After the turbulent post-World War One period which saw the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Turkish Republic led by Atatürk, Turkey began World War Two by staying neutral but eventually joined the anti-Hitler coalition in 1945. Following President Truman’s proposal, the American Congress supported a massive investment in Greece and Turkey after the end of the war in order to avoid a communist takeover in the Southern part of the Balkans.
EuroVelo 13 reaches Edirne, famous for its beautiful Selimiye Mosque.
In 1952, Turkey confirmed its position within the Western side in joining the NATO. Nowadays the itinerary of the Iron Curtain Trail passes through the northern part of this country, along its 240 km long border with Bulgaria, which of course used to be a border between a member of the Warsaw Pact and a member of the Atlantic Alliance. In fact, Turkey was the only non-Western European country to host American nuclear weapons within the mutual dissuasion strategy.
The route enters Turkey from the Dervent hills and leads cyclists to quite a different cultural area, compared with the previous sections of the route. Indeed, after joining the NATO, Turkey was the easternmost and only largely Muslim member country of NATO. After crossing some areas of mixed woodland and farmland, EuroVelo 13 reaches Edirne, famous for its beautiful Selimiye Mosque. Then the route continues through rural landscapes to Kirkareli before returning to the Republic of Bulgaria. At the very end of the Iron Curtain Trail, a watchtower on each side of the Rezovo River mouth on the Black Sea, reminds visitors of the time when these quiet beaches were highly controlled areas with very restricted access.