Turkey, Bridge Between Two Poles: A Brief Study of Turkey’s State During the Cold War Era


After World War II, the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) became the superpowers. Previous war allies, The USA and the USSR started to become two great post-war rivals during the Cold War. Although an actual “hot” war never took place between two countries; the war showed itself in espionage, political destruction, and proxy wars. While Western Europe and Japan were being rebuilt with America’s Marshall Plan; Central and Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere of influence, remaining behind an “iron curtain”. Therefore, with the division of Europe into a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc, the world has become bipolar. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was established against the USSR’s threat of communism, turned this war in favor of the USA. At the same time, the world was threatened with the nuclear weapon element, and the war ended in 1991, resulting in the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this study, the relations of US-USSR-Turkey during the Cold War period are examined. Also, Turkey’s NATO accession process is discussed.

Keywords: Cold War, USA, USSR, NATO, Turkey.


1. Dünya Savaşı sona erdikten sonra galip gelen büyük güçler Amerika Birleşik Devletleri (ABD) ve Sovyet Sosyalist Cumhuriyetler Birliği (SSCB) olmuştur. II. Dünya Savaşı müttefikleri ABD ve SSCB, savaş sonrası dönemde çok büyük iki rakip olduklarından Soğuk Savaş dönemini başlatmışlardır. Bu süreçte hiçbir zaman iki ülke arasında resmi bir savaş olmadığı gibi, casusluk, siyasi yıkım ve vekil savaşları yerini almıştır. Batı Avrupa ve Japonya, Amerika’nın Marshall Planı ile yeniden inşa edilirken; Orta ve Doğu Avrupa, adeta bir “demir perde”nin arkasında kalarak Sovyet etki alanı altına girmiştir. Dolayısıyla Avrupa’nın ABD liderliğindeki bir Batı Bloku ve Sovyet liderliğindeki bir Doğu Bloku olarak bölünmesiyle dünya iki kutuplu hale dönüşmüştür. SSCB’nin komünizm tehdidine karşı kurulan Kuzey Atlantik Antlaşması Örgütü (NATO), bu savaşı ABD’nin lehine çevirmiştir. Aynı zamanda, dünya nükleer silah unsuru ile tehdit altında kalmış, savaş 1991’de sonlanmıştır. Türkiye’nin de SSCB tehdidi nedeniyle NATO’ya katılması, Sovyetler Birliği’ne karşı önemli bir ittifak kurulmasını sağlamıştır. Bu araştırmada, Soğuk Savaş döneminde ABD’nin ve SSCB’nin Türkiye ile ilişkileri ile NATO’nun kuruluşunun tarihsel süreci, nedenleri ve Türkiye’nin bu kuruluşa katılımı incelenmiştir.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Soğuk Savaş, ABD, SSCB, NATO, Türkiye


This study aims to explain the process behind NATO and Turkey’s participation in the organization. To understand the establishment, the bipolar system that emerged after World War II (WWII) will be explained. Later, the United States (US) relationship with Turkey, the relations between Turkey and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and finally Turkey’s stage working as the bridge country between these two poles during the Cold War era will be discussed. Finally, why and how Turkey participated in NATO will be explained.

Turkey’s geopolitical position has always been of importance to the entire world. Its military power, capacity, and strategy are more than enough to explain the significance of Turkey for the two superpowers that emerged after WWII, and led to a Cold War period: the US and the USSR.

Although once allies, these two countries have left their mark in history as they come first to mind when the “cold war” phrase is mentioned. . The term “Cold War,” first used by Bernard Baruch in 1947, also means to be a new world order. Starting in 1947 and ending in 1991, the Cold War period encompassed numerous historical events, be it the “Space Race,” the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, and the nuclear threats. It started as a division in ideologies; one as American capitalism, and the other, Soviet communism, the Cold War marked an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that there was no physical attack between the two superpowers; several proxy wars took place in the era, such as the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

As Turkey stands near the borders of the USSR and stood out to be an American ally after WWII, it was seen as a bridge between the two. Although Turkey got economic help first from the US, then from the USSR; it never followed the ideological policies of the USSR. When the relations with USSR got better after Stalin’s death, Turkey wanted to keep the balance and acted cautiously towards the West. Turkey’s military aid to the US in the Korean War accelerated the NATO entry process. All in all, the triangle of relations of Turkey, the US, and the USSR will be examined in this study.

