History of the Republic of Turkiye
©Anonymous

1923 - 2023

History of the Republic of Turkiye



The History of the Republic of Türkiye begins with the founding of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The new Republic was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose reforms established the country as a secular, democratic republic with a strong emphasis on the rule of law and modernization. Under Atatürk, the country was transformed from a largely rural and agricultural society to an industrialized and urban one. The political system was also reformed, with the adoption of a new constitution in 1924 and the establishment of a multi-party system in 1946. Since then, democracy in Turkey has been challenged by periods of political instability and military coups, but has generally been resilient. In the 21st century, Turkey has become increasingly involved in regional and international affairs, and has become an increasingly important player in the Middle East.

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1923 - 1938
Reforms and Modernization
ornament
Prologue
Abolition of the Caliphate, The Last Caliph, 16 March 1924. ©Le Petit Journal illustré
1923 Jan 1

Prologue

Türkiye

The Ottoman Empire, consisting of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, was since its foundation in c. 1299, ruled as an absolute monarchy. Between 1839 and 1876 the Empire went through a period of reform. The Young Ottomans who were dissatisfied with these reforms worked together with Sultan Abdülhamid II to realize some form of constitutional arrangement in 1876. After the short-lived attempt of turning the Empire into a constitutional monarchy, Sultan Abdülhamid II turned it back into an absolute monarchy by 1878 by suspending the constitution and parliament.


A couple decades later a new reform movement under the name of the Young Turks conspired against Sultan Abdülhamid II, who was still in charge of the Empire, by starting the Young Turk Revolution. They forced the sultan to reintroduce the constitutional rule in 1908. This led to a rise of active participation of the military in politics. In 1909 they deposed the sultan and in 1913 seized power in a coup. In 1914 the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers as an ally of the German Empire and subsequently lost the war. The goal was to win territory in the East to compensate for the loses in the West in previous years during the Italo-Turkish War and the Balkan Wars. In 1918 the leaders of the Young Turks took full responsibility for the lost war and fled the country into exile leaving the country in chaos.


The Armistice of Mudros was signed which granted the Allies, in a broad and vaguely worded clause, the right to further occupy Anatolia "in case of disorder". Within days French and British troops started occupying the remaining territory controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and other army officers started a resistance movement. Shortly after the Greek occupation of Western Anatolia in 1919, Mustafa Kemal Pasha set foot in Samsun to start the Turkish War of Independence against the occupations and persecutions of Muslims in Anatolia. He and the other army officers alongside him dominated the polity that finally established the Republic of Turkey out of what was left of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey was established based on the ideology found in the country's pre-Ottoman history and was also steered towards a secular political system to diminish the influence of religious groups such as the Ulema.

Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey
Gazi Mustafa Kemal addresses the people of Bursa in 1924. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1923 Oct 29

Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey

Türkiye

The Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 1923 and Atatürk was elected as the first president. The government was formed from the Ankara-based revolutionary group, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues. The second constitution was ratified by the Grand National Assembly on 20 April 1924.

Atatürk era
©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1923 Oct 29 - 1938

Atatürk era

Türkiye

For about the next 10 years, the country saw a steady process of secular Westernization through Atatürk's Reforms, which included the unification of education; the discontinuation of religious and other titles; the closure of Islamic courts and the replacement of Islamic canon law with a secular civil code modeled after Switzerland's and a penal code modeled after the Italian Penal Code; recognition of the equality between the sexes and the granting of full political rights to women on 5 December 1934; the language reform initiated by the newly founded Turkish Language Association; replacement of the Ottoman Turkish alphabet with the new Turkish alphabet derived from the Latin alphabet; the dress law (the wearing of a fez, is outlawed); the law on family names; and many others.

