Putin the Great
Russia’s Imperial Impostor
THE successful visit to the United States in February of this year of President Bayar of Turkey, at President Eisenhower's invitation, has highlighted one of the most significant political events of our times--Turkey's emergence as a full and responsible member of the Western alliance. The increasingly close relations which started with the initiation of large-scale American aid to Turkey in 1947 have created a bond of confidence and respect between both the governments and the peoples of the two countries and have revealed a remarkable similarity in national aims and policies. Until fairly recently there existed a certain amount of anti-Turkish sentiment in this country. It arose largely out of the Ottoman Empire's association with the Central Powers during the First World War and its handling of the Armenian problem, but it was reinforced by some misinterpretation of Turkish history and a good deal of ignorance about events there since 1919. Today the American attitude is quite changed. Turkey is rightly considered one of our most reliable partners, and few nations enjoy so much prestige in this country. When in February 1952 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey voted 404 to 0, with one abstention, to accept the invitation to membership extended by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an era ended for Turkey and a new one began. Once and for all, Turkey had become an integral part of Europe and the West.
The impact of this event, together with the simultaneous adherence to NATO of Greece, has had a marked effect upon the balance of power between the Soviet bloc and the free nations of the world, extending beyond the Balkans and the Caucasus to the whole strategic complex of the cold war. The free world's gain in strength at any point on the 20,000 mile Russian perimeter inevitably lessens the availability of Russian forces for aggression at all other points. No longer can the Soviets hope for Turkish neutrality in the event of a major world conflict. No longer is there any possibility that they can invade the Middle East without engaging the Turkish divisions standing ready at the Erzurum line--now linked, through an agreement announced February 19, 1954, to the Pakistan forces to the east. Despite the vulnerability of Iran, an easy Soviet victory in the Middle East is blocked. Russia is confronted with the necessity of allocating a substantial portion of her forces available for a drive against Western Europe to the neutralization of Turkish forces and bases. Adherence to NATO placed Turkey's 19 newly-equipped and well-trained divisions and also her moral and physical strength-- enhanced by a remarkable national unity and abundant natural resources--squarely behind the Western alliance. The West has found a reliable ally, much of whose territory lies within the otherwise shifting sands of the Middle East.
Turkey's union with the West, marked also by participation in the Council of Europe and the O.E.E.C., is not the result of temporary convenience or opportunism. It can be described as the result of a meeting of two historical trends operating upon Turkey and the West. In one sense the Turks have caught up with the West, in the other the West has caught up with Turkey. The trends might be summarized as follows: the West, and particularly the United States, attaining for the first time a realization of the true nature of the threat of Soviet Communist aggression and a determination to protect themselves against it, have been brought to the position which the Turks had reached in the course of almost 300 years of intermittent conflict with Russia. During this same period, the Turkish people, freed from the rule of the Sultans and the burdens of empire to concentrate on their adopted homeland of Asia Minor, have emerged as a nation state and entered the full stream of Western progress in the development of their natural resources and their democratic institutions.
There is perhaps an inevitable tendency toward collision between peoples who inhabit a harsh northern land such as the Russian plain and those who live in adjacent and inviting lands and climate such as those bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The tendency is enhanced in this case by a spectacular coincidence of geography. The narrow lands facing the Bosporus, the Dardanelles and the Marmora Sea control the only outside access to the Black Sea, which is in effect a vast inland waterway for those who border it and the terminus of great rivers which penetrate deeply into Russia and Central Europe. The importance of this gateway led to the establishment there of the great Byzantine capital of Constantinople, for more than a thousand years one of the most important cities in the Christian world. Constantinople was also the traditional center of the Orthodox religion, adopted by the Russians in the tenth century. Both for its natural advantages and as a symbol of prestige, Constantinople inevitably became an object of desire for the Russians.
Russia came late on the European scene, and was not in a position to challenge the Ottoman Empire until well after the peak of Ottoman power, which began to decline in 1683 with the failure of the Turks to make good their second siege of Vienna. This siege kindled a crusade against Turkey which resulted in an alliance among Austria, Venice, the Pope, Poland, Russia, Malta and Tuscany. It was in 1677, six years before the siege of Vienna, that the Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa had led Turkey into the first war with Russia, which was occasioned by Cossack raids. Although the Turks were successful in the beginning, they were later obliged to relinquish most of the Ukraine and give the Cossacks trading rights in the Black Sea. From this point on the decline of Ottoman power gave the Russian Tsars an opportunity to expand to the south and southwest. Russian efforts to create a "third Rome" came in conflict with Constantinople as the seat of Orthodoxy. Their ultimate objective, however, was always the control of the Straits. Catherine the Great hoped to establish at Constantinople an "Emperor of the East," in the form of her young grandson, whom she christened Constantine.
