The present-day Turkey belonged to ancient and early Middle Ages including the Hellenic world, the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. In the period 1071 – approx. By 1300, most of Turkey belonged to the Anatolia Seldsju Empire. From the 1300s until 1922, Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, Turkey became a republic.
Early Middle Ages
The term Turks first appeared in written sources in the 500s, when Chinese manuscripts mention a mighty empire in Central Asia formed by the steppe people t’u-kiu.
In the 8th century, more and more Turks were serving in the Caliphs; A hundred years later, entire tribes began to immigrate to Iran and Iraq, and under the leadership of Seldjuk’s family, which invaded Baghdad in 1055, they created a large empire that comprised most of the eastern part of the caliphate. Caliphs armies along the border with Byzantium had long been predominantly Turkish, and during the 1000’s began a comprehensive immigration into Anatolia after the Byzantine Empire had been forced to give up the greater part of Asia Minor, which was incorporated into Seljuk -sultanatet. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Turkey.
A soulless chieftain named Süleyman ibn-Kutlumuş traveled around 1070 with his men to seek happiness in the new province, and by the year 1200 his descendants had built a strong state in Anatolia with the capital of Konya (Iconium). Asia Minor gradually became a Turkish country under the rule of the Anatolian Seldom, which lasted around 1300.
A lot of Turkish immigrants came from farther east, and a Turkish Islamic culture supplanted Greek Christianity.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Provides latest population data about Turkey. Lists by Year from 1950 to 2020. Also includes major cities by population.
The Ottoman Empire
From the end of the 13th century, the Konya Sultanate gradually had to give way to a number of smaller principals. One of these – in northwest Anatolia – was ruled by a certain Osman (dead 1326), who was to give his name to the dynasty and later state. Under his son Orhan (1326–1360), who was the true founder of the Ottoman state, and his descendants, the Turks soon began a very expansion, on the one hand in Asia Minor at the expense of other Turkish tribes, and on the other in the Balkan Peninsula..
The earliest Ottoman state was of a very inclusive nature, taking on Christian Byzantine princes and princes from the Balkans. These fought as border fighters (gazi), and many rose to the top of the Ottoman hierarchy. The state was a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious machine that served as an inclusive plunder alliance. Historian Heath Lowry has shown that several prominent Ottoman leaders in the early stages were of Christian genealogy. The state also gained the loyalty of Christian peasants through tax relief agreements. There were many mixed marriages between Muslim men and Christian women, which helped to make the Ottoman Empire a complex social structure.
Ottoman armies crossed into Europe in the mid-1300s, and around 1400 they were lords over much of the Balkan Peninsula and almost all of Asia Minor. The capital was first moved to Bursa (Brusa), then in 1361 over the Dardanelles to Edirne (Adrianople) and finally in 1453, under Sultan Mehmet 2 Fatih (Conqueror) (1451-1481), to Constantinople, who was allowed to retain his name in Turkish. language suit – Istanbul. When this city was finally conquered, it crowned a process that had transformed a frontier territory into an empire, and Istanbul remained the capital of the kingdom until 1922.
Turkey becomes a republic
The Ottoman Empire collapsed after the Balkan wars of 1911-1913 and the First World War.
On November 1, 1922, the sultanate was abolished, although the caliphate was transferred to a cousin of the deposed sultan, Abdülmesçit. Shortly thereafter, a conference in Lausanne was initiated, and on July 24, 1923, a new peace treaty with conditions more favorable to Turkey could be signed.
Following the new treaty, Turkey’s border with Greece was to follow Maritsa’s race, and the Turks were also allowed to remilitarize the zone of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus in case of war. The capitals were to be canceled, and the Allies were soon to evacuate Istanbul.
The National Assembly elected Mustafa Kemal as President of the Republic on August 13, 1923, and on August 23, ratified the Lausanne Treaty. A week later, the Allies withdrew from Istanbul. On October 29, the Republic was officially proclaimed and Mustafa Kemal became its first president. General Ismet Pasha, who had the honorary name of Inönü in memory of his victory over the Greeks by this city, was appointed prime minister. In March 1924, the National Assembly then decided to abolish the caliphate and dissolve all religious courts in the country. These Sharia courts had already radically curtailed their area of authority during the reform process known as the tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire.
The Republic got its first constitution on April 30, and although it was written according to a democratic pattern, Kemal’s government became a centralized, military and authoritarian regime. The regime carried out a radical break with the traditions of the old empire and aimed to transform Turkey into a modern nation state as quickly as possible. The methods were partly brutal, but great results were achieved.
The republican reforms involved a radical reconstruction of society and all its signified fields. This reform process was led by a Western-oriented state elite with a background from Western-type educational institutions, many of them from military schools. They regarded themselves as social engineers who were to save the fatherland through a Western-type modernization process. Islam was seen as an obstacle to economic, mental and social development. They sought to create a new and better Republican by reforming social and cultural structures. Even in the music, attempts were made to replace Oriental harmonies and structures with more western and “advanced” forms, with scientific support.