Hat Law
A coffeehouse discussion in the Ottoman Empire. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1925 Nov 25

Hat Law

Türkiye

Official measures were gradually introduced to eliminate the wearing of religious clothing and other overt signs of religious affiliation. Beginning in 1923, a series of laws progressively limited the wearing of selected items of traditional clothing. Mustafa Kemal first made the hat compulsory to the civil servants. The guidelines for the proper dressing of students and state employees (public space controlled by state) was passed during his lifetime. After most of the relatively better educated civil servants adopted the hat with their own he gradually moved further. On the 25 November 1925 the parliament passed the Hat Law which introduced the use of Western style hats instead of the fez. Legislation did not explicitly prohibit veils or headscarves and focused instead on banning fezzes and turbans for men. The law had also influence of school text books. Following the issuing of the Hat Law, images in school text books that had shown men with fezzes, were exchanged with images which showed men with hats. Another control on the dress was passed in 1934 with the law relating to the wearing of 'Prohibited Garments'. It banned religion-based clothing, such as the veil and turban, outside of places of worship, and gave the Government the power to assign only one person per religion or sect to wear religious clothes outside of places of worship.

Turkish civil code
Women were granted the right to vote in Turkey in 1930, but the right to vote was not extended to women in provincial elections in Quebec until 1940. ©HistoryMaps
1926 Feb 17

Turkish civil code

Türkiye

During the Ottoman Empire, the legal system of Turkey was Sharia like other Muslim countries. A committee headed by Ahmet Cevdet Pasha in 1877 compiled the rules of Sharia. Although this was an improvement, it still lacked modern concepts. Besides two different legal systems were adopted; one for the Muslim and the other for the non Muslim subjects of the empire. After the proclamation of Turkish Republic on 29 October 1923, Turkey began to adopt modern laws.


The Turkish parliament formed a committee to compare the civil codes of European countries. Austrian, German, French and Swiss civil codes were examined Finally on 25 December 1925 the commission decided on the Swiss civil code as a model for the Turkish civil code. The Turkish Civil Code was enacted on 17 February 1926. The preamble to the Code was written by Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, the minister of justice in the 4th government of Turkey.


Although the Code covered many areas of modern living, the most important articles dealt with women’s rights. For the first time women and men were acknowledged to be equal. Under the prior legal system, both the women’s share in the inheritance and the weight of women’s testimony in the courts was half of that of the men. Under the Code, men and women were made equal with regard to inheritance and testimony. Also legal marriage was made compulsory, and polygamy was banned. The women were given the right to choose any profession. The women gained full universal suffrage, on 5 December 1934.

Turkish Alphabet
Atatürk introducing the new Turkish alphabet to the people of Kayseri. September 20, 1928 ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1928 Nov 1

Turkish Alphabet

Türkiye

The current 29-letter Turkish alphabet was established as a personal initiative of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It was a key step in the cultural part of Atatürk's Reforms, introduced following his consolidation of power. Having established a one-party state ruled by his Republican People's Party, Atatürk was able to sweep aside the previous opposition to implementing radical reform of the alphabet and established a Language Commission. The commission was responsible for adapting the Latin script to meet the phonetic requirements of the Turkish language. The resulting Latin alphabet was designed to reflect the actual sounds of spoken Turkish, rather than simply transcribing the old Ottoman script into a new form.


Atatürk himself was personally involved with the commission and proclaimed an "alphabet mobilisation" to publicise the changes. He toured the country explaining the new system of writing and encouraging the rapid adoption of the new alphabet. The Language Commission proposed a five-year transition period; Atatürk saw this as far too long and reduced it to three months. The change was formalised by the Turkish Republic's law number 1353, the Law on the Adoption and Implementation of the Turkish Alphabet, passed on 1 November 1928. Starting 1 December 1928, newspapers, magazines, subtitles in movies, advertisement and signs had to be written with the letters of the new alphabet. From 1 January 1929, the use of the new alphabet was compulsory in all public communications as well the internal communications of banks and political or social organisations. Books had to be printed with the new alphabet as of 1 January 1929 as well. The civil population was allowed to use the old alphabet in their transactions with the institutions until 1 June 1929.

Women's rights
Hatı Çırpan, 1935 One of the first female muhtars and MPs of Turkey. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1934 Dec 5

Women's rights

Türkiye

The Ottoman society was a traditional one and the women had no political rights, even after the Second Constitutional Era in 1908. During the early years of the Turkish Republic educated women struggled for political rights. One notable female political activist was Nezihe Muhittin who founded the first women's party in June 1923, which however was not legalized because the Republic was not officially declared.