Since 1677 the Turks have fought 13 wars with Russia, all of which have followed a similar pattern: in pursuit of her ambitions, Russia has resorted to overt aggression, alliances with Turkey's enemies alternating with offers of alliance with Turkey herself, construction of spheres of influence over buffer states, encouragement of independence movements, and subversion of religious and other minorities. This is the pattern of Soviet behavior today. In many of its wars Turkey was defeated by Russia and lost territory. In none, however, was she totally defeated or occupied, nor did she lose the Straits.
The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 did not alter the geography of southern Russia, nor did the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1923 change the basic lines of Imperial Russian policy. It did add to that policy of expansion the dynamic drive of Soviet Communism, and armed the state with new and more effective totalitarian methods.
The new Turkey was created in 1920 by Kemal Atatürk, one of the great leaders of all times. Finding himself opposed by the European Powers, Atatürk took advantage of Russian offers of assistance (the Bolshevik Government claimed then to have renounced the imperialist ambitions of Tsarist Russia) and, on March 16, 1921, signed the Treaty of Moscow with the Soviets. Good relations between the two states were strengthened by the official visits of statesmen and military commanders. When Turkey was involved in the Mosul dispute, relations with Russia were further improved by the Treaty of Friendship and Neutrality signed in 1925 in Paris, and subsequently renewed in 1935 for another ten years. Each party undertook to abstain from participation in alliances, coalitions or hostile actions of any kind directed against the other.
Even during this period, however, the Turks were suspicious of Russian objectives. Although there was apparent cordiality in the official relations between the countries, there was little unofficial contact between their peoples. Some Russian financial and technical help was given to Turkish industrialization, notably through an $8,000,000 credit negotiated in 1934 and used largely in building and equipping the Kayseri Cotton Textile Factory, but there was little Soviet influence in the arts and few students went from Turkey to the Soviet Union. The Turkish régime allowed Marx and Lenin to be read within the country but consistently opposed domestic Communism and imprisoned active organizers.
The true nature of Soviet intentions was revealed at the time of the uneasy Nazi-Soviet alliance at the beginning of the Second World War. On November 25, 1940, Molotov, in commenting on the draft treaty which Ribbentrop had presented to him on November 13, stated among other demands that within the next few months the security of the Soviet Union would have to be protected by "the establishment of a base of land and naval forces of the U.S.S.R. within the range of the Bosporus and Dardanelles by means of a long term lease." A definition of the Soviet sphere of interest in the Middle East also stipulated that "the area south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf be recognized as the center of the aspirations of the Soviet Union." This was Stalin's price for coöperation with Hitler. The shock that it gave the German Government was responsible in part for the attack on Russia on June 22, 1941.
It was not surprising that on March 19, 1945, shortly before the termination of hostilities in Europe, the Soviet Government served notice of its intention to denounce the 1925 Treaty. The Turks were advised on June 7 of the price that would be extorted for the renewal which they desired. First, the frontier with the Soviet Union must be revised, with the Kars-Ardahan district, acquired by the Russians at the Congress of Berlin in 1878 and retaken after the First World War, ceded again to the Soviet Union. Second, the Soviet Union would have to have an agreement as to the principles which would govern a revision of the Montreux Convention looking toward "joint defense" of the Turkish Straits, with the Soviet Union having bases in the Straits at least in time of war and with advance preparations to be made in time of peace. The Soviet Union also desired to detach Turkey from her British associations and to conclude a treaty similar to those which the Soviets were signing with the states of Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
Turkish Ambassador Selim Sarper, to whom Molotov presented these demands, flatly rejected them without even referring the matter to his government. The Ambassador's position was promptly confirmed by Ankara and in subsequent diplomatic conversations the Turks stood firm.[i] A representative comment in Vatan, an independent Istanbul journal, was that "the whole world views the latest changes in Soviet policy with suspicion. If there is a possibility of influencing Soviet policy, this can be accomplished only through the unity and firmness of the free world. Otherwise, the Soviets will attempt to trap, one by one, the nations they succeed in separating from the free nations of the world, and they will thus assume the initiative."
