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Turkey and the World


Auteur :
Éditeur : Public Affairs Press Date & Lieu : 1959, Washington
Préface : Pages : 224
Traduction : ISBN :
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 155x235 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Ang. Kil. Tur. 3344 Thème : Général

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Turkey and the World

Turkey and the World

Altemur Kilic

Public Affairs Press


Events almost daily re-emphasize the importance of the vast and perpetually enigmatic region called the Middle East. Unlike other important regions of bygone eras, this ancient cradle of civilizations and wars continues to be strife-tom and is a focal point in the global struggle of our day.

The Middle East is the natural passageway between three continents; Asia, Europe, and Africa. It has enormous economic potentialities. Having served as the source of great civilizations, cultures, and religions, it is still psychologically and socially receptive to new ideas. Therefore it is a sensitive spot for all humanity.

The Middle East today has rich oil deposits—approximately two-thirds of the known oil reserves of the free world. Although Western Europe might not be entirely dependent on these reserves on a shortterm basis, its increasing needs for fuel make the oil of the Middle East essential for the next few decades.
.....



Altemur Kilic was born in Ankara, Turkey, in 1924. After studying at Robert College in Istanbul he received his MA. degree in Social Sciences from the New School of Social Research, New York, in 1951.

Following his graduation from college in 1944 he began his career as a reporter on the Istanbul Vatan and soon rose to the post of foreign editor. Subsequently he worked for the Associated Press in Ankara, as a consultant for Radio Free Europe in Istanbul, and as a press officer for the United Nations in New York. In 1952 he served as a reserve lieutenant with the Turkish Brigade in Korea, acting as its Public Information Officer. Since 1955, he has been Press Attaché of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

 



INTRODUCTION


We Americans know that the Turks are brave and valiant. But we do not usually think of their nation in terms of democracy. Modern Turkey is, however, a noble democratic society, expressing the faith that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Ataturk took this nation by the neck at the end of World War II and shook it, demanding that it become modern. After a bitter struggle, equality of women and separation of church and state were realized. Industrialization got under way. A universal franchise was granted and a multiparty system gradually developed. Democratic institutions in the form of honest local government, and independent judiciary, and the parliamentary system were established. A secular state became the way of life, the mullahs losing their political authority.

Turkey and other democratic countries lead the way in Asia and the Middle East. Their revolutions have been completed and they are strong in the democratic faith. They prove that peoples of diverse religions and cultural backgrounds can build and work cooperatively even in Asia and the Middle East where the tensions have been the greatest.

Turkey with its press law is going through the phase we experienced in the Alien and Sedition Acts. But her growth is healthy. She is pro-Western partly because of the geographical propinquity of Soviet Russia but mostly because of her democratic faith. This is why in the great days ahead we must come to know her better and to work cooperatively with her.

William 0. Douglas
Washington, D.C.



Preface

This book is primarily concerned with events of the past thirty years. However, neither Turkey's foreign policies nor her relations with the rest of the world can be isolated historically. Accordingly I have attempted to provide historical background and perspective to these events and to reactions toward them.

My main purpose is to explain the developments of the last few decades and the guiding principles of modern Turkey’s foreign relations from a Turkish point of view. I want to admit at the beginning that complete objectivity is not, and cannot be, a marked characteristic of this book. As a Turk writing on matters directly related to Turkey, I could not possibly have a detached approach.

Perhaps my subjective approach will to some extent counter-balance certain studies on Turkey’s foreign relations which have been biased and lacking in objectivity. In going through many volumes by different authors I have come to the conclusion that Turkey and the Turks have been, to say the least, misunderstood. No doubt many historians and political scientists who have written on Turkey have been motivated by well-meaning zeal, but some have been less than well-informed, and others have been distinctly biased.

Turkey’s history, at home and in foreign relations, is not entirely without blemishes; some mistakes have undoubtedly been made. There have been times when Turks reacted forcefully and vehemently under certain provocations, but the majority of Turkish statesmen have had a basic honesty and have been motivated by good intentions— especially in their dealings with the West. Invariably, Turkish excesses have arisen as the result of bitter disappointments suffered in relations with the West.