With intense struggle, Turkish women achieved voting rights in local elections by the act of 1580 on 3 April 1930. Four years later, through legislation enacted on 5 December 1934, they gained full universal suffrage, earlier than most other countries. The reforms in the Turkish civil code, including those affecting women's suffrage, were "breakthroughs not only within the Islamic world but also in the western world". In 1935, in the general elections Eighteen female MPs joined the parliament, at a time when women in a significant number of other European countries had no voting rights.

1938 - 1960
World War II and Post-War Era
ornament
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1938 Nov 10

Death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Mebusevleri, Anıtkabir, Çankay

Throughout most of his life, Atatürk was a moderate-to-heavy drinker, often consuming half a litre of rakı a day; he also smoked tobacco, predominantly in the form of cigarettes. During 1937, indications that Atatürk's health was worsening started to appear. In early 1938, while on a trip to Yalova, he suffered from a serious illness. He went to Istanbul for treatment, where he was diagnosed with cirrhosis. During his stay in Istanbul, he made an effort to keep up with his regular lifestyle, but eventually succumbed to his illness. He died on 10 November 1938, at the age of 57, in the Dolmabahçe Palace.


Atatürk's funeral called forth both sorrow and pride in Turkey, and 17 countries sent special representatives, while nine contributed armed detachments to the cortège. Atatürk's remains were originally laid to rest in the Ethnography Museum of Ankara, but they were transferred on 10 November 1953 (15 years after his death) in a 42-ton sarcophagus to a mausoleum overlooking Ankara, Anıtkabir. In his will, Atatürk donated all of his possessions to the Republican People's Party, provided that the yearly interest of his funds would be used to look after his sister Makbule and his adopted children, and fund the higher education of İsmet İnönü's children. The remainder was willed to the Turkish Language Association and the Turkish Historical Society.

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1939 Jan 1 - 1945

Turkiye during World War II

Türkiye

Turkey's goal was to maintain neutrality during World War II. Ambassadors from the Axis powers and Allies intermingled in Ankara. İnönü signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany on 18 June 1941, 4 days before the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union. Nationalist magazines Bozrukat and Chinar Altu called for the declaration of war against the Soviet Union and Greece. In July 1942, Bozrukat published a map of Greater Turkey, which included Soviet controlled Caucasus and central Asian republics. In the summer of 1942, Turkish high command considered war with the Soviet Union almost unavoidable. An operation was planned, with Baku being the initial target. Turkey traded with both sides and purchased arms from both sides. The Allies tried to stop German purchases of chrome (used in making better steel). Inflation was high as prices doubled. By August 1944, the Axis was clearly losing the war and Turkey broke off relations. Only in February 1945, Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan, a symbolic move that allowed Turkey to join the future United Nations.

Turkey joins United Nations
Turkish soldiers, part of the UN forces, before being deployed to the Korean War (c. 1950) ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1945 Oct 24

Turkey joins United Nations

United Nations Headquarters, E

The Republic of Türkiye is one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations when it signed the United Nations Conference on International Organization in 1945.

Turkish Brigade
Members of the Turkish Brigade. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1950 Jan 1 - 1953 Oct 19

Turkish Brigade

Korean Peninsula

The Turkish Brigade was an infantry brigade of the Turkish Army that served under United Nations Command during the Korean War (1950–1953). Turkey was one of 22 countries to contribute manpower to U.N. forces, and one of sixteen to provide military personnel. The first 5,000 troops of the Turkish Brigade arrived on 19 October 1950, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in June, and remained in varying strengths until summer 1954. Attached to the United States 25th Infantry Division, the Turkish Brigade was the only U.N. unit of its size permanently attached to a U.S. division throughout the Korean War.


The Turkish Brigade took part in several actions, most notably in the Battle of Kunuri, where their fierce resistance were decisive in delaying the enemy advance. Its actions earned the brigade Unit Citations from Korea and the U.S., and it subsequently developed a reputation for its fighting ability, stubborn defense, commitment to mission, and bravery.