1. Cold War Period

1.1. The US During the Cold War

After dispersing the initial effects of the Second World War, the United States have developed a containment policy, aiming to prevent the spread of communism around the globe. The United States’ main motivation was to, as the winner of the Second World War, create new markets and a “world-shaping” political position in the globe for themselves. However, the spread of communist ideology was the biggest threat to the opportunity. It pushed the US to take action on a global scale. Therefore, the US has focused on financial aids to the countries which were at the risk of falling into the cold hands of communism during the early Cold War Era.

Harry S. Truman was the president during the early Cold War period, in his presidency, a foreign policy called Truman Doctrine has developed. Truman Doctrine aimed to provide financial assistance to Greece and Turkey who were experiencing communist uprisings. The Doctrine showed the country’s ambition and drew borders of the Cold War. Truman Doctrine was the first step of the containment policy. The same ideology led to the economic support to sixteen western countries with the Marshall plan and the foundation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Thus, overall domination of the Western sphere by the United States. Scooping for more eventually pushed the US all the way to the proxy wars. Two great powers of the era did not risk engaging in any direct conflict or clash, however, they provided either financial help or military equipment and training to other countries who were experiencing civil wars over “their” ideologies. Nonetheless, the US sent troops to two significant civil wars in Asia, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The motivation behind the intervention was to “secure” the freedom of Korean and Vietnamese people. The US was “over” ambitious during the Cold War, which caused a lot of financial burdens, serious reactions, and polarization in the country.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States have actively imposed their ideologies on politically unstable countries. Also, the two great powers have constantly interfered in the domestic politics of these countries. Some of the military interventions in Turkey were openly supported by the US, officers who were in charge during interventions needed to have the approval of the US, NATO first. The same rules applied for the “USSR-shaped” communist countries, Prague Spring and Hungarian Uprising are significant examples of the same attitude. The USSR directly interfered with the satellite countries in cases of uprisings. However, the US and the USSR put greater importance on some “under the influence” countries that were closer to threat. For example, Cuba was of great importance to the USSR during the Cold War, and they have established strong political relations. Cuba was almost like a physical barrier and a reminder of a communist “threat” to the US. Likewise, Turkey was one of the most significant allies and an important front for the US during the Cold War. At some point, the two great powers set up nuclear missiles to these two countries, which later caused a global-scale crisis. All in all, the Cold War was a series of strategic moves by two sides. Although they did not engage in a “hot” war, it was a hot and interactive period.

1.2.  Turkey as American Ally in the Cold War Era 

Turkey and the United States had strong but also fragile relations during the Cold War. Without any doubt, Turkey was a strong barrier for communist ideology on the eastern front, and also it was seen as a “key” to the Middle East by the US. Until the 1960s, Ankara-Washington relations were bilaterally beneficial and progressive. However, while examining mutually useful relations, one should not forget to take Turkey’s government (during the 50s) into account. The ruling party (Democrat Party) and the prime minister Menderes were supporters of the US penetration into Turkish Politics. On the surface level, Marshall Plan and Turkey’s NATO membership were successful moves by the government in terms of Westernization of the country. Even so, it was an act of impeding for country’s economic liberation and full independence. Some may claim momentous conjuncture required Turkey to side with the West at the cost of its economic independence. However, it should not be forgotten, this penetration was not a temporal situation, it crippled the country’s future for good. Menderes administration had a soft belly for American stance. The government did their best to impress the US’ opinion about Turkey, and from time to time proved the country’s worthiness in the Western seats. It was not until the 1960 Turkish coup d’état; the US showed an interest in the undemocratic tendency in Turkey. The US was very well aware of the populist moves by the Democrat Party (DP). However, there was no drawback from Washington until the military intervention. Neither Truman’s presidency nor the Eisenhower administration bared a hand to the country in the “undemocratization” period. With the Marshall Plan, financial aid and military assistance “over-flew” to Turkey. 184 million dollars were granted to Turkey (Çağrı, 1996). It created a temporary boom in the economy. The aid had so much influence on the country that, it created a demographic change. Unplanned urbanization and devastation in the economic development of the country were on the horizon. The US aimed to create an alliance and military control over the region with this aid yet, it served the country so well that the aid brought the economic dependence of Turkey. From the military perspective, after Turkey’s entrance to NATO, the US has built the İncirlik Air Base. Thus, the first status of forces agreement was signed. In conclusion, the US secured more than they intended to do. The US-Turkey relations during the early stages of the Cold War were respectably advantageous for both sides. America has assured its military station in the Middle East and Menderes administration impressed the public with the economic boom.

