Soviet-Turkish Talks about a Mutual Assistance Treaty. September – ​October 1939

The security of the southern borders of the USSR greatly depended on Turkey, which controlled the Black Sea Straits. Talks about a military and political alliance between Turkey and the USSR began in Ankara in the spring of 1939 and continued in Moscow in autumn of the same year in a very different international situation. Simultaneously, Turkey engaged in talks with Britain and France about a mutual assistance agreement.

Turkey was interested in Soviet assistance in the Black Sea area, the Straits and the Balkans in the event of a German-­Italian invasion and planned to maintain its neutrality if Britain and France attacked the USSR. As to the Soviet Union, it was wary of a conflict with the Anglo-­French coalition. Moreover, it had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany and therefore could not assist Turkey in the event of German aggression.

These divergences, which were discussed by Turkish Foreign Minister S. Saracoğlu with J. Stalin and V. Molotov in Moscow in October 1939, led to the failure of talks about a Soviet-­Turkish mutual assistance agreement.

4 October 1939
Russian State Military Archive
Coll. 1511k, ser. 2, fold. 40, f. 10.
Photograph