Government of Adnan Menderes
Adnan Menderes ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1950 Jan 1 - 1960

Government of Adnan Menderes

Türkiye

In 1945, the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi) was founded by Nuri Demirağ. The next year, the Democrat Party was established, and was elected in 1950. During the 10 years of his term as prime minister, the Turkish economy was growing at a rate of 9% per annum. He supported an eventual Military alliance with the Western Bloc and during his tenure, Turkey was admitted to the NATO in 1952. With the economic support of the United States via the Marshall Plan, agriculture was mechanized; and transport, energy, education, health care, insurance and banking progressed.


Other historical accounts highlight the economic crisis in the mid-1950s, during Menderes's term, which saw Turkey's economy contract (with an 11% GDP/capita decrease in 1954), as one of the reasons for the government's orchestration of the Istanbul pogrom against the Greek ethnic minority (see below). The government also attempted to use the army to suppress its political rivals. The army revolted in the 1960 coup, ending the Menderes government, and soon thereafter returning rule to civilian administration. He was tried and hanged under the military junta after the 1960 coup d'état, along with two other cabinet members, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Hasan Polatkan.

Turkey joins NATO
Turkish troops in Korean War. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1952 Jan 1

Turkey joins NATO

Hürriyet, Incirlik Air Base, H

Turkey sought to become a member of NATO because it wanted a security guarantee against a potential invasion by the Soviet Union, which made several overtures towards control of the Straits of the Dardanelles. In March 1945, the Soviets terminated the Treaty of Friendship and Non Aggression to which the Soviet Union and Turkey had agreed on in 1925. In June 1945, the Soviets demanded the establishment of Soviet bases on the Straits in exchange for a reinstatement of this treaty. The Turkish President Ismet Inönu and the Speaker of the Parliament responded decisively, avowing Turkey's readiness to defend itself.


In 1948, Turkey began indicating its desire for NATO membership, and throughout 1948 and 1949 American officials responded negatively towards Turkish requests for inclusion. In May 1950, during Ismet Inönü's presidency, Turkey made its first formal accession bid, which was denied by the NATO member states. In August the same year and just days after Turkey pledged a Turkish contingent for the Korean War, a second bid was made. After the Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson coordinated with France and the United Kingdom in September 1950, the NATO command invited both Greece and Turkey to present their plans for an eventual defense cooperation. Turkey acceded, but expressed disappointment that full membership within NATO was not considered. When US bureaucrat George McGhee visited Turkey in February 1951, Turkish president Celal Bayar emphasized that Turkey expected a full membership, particularly after sending troops to the Korean War. Turkey wanted a security guarantee in case a conflict with the Soviet Union arose. After further evaluations taken at the NATO headquarters and by officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US Military, it was decided in May 1951 to offer Turkey full membership. The potential role Turkey could play in a war against the Soviet Union was seen as important for NATO. Throughout 1951, the US worked on convincing its fellow NATO allies of the advantages of Turkey's and Greece's membership within the alliance. In February 1952, Bayar signed the document confirming its accession.


Incirlik air base has been a military air base since the 1950s and since then has gained more and more importance. It was built between 1951 and 1952 by US military contractors and has been in operation since 1955. In the base are stationed an estimated 50 nuclear weapons. The Konya airbase was established in 1983 and hosts AWACS surveillance jets for NATO. Since December 2012, the headquarters of NATO Land Forces has been located in Buca near İzmir on the Aegean Sea. The Allied Air Command for Southern Europe was also based in Buca between 2004 and 2013. Since 2012, the Kürecik radar station located about 500 km from Iran, is in service as part of the NATO missile defence system.

1960 - 1983
Military Coups and Political Instability
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1960 May 27

1960 Turkish coup d'état

Türkiye

As United States aid from the Truman doctrine and the Marshall Plan was running out and so Prime Minister Adnan Menderes planned to visit Moscow in the hope of establishing alternative lines of credit. Colonel Alparslan Türkeş was among the officers who led the coup. He was a member of the junta (National Unity Committee) and had been among the first 16 officers trained by the United States in 1948 to form a stay-behind counter-guerrilla. As such, he explicitly stated his anticommunism and his faith and allegiance to NATO and CENTO in his short address to nation, but he remained vague on the reasons of the coup.