The leaders of the Turkish state of today have left behind them the methods of the past, but it is impossible for them to forget the lessons of the past. The present Foreign Minister of Turkey, the distinguished historian Fuad Köprülü, has in his veins the blood of the Grand Viziers Köprülü who saved the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century. Turkish pride and self-confidence derive both from Turkey's present strength and from the consciousness that the Ottoman Empire was the most powerful of its time. They help to form the Turkish attitude toward the Soviet Union, which might be described as being correct but absolutely firm. Although the ever-present Soviet threat constitutes the dominant factor in Turkish foreign policy, fear of the Soviet reaction does not influence the conduct of internal affairs or the choice of measures the country deems appropriate for its defense. The Soviets have been left in no doubt of Turkish determination to resist any demands which constitute infringement on Turkish independence or integrity, if necessary by force. There are no threats and no bluffs, but nothing is taken for granted. There is no swapping of performance for promise.
The content and tenor of Turkish replies to Russian demands have reflected this attitude. On August 7, 1946, the Soviet Government proposed that a new régime for the Straits be established under the Black Sea Powers alone, with defense assumed jointly by Turkey and Russia. In a firm rejection drafted by the present Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Feridun Erkin, then Secretary-General of the Turkish Foreign Office, the Government of Turkey insisted that it had fulfilled its responsibilities under the Montreux Convention with "correctness carried at times as far as a fanaticism disregarding even purely Turkish interests." The note further stated: "From the national point of view the Soviet proposition is not compatible with the inalienable rights of sovereignty of Turkey, nor with its security, which brooks no restriction."
The correctness of Turkish behavior toward the Soviet Union is illustrated by the fact that Turkey alone, among the non-satellite countries, sent an official representative to Stalin's funeral. True, the Russians were so surprised that transportation arrangements were not made in time to permit the representative to reach Moscow until after the funeral; but then as always Turkey observed the proprieties. There are virtually no unofficial relationships between the two countries. The Soviet-Turkish border is the most sterile in the world. There is no trade across it and no movement of persons except that of an occasional official. The activities of the large Soviet Embassy in Ankara are scrupulously watched. Communism as such is illegal in Turkey and there is probably a lower percentage of Communists there than in any country in the world. Those found are effectively dealt with.
The Turks have not hesitated to participate in legitimate collective security arrangements with the United States and the other Western allies. Fear of Soviet reaction to their adherence to NATO was greater among the Western nations than in Turkey herself. The country took the lead in the creation of the tripartite Treaty of Friendship and Coöperation with Jugoslavia and Greece signed on February 28, 1953, and has openly stated its desire to have this treaty take the form of a military alliance. Nor has there been any reluctance to accept American military equipment and aid in training of troops. Military bases have been built with assistance from both the United States and NATO, in the face of deliberate Russian misrepresentation as to their purpose.
The Turkish attitude is perhaps best shown by the reaction to the United Nations' request for help in repelling the aggression of the North Koreans. Turkey had at that time received no commitments from the Western Powers for her own defense, but on July 22, 1950, the Turkish Government announced that it was sending a brigade of 5,000 men to Korea--the first to respond to the appeal after the United States. Prime Minister Adnan Menderes stated at the time: "It is only by way of a decision similar to ours, to be arrived at by other freedom loving nations, that acts of aggression can be prevented and world peace can be safeguarded. A sincere attachment to the ideals of the United Nations requires a belief in this basic principle."
Relations between Turkey and the United States have developed harmoniously not only because both have the same basic attitude toward the issues of the cold war, but also because Turkey has no colonies or areas of special political or economic interest and has no desire to recover territories that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Hence she is able to take what might be described as a symmetrical attitude with respect to world problems. Some of our Western European allies do have such areas of interest in Asia and Africa, and their policies toward them are superimposed upon common policies arising out of the cold war. The cross-currents of these sometimes conflicting ties in North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China create problems in relationships with Americans which do not exist in the case of the Turk.
American understanding of the problem of dealing with the Soviet Union, in the sense mentioned above, seems now to have caught up with that of the Turks. The Turks have also shown us that it is possible to live in equanimity, without yielding, alongside an implacable enemy. They have been able to do this because they maintain a high degree of military preparedness and a strong national unity. "Why didn't you ask us about the Russians?" they frequently say. "We could have told you about them. Our attitude toward them did not change during and after the war because they did not change. Indeed, they have been the same for the hundreds of years that we have known them."
