History Ph.D. Dissertations


“A Correct and Progressive Road”: U.S.-Turkish Relations, 1945-1964

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Douglas Forsyth

Second Advisor

Gary Hess (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Tiffany Trimmer (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Marc Simon (Committee Member)


This historical investigation of U.S.-Turkish relations from the end of World War II to 1964 provides a greater understanding of the challenges inherent in the formation and implementation of U.S. policy in Turkey at a time when the Turks embarked on multiparty politics and a determined campaign to become a modern and distinctly European nation through ambitious economic development programs. Washington proved instrumental in this endeavor, providing financial support through the Marshall Plan and subsequent aid programs, and political sponsorship of Turkey's membership in international organizations such as NATO and the EEC. U.S. policymakers encountered various quandaries as they forged bilateral relations with the Turks, specifically reconciling democratization with Turkey's development and participation in the containment of communism. The Turkish government under Adnan Menderes demonstrated its reliability as a U.S. ally, providing troops to fight in the Korean War and cooperating in the construction of NATO bases and the modernization of its military, but it came under increasing pressure from the political opposition when its economic policies failed to secure long-term economic growth and stability. Starting in the mid-1950s the Menderes government adopted increasingly authoritarian measures to control dissent, a problematic situation for Washington, as it desired greater Turkish democracy while at them same time did not wish to compromise the growing American military presence in Turkey. The U.S. solution to dealing with Turkey's political tensions was one of nonintervention and detachment, an approach that produced greater Turkish resentment and compromised Washington's ability to manage the frequent crises of the 1960s including 1960's coup and the 1964 Cyprus crisis.