Nese Ozden

THE IMAGE OF THE BALKANS AND SOVIET RUSSIA IN TURKISH HISTORY AND LITERATURE DURING THE INTERWAR PERIOD, 1925-1945

Between 1925 and 1945, relations between Turkey and Soviet Russia went through a major transformation – mainly in politics (concerning the Balkans), but also in social economics, history and literature – which was influenced by memories of the conflicts which had compromised the peace between the two nations a number of times.

The Soviets’ positive image of 1925 had changed drastically by 1945, since Stalin’s Russia seemed to evince greater political and territorial designs regarding both the Balkans and Turkey. This study draws attention to the reasons behind – and consequences of – a variety of changes between these two specific years.

Twentieth century Turkish historians, politicians, writers and intellectuals have attributed great importance to the state of affairs which developed in the Balkans, as well as to its welfare and peace.

Relations between the Soviets and the Balkans, and the way this reflected on the Soviet state, varied in accordance with changes in political relations and their influence on subsequent events with regard to all of the countries concerned, including Turkey.

The image of Soviet Russia in the Balkans, and the image of the Balkans itself in the period under study (from the Turkish point of view) was sometimes therefore dependent on politics or diplomacy, but was partly influenced by Soviet aspirations.

In the final analysis, relations between Turkey, Soviet Russia and the Balkans were vital for the promotion of bilateral ideas; hopes, fears and realities dominated the links between them.

In this presentation, Turkish parliamentary debates and scholarly studies as well as historical, political and literary works will be introduced (with a number of examples) along with various personalities and events.