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How the USSR helped the birth of the Turkish Republic

imperial commission
The beginning of the 1920s was fateful not only for Russia, but also for Turkey, which was building a new state on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. Largely thanks to the assistance of the USSR, Turkey quickly turned into a strong and influential European power.

Lapping relationships

Even in the recent past, Russia and Turkey were in a state of seemingly eternal confrontation, which naturally continued on the fields of the First World War. But after the revolution, Soviet Russia and the Republic of Turkey embarked on a completely new path of development , finding common ground.

The beginning of new relations was the signing on March 16, 1921 in Moscow of an agreement on friendship and cooperation, which also dealt with the delimitation of the geopolitical interests of both countries, in particular, in the Caucasus region, and laid the foundation for further mutually beneficial agreements.

At the same time, the terms of assistance to Turkey in the form of a tranche of 10 million gold rubles and the supply of military materials were discussed.

However, no sooner had the train with the delegates arrived in Anatolia than the already improving relations threatened to crack. Turkish troops were in no hurry to move away from Alexandropol (Gyumri), the location of which they had to leave according to the Moscow agreements.

Ordzhonikidze took a decisive step and stopped the train with the Turkish delegation, which was carrying the first part of the aid - 4 million gold rubles and a load of ammunition. Only the field of this Ankara withdrew its troops from the designated zone.

Strengthening ties

The 1920s were generally marked by the gradual strengthening of relations between the USSR and Turkey. Soon after the signing of the Moscow Treaty - in August 1921, the leadership of the Ukrainian SSR, with the consent of the government of the RSFSR, decides to send Mikhail Frunze as Ambassador Extraordinary to Turkey .

Military, diplomatic and economic assistance to the Turkish government has been stepped up.

Appointment January 5, 1922 to the post of Plenipotentiary Representative of the RSFSR in Turkey, Semyon Aralov , Lenin accompanied with the following words:

“The Turks are fighting for their national liberation. That is why the Central Committee is sending you there as someone who knows military affairs.”

During the preparation of the general offensive against the units of the Entente (March-April 1922), at the invitation of Ataturk , Aralov, together with the military attache Zvonarev and the Azerbaijani ambassador Abilov , visited the headquarters of two Turkish armies and rear military institutions.

The plenipotentiary is also at the location of the infantry and cavalry divisions. After the rally dedicated to the anniversary of the national army, the Soviet delegation handed out memorable gifts to the military, which were decorated with an inscription in Turkish: "To a Turkish soldier from the Red Army of Soviet Russia ."

Complying with the agreements

The Soviet Union, in accordance with the agreement, during the years 1920-22 through Novorossiysk, Tuapse and Batumi sent 39 thousand rifles, 63 million cartridges, 327 machine guns, 54 guns, 147 thousand shells and other weapons to Turkey through Novorossiysk, Tuapse and Batumi.

Military equipment left by parts of the tsarist army was also transferred, including two destroyers - "Alive" and "Creepy".

Assistance was not limited to the supply of weapons. The Soviet government helped Ankara in the construction of two gunpowder factories, supplying them with equipment and raw materials. Frunze allocated 100,000 rubles to the authorities of Trabzon to organize an orphanage, and Aralov gave the Turkish army 20,000 liras to purchase field printing houses and film installations. In May 1922, the last installment was made - 3.5 million gold rubles.

Foreign policy support

The West clearly did not want the strengthening of the new Turkey. In particular, attempts were made to form the Armenian and Kurdish states on the Soviet-Turkish border. But the active military assistance to Turkey from the RSFSR upset these plans.

The Lausanne International Conference on Turkey, held from November 1922 to July 1923, led to the declaration of Turkey as an independent state, with Mustafa Atatürk as president. All foreign troops were withdrawn from the territory of the country.

During the conference, the Entente retained the straits of Turkey. When the Montreux Convention was signed in 1936, where the USSR was already a full member, and Turkey was a very strong state, the Turks returned sovereignty over the straits.