There is another independent factor which has in recent years helped bring Turkey into alignment with the West, and particularly the United States: the development of political, social and economic concepts and institutions corresponding closely to those of the West. These ideas and institutions have a strong indigenous Turkish flavor, as would be expected from a proud and independent people.
Although it was Atatürk who was primarily responsible for the decisive turn to the West, the seeds of Western thought and influence were actually planted much earlier. The Ottoman Empire reached its height in the time of Suleiman I, known as "The Magnificent" in the West and the "Law Giver" in Turkey. Under Suleiman the Empire was one of the best administered of the time. It was marked by great religious tolerance. The Christian population in Morea, for example, preferred Turkish rule to that of the Venetians, and some Hungarian villages voluntarily chose Ottoman rule. During Suleiman's reign the Turks had many contacts with the West, particularly with France. In 1536 the French Ambassador, Jean Delaforet, negotiated a treaty between France and the Ottoman Empire, by which certain economic and judicial privileges, the "Capitulations," were granted to France. Capitulations were also signed with Great Britain in 1578, and in 1580 the British sent their first Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Although the Capitulations later developed into a disastrous institution for the Empire, the large foreign trading communities which they fostered permitted the introduction of Western ideas and institutions. The first printing press was established in Turkey in 1728. Selim III, 1789-1807, was a passionate admirer of French culture. The first real Westernization began under Mahmud II, 1808-1839. In addition to army reforms, a medical school was opened by experts from Europe, a number of students were sent to Europe (a great innovation), and a newspaper and official printing office were established. In 1838 a Council of Popular Instruction was formed. These reforms were continued under Abdul-Mejid I, 1839-1861, under whose rule was prepared the Tanzimat, a vast plan of reforms which changed Turkey from a medieval to a modern state. It offered all Ottoman subjects equality before the law regardless of race or creed; all were granted equal protection of life, dignity, honor and goods; it established the right of trial by due process of law, levy of uniform taxes, and payment of all officials by salary.
Under the revolutionary "Young Turk" movement which grew up in opposition to the oppressive rule of Abdul Hamid, 1876-1909, the concept of nationalism became for the first time an important political factor in Turkey. There was, at the same time, an awakening of intellectual life, largely as a result of the introduction of French language and culture. As the great Turkish feminist writer and patriot Halidé Edib said in her memoirs, "Modern Europe was furnishing a new current of thought and was creating a new spirit in Turkish writing." Turkish drama, representing the rising Turkish nationalism, flourished under French guidance. The British influence was felt in diplomacy and political thought, and gave great impetus to reform. Later, German influence became an important factor in the economic, scientific and military fields. American influence was principally exerted through educational institutions, Robert College having been founded in 1863.
These early movements, all inspired by Western sources, provided the spiritual base for Atatürk's New Turkey. Under his powerful leadership, Western laws, dress and customs were adopted on a large scale and in a short time. The Constitution created by the Kemalists and adopted on April 20, 1924, was inspired by the ideals and institutions of Western democracy, though Turkey remained under one-man rule, as Atatürk considered it must during a formative period. At his death in 1938 the Presidency was assumed by his distinguished deputy, Ismet Inönü, head of the Republican People's Party which Atatürk had founded. In 1945 Inönü took positive steps to give Turkey the substance as well as the form of a democracy by promulgating laws giving full rights to opposition parties. The Democratic Party was founded in 1945 by Celal Bayar, one of Atatürk's most gifted and devoted followers who had succeeded Inönü as Prime Minister in 1937, and Adnan Menderes, a dynamic organizer, together with a group including Refik Koraltan, present President of the Grand National Assembly, and Foreign Minister Fuad Köprülü. On May 14, 1950, the Democrats were brought into office by an overwhelming majority; almost 90 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.
The fact that the party in power, after being voted out of office, acquiesced gracefully in the popular will, proved that Turkey had become a democracy in practice as well as in form. Since 1950 the Turkish people have shown an increasing determination to retain their newly gained political power, and there appear no significant elements in Turkey which seek to deny them this right. Turkey is one of the few countries in which true political democracy, as known in Western Europe and the United States, has been successfully transplanted. The orderly elections held on May 2, 1954, which returned the Democrats to power by another large majority, give further evidence of the stability of that democracy.