1.3. Heating Relations in the 60s: The Rise of Anti-Americanism 

The 1960s was a period of upheaval and unbalance between two allies. During the 50s parties maintained a relatively benevolent relationship, however, with the military intervention and change in domestic politics, anti-Americanism rose. It cannot be claimed that anti-Americanism in Turkey came into being in the 60s, yet, it was on the rise, politicians, university students, workers, unions and even some academicians were publicly protesting. Mostly, leftists were associated with anti-Americanism, however factually, this was not the case (Ünlü, 2015); American attitude in the Cyprus dispute led to reactions from all over the public. Leftists and some rightest groups have found a common “enemy”. In the Johnson Letter, the American administration was openly threatening Turkey, plus there were some demeaning statements. It was so impactful that it led to a change in Turkish foreign relations strategies. The letter is considered the first complication between Turkish-American relations. Unfortunately, this incident happened only 2 years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which back in 1962 put Turkey in a notably dangerous position. It is clear that Turkey showed great sympathy for the crisis and did its part. However, it was not the case on the American side when Bloody Christmas took place. From the domestic perspective, one can claim that anti-Americanism in Turkey reached its peak throughout the end of the 60s. Huge protests took place with the arrival of the Sixth Fleet to Bosporus. It was a manifestation by the US to globally display Turkish-American alliance and friendship, moreover a show of strength to the USSR. However, the “exhibition” did not go as it was planned. The visit sowed the seeds of polarization in Turkey, which will then become the biggest issue of the country. It led to the incident called the Bloody Sunday. The conflict between leftists and rights took the lives of two students and left one hundred and fourteen people with serious injuries. This was not the end of anti-Americanism, thus sadly, it was not the end of conflicts and deaths, on the contrary, it was only the beginning. In the upcoming decades, hundreds of people died due to conflicts between parties, and hundreds were condemned to death in the 1980 Turkish coup d’état. First and the last, the 60s could be considered the beginning of the international crack between Turkish-American relations, which then eventually led to an impactful disengagement in the relations, an embargo.

