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ISSN: 2332-0761
Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
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Why did Turkey Become a Part of Sa'dabad Pact?

Onur AY*

Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Turkey

*Corresponding Author:
Onur AY
Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Turkey
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: October 26, 2015; Accepted date: July 04, 2016; Published date: July 06, 2016

Citation: Onur AY (2016) Why did Turkey Become a Part of Sa'dabad Pact?. J Pol Sci Pub Aff 4:212. doi:10.4172/2332-0761.1000212

Copyright: © 2016 Onur AY. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Turkey was governed under the idea of “peace at home, peace in the world.” after establishment of Republic. This was a realist idea on the foreign policy because Turkey was not able to act aggressive to be more prestigious state in the eyes of Western powers. Realpolitik was successfully implemented by founders of Turkey in these years. Turkey wanted to integrate international system as an equal and independent actor. In the circumstances, the best way for integration was becoming a part of international organization as a necessity of Realpolitik. That research will include two parts which are relations with member states of the Pact from establishment of Republic to signing the Pact and necessities of the Pact for Turkey.


Sa'dabad pact; Atatürk; Afghanistan; Iraq; Iran; Foreing policy; The reasons of Sa'dabad pact

Relations with Member States of the Pact

Relations with Iran

There was a boundary problem between Turkey and Iran from 1923 to 1932. After the boundary problem was solved, the relations were in the golden age. In the establishment process of new Iran government, Turkey supported Shah Reza to come into power because Turkey was uncomfortable to see Iran as a colony of Britain. Meanwhile, the main purpose of Britain was maintaining its authority in Mosul [1]. Therefore, not surprisingly Britain prompted a serious ethical conflict in the region. It made the border of Turkey-Iran very problematic. Some Kurdish clans were rioting against sovereignty of Turkey during the Sheik Said Rebellion in 1925. When Turkey was organizing operations against the clans, they were escaping steepness of Ararat Mount which was in the Iranian border. The situation created tensions many times between Iran and Turkey. Both countries tried to avoid these tensions with a treaty of friendship and security in 1926. However, border issues continued after the treaty. Simultaneously, rebellions started, it caused newly emerged tensions among Turkey and Iran. After the rebellions, Turkey requested determination of borders from Iran. In 1928, an additional protocol was signed. In 1930, Turkey appointed Hüsrev Gerede as ambassador of Tehran. He was known as hawk and was appointed to show Turkish serious and decided attitude. Iran understood the serious attitude of Turkey. In fact, Minister of Foreign Affairs who was Tevfik Rü?tü Aras came to Iran to reach a solution. In 1932, two agreements were signed between Turkey and Iran. One of them was to solve border issue; one of them was to cooperate in the legal area [2]. In 1934, determination of border was completed. In May 27, 1937 an additional agreement was signed to solve some unserious disagreements and it has created present borders between two countries. These all interactions were important steps for the way to Sa’dabad Pact. In these times, the most important factor in developing relations was expansionist Italy which was under the revisionist idea of Mussolini.

Relations with Afghanistan

Amanullah Han came to power in Afghanistan in 1919 [3]. At the same time, Ataturk was getting authority in Turkey day by day. Both leaders were reformist and they believed that their countries need reforms. Intimacy between Afghanistan and Turkey were because fighting for independence at the same time. First alliance agreement between Afghanistan and Turkey were signed in March 1, 1921 in Moscow. According to 1st article of the agreement, Turkey promised to recognize Afghanistan. According to 8th Article, Turkey will send teacher and military officer to Afghanistan to help for education during 5 years. Actually before the agreement, Cemal Pasha who was also sent by Turkey to Afghanistan played an important role to modernize Afghan military. After he was killed, Turkey stopped helping. Thus 1921 agreement was important to continue to help. Lausanne Peace Treaty made Afghans happy. Amanullah Han sent a congratulatory address to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with ambassador of Afghanistan. In 1928, second alliance treaty was signed by the countries. In the agreement, Turkey guaranteed sending experts about military and education to Afghanistan. Amanullah Han hurried for reforms, and he was not worrying about the differences between two societies. He just copied the reforms of Turkey, and wanted to implement in the same form to Afghanistan [4]. But, he lost his authority in 1929, and he left the country. When Habibullah Han came into power and he deported Turkish staffs. But, after a bit, Nadir Shah came into power and he continued Amanullah Han’s Turkish policy, and called back the Turkish staffs that were deported by Habibullah Han. In one and a half year, Afghanistan had five different Shahs and lastly, Zahir Shah came into power, and provided stability. Turkey and Afghanistan continued as well with Zahir Shah. Even, wherever Afghanistan didn’t have consulate, Turkey supported Afghanistan’s interests. In addition, Turkey umpired in solution of Iran-Afghanistan issue because of bilateral relations. These all relations were helpful for Sa’dabad Pact and relations reached the top with the Pact.

