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Historical errors or making a virtue of necessity?

Reader comment on item: Turkey's Islamist Turn, 10 Years Later
in response to reader comment: Historical errors

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Dec 21, 2012 at 17:56

Heraclitus wrote :

> Ataturk died in 1938, before the start of WW2.

His comrade of arms Inonu decided to stay out of the war.<

Actually, it was not Inonu or his Ataturkish entourage that decided anything but the victorious Red Army at Stalingrad that thwarted Turkey's decision to join the Hitlerite coalition.

4 days before Hitler's attack on Ruissia Turkey signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany. It was a major trade partner of Germany providing chrome and other strategic raw materials tro German war industry. Turkey's gold reserves quadrupled during the war as a result. In 1943 it floated a loan in germany amounting to 100 000 000 Reichsmark to re-quip its army. The trade agreement gave Turkey 62 000 000 Turkish lira. But the war revitalized more important forces than just notorious Turkish wartime profiteering.

After the invasion of Russia a mass Pan-Turkist movement arose in Turkey with full support by the government. The idea was to create a Greater Turkey - a new Turkic Empire including the Turkic nations of the USSR in the Caucasus, the Crimea, Central Asia and The Volga Region -Bashkiria, Tatarstan and parts of Siberia. In various newspapers and magazines maps were printed showing this new Turkish empire. The papers wrote that Turkey's natural borders are drawn far beyond the Caucasus and that the Volga is the ancient river where the ancestors of the Turks used to lead their horses to to drink water from. It is interesting to note that in the notorious Turkish police state created by Ataturk with no freedom of speech no cesorship was ever applied to silence or punish the authors of these views. Quite the contrary!

In autumn of 1941 a Turkish military mission with the Head of the Turkish military Academy General Ali Faud Erden came to inspect the German Eastern Front after which the Turkish press became even more enthusiastic about German victories in Russia prophecying a rapid downfall of the USSR and stressing the necessity to join the Hitlerite war effort. In 1941 a part mobilisation , including reserve officers above 65 years of age , was effected in the regions bordering on the USSR. Simultaneously skirmishes and border incidents were reported. The total mobilisation in Turkey conincided with the German offensive towards the Caucasus and Baku in the summer of 1942. The Turkish army reached then 1 mln soldiers under arms and the number of troops deployed on the Soviet border doubled up to 26 divisions. 4 Turkish Army Corps , 16 Infantry Divisions, 2 Cavalary Divisions and 1 Motor-borne Brigade (750 000 soldiers ), most being deployed near Batumi forcing Stalin to form on May 1st 1942 the Transcaucasian Front where barely 200 000 Russian troops could be spared to concentrate, mostly newly recuited soldiers. The Turkish General Staff eleborated a plan to attack Baku through Iran. The war was to begin in November/December 1942 - after the fall of Stalingrad.

At that time Turkey's Prime Minister Saracoglu told German ambassador Franz von Papen i,al. : "The Turks can't wait to see a total annihilation of Russia. The annihilation of Russia is a splendid feat of arms of the F├╝hrer which can be accomplished only once in a century. And this is a dream of the Turkish nation !" "The Russian problem can be resolved if and only if a half of all the inhabiotants living in Russia are killed !" In August 1942 Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs N. Menemecoglu said to von Papen : "Turkey is interested now just as it has always been in possibly full and complete defeat of Russia".

That under these circumstances Turkey did not attack the Soviet Union is no merit of Inonu or anyone else in that country at all. The neutrality was forced upon the Turks by external conditions despite the fact that internally they had already made their decision to start war.

Submitting....

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