A Re-evaluation of the Revisionist - Status Quo Dichotomy in Interwar Turkish Foreign Policy, 1936-1939

Mustafa Çoban

Abstract


Turkish history during the interwar period (1918-1939) has been described in terms which place it on a dichotomy best used to analyse the actions of the eventual belligerents in World War II. This dichotomy describes the eventual defeated Axis countries as revisionist and the victorious Allies as status quo nations in the interwar period. The contention is that this distinction, taking as its basis the actions of belligerents, is unhelpful in analysing the foreign policy of a non-belligerent state in WWII.

Three case studies are examined through the secondary literature as well as archival sources to show that notions of Turkey as either status quo or revisionist are not entirely accurate. This is because Turkish foreign policy can be classified as either or both, thus diminishing the terms’ explanatory utility. Three case studies are; the Montreux Straits Convention (1936), the Saadabad Pact (1937) and the Sanjak dispute of Alexandretta (1936-39). A reading of history which assumes macro level (1914-1945) superiority based on Great Power interests and actions undermines the complexity of Turkish foreign policy in the 1930s. By extension, the practice of subsuming the actions of smaller states under terminology which was intended for Great Powers is challenged.

 


Keywords


Status quo; Revisionist; Montreux; Alexandretta; Saadabad

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References


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CAB 21/576

CAB 21/2010

FO 248/1399

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/nmes.v8i1.2787

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