Relations with Iraq

Mosul which was in the National Pact of Turkey was controlled by Britain. It was one of the most significant problems of Lausanne Conference too. In the Conference, Turkey supported that Mosul should be a part of Turkey because of National Pact. In addition, Turkey suggested a plebiscite for decision. On the other side, Britain strongly rejected plebiscite. The thesis of Britain was that “people who live in the region don’t have experience to vote, so they cannot be able to understand the purpose of plebiscite”. Then, the problem was given responsibility of Turkey and Britain to solve. If they cannot solve the problem in 9 months, it will be solved by League of Nations. In that time, Turkey didn’t try to change status quo with military force. Turkey tried to change it under the framework of international law [5]. Therefore Turkey was not able to change status quo in the Mosul issue because of some reasons like Sheik Said Rebellion and unfair attitude of League of Nations, etc. In 1930, Britain finished the mandate government and recognized independence of Iraq. Then Iraq wanted to have relations with two strong neighbors which are Iran and Turkey. Iraq suggested a pact of non-aggression to Turkey. The treaty also included Iran. Turkey responded the suggestion with several additional ideas that Turkey wanted to see USSR and Britain. Britain was not giving full independence to Iraq and could control Foreign Policy of Iraq. Thus, according to Turkey, it was not meaningful to get Iraq as a member of treaty without Britain. Turkey also suggested getting USSR as a member of treaty because according to 1929 protocol, Turkey needed to advise to USSR before becoming a part of that kind of an agreement. Britain rejected the suggestion because they were not becoming a part of regional politics in that time. After Britain rejected, USSR guaranteed to respect agreement and also it was not a member of it. USSR just recommended Afghanistan as a member of the agreement. In October 2, 1935 the agreement was initialized by Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Instead of signed, it was initialized because of Iraq- Iran Border issue (Sattularab issue) [6]. The issue was solved with intensive efforts of Minister of Turkish Foreign Minister who was Tevfik Rü?tü. After the solution, Iran and Iraq signed bilateral agreement. After that, in July 8, 1937, the pact of non-aggression was signed between Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

Necessities of the Pact for Turkey

It was an agreement of non-aggression and friendship. Turkey tried to sign non-aggression agreements with every single major power because in the time, there was no NATO to guarantee common security. It was only possible with bilateral agreements. Therefore, the first necessity of Turkey is to provide common security for members of the treaty. Secondly, Turkey wanted to solve border issues with Iran. Also other members had some border issues with each other. The problems served the clans’ interests. Turkey was planning to maintain border solutions which were solved before the pact. Thirdly, Kurdish clans and rebellions were common problem of Turkey, Iran and Iraq because they could riot and also could asylum to neighbor states to organize. It was not welcomed by new established nation states which were Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Therefore, they understood the importance of border security. When the articles of the agreement are examined, it is clearly seen that the agreement was signed for regional purposes rather than threat from outside of region. Priority of founders was to avoid creating a threat for region [7,8].

In conclusion, becoming a part of the pact was pragmatic and realist behavior. Turkey tried to promote regional peace and security to protect its own security. Turkey also tried to solve its problem with neighbors with negotiations. Even, Turkey played mediator role in border issues of other regional states. Turkey never stopped its relations with regional states during the crisis and also never took a specific part in the conflicts. It makes Turkey very trustful state in the eyes of regional states. Therefore Turkey’s leadership role increased in the region.


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