This radical process led to a very negative view of the Ottoman Empire, which was portrayed as a decadent and corrupt empire with powerless rulers. The Sultans were in part presented as foreign rulers, due to their foreign concubines with whom they had children. The alphabet reform (see below) first made Ottoman writing and remnants unreadable to the new Republican, a theme the author Orhan Pamuk addresses in several of his novels.
To break the resistance from religious circles were all religious orders, the so-called Sufi – orders, prohibited and forcibly dissolved in 1925. All their property was confiscated. Many of these orders had been central institutions of Islam, education and folk medicine. They had been subject to state restrictions through Ottoman reforms, but were now banned. Still, most of them continued a secret life, to this day. They are still formally banned, but the current AKP elite (including President Erdoğan) and religious movements are based in particular on the Naksibendi order.
The Constitution’s article on Islam as a state religion was repealed in 1928. Religious attire was banned in public space. Great emphasis was placed on the educational system, and from 1928 gradually became obligatory to the use of the Latin alphabet, which greatly facilitated the fight against illiteracy. In 1935, 23 percent of men and 8 percent of women could read, in 1945 the percentages were up in 50 and 22. In 1925 the Gregorian calendar was introduced and the metric system was changed.
A new civil law, trade law and criminal law were drawn up according to Swiss, Italian and German designs (1926). The pluralism was abolished, all Turkish nationals were required to have a last name and forbidden to wear veil. In 1936 the old titles, such as aga, bey and pasja, were abolished, and Mustafa Kemal himself was given the honorary name Atatürk (the father of the Turks). This name was forbidden to others.
After his death in 1938, the National Assembly elected Prime Minister Ismet Inönü as new president. The year before, the National Assembly had adopted six ” chemist ” principles of state politics: republicanism, nationalism, state-directed economy, revolutionism, populism, and confessionalism. In the foreign policy field, Turkey sought to stay out of the international conflicts until the mid-1930s; in 1932 the country joined the League of Nations and in 1934 together with Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia in the Balkan tent.
Following a Turkish initiative, in 1936, a revision in the Montreux of the Lausanne Treaty came to light regarding the status of the Strait (among other things, the demilitarization was abolished). By a Franco-Turkish agreement on January 24, 1937, the province of Alexandrette (Hatay) was transferred from Syria to Turkey from 1939.
Turkey during and after World War II
After the outbreak of World War II, Turkey entered into an alliance with the United Kingdom and France (October 19, 1939) and in June 1941 entered into an agreement on non-attack and friendship with Germany. Until 1944, the country remained neutral, but in February 1945 Germany and Japan declared war.
Immediately after the war there was a liberalization of political life. It was possible to form new political parties in addition to the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (founded 1923). A limited land reform was also adopted. Following the Truman doctrine, the United States took over the United Kingdom’s obligations in the area, and the United States gained great influence in Turkish politics through aid and military assistance. US airbases were also established in the country, and Turkey joined NATO from 1952. In 1955, the country helped form the Baghdad Pact.
Domestic politics, in the 1950s, Turkey was dominated by the new Democratic Party led by Adnan Menderes, who had come to power in 1950. During the slogans of return to chemicalism, a military coup took place in 1960. The country was ruled by a National Unity Committee under General Kemal Gürsel, and Menderes and two other ministers were executed.
In 1961 elections were held, the army withdrew from all direct political involvement, and until 1965, former President Inönü led a coalition government. The 1966 election was won by the Conservative Justice Party, led by Süleyman Demirel. In 1971, the Justice Party’s government had to step down under general crisis conditions and under pressure from the army. After the fall elections in 1973, Bülent Ecevit of the Republican People’s Party formed government. This party, originally founded by Atatürk, developed in the social democratic direction and participated in the cooperation of the Socialist Workers’ International.
The difficult economic situation and widespread terrorism from far-right and left-wing circles and religious extremists led to several government shifts and protracted government crises in the 1970s. Elections held did not clarify, and after President Korutürk resigned at the end of his term in April 1980, the National Assembly failed to agree on a new president.
Political development in the 1980s
Due to the widespread political terrorism and violence that came with radicalization and polarization between left and right forces, from 1978 military state of emergency prevailed in many provinces. In 1980, the army seized power by a bloodless coup, and Kenan the Eagle became new head of state. The Constitution was put out of force and Parliament dissolved. All political parties and civil society organizations were banned, with the exception of TÜSIAD, the union of industrialists and businessmen. After a week, the coup makers set up a military government led by former Admiral Bülent Ülüsü. Between 250,000 and 60,000 people from the radical left and right sides were arrested, and about 230,000 were brought before military courts. 14,000 were deprived of citizenship and 50 were executed. The coup makers used torture to a huge extent, and many detainees disappeared without a trace. Nearly two million were blacklisted and in practice received a job ban throughout much of their lives.