1.4. An Alliance Which Will Never Recover Fully: Turkish-American Relations Until the Dissolution of the Soviet Union

The beginning of the 1970s marked a change in Turkish domestic politics; a second military coup, and increasing street violence, performed by leftist and rightist conflicts, created turmoil. One could claim, from the 60s till the end of the 80s Turkish governments’ agenda was so busy with internal affairs that domestic events shaped foreign affairs. Coalition governments, military governments, and constantly changing parties, all had different approaches towards the US. Thus, in terms of foreign policies, it could be mentioned as a politically unstable era. Ecevit administration(s) was one of the dynamic periods during the era. Under his prime ministry, the Turkish government ignored the Johnson Letter and the Turkish Army invaded Northern Cyprus in 1974. Concerning the general principles of International Law, the standpoint of this action; whether it was correct or not, is still a matter of discussion. However, one thing is certain; although there were public pressure and a political benefit, Turkey’s main motivation was to save Turkish Cypriots from the brutal acts of Greek Cypriots. Thus, it was to ensure the right to life. The invasion did not please Washington. After a decade of committed “friendship” (during the 50s) and after a decade of a debatable alliance, this action was entirely individual. Although the US strongly recommended Turkey not interfere in Cyprus and tried to find common grounds in the Cyprus dispute, they failed. Congress froze the financial aid and imposed an arms embargo in the presidency of Gerald Ford. It could be claimed that the embargo created the biggest crack in the US-Turkey relations, “trust” was lost mutually. The US witnessed that when it comes to “personal” issues Turkey was headstrong and individualistic. On the other end, Turkey experienced a harsh example of, US’ “selfish” moves. In the end, this bitter experience led two countries to form a better and “lined” alliance. In the upcoming decade, till the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the two countries have found more common grounds than before and maintained their alliance respectfully. “The American approach has been amended to soothe Turkey’s worries because Washington did not want to lose an outstanding ally. Under the deteriorated Cold War conditions at the beginning of 1980s, also Turkey has preferred to follow some stabilizing (balancing) policies and strategies toward the relations with the United States” (Isyar, 2005). So, Anatolia once again fell back on “balance policy” and pursued it until this very day.

2.  The USSR During the Cold War

“Joseph Stalin saw the world after World War II as split into two camps: on the one hand, imperialist and capitalist states, and on the other, the Communist and Progressive world” (Soviet perspectives, 2016). As this quotation mentions, the world has entered a new stage which was bipolar: the Eastern Block and the Western Block.

During the Cold War era, the USSR and the US initiated space programs and this contributed to the “Space Race” a.k.a the “Star Wars” era. The USSR launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. After that, the Americans were worried that the US would fall behind its rival in the Cold War.

Because of the discrepancy between the immense wealth of the Communist Party and the poverty of ordinary Soviet citizens, Ronald Reagan’s isolation of the Soviet economy from the rest of the world, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, paved the way for the collapse of the USSR. On December 25, Gorbachev resigned as leader of the USSR, and almost a week later, The Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 31, 1991 (History.com, 2017).

2.1.  The Relations between the USSR and Turkey before the Cold War Era

After the October Revolution, the Russian Civil War in the Soviets (1918-1922) and the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) were continuing in Anatolia. The first contact between the Soviet Union and Turkey is said to be Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s letters to Lenin which were written on April 26, an era identified with good-neighbourly and friendly relations. These friendly relations between the two countries continued in 1921 with the Treaty of Moscow. (Kurban, 2014).

2.2  The Relations between the USSR and Turkey during the Cold War Era

Turkey maintained its neutrality until the end of World War II. The Soviet government began to pressurize the Turkish government to allow Russian shipping vessels to pass freely through the Turkish Straits which were connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

The first signal of the intention of the USSR about Turkey showed itself in the Yalta Conference, which was held between 4-11 February 1945. During the conference, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin raised the issue that the Montreux Straits Convention had lost its validity and should be renewed. The Soviets openly demanded dominance over the Straits, however, Turkey was then moving along two major Western states like the US and Britain in the Straits issue (Kemaloğlu, & Svistunova, 2015). So, the relations between the USSR and Turkey began to get worse. In 1945- 1946, the Soviet Union saw Turkey as a threat since Turkey’s foreign policy orientation moved towards the West. Turkey demanded to depend upon the Western political, military, and economic organizations as Russia seemed like a nuclear threat right next to Turkey. By this, Turkey turned its face completely to the West. The president of the Democratic Party (DP) of the period stated that in the bipolar world, those who were not in the Western Bloc would be in trouble. Turkey’s participation in NATO, and sending troops to the Korean War, resulted in a new environment of tension in Turkish-Soviet relations (Dokuyan, 2013).

