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Thread: understanding Middle East history

  1. #1 understanding Middle East history 
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    Hello guys. I very much enjoy reading this sub forum, but I always feel like a little guy among giants so I read, but never really participate here. Anyway, I have a few basic questions about the middle east that I am curious about. First, I'll write what I think I know. Much of this I am sure will be wrong, but please correct me.

    First of all, why was Turkey an ally of "the allies" during WW2? Wasn't it the allies who were responsible for the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and its dismemberment after WW1? Wasn't the Ottoman Empire an ally of Germany in WW1? Didn't Turkey even fight against the occupying forces in order to establish itself as a country after WW1? Weren't these occupying forces the allies?

    I have much more typed out with more questions, but I think that understanding the alliance with Turkey seems to be essential to understanding the rest of it.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Not my area of expertise at all, but here's a guess. Ataturk, in the aftermath of the WWI, transformed the core of the Ottoman Empire from a corrupt, dictatorial, religious entity into a modern, secular, democracy. In instituting changes in everything from the education of women, to the banning of traditional costume, he sought to make a clean break with the past. Allying with former enemies whom he saw as representing the best of western democracy would have made perfect sense.


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Turkey was neutral in WW2 until the very end when it joined the winning side.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Turkey was neutral in WW2 until the very end when it joined the winning side.
    This an important point that I wanted to be sure of before I continued. Reading more on the subject it seems that Turkey joined the allies in WW2 ten days after Russia captured Budapest in Hungary. By this time, the allies had also reached the Rhine river, however, I want to be sure of this neutrality. Was Turkey neutral like the U.S. had been "neutral" when they supplied the ally war effort not with soldiers, but with supplies? (Were these supplies guns, food, clothes? I can't seem to find information on it.) Did Turkey allow Istanbul to be used as a gateway for these ally supplies?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    There seems to be plenty of info on the web, such as this:

    http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur..._ng_turkey.pdf
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman The Pride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Not my area of expertise at all, but here's a guess. Ataturk, in the aftermath of the WWI, transformed the core of the Ottoman Empire from a corrupt, dictatorial, religious entity into a modern, secular, democracy. In instituting changes in everything from the education of women, to the banning of traditional costume, he sought to make a clean break with the past. Allying with former enemies whom he saw as representing the best of western democracy would have made perfect sense.
    That's odd: how could Ataturk transform the "core of the Ottoman Empire" from a "dictatorship" to a "democracy" when he himself was a dictator?

    As an interesting side note, it was not the Ottoman Empire's "corrupt ... religious entity" which was responsible for the Armenian and other similar massacres; it was Ataturk's predecessors who were pressing for secularism and the abolition of the Caliphate. "Modern", "secular", and "democracy" are all weasel words. If you ask me, you're better off looking at the history of the matter, which proves very unfavorable for the Kemalists.
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  8. #7 Re: understanding Middle East history 
    Forum Masters Degree samcdkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demen Tolden

    First of all, why was Turkey an ally of "the allies" during WW2? Wasn't it the allies who were responsible for the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and its dismemberment after WW1? Wasn't the Ottoman Empire an ally of Germany in WW1? Didn't Turkey even fight against the occupying forces in order to establish itself as a country after WW1? Weren't these occupying forces the allies?
    The Ottomans were natural allies of the Eastern Europeans because Turks are also native to East Europe/West Asia. However, Ataturk was a military strategist and wanted an "independent" Turkey i.e. one under his command. So his natural allies would be the opposition. Just like the Saudis, the Palestinians, the Lebanese who all supported the allies in the hope of getting their state freed from under the Ottoman empire.

    Even in countries under the British Empire, like my country India, the nationalists were divided into two camps, but the winning camp was the one that fought with the allies in WWI and WWII.
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