the Archbishop's release was not an indication of a change of policy, that there was no question of recognising the Archbishop as the sole representative of the Cypriotes in any future talks, nor of allowing him to return to Cyprus. Ultimately Menderes made a public statement containing friendly references to Britain and confidence in British policy, and eventually he was prepared, although tacitly, to admit that the Archbishop’s release was proving more troublesome to Karamanlis than to himself. The British Government’s later aborted suggestion of a tripartite conference with Turkey and Greece to discuss all possible solutions of the Cyprus issue was accepted by the Turkish Government when put to them in August, although they stated that they would not be able to attend until after the Turkish General Election in October. The Greek Government indicated that they could attend such a conference only if they believed beforehand that it would adopt a solution acceptable to Greece. In the course of the Election campaign Menderes firmly stated his belief in partition and confirmed this attitude after his party had been reinstated. An attempt by the British Government in November to persuade the Turkish Government to consider form of guaranteed independence to meet the country’s essential requirements resulted in a firm restatement of the opinion that any co-operation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots would be bound to be exploited by the former in their own interest. The Turks believed that the only way of permanently stopping the friction between the two communities was to draw another frontier between Turkey and Greece. At the end of the year Greek and Turkish views on Cyprus remained “as irreconcilable as ever”.90 1958 Burrows commented that he found it “difficult to strike the correct balance between the bad and good features of 1958”. While the bad ones, such as the agitation in Cyprus and the increasing violence of the disagreement between the two parties, were “more spectacular”; the steady development of Turkey’s bonds with the West in NATO and other manifestations of cooperation in the free world; the “return to reasonableness” in the later stages of the Cyprus question, the initiation of the economic stabilisation programme despite the political disadvantages it entailed for the Turkish Government, and the notable resurgence of Anglo-Turkish friendship at the end of the year, all suggested Turkey’s underlying sense and strength as factors on which the Western world, and the United Kingdom in particular, could
90 FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958.
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confidently count..91 In terms of foreign affairs, 1958 was a year of importance and dramatic developments for Turkey and in Anglo-Turkish relations. The Cyprus issue clouded the latter for the first eight months and became more persistent on the internal scene. The revolution in Iraq and the developments which ensued rocked one of the main columns of Turkish foreign policy and threatened to add yet another Communist or Communist controlled country to Turkey’s frontier. The events of the previous summer in Iraq also destroyed the solidly bi-partisan foreign policy which had distinguished Turkey for the last seven years.92 On Cyprus the year got off to a bad start. At the meeting of the Baghdad Pact Ministerial Council in Ankara in January 1958, Selwyn Lloyd took the opportunity to continue with the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister the conversations which had already begun through the diplomatic channel on 10 January 1958. Zorlu’s conduct revealed what Burrows referred to as “certain basic aspects of the Turkish character”, which are: “first, that the Turks are incapable of conducting any negotiations on the basis of hypothesis, secondly, they will take any hypothetical concession as a concession of substance and thirdly, they will turn sour and dangerous if for any reason these hypotheses subsequently prove to be unrealisable in fact. On their side, the Turks would argue that the British are slippery, or at least deplorably prone to yield to Greek pressure and that the only way to correct these tendencies is to show and if necessary to use force.”93 However, the conversations of January in Ankara and then in Athens showed that the British Government’s efforts over the previous three years to find a solution for Cyprus acceptable to both the Greeks and the Turks were doomed to failure despite the attempts made by the Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd to find a basis of compromise with Zorlu at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Copenhagen in May 1958. The failure of these January conversations also led the Turkish Government for the first time to embark on a policy “of deliberate hostility” to the British Government. The first signs of this were already apparent when while the Copenhagen talks with Zorlu were still under process. The Turkish Cypriote made violent demonstrations in Nicosia and other places on the Island resulting in fatal casualties. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, the British Embassy believed that they were instigated by the Turkish Government. The four months following the failure of the conversations in Ankara and Athens were characterised by growing suspicion on the Turkish side and a general deterioration in Anglo-Turkish relations. In mid-May Sir James Bowker
