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Turkish Concerns over Reputation in the Making of the Post-War Turkish-American Rapprochement
Western and Turkish scholars have regarded the post-1945 rapprochement between Turkey and the United States as establishing Turkey’s complete dependence on the United States, bringing about a situation in which the Turkish government followed a complete dependent foreign policy, accepting the dictates of the United States. An examination of archival material and newspapers, however, points to the need for revision of such an established argument. In this study, I argue that the Turkish government did not accept its so-called passive role, and Turkish concerns over reputation played a central role for Turkey in the making of the post-War Turkish-American rapprochement. By showing a willingness to accept American aid, especially of the military kind, Turkey wanted to be treated as an ‘equal’ partner of the US-led Western Bloc. Both governing and opposition parties in Turkey, as well as Turkish journalists, diplomats, and students studying in the United States, waged a campaign to present Turkey as a reputable, modern, and civilized ally of the United States. Through establishing an information bureau in New York, trying to prevent the exhibition of American movies that misrepresented Turkey, and hosting American journalists who visited Turkey, Turkish authorities tried to convey the message that Turkey was under Soviet threat, deserved the Marshall Plan, and, more importantly, that Turkey needed the United States as much as the United States needed Turkey.
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19th-21st Centuries