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Turkish Delight

This AH will need a few slight changes in 1940, although the major changes won’t come until later.  In OTL, the Turks basically sat WW2 out, their agreement with France and Britain was dropped once France fell and the British had problems in the desert.  The Turks became more careful once Greece fell and tried hard to stay between the two sides once Germany reached the borders.  Once the allied victory became certain, the Turks declared war on Germany and did nothing to aid in their defeat. 

In 1940 after the fall of France, everything was in flux.  Enlightened opinion expected the British to make peace, which might involve them giving colonies to Germany and Italy, which might put the two axis powers on Turkey’s borders.  Let’s have the Turks take advantage of French weakness after the armistice and recover Syria and Lebanon.  The Turks send in most of their army on a ‘securing’ exercise and offer the French government a choice; the Turks will either occupy the colonies and intern the French forces, OR the Turks will defeat the French forces and annex the colonies.  Whatever the French decision, the Turks end up with the two colonies. 

By this time, the British will have fought and won the battle of Britain and the fighting will have shifted to the Middle East.  The British will probably agree to supply the Turks with some vital supplies in exchange for Turkish neutrality.  The Turks know they’re not ready for a conflict with Britain or Germany, so they still stay out of the main war.  Germany signs a non-aggression pact with Turkey in early 1941.  The Italian invasion of Greece will still flop and the Germans will clear up the mess for them as OTL.  Some British forces retreat to Turkey after Greece falls, so the Turks technically intern them, but practically allow them to go free. 

At the end of 1941, barring any butterflies, the Germans will have still invaded the USSR and America and Japan have entered the war.  The Turks hesitate; they could recover long-lost land from the Russians, or they could formally declare war on the axis.  After receiving recognition of their conquests and their inclusion into the lend lease program, the Turks declare war on the axis. 

This changes the picture of the war.  The Turks have been supplying the Greeks and the other Balkan nations that have anti-German factions.  As the war goes on, resistance movements make German lives miserable in the Balkans. 

The allies have a major problem.  In OTL, they invaded Italy in 1943 and then Normandy in 1944.  Here, there is also the option of heading up though the Balkans.  Churchill pushes for that as hard as he can, as do the Turks and the Balkan resistance.  Stalin opposes it as much as he can because he wants Eastern Europe as colonies.  The net result is that the Turks and the British launch attacks on Greece and Bulgaria in late 1943, while the Americans continue to build up in England for an invasion of France. 

As that offensive continues, the German position starts to collapse.  Italy leaves the war, which means that the Italians in the Balkans tend to switch sides, while the allies push upwards; Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Romania all try to defect in 1944.  Often, the allies are on a shoestring, but the Turks and British are getting good at shipping in supplies to arm forces. 

The Turko/British offensive ends in 1945.  The allies hold Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia, as well as everything southwards of them.  Stalin is having a fit over his reduced positions at the peace conferences, while Germany is losing faster than OTL.  Stalin gets East Germany, Poland and modern-day Moldova, as well as the Baltics.  The rest is in the western camp. 

The Turks get to keep Syria and Lebanon.  The French have fits, but they’re smart enough to realise that they can’t get them back and they’ve got other problems anyway.  The UK/US bribes the Turks to allow the Greeks to keep their 1939 borders, which makes for better relations, and the two powers share control of Cyprus when the UK leaves it.

The effects on Israel are uncertain.  The Turks are the only other Middle Eastern power to support Israel in OTL.  I suspect that the Turks will come to an agreement and a secure border with Israel at some point.  Another possibility is the autonomous zone of Zion, under Turkish protection

In the long term, the Balkans will have been developed with western money (marshal plan) and support from NATO.  That weakens the soviet position to the point where the USSR probably collapses earlier than OTL.  The west will be in a far stronger bargaining position with Eastern Europe out of the soviet camp. 

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