91 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrows to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 92 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 93 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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returned to London for consultations on the Macmillan plan. He explained the British Government’s intentions to the Turkish Foreign Minister and subsequently to the Prime Minister. He repeatedly assured Zorlu that there was nothing to cause any concern to the Turkish Government, and was proved by the Turkish Government’s subsequent acceptance of a substantially similar plan at the end of August 1958. By the end of May, however, the Turkish Government were convinced that the British Government were planning “some major act of treachery” and, “with no accurate knowledge of the plan”, proceeded to try and deter the British Government from their plan. Mass anti-British demonstrations were held for six weeks throughout every part of Turkey, beginning with Istanbul on the 8 June. At the same time and continuing for approximately the same period Turkish Cypriote began to attack Greek Cypriots and the latter to retaliate. The death toll at the end of a month’s inter-communal fighting and rioting was over thirty Greek Cypriots and some fifty Turkish Cypriots. There was also considerable material loss on both sides through arson and other means. In Burrows’ words, “The Turks seem to have gone into this bloody game with light hearts and officials and deputies and other prominent Turks openly admitted in the early months of summer that a policy of violence, which they argued had been successfully practised by the Greeks, might now serve Turkey’s interest better than a policy of cooperation with the British Government”. He then added that the Turks began to realise the advantages to Turkey of the British plan as the number of Turkish Cypriot deaths rose. By mid-July, despite the continuance of sporadic incidents in Cyprus, the Turkish Government were looking for an opportunity to put a stop to both the demonstrations and the campaign of violence in Cyprus. The coup in Iraq gave them a first chance, their second opportunity being the Ministerial Meeting of the Baghdad Pact in London at the end of July 1958. Following the latter, Menderes joined Macmillan and Karamanlis in appeals to bring violence on the island to an end. These appeals were followed by Macmillan’s visits first to Athens and from there to Ankara on 9 August 1958, for further discussions on the British plan. These discussions lead to certain modifications being made on the Greek point of view; and by way of compensation, a new passage dealing with the creation of separate municipal councils in the main cities of the island was introduced for the Turks.94 Burrows’ commented that during their talk with Macmillan, the Turks “blustered, bargained and threatened”, but added that behind this front they were truly worried about the
94 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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British Government preparing to abandon the plan. When on 15 August it became clear that they were not going to do so, the situation improved and ten days later the Turkish Government officially informed Sir James Bowker of its intention as a new manifestation of its goodwill to support the British Government in the application of the revised plan and to send its representative to Cyprus. This was accompanied by a public statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister stating first that Turkey’s acceptance of the British plan had in no way altered its view that partition was the correct solution; and secondly, that the British conception of partnership on the island was not incompatible with the Turkish demand for partition. Burrows commented that no responsible Turkish official was prepared, for what he referred to as “sound tactical reasons”, to explain exactly what was meant by this statement, but that this was not as important as the practical evidence of renewed cooperation and confidence in Anglo-Turkish relations which ensued. He noted that the Turkish attitude was still “laced with doubt and suspicion and subject to instant and drastic review” for the two months following the acceptance of the plan. It was not until the end of October when the talks on Cyprus in the North Atlantic Council were over that the Turks really began to believe that they could trust the British again. The discussions in the North Atlantic Council on Cyprus began badly for the Turks. Having a deeper knowledge of the Greek character from centuries of experience than that of some other members of NATO, they simply did not believe the Greek Government when they spoke of leaving the Alliance failing satisfaction of their claims in Cyprus. They also deeply resented Spaak’s visit to Athens at the end of September 1958 and his subsequent action in presenting to the North Atlantic Council a version of the Macmillan plan revised to omit the features which were advantageous to the Turks. Burrows remarked that their initial reaction in the Council was both violent and unskilful. He attributed the fact that they emerged from these discussions with their position in the Council and on the international scene strongly reinforced to three factors: the incompetence of the Greek Government in handling their own case and to Archbishop Makarios’s final act of sabotage; secondly, to the Turkish Government’s growing confidence, in the British Government’s support and intentions; and thirdly, in Zorlu’s skill in making an ally of Spaak who had finished the month with a better understanding of the Turkish position and “heartily tired of the Greeks”.95
95 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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The aim of the discussions in the North Atlantic Council was to bring about a conference between the three Governments directly concerned, with the participation of the representatives of the two main communities in Cyprus and of the secretary-General of NATO and representatives of the United States and another Government. On the eve of the debate in the United Nations, the British and Turkish governments also aimed for such a conference .This aim was embodied in a resolution put forward by the Iranian Delegation and endorsed by a simple majority in the first stages of the debate in the Political Committee. Burrows doubted whether the Greek Government would have ever come to a conference even had the Iranian resolution secured the necessary majority of two-thirds in the General Assembly and, if so, whether, the conference could have ever reached agreement. However, he continued, the combination of first the simple majority for the Iranian resolution and secondly, the anodyne resolution calling for continued efforts by the parties to reach a peaceful solution which actually received the unanimous approval of the General Assembly, represented the best outcome to the debate which the British