2.3  The Relations between the USSR and Turkey: The Normalization Period

Although some Soviet researchers consider the main principles of Turkish foreign policy in the early 1950s as anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, the death of Stalin softened the relations between the two countries. Stalin’s threatening attitude had a very important role, and the “peaceful coexistence” policy was followed by the USSR. It paved the way for closer cooperation with the third world. With this policy rejecting the idea that “Everyone who is not with the USSR is against it” which was followed in the Stalin period, the relations between the opposite poles began to be known as a transition from tension to a “softening” period. The USSR also supported Turkey in the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, it is known that when the US restricted economic aids to Turkey, the USSR gave financial support. Still, Turkey was estranged from the USSR in military and political spheres.

All in all, it can be said that the Cold War period constituted an era of repairing the worsening relations of the two countries after the Second World War. “Turkey recognized the Russian Federation, the successor of the USSR and the visit of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mr. Hikmet Çetin in 1992 was the first official visit from Turkey to this country” (Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” 2015).

3.  Turkey’s Strategy and Position in the International System

Turkey has adapted to the international system since the Ottoman Empire period. Turkey continues to keep pace with other countries, and Turkey’s siding with the Western Bloc during the Cold War was a necessity of participation and is a good example (Bilge-Criss, 2012). This alliance, which can be embodied with the support from all parts of the country, is NATO. The need for Turkey to join NATO is much more than substantial. Turkey also had some expectations. For instance, Turkey’s primary priority was to get rid of the neutrality policy after the Second World War and to get rid of political, diplomatic, and military isolation. Apart from this, it is possible to say that economic loneliness was the biggest problem. The Soviets were the increased threats to Turkey, unilateral economic and military aid had been provided by the United States. For this reason, Turkey, from 1945 until 1947, depended upon the Truman Doctrine and the Soviet economic isolation was alone in this fight. Although the aids started, it was predicted that these aids would come to an end in the future. At this point, NATO’s existence was of great importance for Turkey. Without some economic aid, it would not be possible to get rid of the threats of the USSR during World War II.

Foreign Minister Necmettin Sadak, during the European Economic Cooperation meeting of February 1949, stated that Turkey’s participation in NATO was not possible, England, France, Turkey, and Greece, where the “Mediterranean Pact” proposed to the establishment (Erhan, 2009). But whether this pact gave as much confidence as NATO was uncertain. Even if Turkey continued its initiatives, the alliance was known to strike difficulties in the state of Turkey’s participation in the alliance. Indeed, if Italy and also Britain did not support the accession of Turkey to set up a pact-like to have thought about the Middle East (Erkmen, 2020). In this case, there was only one option for Turkey, and that was to become a NATO member (Balcioglu, 2005). Turkey’s efforts to join NATO had also started exactly at this point, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) which was in the last days of their power on 11 May 1950 had made the first formal request to NATO for Turkey but could not get any results. Turkey had taken Italy’s support for this application, but the US, Britain, and France were opposed to Turkey’s joining NATO. So the NATO application of the Democrat Party, which won the elections on May 14, 1950, and came to power, was also rejected. The most important impression which we could draw here is the determination of both parties Turkey’s membership in NATO as a foreign-policy objective.

3.1.  Turkey’s NATO Membership Process and the Democrat Party (DP) Period

Having won the 14 May 1950 elections, DP started its attempts to join NATO very quickly. The DP was criticizing the CHP on this issue in a way. DP showed its willingness to join NATO while in opposition, emphasizing that the initiatives of the CHP were insufficient (Erkmen, 2020). It would not be wrong to say that the CHP did not attach much importance to NATO membership as much as the Democratic Party. Prime Minister Şemsettin Günaltay said on April 30, 1949: “We are not eager to join NATO,” and he claimed that entering into such a pact had no practical benefit for Turkey (Meydan, 2017).

The DP, which won the elections, tackled the NATO issue first as soon as it came to power. Adnan Menderes and Celal Bayar stated that they wanted to be a member of NATO from the moment they came to power. However, another membership application was made on August 1, 1950, and was rejected.

