Turkish Foreign Policy During Ataturk’s Era
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the great leader of our National War of Independence who pioneered the revolutions and reforms that founded modern Turkey, appeared for the first time in the stage of history through his military genius, though the characteristics that make him immortal in the hearts of the Turkish people and place him in a privileged position among the most important leaders of the world are his statesmanship, the outstanding success he showed in the field of governance and his peaceful and democratic vision, which is still valid today. The foreign policy vision adopted by Ataturk, the goal set with his maxim of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” and the resolute policies he followed to that end have constituted the most significant factors that have enabled the Republic of Turkey to attain her current position.
Following international developments, diplomacy and foreign policy closely since his youth Ataturk was aware that the Republic of Turkey, the establishment of which he dreamt of even at those times, could attain a well-deserved position among modern nations only with an effective foreign policy and foreign relations on a solid basis. For this reason, foreign policy and Turkey’s position in the international arena had always been a high priority for Ataturk. He thought that Turkey’s future depended on a solid vision and resolute policies to be followed in this direction
Ataturk approached every issue primarily through the lens of rationalism and realism. This was reflected in his foreign policy vision as well. Thus, the foreign policy stance adopted during the arduous National War of Independence, was first and foremost consistent with the main goal of establishing an independent Turkish State within national borders. This attitude, rejecting adventurous and expansionist inclinations without compromising on independence, left its mark on a set of developments that secured the unconditional independence of the Republic of Turkey. Among those developments were declaring as unacceptable the provisions postulated in the Treaty of Sevres and Armistice of Mudros and the negotiation and implementation of the Treaty of Lausanne in line with national interests
The primary objective of Turkish foreign policy was gaining independence through military and diplomatic struggle against the warring states of that time. Afterwards, Turkey’s fundamental foreign policy principle was defined as “peace”. This objective has found its best expression in Ataturk’s “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” maxim and today continues to be the basic guiding principle of our foreign policy