The Turkish Revolution, 1960-1961: Aspects of Military Politics

The Turkish Revolution, 1960-1961: Aspects of Military Politics

The Turkish Revolution, 1960-1961: Aspects of Military Politics

The Turkish Revolution, 1960-1961: Aspects of Military Politics

Excerpt

The United States has understandably taken much interest in Turkey since the end of World War II. American programs of economic and military assistance there have achieved many of their aims. It is thus not without justification that American aid to Turkey since the proclamation of the Truman Doctrine in 1947 has amounted to around three billion dollars.

Turkey was a charter member of the United Nations even though it had remained neutral until the final months of World War II. Longstanding enmity with Russia made it clear where Turkish interests in the cold war lay, and in 1952 Turkey formally became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, giving that alliance a strong anchor on the Russian southern flank. In 1955 it also became the western anchor of the Baghdad Pact, now the Central Treaty Organization. An American-equipped standing army of 500,000 gives both of these alliances impressive additional muscle, and the record of Turkish troops in Korea leaves little doubt about the fighting qualities of these forces.

The United States also has a large stake in Turkish domestic health. The end of World War II brought liberalization in the authoritarian government through which Kemal Atatürk and his successors had begun to modernize the nation politically and economically: In 1950 the first free election swept the opposition into power and saw an event all too rare in the life of "emerging" nations, a smooth acquiescence of the government party and an orderly transfer of power. The 1950's were not without grave economic and political difficulties, to be sure, but for much of the period of multiparty politics, Turkey testified to the hopes of American policy makers that it was indeed possible for American aid to be an important factor in enabling economic development to proceed in a democratic, multiparty environment, an effective answer to Russian counterclaims.

The Turkish Revolution of 1960-61, which temporarily interrupted multiparty politics, has provided some important lessons for the United States about the difficulties that are sure to be encountered on the road to . . .

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