MODERN HISTORY OF TURKEY 1923 - UNTIL TODAY

MODERN HISTORY OF TURKEY 1923 - UNTIL TODAY

The Republic of Turkey was created after the overthrow of Sultan Mehmet VI Vahdettin by the new Republican Parliament in 1922. This new regime delivered the coup de grace to the Ottoman state which had been practically wiped away from the world stage following the First World War.

The history of modern Turkey begins with the foundation of the republic on October 29, 1923, with Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) as its 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 April 20, 1924.

For about the next 10 years, the country saw a steady process of secular Westernisation through Atatürk 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 modelled after Switzerland's and a penal code modelled 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.

The first party to be established in the newly formed republic was the Women's Party. It was founded by Nezihe Muhiddin and several other women but was stopped from its activities, since during the time women were not yet legally allowed to engage in politics. The actual passage to multi-party period was first attempted with the Liberal Republican Party by Ali Fethi Okyar. The Liberal Republican Party was dissolved on 17 November 1930 and no further attempt for a multi-party democracy was made until 1945. Turkey was admitted to the League of Nations in July 1932. 
Atatürk successor after his death on November 10, 1938 was Ismet Inönü. He started his term in the office as a respected figure of the Independence War but because of internal fights between power groups and external events like the World War which caused a lack of goods in the country, he lost some of his popularity and support. 
In 1946, Inönü's government organised multi-party elections, which were won by his party - CHP. He remained as the president of the country until 1950. He is still remembered as one of the key figures of Turkey. 
Although the multi-party period began in 1946, the election of the Democratic Party government in 1950 marked the first victory by a non - CHP party.

The government of Adnan Menderes (1950-1960) proved very popular at first, relaxing the restrictions on Islam and presiding over a booming economy. In the latter half of the 1950s, 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. 
On May 27, 1960, General Cemal Gürsel led a military coup d'état, removing President Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Menderes, the second of whom was executed. The system returned to civilian control in October 1961. A fractured political system emerged in the wake of the 1960 coup, producing a series of unstable government coalitions in parliament alternating between the Justice Party of Süleyman Demirel on the right and the Republican People's Party of Ismet İnönü and Bülent Ecevit on the left. The army issued a memorandum warning the civilian government in 1971, leading to another coup d'état which resulted in the fall of the Demirel government and the establishment of interim governments. 
In 1974, under Prime Minister Ecevit in coalition with the religious National Salvation Party, Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognises.

The next military coup d'état, headed by General Kenan Evren, took place in 1980. Martial law was extended from 20 to all then existing 67 provinces of Turkey. Within two years, 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). ANAP Party combined a globally oriented economic program with the promotion of conservative social values. Under the president 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. In 1985 the government established village guards (local paramilitary militias) to oppose separatist Kurdish groups.

A new political force arose in the new millennium: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice & Development Party (AKP) heralded an era of societal reforms, capitalising on improved economic conditions. The AKP initially sought to pursue Turkey’s entry to the EU and to end military intervention in the political scene.

 

 


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