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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaThe Place of Italy in Turkish Foreign Policy in the 1930’s

The Place of Italy in Turkish Foreign Policy in the 1930’s

Author: Mehmet Doğar

Affiliation: University of Cambridge (Faculty of History, Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies)

Organization/Publisher: Middle Eastern Studies/Routledge

Date/Place: August 6, 2021

Type of Literature: Analysis

Number of Pages: 15

Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00263206.2021.1955353?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Keywords: Turkish Foreign Policy, Turkish-Italian Relations, Early Turkish Republic, Mediterranean Security

 

Brief:

 

The existing scholarship on Turkish Foreign Policy in Italy in the 1930’s determines that Italy was one of the greatest threats to the newly founded Turkish Republic. In addition, Italy would dominate Turkish foreign policy making in that era. Italy’s expansionist aims in Asia and Africa caused concern for the Turkish government. Turkey-Italian relations throughout this era compelled Turkey to look for its Mediterranean security, as Italy was a part of it. On the other hand, Italy is argued to have been showing its interest in developing cordial relations with Turkey by assuring Ankara that there had been no intention of Italy to invade Turkey. Italy argues that its main aim to fortify the Dodecanese Islands was to protect Italy’s commercial communications within the Mediterranean. However, what Italy called fortification, was identified as occupation by other analysts. As for Turkey’s membership in the League of Nations, researcher Dilek Barlas argues that Italy was not in its favor, but provided no references to support that argument. On the contrary, Italy’s representative at the League called this membership a positive step, calling Turkey an essential element in European Politics. Furthermore, to create a security network, Turkey signed two pacts: the Balkan Pact (1934) and Saadabad pact (1937). Italy was displeased with this move, even after Turkey reassured them that the reason behind the move was its border security. Italy did not like the autonomous nature of the pacts. Later on in 1937, when Italy left the League of Nations, Turkey realized the disinterest of Italy towards any multilateral agreement. Overall, Turkey’s foreign policy has been clear from the start—to not depend on any great power like Italy. Turkey’s foreign policy towards Italy needs to be seen through the perspective of great power politics and its drive for regional security in the Mediterranean. 

 

By: Ruby Clayton, CIGA Research Associate

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