Regime change in the Aegean after the Second World War: Reconsidering the foreign influence
Gürsoy, Yaprak (2008) Regime change in the Aegean after the Second World War: Reconsidering the foreign influence. In: The Annual Meeting of the ISA's 49th Annual Convention, Bridging Multiple Divides, San Francisco
Official URL: http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p253515_index.html
According to the conventional view held by the Greek sources, the United States was involved in the establishment of the 1967 Greek junta and helped sustain it. Similarly, the existing literature on the 1950 Turkish transition to democracy holds that one of the determinants of democratization was the desire to become part of the Western alliance. Thus, quite ironically, the new world order set out by the US at the end of the Second World War is seen as the cause of diametrically opposite regimes in two neighboring countries belonging to the same alliance. Whereas in Greece it is seen responsible from an authoritarian regime, in Turkey it is believed to be the cause of democracy.What was then the real effect of US foreign policy in Greek and Turkish regimes? In my paper, I will argue that the main dynamic behind these regimes was domestic, rather than international. In the Turkish case, the democratic regime was demanded by a group of elites, who had been threatened by the policies of the single party regime during the war. In the Greek case, the military staged a coup in order to prevent what it believed was a leftist threat coming from in fact a center party.However, a closer study of historical data reveals that the new world order played an indirect role in the establishment of the Greek and Turkish regimes. In the Turkish case, the collapse of the fascist regimes after the war and the Turkish foreign policy of allying with the West legitimized the demands and strengthened the hands of the Turkish elites who favored democracy. In the Greek case, the perception of communist threat, shared by the Western bloc, bred the exaggerated fear the colonels felt from the center party. In addition, American military aid during the Cold War increased the strength of the Greek armed forces relative to other forces in society. This power imbalance gave the colonels the capability to take over the government and suppress the opposing (and weaker) societal forces and elites. In conclusion, I argue that we must focus first on the domestic dynamics and then on the indirect role American foreign policy played after the Second World War. In this way, we are able to explain both the paradox the two Aegean countries provide and gain a new understanding of how foreign influence has affected Greece and Turkey after the war.
Repository Staff Only: item control page