The regime was strongly criticized for human rights violations. Turkey was banned from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the assistance of the EC was stopped. There were reactions from NATO teams as well. However, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund cooperated fully with the coup makers all the time, and initiated a structural adjustment program during this period. From 1982, a cautious democratization process began in the country, including a new constitution. Turkey’s many anti-democratic features have followed Turkey until recently. The coup makers also wrote a more positive attitude towards Islam in society and the education system, because they regarded Islam as a social and moral glue for the nation. The coup maker Evren was elected president for a seven-year term.
All political parties were banned after the coup. In 1983, elections were held for a new national assembly with one chamber, and prior to this it was allowed to establish new parties. However, only three parties were allowed to stand for election, including the Liberal-Conservative Motherland Party (ANAP), which won a pure majority; party leader Turgut Özal became new prime minister. Özal had studied economics in the United States and worked at the World Bank. His period marked the end of import substitution and the beginning of neoliberalism in Turkey. Under Özal, state-owned companies were privatized and the economy oriented towards exports. He also advocated an embellishment to Islam, was a member of a Sufi order and went on pilgrimage to Mecca while he was prime minister.
From many countries, including Norway, there were strong reactions to the conditions of opposition in Turkey. In 1984, Turkey was re-elected in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, but five countries sued Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights for violating human rights in the country. However, no verdict was issued when Turkey agreed to lift the state of emergency within 18 months, allowed all political prisoners to be granted amnesty and monitored by independent observers from the Council of Europe. However, there were several reports of continued human rights violations in the country in the late 1980s.
It was not until 1987 that ordinary elections were held, with former prime ministers Demirel and Ecevit running for new parties. ANAP got 36 percent of the vote, Demirel’s center/right party DYP 19 percent and Ecevit’s Social Democratic party 25 percent. However, because of the electoral system, ANAP and Prime Minister Özal retained the pure majority in the National Assembly. But Özal and ANAP experienced declining popularity, partly because of increased inflation in addition to nepotism and the frequent corruption scandals in which the government and Özal’s family were involved.
Political development in the 1990s
After the 1991 election, Demirel formed his fifth government; a coalition government of the DYP and the Social Democratic SHP. The new government promised to change the constitution and open to greater academic freedom, more freedom of the press, democratization and respect for human rights. The government closed the country’s most notorious political prison in Ekişehir, but the liberalization package was stranded on opposition from the right wing in the DYP. Political violence continued, and the number of political murders by Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) increased to over ten a month. The victims were usually judges, policemen and retired officers who had been involved in intelligence work or in the administration of the state of emergency in the southeastern part of the country.
In retrospect, it has emerged that unofficial state death squads are likely to operate in these parts of the country, and the remains of many missing persons have been found. The so-called Susurluk scandal in 1996 showed close links between people in the mafia, intelligence and police.
The Kurdish uprising increased in scale, and the economy suffered high inflation. The government was also hampered by President Özal’s constant blocking of legislation and government decisions. Özal died in April 1993 and was succeeded as President by Demirel. Finance Minister Tansu Çiller became Turkey’s first female prime minister. The US-educated economist advocated a slowdown in the privatization of the economy as well as reducing high inflation.
In the 1995 election, the Islamic Welfare Party (Refah Party, RP) became the largest party with 21.4 percent of the vote, creating a parliamentary crisis. In March 1996, ANAP and DYP formed a minority government. But government cooperation collapsed after a few months, and Turkey was again plunged into a deep political crisis. In the summer of 1996, the Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan became prime minister in a coalition government with the DYP, while Çiller became foreign and deputy prime minister. In 1997, Erbakan was squeezed out of the position of the military, in a so-called “postmodern coup”. Secularist officers presented a note at a Security Council meeting, forcing Erbakan to step down. The following year, the party was banned.
ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz formed his third government in 1997, with support from the Social Democrats and independent candidates. However, the most important support lay outside parliament, with the military. In the fall of 1998, the government fell on allegations of corruption, and only after a six-week long government crisis was a new government established in 1999 under the leadership of Bülent Ecevit. DYP went into crisis, many left the party and corruption charges against central politicians increased.
Turkey’s economy was in near-constant crisis in the 1990s, with inflation of about 80 percent and a large budget deficit of a quarter of total public spending. The economic problems and widespread corruption led to dissatisfaction with the established political parties and were among the reasons for the prosperity of the Welfare Party. In 1998, after the military pressure, the party was banned by the Constitutional Court. The rationale was that the party’s program was in violation of the Constitution’s provisions that Turkey is a secular state. Most of the party’s representatives in parliament formed a new party, the Dydspartiet (FP), which later developed into the Party for Justice and Development.