1939-1945 1950-1960

Turkey 1945-1950

Administration . Turkey in 1945 removed bans on political parties; the opposition Democratic Party was established in 1946. The National Party was founded in 1948. Martial Law was terminated in December 1947; communist organizations of any kind remained/were banned. General elections were held in 1946 and 1950. The office of PM was held by Sükrü Saracoglu (CHP) from 1942 to 1946, by Mehmet Recep Peker (CHP) from 1946 to 1947, by Hasan Saka (CHP) from 1947 to 1949 and by Semsettin Günaltay (CHP) from 1949 to 1950. The elections of 1950 were won by the opposition Democratic Party.

Foreign Policy . Turkey had remained neutral throughout World War II. In 1945-1946 the situation around Turkey was in flux : Syria was released into independence after wartime occupation; Iraq and Iran were in the process of regaining independence after occupation in all but name; Greece was going through civil war, Bulgaria was integrated into the Soviet sphere of influence by force.
In 1945 the USSR demanded Turkey to cede Kars and Ardahan to the Armenian SSR; Turkey refused to comply. In 1946 the USSR demanded to given control of the Straits. The U.S. responded by establishing the Truman Doctrine, extending financial aid with the purpose of setting Greece and Turkey in state to defend themselves against a potential Soviet threat. Acceptance of U.S. aid meant that Turkey shifted from her traditional neutrality to an alliance with the U.S.; this alliance later was formalizing by Turkey joining NATO in 1952, the Balkan Pact in 1954 and CENTO in 1955.
Turkey accepted refugee immigrants of Muslim faith, mainly from Bulgaria, where the government discriminated against their ethnic Turkish and Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) minorities. In 1949 Turkish soldiers patrolling the Bulgarian border were kidnapped; nonetheless Turkey pursued a policy of treating her neighbours correctly.
In 1948 a Treaty of Friendship was signed with newly independent Jordan. In 1949, Turkey recognized Israel.

The Economy . Turkey produced 0.9 million metric tons of wheat in 1945, 1.6 million in 1946, 3.8 million metric tons in 1950 (IHS pp.195, 203). A land reform law in 1945 transferred mainly government-owned land used for pastoral herding into privately-owned farmland.
Consumer prices rose by the factor 8 in the period from 1950 to 1960 (IHS p.959).
The Republic of Turkey had stayed neutral throughout the war, thus avoiding damage caused by the war and the presence of occupying troops on its soil. The war even had caused an economic boom in the country. In 1946 imports and exports, state revenue and expenses were more or less balanced. 1946 had been an exceptionally good year for Turkish exports, because the world was a seller's market. However, Turkey needed to find markets, as in prewar years, Germany used to be Turkey's leading customer.
The budget year 1948 saw a considerable increase in expenses; Turkey benefitted from U.S. financial aid according to the Truman Doctrine, and from 1948 onward, Marshall Plan aid. 1949 saw a reduction in foreign aid, combined with a poor harvest due to drought. In 1950 a number of state-owned enterprises, such as cotton mlls in Adana, were privatized. Attempts were made to address the high cost of living, by reducing the price of sugar and textiles. In 1950 the Federal Republic of Germany again became Turkey's most important trade partner.

Social History . The census of 1945 counted 18.7 million Turks, the census of 1950 20.9 million.

Cultural History . Turkish athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of London 1948, where Turkish wrestlers took 6 gold medals.

Articles Politics of Turkey, List of Prime Ministers of Turkey, Multi-Party Period in the Republic of Turkey, Elections in Turkey, Foreign Relations of Turkey, Truman Doctrine, Turkey at the 1948 SummerOlympics, from Wikipedia
Timeline, from BBC News
Turquia, d'ença de la caiguda de l'Imperi otoma (1923) fins a 1960, from La Pagina de la Historia, in Catalan
A Window on Turkish-Israeli Relations, from Washington Institute
Russian and Soviet Relations with Greece and Turkey : a Systems Perspective, by Robert M. Cutler
Land Reform and Practices in Turkey, by Z. Demirel, F.Z. Gülsever
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Turkey, by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Turkey, from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
The Truman Doctrine, March 12th 1947, from USHDA, from Avalon Project
Truman Doctrine Documents, from Truman Library
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Oxford : UP (1961) 1968, 524 pp.
Talking Turkey, pp.153-164 in : in : John Gunther, Behind the Curtain, NY : Harper & Bros. (1948) 1949 [G]
Article Turkey, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.743-744, 1947 pp.765-767, 1948 pp.740-741, 1949 pp.639-640, 1950 pp.682-683, 1951 pp.686-687 [G]
Article : Turkey, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.712-714 (on events of 1946) [G]
Article : Turkey, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.412-413 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 12th 2002, last revised on June 19th 2007

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