After loosing a large part of its land on the Balkans and in the Middle East the newly found in 1923 successor of the Ottoman Empire had every reason to try and take back some of the lost nearby lands.

I understand that there were a series of conflicts and wars in the region: uprisings and revolts related to Greek Independence 1821 and Bulgarian Independence 1878(1908), Greco-Turkish War 1897 , First and Second Balkan Wars 1912-1913, WWI1914-1918.

However, the much smaller neighbouring countries participated in WWII, while Turkey remained neutral.

What were (could be) the reasons for the Turkish neutrality during the Second World War?

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    Which side could they've joined? It's not like the World War was a free for all. The rest of the Balkan states were too small to really have a choice. Turkey was big enough to not worth the trouble, but too weak to really cause any trouble.
    – Semaphore
    Dec 24, 2015 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Technicaly, Turkey participated: it entered the war on the Allies side on February 23, 1945, after a substantial allied pressure.

Why it did not participate earlier, I think it is easy to answer. You "profit" from a world war only if you take the right side. In WWI Turkey (reluctantly) chose the wrong side, and the result was the collapse of the empire. Telling early which side is going to win was difficult, in both world wars.

As I understand, after the collapse, the point of view prevailed that Turkey has to be a national state rather than empire (the Russians do not understand it even now). Therefore, it did not really want to try to restore the empire, preferring to stay neutral.

It seems that empires are out of date since the second half of 20s century.

EDIT:...at least in Europe and in the Middle East.

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    re "It seems that empires are out of date since the second half of 20s century": Except for Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Eurozone, it's possible that you are right. That leaves perhaps 50% of the world's population for which your statement applies. Dec 24, 2015 at 21:18
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    Well, the Commonwealth have some agreements regarding security issues and trade cooperation and they all bow to the queen. In addition there are still many places around the world held under a strange political status: the Gibraltar, for example and many other islands of strategic location. As for the US with military bases all around the world and direct action in almost every political or military "happening" around the world (through EU and NATO), I don't know if there was any other country matching the definition of empire better than it :)
    – Ziezi
    Dec 24, 2015 at 23:06
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    @Matt: Eurozone is not am empire. I do not want to argue about terminology, but is not it clear that Ottoman, Russian and Austro-Hungarian and British empires are something very different from Eurozone?
    – Alex
    Dec 26, 2015 at 18:51
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    @Matt: Why not of the Third Reich? The main difference between the Eurozone and the previous empires is that neighboring countries want to join very much. If you do not believe me, ask the Turks, Ukrainians and Moldavians (all other neighbors already joined). Or will you argue that they were invaded?
    – Alex
    Dec 27, 2015 at 14:52
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    @Matt: This is not the place to discuss definitions. The original question was about Ottoman empire...
    – Alex
    Dec 27, 2015 at 17:45

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