Government and the Turkish Government could have hoped for. This was because, while the passage of the Iranian resolution constituted a necessary warning for the Greeks, the final resolution saved them from a humiliating defeat which might have deprived them of any freedom of manoeuvre for many months. Zorlu, who, in Burrows expression, was “as wise and skilful in the last months of the year as he had been stupid and irresponsible during the first half”, was clever enough to accept this combination of circumstances at once and within a few hours of the end of the debate had begun talks with his Greek colleague with the aim of finding a final solution to the problem of Cyprus in the context of renewed Turco-Greek friendship. These talks were continued at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Paris in mid-December with the approval of the British Government. By the end of the year the Cyprus issue had already been transformed; violence had virtually ceased on the island, and for the first time since the London conference in 1955 and the anti-Greek riots in Istanbul and Izmir of the September of the same year, the Greeks and Turks were communicating in a language which was” intended to be constructive and carried some message of hope”.96 Turkey’s geographical position and in particular its membership of the Baghdad Pact, the active Middle Eastern policy which the Turkish Government has pursued since the signature of this instrument, guaranteed that any major developments in the Middle East would have their effect both on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies. Burrows remarked that Turkey had had in previous
96 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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twelve months its “full share of the social and political upheavals which characterised the Middle East in 1950”.97 Burrows considered the Fourth Meeting of the Baghdad Pact Ministerial Council held at Ankara at the beginning of the year to beneficial, and that for the regional members at least Dulles’s presence for the first time had a calming effect,; but, when compared with the Turco-Syrian crisis of the previous year culminating in the formation of the United Arab Republic and the general pace of events in the Middle East at that time, , the proceedings of the Committees and Councils had “a certain air of unreality”, enhanced by the fact that, for the Turks and the British, the Council Meeting became the background to the first major Anglo-Turkish clash over Cyprus. Burrows remarked that, in retrospect, the January meeting of the Council was very poignant,, since it was the last time that Nuri Said, appeared in the Council and, with Tawfik Suwaidi and Fadhil Jamali, spoke for Iraq. He continued that while Nuri Said misgivings about the future of Iraq and Iraq’s relations with the West which he expressed at that time were inaccurate in detail, they were in the general sense only too true and that the Turks, who regarded him as practically “one of themselves”, were deeply upset by his murder six months later.98 The news of the establishment of the United Arab Republic was announced on the first of February, very soon after the dispersal of the Ankara Meeting. The Turkish Government did not want to see Syria go Communist; neither were they pleased with any increase in Colonel Nasser’s authority and prestige. For the following two weeks, therefore, it maintained an attitude of reserve towards the new state and poured its energies on fostering the Hashemite union of Iraq and Jordan in any way it could. With the conclusion of the negotiations for this, the Turkish Government promptly recognised it and then, after allowing a respectable amount of time to elapse, “quietly and unobtrusively” recognised the new Egypt-Syrian state on 12 March. According to Burrows, even in a world “accustomed to dramatic and violent developments”, the sudden and brutal nature of the Iraqi revolution of 14 July was “profoundly shocking”. Like the other members of the Pact, the Turks were probably accustomed to asking themselves whether Nuri Said’s personal regime, and even the Hashemite dynasty, in Iraq could last forever. Yet the circumstances of their downfall were particularly distressing to the leaders of Turkey at that time. First, King Faisal, the Crown prince and Nuri Said had visited Turkey frequently since the signature of the Baghdad Pact
97 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 98 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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and were on terms of personal friendship with President Bayar and his principal Ministers; second, centuries of imperial rule had given the Turks an emotional and traditional respect for royalty which they found compatible with the republicanism they had inherited from Atatürk, and they were greatly shocked by the murder of the young King in particular. Third, there was the simple fact that President Bayar, together with the Shah, and the President of Pakistan, were actually awaiting the arrival of King Faisal at the airport at Istanbul when they were told of his and his uncle’s murder. In addition to the shock of this news, there was the immediate anxiety about what would now happen in Jordan and in the Lebanon.99
Given these events, Burrows commented that it could be said that the three rulers and their advisers made much sense of the first two days of their meetings and to the joint messages which they addressed to the United States Government, and to the British Government, the Turks added some what Burrows regarded as “highly unrealistic” suggestions for military action. However, he continued, the Turkish Government’s assurances to support King Hussein of Jordan might have been “of some moral value” and the news of the British and United States troop landings in Amman and the Lebanon had calming and encouraging effects before the three heads of state dispersed.100 For some weeks of following the coup the Turkish Foreign Minister continued to call for Turkish or British military action against Iraq, and said so more or less publicly in what Burrows considered as an ill judged interview with the correspondent of the Daily Mail shortly before departing with the