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Turkey’s relations with Italy (1932-39): realities and perceptions

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2020
Doğar, Mehmet
This thesis examines Turkey’s relations with Italy between 1932 and 1939 through key historical events and analyses the role of Italy in Turkish foreign policy making. In so doing, it underlines the complex and multifaceted nature of the relations between the two countries and challenges the widely-held axiom in the secondary literature that the relations evolved from friendship to enmity in a unilinear way. This thesis argues that what defined the relations between these two Mediterranean countries in the late interwar period was not a direct Italian threat to Turkey and Turkey’s fear of it; but was rather the divergence in the views of Turkey and Italy regarding the international system. In this period, while Turkey based its foreign policy on the idea of collective security, Italy adopted an aggressive foreign policy and opted for a great-power-led international system. In the context of the international environment, Turkey’s relations with Italy in 1932-1939 were a prime example of the active, multilateral and pragmatic nature of Turkish foreign policy in the inter-war period.