Balkan Pact (1953)

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For the 1934 Balkan Pact, see Balkan Pact.

The Balkan Pact of 1953 (officially: "Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation") was a treaty signed by Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia on 28 February 1953. It was signed in Ankara (Turkey). The treaty was to act as a dam against Soviet expansion in the Balkan area. It provided for the eventual creation of a joint military staff for the three countries. At that time Turkey and Greece were already full-fledged members of NATO. Communist Yugoslavia, however, did not want to join NATO. The Balkan Pact was a possibility to associate Yugoslavia with NATO in an indirect manner.

Causes[edit]

After World War II, Yugoslavia ended its cooperation with the Soviet Union and sided with the west in the Cold War. With fear of invasion from the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia quickly established political and defense alliances and agreements with the West. The West considered Yugoslavia an important country and supported Yugoslavia's independence. The Balkan Pact was a way for the West to protect Yugoslavia against the East, and keep communism out. The Balkan Pact was signed in 1953 by Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey. This was a political agreement to include Yugoslavia into the Western defense system and the economic aid system because of the increasing threats Yugoslavia received from the East. This agreement was set up as a protection for Yugoslavia.[1]

The Agreement[edit]

The Agreements regarding the creation of the Balkan Pact started with a political treaty in Ankara in February 1953, and ended with a military treaty in Bled in August 1954.[2] The Agreement had 14 Articles; including an agreement to settle international disputes without force, military assistance for each country if one attacked the other, and to maintain and strengthen their defensive capacity. It was agreed that representatives from each country would meet twice a year for 20 years. It also respected previous treaties that were in place at the time, such as the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and the Charter of the United Nations.[3]

Effects[edit]

The new alliance showed its weakness from the very beginning. A few days after it came into being Joseph Stalin died. As the new Soviet government started to relax its criticism towards Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav communist leadership were more willing to abandon open cooperation with the Western countries.

In the course of 1954 and 1955 Yugoslavia's overtures to the Soviet Union which resulted in a change of Yugoslav view regarding the military significance of the Balkan Pact. The visit of Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes to Yugoslavia in May 1955 (only three weeks before Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Josip Broz Tito) showed the difference between the Yugoslav and Turkish estimates of the international situation. Turkish Premier Menderes was interested in the whole field of cooperation within the Balkan Alliance. Yugoslavia was reluctant to take any steps that might appear to give added significance at that time to the military side of the Balkan Pact.

Soon after that, the Cyprus dispute between Turkey and Greece broke out and became a new danger for the Balkan Alliance.

After the Hungarian Revolution, Tito showed some interest in reviving the alliance. But, because of the Cyprus conflict, Tito's attempt to mediate between Turkey and Greece failed.

The Balkan Pact included Yugoslavia into the Western defense system, which strengthened the country’s security. It also raised problems for Tito and the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, and brought the Yugoslav and Greek powers together. The Balkan Pact indirectly heightened international and ideological conflicts.

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • David R. Stone, "The Balkan Pact and American Policy, 1950-1955," East European Quarterly 28.3 (September 1994), pp. 393–407.