Turkish prime minister for the Ministerial Council Meeting of the Baghdad pact on 26 July in London. While admitting that this incident hardly fell within the review of Turkey’s foreign relations, Burrows considered it worth recording at this point that Zorlu’s indiscretion prompted the opposition to ask for a debate on foreign affairs in the Grand National Assembly. This request was refused and the opposition was palmed off with a general and partially dishonest statement by the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Burrows believed that Inönü’s request was almost certainly prompted as much by concern for Turkey’s national interest as for any party gain, and the Government’s action in refusing it led the opposition for the first time into open criticism of the Government’s Middle Eastern policy since the signature of the Baghdad Pact, and into some fairly outspoken criticism of the character of the former Iraqi regime and other monarchical regimes in the Middle East. For Burrows, this had more than a domestic
99 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 100 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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significance, because, in his opinion, there had always been a strong trend of neutrality in Inönü’s out-looks on foreign affairs. He predicted that should the Republican Party be reinstated after the next general elections in this country, the new Turkish Government would be less enthusiastic than the Menderes administration in its support of the Baghdad Pact and other manifestations Menderes’s and Zorlu’s Middle Eastern Policy.101 The London Meeting of the Baghdad Pact Ministerial Council ended with general agreement amongst the attending members of the Pact and the United States Government on the attitude to be adopted towards the new Iraqi regime, and with the United States’s offer to sign bilateral agreements as provided for in Article 1 of the Pact. On 31 July, the Turkish Government announced its recognition of the new Iraqi Republic, and continued as far as Brigadier Qasim’s Government made it possible, to follow a consistent policy of friendship and support of the new country. It was possible to judge the importance with which the Turkish Government attached to this policy despite the discouraging turn of events in Iraq itself towards the end of the year from the trouble it took to control any serious manifestation of public excitement in Turkey at the time of rioting between the Turks and Kurds in Kirkuk and nearby districts in mid-November 1957, though there were other and graver foreign and internal political reasons for its attitude than the desire to give Brigadier Qasim the best possible chance against Colonel Nasser.102 At this point, Burrows commented that there was little else to record in the field of Middle Eastern Affairs. The decision in principle to move the Baghdad Pact Headquarters to Ankara was taken at the London-Meeting in July 1958 and the first informal and private meetings of the Council of Deputies, without Iraq, were held early in October with the first formal meeting taking place on the 23 October. The Military Committee of the Pact held an extraordinary meeting for three days beginning on 5 November during which the Iranian Delegation on one side and the United States on the other first showed the form which would threaten to lead the Pact into a serious predicament less than three months later.103
101 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 102 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. 103 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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Generally, in the field of foreign affairs Burrows remarked that Turkey had remained a “faithful and on the whole responsible” member of the Western Alliance. Moreover, in the specific context of Anglo-Turkish relations, the British Ambassador was pleased to note the serious efforts made by the Turkish Government to restore the traditional friendship between the two countries after the resolution of the disagreement over Cyprus in the first half of the year. He noted that British official visitors to Turkey in the autumn, such as the Labour Attaché from Tehran, the Deputy Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance and the secretary of the Royal Institute of Public Administration, were “warmly welcomed” by their Turkish colleagues. Relations between the ambassador’s Service Attaches and the Turkish Armed Forces rapidly improved and a great deal of inter-Service co-operation was resumed. Landmarks in this field were provided by the Fleet visit to Istanbul in October, which Burrows commented was a great success; and the demonstration visit to Ankara by a Vulcan V-bomber of the Royal Air Force in November. In the final weeks of the year a welcome demonstration of the Turkish Government’s desire to restore friendly relations fully was given by the President of the Grand National Assembly who agreed to conduct the opening ceremony at the new British Council premises in Ankara and included in his speech “glowing references” to the importance he attached to the development and strengthening of Anglo-Turkish relations. The first meetings in December of the Mixed Commission envisaged in the Anglo-Turkish Cultural Agreement took place in an atmosphere of great friendship and at the same time Burrows received a request from the Minister of Construction and the Secretary-General of the prime Ministry for official assistance over the recruitment of British teachers for Turkish schools. According to the British Ambassador, all these manifestations, combined with the marked friendliness of his reception by Turkish Ministers and officials at his initial calls, indicated that Turkish confidence in Britain had revived by the end of the year and that the Turkish Government was anxious to restore their relations with the British Government to their old footing and also to develop them further.104 1959 Burrows began his report for 1959 by commenting that the main points of interest in foreign affairs for that year were Turkey’s policy towards its Middle East neighbours and its attitude towards the detente between East and West. The Russian threat was a common factor
