Turkey

Full Name Republic of Turkey
Alliance Neutral or Non-Belligerent
Entry into WW2 23 Feb 1945
Population in 1939 17,370,000

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Modern Turkey was born out of the Ottoman Empire after WW1. In 1939, Turkey signed a Mutual Aid Pact with France and the United Kingdom, but, avoiding to go directly into combat and fearing the Soviet Union (which had just jointly invaded Poland with Germany), Turkey along with the rest of the Balkan Entente (Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey) declared neutrality when France was invaded in 1940. In Jun 1941, as the German forces entered the Balkan Peninsula, Turkey and Germany signed a non-aggression pact; this pact gave Turkey the security it sought, while giving Germany the comfort of a safe flank as it planned to turn against the Soviet Union. Despite Turkish neutrality, the country did suffer some casualties during the war. On 3 Nov 1941, for example, Turkish schooner Kaynakdere was sunk by Soviet submarine ShCh-214 in the Black Sea as the Turkish schooner ventured near ground sheld by German troops (the Soviet submarine captain suspected that the schooner was smuggling in supplies for the Germans); Soviet submarines would sink several more Turkish vessels during the war. Turkey would suffer losses at the hands of the Axis as well, such as the loss of merchant ship Antares to Italian submarine Alagi in Jul 1942. Meanwhile, the Western Allies actively courted Turkey. In Dec 1941, days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the United States into the war, Franklin Roosevelt announced that Turkey was eligible to receive Lend-Lease aid. As the tide turned against Germany, Turkey leaned more and more toward the Allied side. Turkey halted the export of chromite, a key ingredient in the manufacture of stainless steel, to Germany in Apr 1944. On 2 Aug 1944, Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Germany. In Feb 1945, Turkey allowed itself to be courted by the Allies by attending the inaugural meeting of the United Nations, leading to a declaration of war on Germany on 23 Feb 1945. Turkish troops were not sent into combat, however.

Source: Wikipedia

Photographs

Greek battleship Lemnos at Constantinople, Turkey, circa 1919; note Greek torpedo boat Dafni alongsideBattleship Lemnos at Smyrna, Turkey, 15 Sep 1919Greek battleship Lemnos firing a salute to US Navy Admiral Mark Bristol at Smyrna, Turkey, 15 Sep 1919; note British D-class light cruiser in background






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Turkey in World War II Photo Gallery
Greek battleship Lemnos at Constantinople, Turkey, circa 1919; note Greek torpedo boat Dafni alongside
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"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

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