In a press conference on the following day, Cemal Gürsel emphasized that the "purpose and the aim of the coup is to bring the country with all speed to a fair, clean and solid democracy.... I want to transfer power and the administration of the nation to the free choice of the people" However, a younger group within the junta around Türkeş supported a steadfast military leadership, an authoritarian rule similar as it was with the Committee of Union and Progress or during Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's regime. This group then attempted to discharge from their offices 147 University teachers. This then led to a reaction from the officers within the junta who demanded a return to democracy and a multiparty system, following which Türkeş and his group were sent abroad.


The junta forced 235 generals and more than 3,000 other commissioned officers into retirement; purged more than 500 judges and public prosecutors and 1400 university faculty members and put the chief of the General Staff, the president, the prime minister and other members of the administration under arrest. The tribunals ended with the execution of Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Minister of Finance Hasan Polatkan on İmralı island on 16 September 1961, and Adnan Menderes on 17 September 1961. A month after the execution of Menderes and other members of the Turkish government, general elections were held on 15 October 1961. The administrative authority was returned to civilians, but the military continued to dominate the political scene until October 1965.

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1965 Jan 1 - 1971

Justice Party

Türkiye

Having been identified as a potential future Prime Minister by Adnan Menderes, Demirel was elected leader of the Justice Party in 1964 and managed to bring down the government of İsmet İnönü in 1965 despite not being a Member of Parliament. Demirel nominated the Chief of the General Staff, Cevdet Sunay for the presidency in order to soften the army's attitude towards the Justice Party, who became president in 1966.


In the next elections on 10 October 1969, Justice Party was the sole winner by a landslide once again. Demirel presided over the laying the foundations of the Keban Dam, the Bosphorus Bridge and an oil pipeline between Batman and İskenderun. Economic reforms stabilized inflation, and Turkey became one of the fastest growing economies. However boycotts and strikes by university students in 1968 began political instability which especially concerned the Turkish military. Pressure was also mounting from the United States, as the Nixon Administration wished for Turkey to ban the cultivation of opium, which would have been politically costly for Demirel to implement. The army issued a memorandum warning the civilian government in 1971, leading to another coup which resulted in the fall of the Demirel government and the establishment of interim governments.

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1971 Mar 12

1971 Turkish military memorandum

Türkiye

As the 1960s wore on, violence and instability plagued Turkey. An economic recession late in that decade sparked a wave of social unrest marked by street demonstrations, labour strikes and political assassinations. Left-wing workers' and students' movements were formed, countered on the right by Islamist and militant Turkish nationalist groups. The left carried out bombing attacks, robberies and kidnappings; from the end of 1968, and increasingly during 1969 and 1970, left-wing violence was matched and surpassed by far-right violence, notably from the Grey Wolves. On the political front, Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel's centre-right Justice Party government, re-elected in 1969, also experienced trouble. Various factions within his party defected to form splinter groups of their own, gradually reducing his parliamentary majority and bringing the legislative process to a halt.


By January 1971, Turkey appeared to be in a state of chaos. The universities had ceased to function. Students, emulating Latin American urban guerrillas, robbed banks and kidnapped US servicemen, also attacking American targets. The homes of university professors critical of the government were bombed by neo-fascist militants. Factories were on strike and more workdays were lost between 1 January and 12 March 1971 than during any prior year. The Islamist movement had become more aggressive and its party, the National Order Party, openly rejected Atatürk and Kemalism, infuriating the Turkish Armed Forces. Demirel's government, weakened by defections, seemed paralyzed in the face of the campus and street violence, and unable to pass any serious legislation on social and financial reform.


The 1971 Turkish military memorandum (Turkish: 12 Mart Muhtırası), issued on 12 March that year, was the second military intervention to take place in the Republic of Turkey, coming 11 years after its 1960 predecessor. It is known as the "coup by memorandum", which the military delivered in lieu of sending out tanks, as it had done previously. The event came amid worsening domestic strife, but ultimately did little to halt this phenomenon.