104 FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959.
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and was overshadowing everything else in Turkish thinking. However, while seeking to protect itself against this by strengthening CENTO and encouraging Iranian resistance to Russian overtures, Turkey showed restraint in its dealings with Iraq and in its attitude towards the Arab world, in spite of deep suspicion of Egyptian ambitions. The ambassador believed that by maintaining this policy Turkey would be able to make valuable contributions to Middle East stability.105 This close identity of views with the West was not reflected in the Turkish attitude towards a détente. While anxious not to be left alone should the West come to an arrangement with the Soviet Union; the Turks still found it difficult to overcome their traditional suspicions of Russia. In view of their geographical position, Burrows saw it as natural enough for the Turks to take a parochial view of the Russian threat and a rapprochement would have been against all their best instincts. Nevertheless, he thought it best that the British did not lose sight of the possibility of a re-alignment of Turkey’s westward-looking policy; though he thought it unlikely, if a détente was to lessen the rewards of friendship with the West. However, he continued, the Turks were essentially realists and it was difficult for him to believe that they would risk going very far towards “hitching their wagon to the Soviet star” whatever the incentives may have been.106 On the whole, commented Burrows, 1959 was “a good deal pleasanter than its predecessor” in Turkey, but “hardly less interesting”. It began with the miraculous Turkish-Greek understanding on Cyprus, culminating in the London Agreement in February. The implementation of this Agreement involved much hard work for all concerned, but did not impose any particular strain on Anglo-Turkish relations except for some temporary excitement following on the arrest of Turkish arms smugglers in October. He remarked that “remarkable firmness of purpose” was displayed by the Greek and Turkish Governments in holding to their new found friendship and in overcoming most of the practical obstacles to the execution of the Agreements which might have otherwise led to much greater difficulties.107 In the Middle East, the Turkish Government continued their success in foreign policy by maintaining reasonable relations with the new Iraqi regime in the face of provocation and initial lack of response. Turkish policy towards the rest of the Middle East was remarkably cautious and hard-headed. Deep suspicion of Egyptian ambitions continued to constitute a fixed point in Turkish thinking; as did the conviction that the Arab world would and should
105 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960. 106 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960. 107 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960.
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remain divided. Preoccupation with Syrian affairs, however, was a good deal less. Turkey would have liked Syria to be independent of Egypt again and would not have minded if it became part of Iraq. The Turkish Government did not appear seriously to believe that any part of the Middle East would be likely to go fully Communist, owing to the nature and character of the people. In Burrows’ opinion, they believed that the greater danger of Soviet penetration came from the weakness and folly of leaders such as Nasser, who believed that they could let the Russians in to help militarily and economically and then get rid of them without damage to themselves. The worst thing in their view would be a unified Arab world exposed to Soviet influence of the kind visible in Egypt at that time. It seemed to them much less dangerous to have even a near Communist Iraq as a separate entity, because this would automatically provoke resistance to Communism in Egypt. The ambassador believed this to be a subtle policy which had been pursued with “typical Turkish tenacity”.108 The Turkish achievement in stabilising their relations with post-revolutionary Iraq was, in Burrows’ opinion, the more remarkable because it was accompanied by noteworthy efforts to consolidate CENTO, as the Baghdad Pact became known during the course of the year. In this context, Turkey’s chief preoccupation was to find ways of keeping Iran in the Western Alliance. Iran’s position came to be recognised more and more clearly as vital to Turkey’s strategic and, even to some extent, political resistance against the Soviet-threat. The Turks emphasised from the beginning that this was largely a matter of maintaining the morale of the Shah and the Iranian people, and often expressed with forcibly the view that the British Government, and even more the US Government, did not pay sufficient attention to this factor in their attitude towards assistance to Iran and the organisation of CENTO. They were appreciative of the important part of the British in dissuading the Shah from pursuing his talks with the Soviet Union during and just after the Karachi meeting of CENTO in January, and they felt that the position was further consolidated by the conclusion of the bilateral agreements between the US and the regional CENTO countries in March. Apart from what he saw as their “perhaps sometimes almost excessive pressure” in this direction, Burrows wrote that the Turks played a useful part in interpreting and moderating the demands of Iran and Pakistan for more rapid progress in the building up of CENTO into something more like NATO, the most noteworthy feature of which was the acceptance of the Turkish proposal for
108 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960.
