How to Play Turkey

by Chris Allen


Turkey is known as the “Wicked Witch of the East” and is often compared to England, the other Wicked Witch. She occupies a corner of the board, between two powers and near a third, much like England. She sits on a virtual island, connected only at the ends, and adjacent to only one other power.

She can be a very tough nut to crack, a thorny opponent, or a powerful ally. In 1901, Turkey is guaranteed one neutral center (Bulgaria), is in range of three others (Rumania, Serbia, Greece), and can threaten only one center of other power (Sevastopol).

Turkey is in the path of expansion of all of her neighbors; that makes it imperative that she form a strong alliance with one of them. If Turkey can do that, she can usually roll quickly to 10 centers by mid-game. If her ally is Russia, she can easily roll through the Balkans (but watch out for an Austria-Italy naval retaliation). If her ally is Austria, Russia is the easy target (and Russia-Italy is usually too disjointed to counterattack effectively). If her ally is Italy, Austria is usually easy meat, especially after promising Rumania to Russia in the name of peace.

Turkey doesn’t need more than one ally, but she won’t survive without one.


A Con – Bul
Turkey would be compely foolish to pass up Bulgaria. It s a free supply center and a first line of defense along the land bridge onto the peninsula. Thus, A Con-Bul is the only meaningful opening move for this unit. It cannot be prevented by any other power.

Standard Opening
F Ank-Bla
A Smy- Con

This is the standard opening. It doesn t signify a direct threat to anyone, though it may worry Russia. The fleet may be bounced by the Russian F Sev. In the Fall, the second army moves up to take Bulgaria after the first one moves on, either to Rumania, Serbia, or Greece.

Good points: doesn t antagonize anyone.
Bad points: doesn t concentrate units against anyone.

Bear Hunting
F Ank-Bla
A Smy-Arm

This is an obvious attack against Russia. It brings all Turkish units to bear on the Russian front. Either the fleet or the army may be bounced, depending on the Russian F Sev move. Unless Russia brings all her spare units to defend Sevastopol, it will fall sooner or later to this Turkish attack.

Good points: Sevastopol and sole ownership of the Black Sea is all but guaranteed.
Bad points: Pisses off one neighbor really fast; if Russia does well in the North, look out for white hordes next year.

Bear Hug
F Ank-Con
A Smy Hold

A deal has been struck with Russia and Turkey is looking to move into the Mediterranean quickly. The bad news for Turkey is that everyone else (Austria, Italy) will already be in position by the time she makes her naval power known. If one of those countries is Turkey s ally, she will do well.

Good points: peace with Russia means the back door is secure; makes Turkey a player in the center board quickly.
Bad points: rather wimpy due to the fleet having to travel so far and get in the way of the other units; threatens no S.C.s except Bulgaria.

Temporary Insanity
Any other option, such as F Ank-Arm, A Smy-Syr is pointless except for sheer comedic value or unless you re trying to convince everyone else that you have no idea how to play Diplomacy. As an attack on Russia, F Ank-Arm is too weak; F Ank-Bla, A Smy-Arm makes much more sense.

The Mid-Game

There are so many possible variations of position in the mid-game that it is difficult to be concise. Having said that …

Without a successful alliance, Turkey is easily contained to her opening turf. However, breaking Turkey is no trivial task. It requires the focussed attacks of two of your neighbours and a lack of help from your third neighbour before Turkey will start to crack (and even then it should take time).

If Turkey finds herself trapped in this way, the main stategy is to make your enemies work as hard as possible for every gain, hoping that the longer it takes the more likely it is that a threat to your enemies will emerge somewhere else. At the very least it will frustrate your enemies.

If Turkey has opened successfully, the mid-game is very promising. A safe back means that all your forces can be deployed where they are needed most, on the front line.

If allied with Austria or Italy you will be well positioned to stab successfully (often with the help of another power looking for centers). A Turkey that occupies most of Russia and has even a small naval presence in the South, is set to steamroll what’s left of your neighbours on the way to a possible solo win.

If allied with Russia (and assuming Russia has also been successful) your options are a bit more limited for a stab. Depending on which power in the West (if any) emerges as the major power, Turkey is set to punch through the South trying to out race Russia for the magic 18 centers.