In particular, two of the greatest Turkish Sultans, Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Muhammed II, 1451-1481) and Kanuni Sultan Suleyman (Suleyman the Magnificent, 1520-1566) actively sought alliances with the West, but they were rejected. The “Capitulations” which the Turkish Sultans accorded Western countries as a gesture of goodwill became in time instruments for the exploitation of Turkey by the West. (“Capitulations”, by the way did not, as the term seems to suggest, mean surrender of rights; it is derived from the Latin Caput, Capitulum which means chapter, referring to the articles into which treaties on concessions given by the Ottoman Sultan to foreign powers were divided.)
When Suleyman the Magnificent concluded the first Capitulation with the French in 1535 he was granting privileges, not surrendering rights. The Capitulations concluded with Venice in 1540, and with England in 1579, and renewals or confirmations of these in 1581 and 1593, were similarly not concessions surrendered under pressure, but concessions given by the free will of the Sultans who ruled the most powerful empire in Europe. It is paradoxical that the European and other powers which obtained these concessions used the Capitulation treaties to shackle and humiliate Turkey economically and politically when the Ottoman Empire declined. It was then that Capitulations assumed the connotation of “capitulating”.

The basic philosophy of the Ottoman Empire has been overlooked or ignored by Western writers. Ottoman statesmen, many of them products of the racial melting pot, wished to evolve a federation of races and religions. True, Islam was the religion of the Empire and the Turkish race was the core, but both Islam and Turkism were in reality not the driving forces of the empire. The word “Ottoman” meant all members of the Empire irrespective of race or religion. To preserve this, the Millet system of autonomy was evolved, and privileges were extended to nationalities other than Turks. The best proof of Ottoman idealism was the fact that Armenians, Greeks, and Jews were entrusted with key posts in the state. These and other nationalities enjoyed religious, educational, and economic freedom.

There were many cases of misrule, but this misrule was not directed against the non-Turkish groups. On the contrary, Turkish Anatolia suffered more from misrule than any other part of the Empire.

There are Western writers who reluctantly accept the fact that minority groups within the Ottoman Empire were indeed accorded privileges, but they hasten to rationalize by saying that it was “enlightened self-interest!” Whose self interest? Surely not the self interest of the Anatolian Turk who was always in the forefront of the Empire’s military operations.
Turkish nationalism came later than the nationalism of the other groups constituting the Ottoman Empire.

Late in the nineteenth century Turkish intellectuals and others began to realize that Turkism was being ignored and sacrificed for an ideal which was being eroded by the ‘national awakening’ of the Ottoman Millets: the Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Arabs, and others. The very Millet system envisaged by the Ottoman idealists as the founda-
tion for a federation had in fact become the basis of nationalistic aspirations which gravely threatened the Empire.

The bitter realization that the Western powers were determined to destroy ‘the sick man’ made extremists of the Turkish nationalists. It was disappointment with the West and justified suspicion of Western collusion with Russia, which made Turkey an ally of the German-Aus-tro-Hungarian bloc in the first World War. Defeat in the war, and the encroachments by the Western states which followed, spurred this extreme nationalism into an anti-Western attitude and into an alliance with Soviet Russia in 1921.

It was Kemal Ataturk’s genius which transformed the extreme nationalism into productive patriotism, put an end to Soviet infiltration, and evolved the pro-Western foreign policy of modern Turkey. This volume is basically the story of this transformation and evolution.

I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to Mrs. A. S. Sharp and Mrs. Jeanne McLennan for their devoted help in the preparation of the manuscript; to Messrs. T. D. Rivinus, Turkkaya Ataov, and Metin Tamkoc for making available to me copies of their unpublished manuscripts; and to Mrs. Timothy Pfeiffer, Mr. Fred Zusy, Mr. Vincent Joyce, Mr. Marchal Rothe, and Mr. Kerim Key for their invaluable help in reading the manuscript. I think the volume has gained much from their criticisms and the advice of my other friends. My gratitude and thanks also go to Mr. M. B. Schnapper, executive director of Public Affairs Press, for suggestions and criticisms.

Needless to say, the opinions contained herein are entirely personal and should not be construed as reflecting in any way the official views of the Turkish government.

Altemur Kilic
Washington, D.C.


FOREWORD

Events almost daily re-emphasize the importance of the vast and perpetually enigmatic region called the Middle East. Unlike other important regions of bygone eras, this ancient cradle of civilizations and wars continues to be strife-tom and is a focal point in the global struggle of our day.

The Middle East is the natural passageway between three continents; Asia, Europe, and Africa. It has enormous economic potentialities. Having served as the source of great civilizations, cultures, and religions, it is still psychologically and socially receptive to new ideas. Therefore it is a sensitive spot for all humanity.

The Middle East today has rich oil deposits—approximately two-thirds of the known oil reserves of the free world. Although Western Europe might not be entirely dependent on these reserves on a shortterm basis, its increasing needs for fuel make the oil of the Middle East essential for the next few decades.