Turkey's economic development and institutions were brought into conformity with the pattern established in Western Europe and in this country more slowly. The Turks, of course, inherited a tradition of centralized authority in economic as well as political matters from the days of the Sultan. Under early Ottoman rule private individuals were not, in general, allowed to accumulate wealth or land except at the pleasure of the Sultan, to whom it normally reverted at death. Initiative in economic matters lay with the Sultan and his ministers. During this period Anatolia, the heart of the present Turkish state, was only one part of a great empire which was run not for the benefit of the Turks living in Anatolia but by and large for the Sultan and the international group surrounding him. The Anatolians furnished most of the soldiers for the Sultan's army and paid most of the taxes which gave him funds to hold together a costly domain. But the Sultan was more preoccupied with the tribute paid to him by Cairo and Baghdad than by the development of Anatolia, and as a consequence this vast area, rich in minerals and natural resources, which had supported in earlier times a much larger and more prosperous population, languished. Lands that had been the granary of the Roman Empire lay fallow and neglected.
When Atatürk came to power, Turkey was lacking in capital and technical skills. Atatürk had a strong desire to encourage foreign investment capital in the development of Turkey's resources, but he had to work within the narrow framework of the commercial clauses of the Lausanne Treaty and under an Ottoman debt settlement which imposed heavy financial responsibilities on the new Turkey. His government was, moreover, reluctant to accept long-term loans from abroad, since it feared a repetition of the kind of tutelage to which the Ottoman Empire had been subjected; although foreign short-term business credits were accepted, the only long-term loans were those made by the Swedish Match Company and the Soviet Union. Attempts were made to cover imports by increasing the value of exports, mainly in raw materials. The limited efforts made to attract foreign capital, however, met with little success. In 1924, a semi-public institution, the Iş Bank, was established to help finance industrial enterprise. A 1927 law gave government assistance to industry, but even so private enterprise seemed to bring meager results.
Turkey was badly hit by the worldwide depression of the 1930's, which affected the market for her agricultural production and raw materials. Since initiative was not forthcoming from other sources, the country's leaders embarked on a policy of state enterprise. In 1933 the Sümerbank was created with a capital of £20,000,000 (Turkish) to establish, finance and manage industrial units in certain fields, designated in a Five Year Plan proclaimed early in 1934. In 1937 the Etibank was similarly created to facilitate mining and power development.
Under "étatism" Turkey made substantial economic progress; perhaps, considering her situation, no progress could have been made otherwise. With time, however, the limitations inherent in state enterprise became increasingly apparent. The emergence of a business group willing and able to accept economic risks and responsibilities had contributed substantially to the election of the Democratic Party in 1950 on a platform giving maximum encouragement to free enterprise and foreign investment. Pursuant to this platform there was enacted on August 1, 1951, a foreign investment law which, although deficient in several respects--in particular with respect to the limitation of conversion of earnings into foreign currencies--offered considerable impetus to foreign investment. A number of foreign firms invested in Turkey under this law, American firms among them. The Government also encouraged private initiative by abandoning the match and salt monopolies and by opening investment in sugar refineries to cooperatives and private businessmen. A start was likewise made in selling government-owned industry, but, of course, it is far more difficult to return industry to private hands than to take it over. Private investment was further encouraged by the establishment in 1950 of the Industrial Development Bank, in coöperation with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
It became increasingly apparent, however, that the 1951 law did not offer adequate incentive to foreign investors. Following a study by an American Mission headed by Mr. Clarence Randall, a new law was passed by the Grand National Assembly on January 18, 1954, by a vote of 248 to 35. This "Foreign Investment Encouragement Law," as it is called, permits unlimited conversion of earnings as well as initial invested capital, and is considered one of the most liberal foreign investment laws existing in any country. To it was added on March 7, 1954, a law giving expression to the policy adopted by the Turkish Government two years earlier which permits companies, foreign as well as domestic, to participate in the development of Turkish petroleum resources. The statute was drafted with the assistance of an American expert, Mr. Max Ball, and compares favorably with the laws of other countries, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which have attracted large-scale foreign investment in petroleum. At least ten of the international oil companies have already expressed interest in taking concessions under it, and the first permit to explore for oil under the new law was issued to the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company on May 6, 1954. Indeed, Turkey may be said to have become the first country in the world to "denationalize" oil. It is the policy of the Turkish Government to offer strong economic incentives to the individual (in agriculture, through price supports), but otherwise to remove government intervention in business to the maximum extent possible. The Turks, indeed, give evidence of devotion to the principle of free enterprise hardly less strong than is displayed by Americans.
