Created: 10/20/1947

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the current situation in turkey

ORE 50


ctober xi

Copy No.

THE CURRENT SITUATION IN TURKEY i. thk strategic importance oy turkey.

Turkey's basic significance lo US security lies in the preservation of lis Independence and in the maintenance of its present statusuffer against expansion of the Soviet Union into the Near and Middle East. Turkeyactor of political and economic, as well as military, stability in the Near and Middle East. Domination by the USSR would not only facilitate the spread of Communism and Soviet Influence and Jeopardize United States Interests throughout this region, but it would also increase theof the communications facilities and military base sites throughout that area and in the Mediterranean basin.

future developments.

future, largely because of political, military, and economic factors of great importance lo the security of the United Slates, depends in large measure upon the Soviet Union, If Greece Is saved from Communist domination, Turkey's positionis the USSR will become less precarious although by no means impregnable. The USSR will not lessen Its efforts to dominate the Straits nor, presumably, Its claims on northeasternImportant in themselves but only preliminary toof the whole country and the consequent attainmentase for stepping up penetration of the Near and Middle East.

Soviet pressure on Turkey will vary, but domination by the USSR is not likely to be abandonedajor long-term purpose, even ir the Kremlin is faced with suchresistance as to makeemporary relaxation of its pressure.

PoUtically. Turkey not only opposes Communist penetration and Soviet influence but is also making determined and successful efforts lo develop Its democratic processes. The American Aid Program has greutly encouraged the Turkish policy of close associa lion with the US and UK and of adherence lo the UN Economically, also. Turkey'* importance to US security arises principally from its stubborn resistance to Soviet penetration into regions where the US has valuable oil concessions and otherilitarily, an Independent Turkey serveseterrent lo Soviet aggression.

The current American Aid Program, by ils direct manifestation of sympathy and material support, has already done much to bolster Turkish self-assurance. In lhe event of altiick, the Turkish armed forces -rendered more capable with USbe enabled to prolong the period of initial resistance until their allies have had time to activate base* in the Near and Middle East from which to support the Turks

Continued Western support, providing not only for military contingencies bul also lor economic rehabilitation, will further contribute lo the political, economic, and military security of the Turkish bastion, already an Important stabilizing factor in the

.voir- thisw brm coordinated Willi IMorganization* n| the Department! o: slaic. army. Navy, and Air forces

area. Such support will insure effective Turkish participation in the establishment of world security aod economic stability.

3 Poi-mcal Situation.

The Turkish political regime is fundamentally both stable and secure. With very rare exceptions, the entire people wholeheartedly support the government's conduct of foreign relations, while in internal nflajrs almost all the Turks are agreed that their republican regime must be cherished and allowed to evolve in the democratic pattern established by its founder, the late Kama! Atalurk, and developed by hisPresident Inonu.

The only real threat to the security of the republic lies in the constant pressure exerted upon the Turks by the USSK in its desire lo dominate Turkey and the StrulU. The Turkish Government and people, however, remain adamant against any such threat of Infringement of their national independence and territorial integrity, and they support the government's policy of maintaining large forces under arms, although the financial and economic burden Is exceedingly heavy. The Turks are notto propaganda emanating from their traditional enemy. Effectuation of the basic principles of Communism is illegal In Turkey. There is. therefore, no legalParly there, and such few subversive and anti-government groups as do exist are weak and effectively controlled by the police and security services.

urkey was ruledne-parly government The Turks then began issuing licenses to other political groups whose declared purposes were Judged to be consistent with the principles of the republican constitution. One major opposition group, the Democratic Party, has emerged In6 national elections it was well supported, and the constant weight of Itswith pressure from within the government (People's Republican)forced tho inflexible Premier Peker to resign and make wnyore moderate government under llasun Saku. which has already shown signs of being mure tolerant of legitimate opposition criticism

Dillercnccs between lhe two major parties arise chiefly over the direction of internal, and particularly economic, affairs The LVmorrats. for example. Insist upon the liberal nation of certain restrictive laws which they regard as unconstitutional. They claim that the government exercises arbitrary control over the press, and they demand less partiality in electoral procedures The government is charged with ineptitude in its handling of economic affairs and with failure lo halt lhe rising cost of living. The government's contention, on the other hand, has been that until the danger from .inroad ended, certain wartime restrictions and controls must be retained

President Inonu tries to curb excesses ol both parties and continues to guide the nation in the evolution of its democratic processes. In this purpose, as in the policy of iMlttance to Soviet pressure, he has the almost unanimous support of the Turkish people Direct US aid. now in the process of application, has strengthened Turkish self-confidence and has raised US prestigeigh level.

Economic Situation

While the Turks arc faced with difficult economic problems, the fact that Turkey was neutral during most of World War It and was never an active belligerent has ic

suitedelatively stable economy. Turkey adheres to the ctatisl principle of state control and direction of thc national economy, and has developed plans for further industrialization, increased agricultural and mineral production, and the reconstruction of transport and communication facilities.

Turkey's chief economic difficulty arises from the expense ot maintaining Large forces underprecautionary measure resulting from Soviet ambitions to dominate Turkey. Thc severe drain of national defense appropriations upon thc budget hampers the execution of the economic reform programs. Moreover, large numbers of men who would normally be contributing to the national Income must bo supported by the government as members of the armed forces. US aid, therefore, Is aimed not only al Improving Turkey's military capabilities but also at easing thc financial burden of maintaining the armed forces.

