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The Fear of Invasion: Formation of Turkish Foreign Policy and Strategic Thinking in the Interwar Years

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 5:30 pm

This talk deals with the making of Turkish foreign policy and military strategy in the interwar period. It suggests that the Dodecanese Islands which were formulated as the stepping stones of territorial expansion in the Mediterranean by Fascist Italy constituted the main component of Turkish strategy. These little islands in the Aegean Sea just next to Western Anatolia created a constant ‘fear of invasion’ in Turkey. The narrative presents how the defensive policy of Turkey based on this fear of invasion, and feeling of being on the verge of a war all the time, distinguished itself by an active foreign policy agenda in the Mediterranean. While examining the story of Turkey, this talk also questions the underlying factors, which determined the Turkish feeling of insecurity in the region that sometimes reached the level of obsession, including the relevance of history as a unit of analysis in foreign policy formation. 

Hazal Papuççular holds a PhD from the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Department of Modern Turkish History. Her studies on Turkish foreign policy were published in several edited volumes. Her monograph, War or Peace: The Dodecanese Islands in Turkish Foreign and Security Policy, 1923-1947 is forthcoming (In Turkish). She is teaching courses about Ottoman Modernization, Modern Turkish History, Modern Middle East, and Diplomatic History in Galatasaray University and Istanbul Kültür University in Turkey. Currently, she is a visiting professor in the History Department at the Central European University.