3.2. The Korean War and Decision of DP to Send Military Aid to Korea

While the DP had just come to power, a civil war broke out in Korea; North Korea was under the influence of the USSR, and South Korea was under the influence of the USA (Meydan, 2017). Thereupon, the USA requested military aid from the United Nations for intervention in the USSR. The United Nations Security Council then called for aid to its member states. Following the events in Korea with great attention, the DP government envisioned this situation as a great opportunity to join NATO. According to DP, if Turkey provided military help, it could put forward a firm commitment to Western liberal ideas of Turkey’s behaviour, and the US Congress would be affected by this decision (Bozkurt, 2018; Erkmen, 2020). Following these projected ideas, four- thousand five hundred troops were prepared to be sent to Korea with a sudden decision. However, the decision to send soldiers to Korea was completed only with the decision of the Cabinet meeting, without being discussed and approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA). This path followed by the current government had been severely criticized by the CHP. According to the CHP, this decision had to be taken as a declaration of war decision (Çavdar, 2008). However, although this decision attracted the opposition’s reaction, he claimed that the decision belonged to the TGNA and criticized it only formally (Akkaya, 2012). Turkey was the 2nd country that was sent soldiers to Korea after the US between 15 different countries. The number of soldiers sent to Korea exceeded six-thousand in the following period (Erkmen, 2020). The Korean War ended on 27th July of 1953. While seven-hundred twenty-one Turkish soldiers were martyred in Korea, six-hundred seventy-two of our soldiers were injured. Most of the Turkish soldiers were captured and another half of them disappeared. The Turkish Brigade, which participated in the Korean War, had great success in battles. The US Deputy Secretary of State evaluated this as “the Turkish soldier showed his superior quality in the Korean War” (Erkmen, 2020).

The application for NATO membership, which was made again through DP on August 1, 1950, was rejected again. Because Turkey’s NATO membership was seen as risky by the US. The USA thought that this membership would affect NATO negatively. US, NATO membership, The US would like to see Greece and Turkey in a “Mediterranean Pact.” (Erkmen, 2020). Even if Turkey did not sign this pact, this development could be seen as a step towards membership in NATO (Erkmen, 2020).

In 1951, the changed military strategy of the United States and varying national interests of the US had led to exhibit a moderate attitude, which Turkey can be a NATO member may have. May 15, 1951, in the United States, Turkey and Greece finally proposed to adopt NATO allies. (Bilge-Criss, 2012). Bon point in Turkey’s largest deals, military bases, and air space was to open to NATO allies. In this way, he achieved the greatest contribution the USA could give to the containment policy (Bilge-Criss, 2012). The reason for this decision was not persistent attempts by Turkey’s conduct, which was concerned with the creation of new conditions that emerged in the world (Erhan, 2009). Besides, the military achievements of four-thousand five-hundred Turkish soldiers that were sent to Korea had attracted much attention. One of the most important things was extending the membership process of NATO for access to Turkey for years; Britain saw Turkey as a “Middle East Command”, but Turkey was willing to take part in the “Allied Command Europe” side. (Erkmen, 2020). Finally, an accessing NATO invitation was sent by NATO to Turkey on February 18th of 1952.

Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, has been one of NATO’s most important members. NATO has been a collective defense organization for Turkey (Oğuzlu, 2012). Turkey’s military power, capacity, strategy, the balance of nuclear geopolitical position, is enough to explain the importance of Turkey (Oğuzlu, 2012). However, as we all know, this membership process has not been as easy as it seems. NATO’s founding in the process of government when running period, the CHP has started its activities for Turkey to join NATO. Security concerns, domestic policy concerns, desire to establish a bilateral and mutual agreement with the West, and pressure from the opposition side are the four main reasons for these applications; In other words, we can say that the accusation, of the Democratic Party for excluding the power from the “Western Democratic Front” is effective. Turkey’s desire to join NATO and the CHP was one of the DP’s common foreign policy objectives. (Akkaya, 2012). Indeed, the fact that the Soviet Union in the East increased the threat in every region of Turkey is the biggest indicator of this. The USSR, after starting the expansionist policies after World War II, it is not possible to not see that the USSR made more concrete threats against Turkey. Turkey, due to its geopolitical position had remained exactly the central point of this threat. USSR on March 19, 1945, seven weeks after the end of the war gave the diplomatic note to Turkey, and with this diplomatic note, USSR has been reported, 1925 Friendship Treaty will not be sustainable anymore. (Erkmen, 2020). USSR wanted the territorial base of the straits and wanted territory from Turkey’s eastern region. (Erkmen, 2020). However, these requests were unacceptable to Turkey. Turkey, as a result, no matter what, did not accept any condition that could impair its territorial integrity.

