The Contest for Turkey
Turkey's formal answer on 12 December rejecting the British proposals at the Cairo Conference failed to satisfy Churchill. British officials tried in vain for another seven weeks to persuade Turkey to enter the war or provide major assistance by 15 February. With Churchill unwilling to accept the setback to his regional strategy, and with little flexibility in Ankara's stand, the protracted negotiations produced a mounting coolness without advancing the British aims. Certainly it is difficult to explain Churchill's persistence in challenging such a firm attitude. Turkish leaders were clearly determined to avoid precipitate action, hoping that time would clarify both Germany's ability to defend its conquests and Stalin's designs on nearby regions, worries that kept them from committing men and resources to accommodate Britain. Nor were they convinced that the British had not reached some secret accord with Moscow at the expense of their own interests. Under the circumstances Ankara chose to dissemble, posing a mix of reasonable and contrived objections that left the British frustrated and angry.
Knatchbull-Hugessen bore the burden of obtaining some agreement. He worked conscientiously despite his personal misgivings about the policy, but he extracted only a few concessions from Ankara. Through nearly all the extended discussions, Cicero's films kept the Germans remarkably well informed about how the issues were unfolding. Quickly regaining his confidence after the mysterious car chase, the valet continued to produce a flow of information and accumulate more money, although his open spending and the mode of his personal life posed potential problems. Only during the last part of January did he fall silent, when the British began to check for leakage. While Bazna's alarm and inactivity would prove to be temporary, they ended his most