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1974 Jul 20 - Aug 18

Turkish invasion of Cyprus

Cyprus

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus began on 20 July 1974 and progressed in two phases over the following month. Taking place upon a background of intercommunal violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and in response to a Greek junta-sponsored Cypriot coup d'état five days earlier, it led to the Turkish capture and occupation of the northern part of the island. The coup was ordered by the military junta in Greece and staged by the Cypriot National Guard in conjunction with EOKA B. It deposed the Cypriot president Archbishop Makarios III and installed Nikos Sampson. The aim of the coup was the union (enosis) of Cyprus with Greece, and the Hellenic Republic of Cyprus to be declared.


The Turkish forces landed in Cyprus on 20 July and captured 3% of the island before a ceasefire was declared. The Greek military junta collapsed and was replaced by a civilian government. Following the breakdown of peace talks, another Turkish invasion in August 1974 resulted in the capture of approximately 36% of the island. The ceasefire line from August 1974 became the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus and is commonly referred to as the Green Line.


Around 150,000 people (amounting to more than one-quarter of the total population of Cyprus, and to one-third of its Greek Cypriot population) were expelled from the northern part of the island, where Greek Cypriots had constituted 80% of the population. Over the course of the next year, roughly 60,000 Turkish Cypriots, amounting to half the Turkish Cypriot population, were displaced from the south to the north. The Turkish invasion ended in the partition of Cyprus along the UN-monitored Green Line, which still divides Cyprus, and the formation of a de facto Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration in the north. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence, although Turkey is the only country that recognises it. The international community considers the TRNC's territory as Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of European Union territory since Cyprus became a member.

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1978 Nov 27

Kurdish–Turkish conflict

Şemdinli, Hakkari, Türkiye

A revolutionary group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis, Lice by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan. The initial reason given by the PKK for this was the oppression of Kurds in Turkey. At the time, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas. In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as "Mountain Turks" during the 1930s and 1940s. The words "Kurds", "Kurdistan", or "Kurdish" were officially banned by the Turkish government. Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life until 1991. Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.


The PKK was formed in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey's Kurdish minority. However, the full-scale insurgency did not begin until 15 August 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, the vast majority of whom were Kurdish civilians. Both sides were accused of numerous human rights abuses during the conflict.


Although the Kurdish-Turkish conflict has spread to many regions, most of the conflict has taken place in Northern Kurdistan, which corresponds with southeastern Turkey. The PKK's presence in Iraqi Kurdistan has resulted in the Turkish Armed Forces carrying out frequent ground incursions and air and artillery strikes in the region, and its influence in Syrian Kurdistan has led to similar activity there. The conflict has cost the economy of Turkey an estimated $300 to 450 billion, mostly in military costs.

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1980 Sep 12

1980 Turkish coup d'état

Türkiye

During the Cold War era, Turkey saw political violence (1976–1980) between far-left, far-right (Grey Wolves), Islamist militant groups, and the state. The violence saw a sharp downturn for a period after the coup, which was welcomed by some for restoring order by quickly executing 50 people and arresting 500,000 of which hundreds would die in prison. The 1980 Turkish coup d'état, headed by Chief of the General Staff General Kenan Evren, was the third coup d'état in the history of the Republic of Turkey.


For the next three years the Turkish Armed Forces ruled the country through the National Security Council, before democracy was restored with the 1983 Turkish general election. This period saw an intensification of the Turkish nationalism of the state, including banning the Kurdish language. Turkey partially returned to democracy in 1983 and fully in 1989.

1983
Modernization
ornament
Turgut Özal
Prime Minister Turgut Özal, 1986. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1983 Jan 1 00:01 - 1989

Turgut Özal

Türkiye

Within two years after the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, the military returned the government to civilian hands, although retaining close control of the political scene. The political system came under one-party governance under the Motherland Party (ANAP) of Turgut Özal (Prime Minister from 1983 to 1989). The ANAP combined a globally oriented economic program with the promotion of conservative social values. Under Özal, the economy boomed, converting towns like Gaziantep from small provincial capitals into mid-sized economic boomtowns. Military rule began to be phased out at the end of 1983. In particular in provinces in the south-east of Turkey it was replaced by a state of emergency.