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a Permanent Military Deputies Group, which was to begin operations on January 1 and to consider amongst other things the question of a command structure for the Organisation.109 On the Cyprus issue, the opening of a new phase in which British and Turkish interests were usually the same, the close coincidence of British and Turkish views about the Middle East and the “unlimited appetite of the Turks for the cultural and economic benefits deriving from knowledge of the English language” provided extraordinarily favourable opportunities for the consolidation of relations between the two countries. These feelings were only slightly damaged, and perhaps mainly among certain members of the Government and the Foreign Ministry, by the unwillingness of the British Government to supply the further economic aid which the Turks felt they deserved, and by lingering suspicions that the British are less sound on East-West relations than the Germans, the French and the Americans. Burrows thought it only a pity that, “with the gates so wide open”, it had not been possible for the British to do anything to expand their economic interests or their cultural stoke in the country. He considered it puzzling why they devoted so much effort and money to pushing themselves forward in places where they are not particularly welcome, or where the political atmosphere was much less propitious; whereas in Turkey they spent their time turning down “the most whole-hearted offers” of economic co-operation and cultural expansion.110 The Americans had a very difficult year in Turkey in 1959, which Burrows considered to be probably no more than must be expected from “so blatantly unequal a relationship”. They inevitably suffer from being “the people on the spot”, constantly visible in very large numbers, said the ambassador estimated there to be some 13,000 American civil and military personnel in Turkey at that time. Comparatively small incidents were magnified to absurd proportions. Requests for further aid were more noticeable than thanks for aid received. In so far as US aid was welcomed, it was on the implicit condition that US civilisation did make an entry at the same time, and there was little attempt to conceal the Turkish preference for European powers and particularly Britain as interpreters of the Western tradition. However, Burrows added that the effect of all this did not need to be exaggerated. The Soviets were near enough geographically and near enough to the historical consciousness of the Turkish people to provide a fully adequate balancing factor. Burrows believed that the Turks could afford to
109 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960. 110 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960.
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be a little anti-American because they were much more anti-Russian, and because they were confident of US material and military support in recognition of their geographical position and of their political steadfastness.111 As the year advanced, Turkey came face to face with a new and exacting test of political skill and steadiness resulting from the beginnings of detente between the West and the Soviet Union. Turkey’s position at the extreme right of the NATO spectrum was consistent with the history, traditions and natural feelings of the people; and, moreover, they were getting handsomely paid for it. There were signs of criticism of this basic attitude only on the intellectual fringe of the opposition party, and even here the dominant feeling seemed to be that Turkey should somehow be able to find a way of maintaining its general NATO policy while being at the same time more flexible in the Middle East. In these circumstances, the new developments in the high level international scene which appeared during the course of 1959 were bound to prove deeply disturbing. The idea of a thaw in the cold war came to be regarded with suspicion by the Turks, which Burrows saw as partly because they believed that they knew best how to deal with the Soviets and they did not altogether approve of the British ways of doing this; partly because they had in characteristic Turkish fashion committed themselves entirely to an extreme anti-Soviet position and feared some loss of face in abandoning it; and partly because in a general détente, their geographical and ideological position might not have commanded so high a reward as it did at that time. Turkish feelings of concern on these subjects manifested themselves in two ways. First was an increasingly impatient series of remarks to the British and the Americans and, occasionally, to some of the other NATO Governments, to the effect that the US, the UK and France were in danger of setting up a kind of world directorate, to which the Soviets would be invited to join, and that the interests of the smaller Western Powers were being overlooked because they were not given an adequate say in the formulation of policy and because the agenda for the summit talks was so wide that questions affecting countries other than the participants would inevitably be discussed in their absence. Second, Turkey had been subjected to what Burrows regarded as the usual Soviet inducements “of the stick and carrot variety”, with notes of protest about rocket bases followed rapidly by offers of economic aid and invitations to the exchange of high-level visits. The Turkish Government rebuffed the former with no more difficulty than on many more serious occasions in the past, but they felt it necessary to make some show of response to the more friendly aspects of the Soviet offensive. They accepted some individual items of
111 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960.
