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Ianus--Stuck in the Seventies, blurred on the fifties, plain wrong about the forties

Reader comment on item: Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza
in response to reader comment: "The dirty Turk" is more than a metaphor .

Submitted by Caleb (United States), Sep 9, 2010 at 12:17

Under the Truman Doctrine announced in that President's 1947 Address, both Greece AND Turkey received not billions but hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, military and civilian in furtherance of **Containment**. This term for active resistance to the spread of Communism ironically was coined by then Secretary of State (foreign minister) Dean Acheson. Did the US taxpayer get his money's worth? In the short term, yes. The Royalist side prevailed in the Greek Civil War at a cost of 100,000 dead and thousands more choosing exile in the Communist lands. No one knows how many Greek children were kidnapped to East Europe, there to grow up both unwelcome and ignorant of who they really were. As for Turkey under the colorless Ismet Inonu, having sat out the Second World War it wanted only to be let alone in its core territory of Anatolia (plus a tiny piece on the fringe of Europe) so that it could advance the modernization process Ataturk had begun.

But when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in 1949, Turkey under threat from both traditional enemies Bulgaria to the west and the Russian Soviet colossus to the east and north expressed an interest in joining the anti-Communist alliance. There were misgivings among NATO members about the admission of Turkey. Not because of any pan-Turkic ambitions she nurtured--that is totally imaginary--but because of fears of provoking the Soviet Union by extending NATO right to its borders in Georgia and Armenia. [The Soviets' concerns were well-founded. Aside from having sent its own stalwart soldiers to confront Communism in Northeast Asia, Turkey would host NATO facilities from the Dardanelles to the slopes of Ararat.]

In 1952 both Greece AND Turkey became members of the North Atlantic Alliance. There were NATO assets in Greece, too such as the air base at Hellenikon (closed in 1988). The view was that having both countries in NATO would discourage them from fighting each other, which it did in 1964. There was a time when Turkish opium, refined to morphine base then shipped to southern France for conversion to Heroin, supplied most addicts in the USA (the notorious "French Connection"). But in an example of an intelligent anti-drug policy combined with international cooperation, all that ended in the seventies.

Rather than embark on a fruitless eradication effort, such as is happening today in Afghanistan, the USA financed the Turkish government's program of buying up the opium crop at the same price criminal organizations like the Corsican Mafia were offering. It was an unqualified success. Turkish farmers in east Anatolia continue to grow opium but not an ounce of it reaches the streets of any American city.

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