Tansu Çiller
Tansu Çiller ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1993 Jun 25 - 1996 Mar 6

Tansu Çiller

Türkiye

Tansu Çiller is a Turkish academic, economist, and politician who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Turkey from 1993 to 1996. She is Turkey's first and only female prime minister to date. As the leader of the True Path Party, she went on to concurrently serve as Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey and as Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1996 and 1997.


Her premiership preceded over the intensifying armed conflict between the Turkish Armed Forces and the PKK, resulting in Çiller's enacting numerous reforms to national defense and implementing the Castle Plan. With a better equipped military, Çiller's government was able to persuade the United States and the European Union to register the PKK as a terrorist organization. However, Çiller was responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Kurdish people by the Turkish military, security forces, and paramilitary.


Shortly after winning the 1994 local elections, large-scale capital flight due to the lack of confidence in Çiller's budget deficit targets led to the Turkish lira and foreign currency reserves' almost collapsing. Amid the subsequent economic crisis and austerity measures, her government signed the EU-Turkey Customs Union in 1995. Her government was alleged to have supported the 1995 Azeri coup d'état attempt and presided over an escalation of tensions with Greece after claiming sovereignty over the Imia/Kardak islets.

AKP government
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the 2002 Turkish general election. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
2002 Nov 3

AKP government

Türkiye

A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP). It was headed by the former mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The political reforms of the AKP have ensured the beginning of the negotiations with the European Union. The AKP again won the 2007 elections, which followed the controversial August 2007 presidential election, during which AKP member Abdullah Gül was elected president at the third round. Recent developments in Iraq (explained under positions on terrorism and security), secular and religious concerns, the intervention of the military in political issues, relations with the EU, the United States, and the Muslim world were the main issues. The outcome of this election, which brought the Turkish and Kurdish ethnic/nationalist parties (MHP and DTP) into the parliament, affected Turkey's bid for the European Union membership.


AKP is the only government in Turkish political history that has managed to win three general elections in a row with an increasing number of votes received in each one. The AKP has positioned itself in the midpoint of the Turkish political scene, much thanks to the stability brought by steady economic growth since they came to power in 2002.

Orhan Pamuk recieves Nobel Prize in Literature
Pamuk and his Turkish Angora cat at his personal writing space. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
2006 Jan 1

Orhan Pamuk recieves Nobel Prize in Literature

Stockholm, Sweden

The 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (born 1952) "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."

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2015 Oct 10

Ankara bombings

Ankara Central Station, Anafar

On 10 October 2015 at 10:04 local time (EEST) in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, two bombs were detonated outside Ankara Central railway station. With a death toll of 109 civilians, the attack surpassed the 2013 Reyhanlı bombings as the deadliest terror attack in Turkish history. Another 500 people were injured.


No organisation has ever claimed responsibility for the attack. The Ankara Attorney General stated that they were investigating the possibility of two cases of suicide bombings. On 19 October, one of the two suicide bombers was officially identified as the younger brother of the perpetrator of the Suruç bombing; both brothers had suspected links to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the ISIL affiliated Dokumacılar group.

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2019 Oct 9 - Nov 25

Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria

Aleppo, Syria

On 6 October 2019, the Trump administration ordered American troops to withdraw from northeastern Syria, where the United States had been supporting its Kurdish allies. The military operation began on 9 October 2019 when the Turkish Air Force launched airstrikes on border towns. The conflict resulted in the displacement of over 300,000 people and has caused the death of more than 70 civilians in Syria and 20 civilians in Turkey.


According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the operation was intended to expel the SDF—designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey "due to its ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)", but considered an ally against ISIL by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve—from the border region as well as to create a 30 km-deep (20 mi) "safe zone" in Northern Syria where some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. As the proposed settlement zone is heavily Kurdish demographically, this intention has been criticized as an attempt at ethnic cleansing, a criticism rejected by the Turkish government who claimed they intended to "correct" the demographics that it alleges have been changed by the SDF.