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economic aid, such as a number of factories; they sent the ageing Minister of Health on a visit to Moscow, which, commented Burrows, “proved such a shock to the old gentleman that he developed a heart attack on arrival”; the Turkish foreign Minister and the Soviet Ambassador exchanged dinners; the latter said some words of warning to the effect that Turkey should not risk missing the co-existence band-wagon; the Turks responded with some guarded expressions of satisfaction at the possibility of a lowering of tension, but with clear statements that they did not intend to consider coming to any separate agreement and so weakening the Western front.112 Burrows thought it would have been “most repugnant” to the Turkish government at that time to go much further than this in the direction of really making friends with the Soviet Union, and he added that if the international climate were to improve genuinely, they would be faced with painful decisions. He thought that they would make their decisions like statesmen in most other countries on the basis of their view of the country’s interests. In attempting to analyse what this view might have been, Burrows remarked that his guesses that Menderes’s thoughts were as follows: the belief that he should remain in power because he was best able to manage the revival of Turkey and its growth into a more fully developed power; the belief that a future for Turkey of the kind that he wanted depended largely on fairly rapid economic development; his belief in the Western alignment of Turkey as providing the only possible defence from the Soviet Union and at the same time a just acceptable level of economic aid to make industrial development possible; the belief that Turkey’s future should be Turkish and not merely an inferior copy of the West. If this view proved correct, Burrows believed that it would be seen that the continuation of Turkey’s alignment at that time was not to be taken for granted in all circumstances, but was determined by a number of factors which might not always remain the same. These factors which could bring about a change in Turkey’s outlook were as follows: if because of international detente defence against the Soviet Union no longer appeared to be such an important necessity; if for the same reason the Western powers no longer seemed likely to provide it in so satisfactory a form as at that time; if the West appeared too seriously to disregard Turkey’s claim to equality of treatment in consultation about summit meetings or other large-scale international developments; if it began to be felt that Turkey’s economic development could no longer be achieved at a satisfactory rate with the help of the West alone
112 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960.
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and that a useful contribution to it could be obtained without too much danger from the East; if the growth of Turkishness in certain aspects of the Turkish state caused serious lack of harmony between Turkey and the Western democracies..113 1960 Burrows saw it as one of the many paradoxes of 1960 how the Democrat Party Government could embark on so dangerous and ill-judged a course in internal affairs, while in its foreign policy it showed such steadfastness as a member of the Western alliance, one of whose major elements was a common belief in the virtues of democracy, and gave proof of remarkable statesmanship in devising and pushing through the Cyprus settlement, with regard to which their political wisdom was, in the ambassador’s opinion, much greater than that of the opposition. In part, foreign policy was calculated to bring the greatest advantage in terms of US aid with which to finance economic development and so indirectly to give political benefit to the Government. Burrows commented that part of the credit was accredited to Zorlu’s integrity as a technician of foreign policy and to the wide discretion given him by Menderes, particularly with regard to Cyprus and the Middle East. However, there were signs towards the end that even in foreign policy the strain was beginning to show. Menderes had been heard to mention rather enviously on more than one occasion how much easier it was for a totalitarian system like the Soviet Union to carry out measure a of economic development in a short time; and his agreement to exchange visits with Khrushchev might have been regarded not only as a prudent withdrawal from Turkey’s previously extreme anti-Soviet position, but also as a hope of distraction from the internal crisis.114 The impact of the Revolution on Turkey’s foreign relations was, in Burrows’ opinion, remarkably small. As mentioned before, the Government of Menderes had decided shortly before their fall to try and break the ice with the Soviet Union, but nothing had come of this. Almost the first statements of the Revolutionary Government were to the effect that they remained faithful to their alliances with the West (NATO and CENTO) but that there might be slight differences in the application of their foreign policy. The understanding was that these might be materialised as a greater suppleness in the handling of relations with neighbouring states, i.e. the Soviet Union and the Arab world. However, Burrows noted, it
113 FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960. 114 FO371/160212/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1960, From Bernard Burrow to Foreign Office, 6 January 1961.
