What was the role of Turkey in wwii, particularly during Barbarossa?

What were the economic and military relations between Germany and Turkey during this time? I’m aware that Turkey was neutral but also that Turkey supplied Chromite ore, used for making stainless steel. What was Turkey’s position on the German Soviet war?


You should look Turkish - Russian relations before the war and how it influenced Turkish foreign policy during World War 2. Ottoman Empire (which was dissolved and evolved to Turkish Republic in 1923) had fought with Tsarist Russian Empire countless times since 17th Century over Black Sea , Caucaus and Balkans due to Russian long term strategic goals of obtaining warm sea access. Ottoman Empire lost most of these and many ground to Russian advance on Caucaus and Balkans till 20th Century. Bolshevik Revolution and the sweeping cultural distruption it brought did not enhance the reputation of Russia in Turkey also after 1920’ies. (despite the fact that during Turkish Independence War and Turco-Greco War in 1920’ies Soviet Union was a net weapons supplier to Turkish Nationalists due to enemy of enemy is my friend policy temporarily) As a result there was a deep seated wariness , distrust and fear against Soviet Union.

That does not mean Turkish goverment was in love with Nazi Germany either , most of Turkish statesmen during 1930’ies and 40’ies were World War I veterans , ex-officers from Ottoman Army which allied with Imperial Germany in Central Powers during the Great War. The result of that war and treatment they received from Germans during wartime (most German officers served in Ottoıman Empire acted quite haughty and arrogant towards Turks) , stopped them cold joining to Axis. They did some lucrative trade deals to sell chrome and grain to Third Reich and received German capital like looted gold from Europe and finished goods like French manufactured weapons (captured by Germans and sent to their sattalites as gifts) to keep them friendly but Turkish goverment had also signed friendship and Non Aggression Treaties with Britain and France in 1939 and Soviet Union in 1940’ies and after 1941 , Allies began to send Lend Lease Aid to modernise Turkish Armed Forces to sway them over their side. Even as early as 1941 or 1942 Turkish Intelligence Services provided valuable intelligence to Allies (esp. British) and providing safe conduct or passage for refugees and escaped Allied POWs from Nazi occupied Europe. All in all Turkey played both sides of street to keep its neutrality till February 1945 when the goverment finally declared war on Germany and Japan to join to UN.


But they didn’t have to supply Chromite either. Or agree to the non aggression pact. Or profit from the sale of nazi gold inglots in ankara and Istanbul.

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Non Agression Pact was necessary for Turkish national security (mind you Turkish goverment signed similar treties with British , French and Russians and actually had much closer diplomatic ties with them with Lend Lease aid also incoming to Turkey , help Allied POWs and refugees escape from occupied Europe especially Balkans , provide intelligence to Allies especially in Balkans and East Med.) especially to forestall at least partially any German invasion while Germans were busy in Russia. I agree selling chrome (a vital mineral for war industry to Germans ) went longer than necessary but from other perspective if Hitler decided I need more Turkish grain and mineral ore (especially if Turks severed that trade with Axis) who could stop German Army ? Badly equipped Turkish forces with obsolate weaponary with all urban centers open to attack to any Luftwaffe air raid ?)

As for selling of Nazi gold , that is a thing a lot of neutrals did and profitted. Especially Swiss.


I’m agreeing with merdiolu here. If I live next door to a psychopath, I’m gonna do everything I can to get on his good side so he’ll burn down my house last and hope the cops shoot him dead before then. Immoral? Maybe, but I don’t care because while I don’t wish the psycho’s victims ill, my family must come first because they are mine. I have responsibilities I simply don’t have to anyone else.

The coin isn’t the point, it’s placating the beast.