German–Turkish Treaty of Friendship
The German–Turkish Turkish Treaty of Friendship (German: Türkisch-Deutscher Freundschaftsvertrag, Turkish: Türk-Alman Dostluk Paktı) was a Non-Aggression Pact signed between Nazi Germany and Turkey on June 18, 1941 in Ankara by German ambassador to Turkey Franz von Papen and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Şükrü Saracoğlu. It became effective on the same day.
After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Turkish president İsmet İnönü pursued a policy of neutrality, tried to avoid involvement in the war, and asked for military equipment deliveries from both sides. For its part, Nazi Germany tried to draw Turkey away from Britain using diplomatic efforts.
As Germany prepared to invade Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, German troops arrived at the Bulgarian border, and demanded permission to pass through its territory. On March 1, 1941, Bulgaria had signed the Tripartite Pact, and so had officially joined the Axis powers.
On 4 March 1941, Franz von Papen forwarded a letter from Adolf Hitler to İnönü. In his letter, Hitler wrote that he had not started the war, and that he was not intending to attack Turkey. He emphasized further that he had ordered his troops in Bulgaria to stay far from the Turkish border in order not to make a false impression of their presence. Hitler offered a non-aggression pact to Turkey.
On 6 April, Axis troops attacked Yugoslavia (in Operation 25) and Greece (in Operation Marita) through Bulgaria in an effort to secure its southern flank. The invasion of Yugoslavia took place on 17 April. With this, the annexation and occupation of the Balkan region by the Axis powers was complete.
A military coup d'état launched on 1 April 1941 by Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani overthrew the regime in Iraq, which was sympathetic to Britain. The four generals leading the revolt were working closely with German intelligence, and accepted military aid from Germany. Hitler asked Turkey for permission to pass through Turkish territory to give Iraq military assistance. The Turkish government demanded border concessions from Iraq in response to the German request. As the negotiations were taking place, British forces attacked Iraq. Between 18 April and 3 June, Britain restored the regime of Emir Abdul-Illah, regent of four-year-old King Faisal II. The issue between Turkey and Germany was resolved with this development.
On 22 June 1941, only four days after the signing of the German–Turkish Non-aggression Pact, German troops invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, violating the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact.
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