Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
History of Turkey
This article is primarily about the history of the Republic of Turkey. For other periods in history, see the links to main articles about those subjects under the heading Pre-Republic History. Main articles are written in bold.
The Hittites settled in Anatolia in 2nd millennium BC. During the 1st millennium BC the Ancient Greek states of Ionia, Lydia and Troy were located there. It was captured by the Romans in the 1st century AD.
The Middle Ages
The Byzantine Empire became the successor of Rome and lasted for more than a thousand years. Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 the Byzantines lost control of Anatolia to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rüm. In the late 13th century the Ottoman Empire rose to power.
Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Founding of the Republic
The Ottoman Empire joined the central powers of Germany and Austria in World War I, fighting against the allies of U.S., France and Britain. Gallipoli was a major battle for the Ottomans. This battle marked the rise of Kemal Atatürk, who would later become the leader of the movement that founded the republic. During WWI the government of the Ottoman Empire carried out the Armenian Genocide (a term which is disputed, see talk page). At the end of the war, in Paris Peace Conference, treaty of Sevres was signed by the sultan's representatives. This treaty gave most of the land of Ottoman Empire to the allies, and independence to Armenia, Kurdistan and Hejaz. This treaty however was not ratified by any of the signatory countries, except for Greece. Following the Turkish War of Independence it was superseded by the treaty of Lausanne which established the current borders of Turkey, except for the Hatay Province.
The History of the Republic
The history of modern Turkey begins with the foundation of the republic on October 29, 1923 (the Republic was declared on January 20, 1921), from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire, with Kemal Atatürk as its first president. The government was formed from the Ankara-based revolutionary group, led by Atatürk, which had defeated Greece in western Turkey (see Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). The Treaty of Lausanne, signed on July 24, 1923, and negotiated by Ismet Pasha (Inönü) on behalf of the Ankara government, established most of the modern boundaries of the country (except the province of Hatay which was given to Turkey by France in 1939).
On March 3, 1924, the National Assembly abolished the ministry of sacred law, all schools were placed under the ministry of education and a new constitution was approved on April 20, 1924. For the next 10 years, there was a steady process of secular westernization, guided by Mustafa Kemal. Some of the reforms:
- Latin alphabet replaces Arabic script. May 24, 1928 (?)
- The wearing of a fez, a traditional Muslim hat, is outlawed.
- All people are required to adopt family names. Mustafa Kemal himself is given the name Atatürk (Father Turk) and all others are banned from using this name.
- The use of Persian and Arabic words is discouraged. Instead, words from Central Asia (including countries north of Turkey) are imported and their use is encouraged, with spotty success. The climax of this movement is the proposal of the Sun Language Theory by Mustafa Kemal himself. Many government documents from this period are unreadable by anybody because they use a language which nobody adopted.
- Imams are now appointed by the government.
Politics in the era of Kemal
After the foundation of the Liberal Republican Party by Fethi Okyar, the fanatically religious groups joined to well-intentioned liberals and consecutively widespread bloody disorders took place especially in the eastern territory. The liberal party was dissolved on November 17, 1930 and no further attempt for a multiparty democracy was made until 1945. Turkey was admitted to the League of Nations in July 1932.
Atatürk's successor after his death on November 10, 1938 was Ismet Inönü. When all its western neighbours were under Axis occupation during World War II, Turkey signed a peace treaty with Germany and officially remained neutral until near the end of war. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN, and in February 1945 it declared war on Germany and Japan. This was largely symbolic, as no Turkish troops engaged in battle. Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952.
By the influences of liberal intellectuals and religious fanatics the multiparty government returned by 1950 elections with the election of the Democratic Party. The government was very popular at first, relaxing the restrictions on Islam and presiding over a booming economy. In the later half of the decade, however, the economy began to fail and the government introduced censorship laws limiting dissent. The government became plagued by high inflation and a massive debt. It also attempted to use the army to suppress its political rivals. The army balked at this, however, and on May 27,1960 General Cemal Gürsel led a military coup d'état removing President Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, the second of whom was executed. Unlike in most countries where military juntas take over the military stood by its promise and returned the country to civilian control in October of 1961.