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was hard to detect any changes at all. The Soviets thought they had an opportunity to improve their position and pressed very hard, probably too much so, to persuade Turkey to accept large scale economic aid and an exchange of top level visits. Both were refused and Turkey’s policy of maintaining its Western connection unimpaired, but as far as this allowed of normalizing trans-frontier relations with the Soviet Union was ably and firmly stated in a letter from General Gürsel to Khrushchev. Some rather half-hearted attempts were made by the Turkish Government to remove the previous acidity of their relations with the United Arab Republic, but any hopes of improvement in this direction were soon clashed by the revival in Syria and latterly in Egypt also of the Arab claim to the province of Hatay.115
115 FO371/160212/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1960, From Bernard Burrow to Foreign Office, 6 January 1961.
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END NOTES * Prof. Dr., Abant Izzet Baysal University, Department of History, Bolu. BIBLIOGRAPHY Archival sources All references to sources prefixed by FO and FCO refer to materials held at the UK National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, formerly, the Public Record Office. The Following files have been consulted: FO371/95267/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1950, From Noel Charles to Bevin, 13 January 1951. FO371/101848/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1951, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 2 January 1952. FO371/107547/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1952, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 9 January 1953. FO371/112921/WK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1953, From Knox Helm to Anthony Eden, 1 January 1954. FCO9/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1954, From James Bowker to Anthony Eden, 7 January 1955. FO371/123999/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1955, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 16 January 1956. FO371/130174/RK1011/1, Turkey: Annual Review for 1956, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 5 February 1957. FO371/136450/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1957, From James Bowker to Selwyn Lloyd, 4 February 1958. FO371/144739/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1958, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 17 February 1959. FO371/153030/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1959, From Bernard Burrow to Selwyn Lloyd, 26 January 1960. FO371/160212/RK1011/1, Annual Report on Turkey for 1960, From Bernard Burrows to Foreign Office, 6 January 1961. Books & Articles ARMAOĞLU, F. (1994), 20. Yüzyıl Siyasi Tarihi (1914-1980), Ankara: Türkiye ĠĢ Bankası Yayınları. ARMAOĞLU, F. (1963), Kıbrıs Meselesi (1954-1959), Ankara: SBF Yayını.
BAĞCI, H. (1990), Demokrat Parti Dönemi DıĢ Politikası, Ankara: Ġmge Yayınları.
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BEHRAMOĞLU, N. (1973), Türkiye - Amerika ĠliĢkileri, Demokrat Parti Dönemi, Ġstanbul: Yar Yayınları. ÇAKMAK, H. (2008), Türk DıĢ Politikası: 1919-2008, Ankara: BarıĢ Platin Kitap Ltd. ġti. DOĞANER, Y. (2006), “Ġngiliz Büyükelçiliği Yıllık Raporlarında Demokrat Parti Dönemi Türkiye’sinde DıĢ ĠliĢkiler”, Cumhuriyet Tarihi AraĢtırmaları Dergisi (CTAD), 2 (4), pp. 227-248. GÖKTEPE, C. (2003), British Foreign Policy Towards Turkey (1959-1965), London: Frank Cass. GÜRÜN, K. (1983), DıĢ ĠliĢkiler ve Türk Politikası (1939’dan Günümüze Kadar), Ankara: SBF Yayınları. HALE, W. (2003), Türk DıĢ Politikası (1774-2000), (Çev. Petek Demir), Ġstanbul: Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayınları. KÖNĠ, H. (1994), “1950–1955 Yılları Arasında Amerikan Belgeleriyle Türk-Amerikan ĠliĢkileri”, Avrasya Dosyası, 1 (4), pp. 21-29. MCGHEE, G. (1992), ABD-Türkiye-NATO-Ortadoğu, (Çev. Belkıs Çorakçı), Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi. SANDER, O. (1979), Türk-Amerikan ĠliĢkileri: 1947–1964, Ankara: SBF Yayınları. SARINAY, Y. (1988), Türkiye’nin Batı Ġttifakına YöneliĢi ve NATO’ya GiriĢi, Ankara: Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı Yayını. YEġĠLBURSA, B. K. (2001), “The American Concept of the Northern Tier Defence Project and the Signing of the Turco-Pakistani Agreement: 1953-54”, Middle Eastern Studies, 37 (3), pp. 59-110. YEġĠLBURSA, B. K. (2007), Ortadoğu’da Soğuk SavaĢ ve Emperyalizm, Ġstanbul: IQ Yayınları. YEġĠLBURSA, B. K. (2005), The Baghdad Pact: Anglo-American Defence Policies in the Middle East: 1950-1959, London: Frank Cass. YEġĠLBURSA, B. K. (1999), “Turkey’s Participation in the Middle East Command and its Admission to NATO, 1950-52”, Middle Eastern Studies, 35 (4), pp. 70-102.