Democracy at Work and at Risk (1946–1960)

  • Ersin Kalaycioğlu
Part of the Middle East in Focus book series (MEF)


At the end of World War II Turkey found itself embedded in a context of uncertainty. It became clear that the British and the French mandates to Turkey’s immediate south were crumbling, and so it was only a matter of time for the British and French to vacate the Middle East. Turkey was now faced with the prospects of being neighbors with the fully independent Arab nation-states of Iraq and Syria. Further south, in Palestine, the Arabs and the Jews were becoming increasingly poised to fight out their differences. The Soviet Army had occupied the north of Iran (Iranian Azerbaijan) in 1942, and encouraged the development of Kurdish autonomy, which eventually culminated in the establishment Republic of Mahabad further south in 1946.1 At the end of the war the Soviet Army was dragging its feet in vacating Iran, which did not seem to be too different from the Soviet moves in Central and Eastern Europe, which in turn, could then be interpreted as Soviet encroachments into the Middle East. In the west of Turkey, Bulgaria had come under the rule of the Soviet forces, which had come to liberate it for a second time in less than 70 years (in the 1870s from the Ottomans and in the 1940s from the Germans). It seemed as if that the Bulgarian Communist party was in government for the long haul. In the meantime, Greece was slipping into a civil war. The two main parties of the conflict were the communists and the nationalists, and the Bulgarian communists seemed to be supporting the former. The Soviet Red Army even started to increase its deployment in Bulgaria in late 1945,2 which also raised the prospects of further incursion of the Red Army into Greece, in one form or the other, and even an assault into Turkey.3


Armed Force Gross National Product North Atlantic Treaty Organization Military Coup General Staff 
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© Ersin Kalaycioğlu 2005

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  • Ersin Kalaycioğlu

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