First of all, the support search started with the UK, but Turkey could not get the expected support. And again, Turkey in response to the USSR sent a diplomatic note to the USSR. On this democratic note, Turkey wanted to make an appropriate new covenant with the requirements of the day to replace the terminated agreement with the USSR has reported that it will accept. (Erkmen, 2020). On the diplomatic note given by USSR, requests to renew a contract of Montreux Straits were also wanted by the signing of a new treaty that replaced the circumstances, Turkey has refused repeated requests of the USSR immediately again. In such a period, the attention of the USA was drawn. After the Potsdam Conference between July 17, 1945-2 August 1945, the US began to change strategies on gorges and Turkey. The Soviets’ desire to change the status of the straits is not a simple thing when examined carefully. If the Soviet Unions’ request will be accepted, if granted the status of an international waterway to the straits, this will need the disarming of large areas on both sides of the straits and with this disarming, Turkey will be caused to be weakened. (Ülman, 1961. actin. Ertem, 2009). Except for the status of the Straits, the USSR, together with Britain, ensured the establishment of new states in Iran, and in their treaty, with Britain, both agreed to withdraw their troops from Iran within 6 months after the war ended. However, the USSR increased the number of soldiers instead of withdrawing its soldiers in those 6 months (Ülman, 1961. cited in Ertem, 2009). In such a case, the USSR’s pressure on Turkey would be further increased. The USA was worried that with the increase of these pressures, the speed of Soviet spread would increase. After all these developments, the United States changed its views on gorges and Turkey has decided to support them. But still, these developments could not allow Turkey’s NATO members to direct.

Turkey’s presence and status of the straits, the United States is important for your safety and that threat is clear that it will affect the security situation came to the United States in a sense. US stabilization, containment, and deterrence strategy, the success of other factors as well as by Turkey’s NATO membership also depend on where the United States began to slowly understand (Oğuzlu, 2012). At this point, the US must also consider its interests. Besides, the intellectual differences and conflicts of interest between the USA and the USSR after the Potsdam Conference increased the tension between the USA and the Soviet Union. The USSR started to harm the interests of the USA all over the world (Erhan, 2009. cited in Erkmen, 2020). US containment policy depends on will be processed by the uptake of Turkey. Truman Doctrine, which was put forward by President Truman, includes an aid package for Greece and Turkey which are affected by the threat of the USSR. Turkey has benefited greatly, especially from US military aid.

Turkey, with the Soviet Union’s threats, at least tried to circumvent the damage by turning to the West and indeed benefited from the military and economic aid given by the United States. However, even though Turkey’s entry into NATO was welcomed enthusiastically nationwide, all these developments and West origin aids, whether providing contributions to Turkey’s military and economic development, are still in debate.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, this study explains Turkey-US-USSR relations during the Cold War period step by step. Once the positions of the US in the Cold War are examined, how Turkey stood out to be an ally with the American government is explained. Furthermore, the USSR perspective is discussed as the Soviets were the other superpower in the period. Then, the Turkish relations with the Union are addressed to understand the background of Turkey’s stance in the Cold War period. Consequently, as the main topic of the study; Turkey’s participation in NATO and the significance of this act is debated. The country took numerous steps to become a member of NATO, and as of 1952, it is one.

Alperen Kolay

Büşra Tataroğlu

Eylül Postacıoğlu

Uluslararası Örgütler Staj Programı


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