Another economic problem Is the cost of living, which has been rising for some years and is now several times the prewar level. Considerable hardship Is caused to many workers, particularly in urban centers, where wages have lagged far behind prices. There are no labor troubles; however, the government encourages theof labor syndicates but keeps them under rigid control. Turkey is primarily an agricultural state, with four-fifths of Its population dependent uponiving. It has no unemployment problem.

Turkey's foreign trade has Increased since the end of hostilities. Figures showing thc increased value of exports, however, may be misleading because of the devaluation of the Turkish pound in terms of foreign currency inhc increased volume of Imports consists largely of industrial or producers' goods, the alleviating effect of which upon the national price structure must necessarily be slow.

Implementation of the government's programs for rehabilitation and development will require foreign exenange, which Li immediately available for little more than current trade needs. Although the government holds stocks of gold sufficienturrency reserve and for emergency recently been converting gold into dollars for the purchase of producers'rocess which it is reluctant toThe government is even more unwilling toarge Increase In the amount of currency in circulation or to resort to dangerous inflationary measures

Turkey's plans for strengthening lis industrial economy will therefore depend largely upon the amount ot foreign exchange which becomes available, either through Turkey's membership in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or from some other foreign source This situation will continue so long aa Turkey feels compelled lo maintain its present burdensome national rieiense structure.

5 fohfionlio;

The conduct of Turkey's foreign affairs is largely governed by one predominant factor- the threat of Soviet domination Determined to resist the USSR's demandsominant role in the defense and control of the Straits, as well as fur territory In northeastern Turkey, the Turks seek to counter the continuing pressure upon them by basing their foreign relations upon the following four major policies:

a Cooperative assistance in strengthening the United Nations;

b. Continued, and even increased, US support of Turkey;

c Maintenance of the alliance with the United Kingdom; and, d. Establishment and maintenance of friendship with all nations, including the USSR

With the realization that their British allies mustolicy of retrenchment in the Near and Middle East, the Turks are increasingly dependent upon the US for support. They have been greatiy heartened by the provision of US aid which, apart from its intrinsic value. Is regarded by themure sign that Turkey is not alone In resisting Soviet pressure.

In an effort to counter thc menace of Soviet penetration Into the Middle East, the Turks have recently been strengthening their relations with Arab states to the south. Pacts of friendship with Iraq and Transjordan, which are non-military in character and not Intended to involve Turkey in controversial Arab League affairs, have been concluded Relations with Syriu and Lebanon have been improved by Turkey'sof the independence of those states, although thc currently quiescent problem of the Halay*otential source of serious friction. An additional factor contributing to the stability of the Middle East is7 Pact of Saadabad, which although notowerful instrument, remains in force, and provides forand consultation among Turkey. Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The Government of Iran, In Its efforts to avoid falling under Soviet influence, has the cordial sympathy of the Turks. Similarly, the Turks view with friendly anxiety Greece's prolonged struggle to avert Communist-USSR domination. The Turks are fully aware that the fall of Greece, or of Iran, would seriously endanger the security of their own country.

In its foreign commercial relations, Turkey is slowly concluding trade andas well as clvU air, agreementsumber of countries. The greatest difficulty lies in replacing the lost trade withprewar years Turkey's largest source of supply and chief customer.

fi Military Situation.

The Turkish armed forces are maintained and disposediew to deterring and. if necessary, countering an attack from the USSR and the Soviet-dominated Ualkans. The most recent estimate indicates that there areO0 men under arms-about one in six of all male Turks between thc ages of


The Turkish armed forces alone could not longajor USSR or USSR satellite attack. Upon implementation, however, of the American Aid Program to modernize and strengthen the armed forces, the period of such resistance might well be sufficiently prolonged for Turkey's allies to activate valuable bases in the Near and Middle East, from which attacks could be directed upon thc enemy's vulnerable targets.

The courage, patriotism, and discipline of lhe Turkish soldiers areigh order Improvement, under the American Aid Program, of the Army, Navy, and Air Force

'Malayurkish province on the Syrian border, awarded lo Uie Turlu9 uy Uie man datory power. France Syria has never recognised Turkey* aovereignty over Halay withaluable harbor at Iskcndcrun


training, standards, organization, and equipment will enhance the militaryof both officers and enlisted men, whose physical and psychological qualities arc basically sound.

Turkey by itself can provide sufficient food to maintain large forces in the field, even If substantial portions of the country are cut off in the initial stage of combat. For military Industrial production, however, the Turks will remain largely dependent upon foreign sources of supplyong time.

The weapons of the armed forcesixture of German, British, French, Czech, and other types of assorted calibers, many of them obsolescent. The American Aid Program seeks to remedy this defect by enabling the Turks to initiate their program of standardization of equipment. The program also provides for some improvement of the logistical situation by assisting in Ihc construction of greatly needed strategic roads, and for increasing Indigenous production of war materiel through supplying equipment for Turkish arsenals.

Implementation of the current aid program will, therefore, improve the mobility and firepower of the Turkish Army. It is designed not only at improving Turkey's ground, sea, and air forces, but also at casing the economic burden of building and maintaining an Increasingly efficient war potential.

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