How did the Chanak Crisis contribute to Canadian autonomy?
During the Chanak Crisis, also called the Chanak Incident, Turkish forces threatened British rule at Chanak, a seaport on the Dardanelles Strait in 1922. Britain, France, and Greece had occupied part of western Greece after World War I, and Turks wanted to restore the area to Turkish rule. The British government asked the Dominion countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, to send troops to the region.
Canada, under Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (commonly known as Mackenzie King), did not immediately send troops. He referred the question to the Canadian Parliament, but the crisis had passed before the Parliament had decided on the matter. King's behavior in the incident signified that Canada wanted greater independence from Britain in foreign affairs. King established the idea that the Canadian Parliament, not the British government, would determine Canadian foreign policy. The Balfour Declaration of 1926 and Statute of Westminster of 1931 further clarified the autonomous nature of Dominions in the British Empire.
The Chanak Crisis of 1922 helped to assert Canadian autonomy because, in that crisis, the Canadian Parliament (rather than the British Parliament) decided what Canada's response to the crisis would be.
In this episode, Turkish troops threatened to attack British troops that were guarding the Dardanelles. In the prelude to WWI, a few years before, the British government had committed to a war without consulting the governments of the other parts of the Commonwealth. This time, Mackenzie King (PM of Canada) did not allow this. Instead, he had the Canadian Parliament debate what Canada's response would be. The Parliament did not decide anything before the crisis passed, but the point that Canada would decide its own foreign policy was made.
By giving Canada an opportunity to make this point, the Chanak Crisis contributed to Canada's autonomy.