Geographically, Turkey is a Middle Eastern country of major importance to the Western world. But, specifically, her importance in world affairs transcends mere identity and membership in that region, and there are many reasons why she is the most important country in that area.

In the introduction to his Historical Geography of Asia Minor Sir William Ramsay says, “Topography is the foundation of history.” Indeed, Anatolia’s topography has been one of the most important determining factors of its history.

Anatolia (or Asia Minor) is, as Sir William pointed out, “a level and lofty limestone plateau protruding from the main Asian continent towards Europe and the West. The Central Plateau... is surrounded by a higher rim of mountains, outside of which is low coast land on north and west and south.”

The formidable Taurus and anti-Taurus ranges, which cover the southern approaches, blend with the range of mountains which form a barrier towards the north, along the Black Sea coast and form the complexity of the rugged highlands of eastern Turkey.

It is true that Anatolia forms a land bridge between the East and the West but it is also true that because of 'its topographic structure it is and can be a “naturally enclosed land unit, a relatively easily defended fortress.” It is also because of this topography that peoples who have settled in Anatolia have always asserted and maintained their independence.

Turkey today plays a vital part in the global balance because she constitutes the link between East and West and she is a member of both NATO and the Bagdad Pact. Another geopolitical reality which has been the dominant factor in the foreign affairs of the country is her proximity to Russia. Finally, she possesses the southern Black Sea coast and the Straits which have always been the stumbling block to Russian aspirations to enter the Mediterranean. This situation has brought about a centuries-long conflict of interest between the two countries. Turkey, with her strong determination to remain free and independent, continues to frustrate one of the main aims of Russian foreign policy and resolutely tries to link the Middle East with the West.

A passageway for conquerors and often the last stop in mass migrations, the self-contained land unit of Anatolia has served as a melting pot of many races. It is therefore more absurd here in Anatolia than almost anywhere else to seek a pure stock of people. Scythians, Hit-tites, Sumerians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and finally Oghuz Turks have passed through or settled, and made up the major components of this melting pot. But the strong, warrior Turks asserted and maintained their basic Turkish characteristics, their language, their customs, and finally their Islamic religion in this mixture. Thus Turks (first the Seldjuk and then the Ottoman) emerged ultimately as the political and cultural masters of the land. And so today the people of Anatolia are Turks, regardless of the other ethnic ingredients mixed with that which is Turkish.

Anatolian Turks from the time of the Seldjuks and the Ottomans have been very different from their neighbors—the Persians, the Arabs and even their blood kinsmen who were left on the other side of the mountain ranges. They came from the East, but they have always been oriented towards the West.

These facts about the land and people of Anatolia, which seem to complement each other, should always be kept in mind while studying the foreign relations of Turkey.


Chapter I

Historical background


During the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent in the sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith, not only territorially but from the point of view of culture and statesmanship. For a time it remained paramount, partly because of gathered momentum and partly because of great men like Sokollu and Koprülus. After the failure of the second siege of Vienna in 1683 the decline started. By the beginning of the eighteenth century the Ottoman Empire had ceased to be the dominant factor in European affairs. It was receding territorially and crumbling internally. The once glorious empire gradually became the “Sick Man of Europe”—a passive pawn in the struggle for power between the Great Powers. At first the Great Powers were Russia and Austria; later on they were joined by France, England, Germany, and Italy.
However, the “Sick Man”* took a long time to die. There was the glimmer of truth in the rather tragic sarcasm of a Turkish delegate at the Vienna Conference who pointed out that, “Sick Man” or not, the Ottoman Empire was still the strongest empire in the world. He said: “You from the outside, and we from the inside, have still not been able to destroy it.”

What caused the decline of the Ottoman Empire? Several volumes could well be devoted to expounding the complex reasons which contributed to its downfall. A major factor was the corruption and abuse of Islam and its institutions which were essentially sound.

The basic characteristics of Islam are little understood in the west, partially because of the Western predilection to identify religion with politics. In the days of Muhammed the Conqueror and Suleyman the Magnificent enlightened religious leaders supported notable reforms and audaciously decreed “Caiz degildir” (“It is not permissible”) when the Sultan attempted illegal actions.

“The Ottoman Empire,” says Yorga (author of Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches), “formed a happy contrast in . . . regard to the contemporary world. The Slavs were not oppressed as in Greek times. There was no trace of the German anarchy of the same period. Inspectors made their rounds four times a year to see that the non-Turkish ...

* It was Tsar Nicholas I who said: “We have on our hands a very, very sick man.”




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