The Syrian government initially criticized the SDF for the Turkish offensive, accusing it of separatism and not reconciling with the government, while at the same time also condemning the foreign invasion of Syrian territory. However, a few days later, the SDF reached an agreement with the Syrian government, in which it would allow the Syrian Army to enter the SDF-held towns of Manbij and Kobanî in an attempt to defend the towns from the Turkish offensive. Shortly thereafter, Syrian state broadcaster SANA announced that Syrian Army troops had started to deploy to the country's north. Turkey and the SNA launched an offensive to capture Manbij on the same day.


On 17 October 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced that the U.S. and Turkey agreed on a deal in which Turkey would agree to a five-day ceasefire in Syria in return for a complete withdrawal by the SDF from its positions on the Syria-Turkey border. On 22 October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reached a deal to extend the ceasefire by 150 additional hours if the SDF would move 30 kilometers away from the border, as well as from Tal Rifaat and Manbij. The terms of the deal also included joint Russian–Turkish patrols 10 kilometers into Syria from the border, except in the city of Qamishli. The new ceasefire started at 12pm local time on 23 October. The captured area remains part of the Turkish occupation of northern Syria.

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2023 Feb 6

2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake

Gaziantep, Türkiye

On 6 February 2023, at 04:17 TRT (01:17 UTC), a Mw 7.8 earthquake struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria. The epicenter was 37 km (23 mi) west–northwest of Gaziantep. The earthquake had a maximum Mercalli intensity of XII (Extreme) in parts of Antakya in Hatay Province. It was followed by a Mw 7.7 earthquake at 13:24. This earthquake was centered 95 km (59 mi) north-northeast from the first. There was widespread damage and tens of thousands of fatalities.


The Mw 7.8 earthquake is the largest in Turkey since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake of the same magnitude, and jointly the second-strongest recorded in the country, after the 1668 North Anatolia earthquake. It is also one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the Levant. It was felt as far as Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and the Black Sea coast of Turkey. There were more than 10,000 aftershocks in the three weeks that followed. The seismic sequence was the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.


There was widespread damage in an area of about 350,000 km2 (140,000 sq mi) (about the size of Germany). An estimated 14 million people, or 16 percent of Turkey's population, were affected. Development experts from the United Nations estimated that about 1.5 million people were left homeless.


As of 10 March 2023, more than 55,100 deaths were confirmed: more than 47,900 in Turkey, and more than 7,200 in Syria. It is the deadliest earthquake in what is present day Turkey since the 526 Antioch earthquake, making it the deadliest natural disaster in its modern history. It is also the deadliest in Syria since the 1822 Aleppo earthquake; deadliest worldwide since the 2010 Haiti earthquake; and the fifth-deadliest of the 21st century. Damages were estimated at over US$100 billion in Turkey and US$5.1 billion in Syria, making them the fourth-costliest earthquakes on record.

Appendices



APPENDIX 1

Turkey's Geographic Challenge


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APPENDIX 2

Geopolitics of Turkey in Asia


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APPENDIX 3

Geopolitics of Turkey in Europe


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Characters



Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Twelfth President of Turkey

İsmet İnönü

İsmet İnönü

Second president of Turkey

Abdullah Öcalan

Abdullah Öcalan

Founding Member of Kurdistan Workers' Party(PKK)

Tansu Çiller

Tansu Çiller

22nd Prime Minister of Turkey

Adnan Menderes

Adnan Menderes

Prime Minister of Turkey

Abdullah Gül

Abdullah Gül

President of Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

First President of Turkey

Celâl Bayar

Celâl Bayar

Third President of Turkey

Kenan Evren

Kenan Evren

Seventh President of Turkey

Turgut Özal

Turgut Özal

Eight President of Turkey

Süleyman Demirel

Süleyman Demirel

Ninth President of Turkey

Cemal Gürsel

Cemal Gürsel

Fourth President of Turkey

References



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