British Universities Film & Video Council

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Trouble in Turkey


Series Name
The March of Time 12th Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Trouble in Turkey


Story No. within this Issue
1 / 1
The March of Time synopsis: Turkey, the film points out, is a bridge between Europe and Asia, situated where the interests of strong nations converge and conflict. To the North lie the U.S.S.R. and her neighbouring satellites; to the South are found the oil-rich lands of the Middle East, and the Suez Canal, traditional life-line of the British Empire. Within Turkey’s borders are the Dardanelles, Western gateway to the narrow straits leading out of the Black Sea and Russia’s only means of access to the Mediterranean. Through this bottleneck controlled by Turkey must pass all shipping to and from Russia’s most important warm water ports - a fact that has irked Russia for centuries and has been the cause of several wars. Today, fearing the loss of her independence, Turkey, in spite of the economic plight of the country, finds it necessary to vote a considerable part of her national budget to the upkeep of her army, which will absorb the greater part of the U.S. grant.

Predominantly a farming country, Turkey depends heavily on one major export crop - tobacco - thanks to which, and to many raw materials needed by both sides during the war. Turkey’s exports have exceeded her imports for the past five years. But little money trickles down to Turkey’s peasants, who comprise some 85 per cent of the population, and whose income is seldom more than £12 a year. The film recalls how Kemal Ataturk, after achieving Turkish independence, set out to change a backward and Oriental despotism into a modern republic. Beginning with his Cabinet, he forced his people to adopt the Latin alphabet in place of the complicated Arabic script, and ordered the country to be modernised and westernised throughout. Virtual dictator of Turkey since 1938, is President Ismet Inonu, leader of the "Republican Peoples Party" which has 85 per cent of the membership of the Assembly and, until recently, was the only political body in the country. In keeping with a promise that as the people were sufficiently educated they would be entrusted with a greater measure of democracy, the government has granted the right of assembly to an opposition party, whose minority leaders are kept cautiously within bounds, though they are becoming increasingly insistent on airing their grievances and demanding more and more political rights. Turkey’s government-controlled newspapers have also begun to speak with unaccustomed forthrightness since the war and to criticise openly. But in foreign affairs they fully support the government’s policies and report with approval its efforts to cultivate neighbouring potentates whose friendly offices might be useful in case of trouble. And with Turkey’s hopes of maintaining her independence steadily growing, the U.S. grant beings to an anxious people assurance that moral and financial support is already on its way.
Researcher Comments
This story was included in Vol.13 No.13 of the US edition.
Foreign relations; Foreign aid
Written sources
The March of Time Promotional Material   Lobby Card, Used for synopsis
Production Co.
Time Inc.

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