The political system that emerged in the wake of the 1960 coup was a fractured one, producing a series of unstable government coalitions in parliament alternating between the Justice Party of Suleyman Demirel on the right and the Republican People's Party of Ismet Inonu and Bulent Ecevit on the left. A coup was staged in 1971, ousting a fractured parliament under the Prime Minsitry of Demirel. Under Prime Minister Ecevit in coalition with the religious National Salvation Party, Turkey carried out an operation in Cyprus in order to prevent a coup intended to unify the island with Greece, creating a conflict that to this day is still not resolved. The fractured political scene and poor economy led to mounting violence between ultranationalists and communists in the streets of Turkey's cities. A paralyzed parliament and increasing death-toll prompted a coup in 1980, once again on Demirel's watch. Within two years, the military had returned the government to civilian hands, but had banned Demirel, Ecevit, and a number of other politicians from politics for life.
Out of the rubble of the previous political system came one-party governance under Turgut Ozal's Motherland Party, which combined a globally-oriented economic program with conservative social values. Under Ozal, the economy boomed, converting towns like Gazi Antep from small provincial capitals into mid-sized economic boomtowns.
Upon the retirement of President Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 coup, Ozal was elected President, leaving parliament in the hands of the feckless Yildirim Akbulut, and then, in 1991, to Mesut Yilmaz. Yilmaz redoubled Turkey's economic profile and renewed its orientation toward Europe. But political instability followed as the host of banned politicians reentered politics, fracturing the vote, and the Motherland Party became increasingly corrupt. Ozal died of a heart attack in 1993 and Suleyman Demirel was elected president. The 1995 elections brought a short-lived coalition between Yilmaz's Motherland Party and The True Path Party, now with Tansu Ciller at the helm. Ciller then turned to the Welfare Party (RP), headed by Necmettin Erbakan, the former leader of the National Salvation Party, allowing Erbakan to enter the Prime Ministry. In 1998, the military, citing his government's support for religious policies deemed dangerous to Turkey's secular nature, sent a memorandum to Erbakan requesting that he resign, which he did. Shortly thereafter, the RP was banned and re-born under the name Virtue Party (FP). A new government was formed by ANAP and Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) supported from the outside by the center-left Republican People's Party (CHP), led by Deniz Baykal . Under this government, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish separatist organisation PKK, was captured in Kenya. He was tried for treason and sentenced to death, but he has since sent the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The DSP won big in the 1999 elections on the strength of the Öcalan abduction. Second place went, surprisingly, to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). These two parties, alongside Yilmaz's ANAP formed a government. The popular perception was that it would fail; these were, after all, the inheritors of the two groups that were fighting so violently in the streets during the 1970s. However, the government was somewhat effective, if not harmonious, bringing about much-needed economic reform, instituting human rights legislation, and bringing Turkey ever closer to the European Union. A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the religiously conservative Justice and Development Party of former mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
|DSP||11%/7 seats||15%/76 seats||22%/136 seats||1.23%/0 seats|
|MHP||17%/62* seats||8%/0 seats||18%/129 seats||8.33%/0 seats|
|RP/FP/SP**||17%/62* seats||21%/158 seats||15%/111 seats||2.48%/0 seats|
|ANAP||24%/115 seats||20%/132 seats||13%/86 seats||5.10%/0 seats|
|DYP||27%/178 seats||19%/135 seats||12%/85 seats||9.55%/0 seats|
|CHP||21%/88 seats||11%/49 seats||9%/0 seats||19.42%/177 seats|
*In 1991, the Welfare Party (RP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) ran jointly in order to pass the 10% barrier. Their combined results are listed under each party.
**The Welfare party was banned in 1998 and re-formed under the name of the Virtue Party (FP). Their results are listed in the same row.
- From the Hittites to the invasion of Iraq An interactive multimedia guide to the history of the Anatolian peninsula from The Guardian (Uses Macromedia Flash)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details