During the four years since the inception of this policy, the Turks have seen their faith in the free play of economic forces indicated by remarkable progress. In his message to the Assembly on November 1, 1953, President Celal Bayar pointed out that grain production totalled 13,600,000 tons in 1953, an increase of nearly 100 percent over 1950. Turkey had in fact risen during this period from the position of importer of grain to that of the fourth largest grain exporting nation in the world. Cotton production, President Bayar reported, was 165,000 tons for 1952 compared to 104,000 tons at the end of 1949. Tobacco production was estimated at 120,000 tons in 1953 as against 82,000 tons in 1951. Deposits in Turkish banks were 117 percent greater in June 1953 than three years earlier, and credit extended by banks showed an increase of 123 percent. Foreign trade was a spectacular 300 percent higher in 1953 than in 1949, largely as a result of increased grain exports. The draft budget for fiscal 1954 anticipated a balance of income and expenditures, as contrasted with an 11 percent budgetary deficit for 1950 and a 6.5 percent deficit for 1953, all after United States defense contributions.
The United States has made a great contribution to this achievement, first by assistance through the Marshall Plan and later through the Mutual Security Program and Foreign Operations Administration. As of June 30, 1953, grants under these programs aggregated $261,500,000 and loans $140,200,000. American aid has, however, served mainly to spark an indigenous effort on the part of the Turks. There were some 3,000 tractors in Turkey in 1948, for example, and 7,600 were subsequently imported under American aid; but the remainder of the 36,000 operating in 1953 were imported and paid for by Turkey. At the end of 1953 the United States Government had made a total contribution of $27,602,000 toward Turkish road development by providing machinery and experts from our Public Roads Administration; but the equivalent of some $293,000,000 drawn from the Turks' own resources was spent on roads during this same period. The result is a network of some 13,000 miles of all-weather road which, as much as anything else, has made possible the large-scale increase in agricultural production which underlies the country's progress.
Despite this remarkable increase in national production and export, Turkey has nevertheless run a persistent foreign exchange deficit in recent years, creating large debts to the European Payments Union and to Turkey's commercial suppliers in Europe. This has been the result of a policy of maximum investment, both of domestic resources and in imported capital goods, as a means of increasing the rapid expansion of the Turkish economy. This policy has been disturbing to many financial experts, including those of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development which is engaged in financing projects there amounting to some $60,000,000. It was Turkish reaction to the reluctance of the Bank to proceed with additional large projects until steps were taken to better Turkey's general financial position which resulted in the recent closing of the Bank's office in Ankara. The Bank's existing loan program in Turkey was not, however, disturbed.
Great advances have also taken place in Turkey in recent years in the field of education, although illiteracy is still high and many years will pass before all villages have elementary schools. There has been an average annual increase of 833 in the number of elementary schools opened each year during the past three years, with an average annual gain of 134,000 pupils. An average of 62 new secondary schools and three new lycées were also started each year during the same period. In 1953, $15,214,000 was allocated to the universities in Turkey, as contrasted with $9,107,000 in 1950, and construction has also been started on a new university in eastern Turkey, the first outside Istanbul and Ankara. Two less encouraging developments, however, have been evidences of a disturbing increase in religious reaction, which led, on July 27, 1953, to the dissolution of the Nation Party and a slowing down of the trend toward governmental neutrality in religious affairs; and the passage on March 9, 1954, of a Revised Press Law, which has been interpreted in certain aspects as restricting the freedom of the press enjoyed in other countries.
All in all, the performance of the Turks has been remarkable. In a short period Turkey has been transformed, in one of the most peaceful revolutions of all times, from an Eastern, authoritarian state to a democracy comparable in essential elements to the Western democracies. The people of Turkey and their government have been brought into close harmony with their Western friends, particularly the United States. A. E. Yalman, the publisher of Vatan, summed it up not long ago by quoting the quizzical comment of a Turkish innkeeper in eastern Turkey: "It's strange how well we seem to get on with the Americans. It's almost as if we had become relatives."
[i] An interesting postscript to this episode was added on May 31, 1953. As part of its so-called "peace offensive" following the death of Premier Stalin, the Soviet Government presented the Turks with a note officially withdrawing the demands of June 7, 1945. The Turks replied on July 18, after a calculated delay, expressing "satisfaction" that the U.S.S.R. stated it had no claims on Turkey and adding that the Turkish Government "considers it necessary to underline" that the question of the Black Sea Straits is "regulated by the provisions of the Montreux Convention."