In 1930, when the European Union idea was being discussed in various European capitals, Athens and Ankara had already resolved the problems that had defied settlement since 1924.
Later, Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote that peace was concluded between Turkey and Greece thanks to the two far-sighted and energetic statesmen, Atatürk and Venizelos. These two statesmen concluded an alliance and hence laid the foundations of a Balkan union.12
According to him, the only bright spot in the dark picture of continued European strife was the reconciliation between Greece and Turkey. He argued that while the Franco-German reconciliation stalled, there was a major success in the East in that respect. The old archenemies Greece and Turkey solidified their reconciliation which provided the core for the Balkan Entente.13
Therefore, it was the Greek Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos who persuaded Coudenhove-Kalergi that Turkey under the rule of Kemal Atatürk had become an integral part of Western civilization and that whatever the future of Pan-Europe, Turkey should be made a part of it. Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote: “He [Venizelos] assured me that Greece could only cooperate with our movement if Turkey were also included.”14
Coudenhove-Kalergi’s view of Turkey seems to have made sharper turn from 1923 to 1934.
In the first half of the 1930s, Turkey was among the countries Coudenhove-Kalergi visited in order to enlist allies for his struggle against the Nazism. In 1934, Coudenhove-Kalergi published his second book, Europa Erwacht! (Europe Awake!), where he rejected Nazi theories about nations being naturally given entities.15
He believed that cultural nationalism was a menace to the European federation. He complained that the leaders of Europe, with few exceptions, remained blind and deaf to this menace.16
His visit to Turkey obviously helped him change his mind about this country’s place in the Pan-Europe, because in his book published in 1934, Coudenhove- Kalergi included Turkey along with other Balkan countries within a political Europe. In fact, it was Kemal Atatürk’s reforms that compelled him to reconsider his view of Turkey.17
12 Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Europa Erwacht!, (Zurich: Paneuropa-Verlag, 1934), p. 21.
13 Coudenhove-Kalergi, Europa Erwacht!…, p. 156.
14 Ibid, p. 126-127.
16 Coudenove-Kalergi, Crusade for Pan-Europe…, p. 182-183.
17 Peter Bugge, “The Nation Supreme, The Idea of Europe 1914-1945” in The History of the Idea of Europe (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 99-101.