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By Nicholas Tamkin (auth.)

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Additional info for Britain, Turkey and the Soviet Union, 1940–45: Strategy, Diplomacy and Intelligence in the Eastern Mediterranean

Example text

83 By August, a new consensus had rapidly been established. The FO described Russophobia as a ‘Turkish disease,’ and ‘(a) Turk vis-à-vis of Russia is rather like an Irishman vis-à-vis of England. ’85 As we will see in Chapter 5, this ‘atavistic’ Soviet–Turkish antagonism was a significant obstacle for the British as their own relationship with the Soviet Union developed in the weeks and months that followed. Their pragmatic response to the outbreak of war between Germany and the Soviet Union marginalised the anti-Soviet prejudice of Sargent and his colleagues in the FO, at least for the duration of the war against Hitler.

There was a tension in British perceptions of Soviet–Turkish relations. 16 Yet others recalled 20 years’ experience of apparent Soviet–Turkish partnership. ’19 During the summer of 1940, however, evidence received from intercepted SIGINT began to cast doubt on Hugessen’s upbeat assessment of Soviet–Turkish relations. For those in London who are able to read it, intercepted correspondence indicated the revival of Soviet 22 Britain, Turkey and the Soviet Union, 1940–45 claims against Turkey on their Caucasian frontier.

S)o long as Turkey did not enter the war the Soviet could not give the signal for a movement against Turkey. If Turkey entered the war and fortune favoured her, I believed that the Soviet Government might . . adopt a policy of benevolent neutrality or even alliance with Turkey. 69 Like diplomats throughout Europe, Haydar Aktay was convinced that, despite Soviet–German tensions, Stalin hoped to settle the matter by way of discussion in return for some concessions which will not damage either its feelings or its independence .

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