James Ryan deposited Ideology on Trial: The Prosecution of Leftists and Pan-Turkists at the Dawn of the Cold War in Turkey, 1944-1947 in the group Ottoman and Turkish Studies on Humanities Commons 1 year, 4 months ago
This article investigates the prosecution of key members of two distinct wings of the Turkish intelligentsia at the dawn of the Cold War. As Turkey emerged from World War II having maintained a delicate neutrality for nearly the entire conflict, the patterns of repression in the public sphere shifted markedly to accommodate both fears of Soviet demands on Turkish territory and nascent cooperation with the Anglo-American alliance. In the waning days of the war, ultranationalist Pan-Turkist figures were prosecuted and jailed on trumped up charges of instigating insurrectionary behavior in the Armed Forces — thus quieting Turkey’s most aggressive pro-Nazi factions as the Red Army marched on Berlin. In the year after the war’s close left wing journalists were targeted for prosecution in the wake of explicit demands from Stalin regarding territory in Eastern Anatolia and the regime of the Straits, on similarly trumped up charges, resulting in the crippling of the most prominent left-wing press operation in Turkey. This article argues that these prosecutions conditioned early Cold War politics in Turkey, and tightened the straits of acceptable political discourse as Turkey began its transition to multiparty politics in the mid-1940s, and asks scholars to reconsider how the narrowing of the political spectrum in this period should shift our perspectives on Turkey’s democratic transition.