The Soviet Threat and Reaction of Turkey After World War II

Uzman N.

GAZI AKADEMIK BAKIS-GAZI ACADEMIC VIEW, vol.11, no.22, pp.117-142, 2018 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 22
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.117-142
  • Keywords: Soviet Russia, Turkey, Straits, Kars-Ardahan, World War II
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Turkey did not participate in World War II and adopted the policy of active neutrality. By force of this policy, it continued its relationships both with Axis and Allied powers. As the Allied victory became obvious, Turkey symbolically declared war against Germany and Japan in order not to be isolated in forthcoming new world order and to enroll in the United Nations as a founding member. It was a very tough process for Turkey to continue its neutrality policy and to stay out of the war in spite of pressures from both sides. However, the real challenge for Turkey was to resist Soviet Russia's demands after World War II. As a victor of the war which provided self-confidence, Soviet Russia refused to renew Turkish-Russian Treaty of Friendship signed in 1925 which was supposed to be re-signed every five year and demanded land and bases from Turkish government. Soviet Russia claimed Kars-Ardahan and exponents around the Straits. Whereas, Russia had recognized Turkish sovereignty over the Straits with the Treaty of Montreux, and over Kars and Ardahan with the treaties of Brest-Litovsk, Moscow and Kars. In this process, securing backings of Britain and the United States Turkey refused the Soviet demands, stated that it could set good relationships with Soviet Russia if it renounced its demands, and declared to be prepared to defend its rights of independence. Yet Turkish-Russian relationships got to rupture since Soviets did not renounce their aims. In this paper, Soviet demands of land and base from Turkey and Turkish reaction to these claims is evaluated under the light of archival resources, official publications, contemporary newspapers and secondary sources.