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Turkey - HISTORY
TURKEY IS A NEW COUNTRY in an old land. The modern Turkish state--beginning with the creation of the Republic of Turkey in the years immediately after World War I--drew on a national consciousness that had developed only in the late nineteenth century. But the history of nomadic Turkish tribes can be traced with certainty to the sixth century A.D., when they wandered the steppes of central Asia. Asia Minor, which the Turks invaded in the eleventh century, has a recorded history that dates back to the Hittites, who flourished there in the second millennium B.C. Archaeological evidence of far older cultures has been found in the region, however.
The term Turkey , although sometimes used to signify the Ottoman Empire, was not assigned to a specific political entity or geographic area until the republic was founded in 1923. The conquering Turks called Asia Minor, the large peninsular territory they had wrested from the Byzantine Empire, by its Greek name, Anatolé (sunrise; figuratively, the East), or Anatolia. The term Anatolia is also used when events described affected both that region and Turkish Thrace ("Turkey-in-Europe") because of the two areas' closely linked political, social, and cultural development.
Anatolia is a bridge connecting the Middle East and Europe, and it shares in the history of both those parts of the world. Despite the diversity of its peoples and their cultures, and the constantly shifting borders of its ethnic map, Anatolia has a history characterized by remarkable continuity. Wave after wave of conquerors and settlers have imposed their language and other unique features of their culture on it, but they also have invariably assimilated the customs of the peoples who preceded them.
The history of Turkey encompasses, first, the history of Anatolia before the coming of the Turks and of the civilizations--Hittite, Thracian, Hellenistic, and Byzantine--of which the Turkish nation is the heir by assimilation or example. Second, it includes the history of the Turkish peoples, including the Seljuks, who brought Islam and the Turkish language to Anatolia. Third, it is the history of the Ottoman Empire, a vast, cosmopolitan, pan-Islamic state that developed from a small Turkish amirate in Anatolia and that for centuries was a world power.
Finally, Turkey's history is that of the republic established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938), called Atatürk--the "Father Turk." The creation of the new republic in the heartland of the old Islamic empire was achieved in the face of internal traditionalist opposition and foreign intervention. Atatürk's goal was to build on the ruins of Ottoman Turkey a new country and society patterned directly on Western Europe. He equated Westernization with the introduction of technology, the modernization of administration, and the evolution of democratic institutions.
The Turkish horsemen who stormed into Anatolia in the eleventh century were called gazis (warriors of the faith), but they followed their tribal leaders to win booty and to take land as well as to spread Islam. The Ottoman Empire, built on the conquests of the gazis , was Islamic but not specifically Turkish. Engendered in reaction to this Ottoman universalism, early Turkish nationalism was often pan-Turanian, envisioning a common destiny for all Turkic-speaking peoples. By contrast, Atatürk narrowed the focus of his nationalism to the Turks of Turkey. Under his influence, twentieth-century Turkish historiography bypassed the Islamic Ottoman period to link the Turkish nation with ancient Anatolia in such a way that the Hittites, for instance, were recognized as proto-Turks from whom modern Turks can trace descent. Although contemporary Turkey is relatively homogeneous linguistically, it is estimated that perhaps 75 percent of the country's genetic pool is non-Turkish in origin.
Atatürk's ideological legacy--known as Kemalism--consists of the "Six Arrows": republicanism, nationalism, populism, reformism, etatism (see Glossary), and secularism. These principles have been embodied in successive constitutions, and appeals for both reforms and retrenchment have been made in their name.
In the late 1940s, Atatürk's long-time lieutenant and successor, Ismet Inönü (earlier known as Ismet Pasha), introduced democratic elections and opened the political system to multiparty activity. In 1950 the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi--CHP)--Atatürk's party--was badly defeated at the polls by the new Democrat Party, headed by Adnan Menderes. The Menderes government attempted to redirect the economy, allowing for greater private initiative, and was more tolerant of traditional religious and social attitudes in the countryside. In their role as guardians of Kemalism, military leaders became convinced in 1960 that the Menderes government had departed dangerously from the principles of the republic's founder, and overthrew it in a military coup. After a brief interval of military rule, a new, liberal constitution was adopted for the so-called Second Republic, and the government returned to civilian hands.
The 1960s witnessed coalition governments led, until 1965, by the CHP under Inönü. A new grouping--the right-wing Justice Party organized under Süleyman Demirel and recognized as the successor to the outlawed Democrat Party--came to power in that year. In opposition, the new leader of the CHP, Bülent Ecevit, introduced a platform that shifted Atatürk's party leftward. Political factionalism became so extreme as to prejudice public order and the smooth functioning of the government and economy.
In 1971 the leaders of the armed forces demanded appointment of a government "above parties" charged with restoring law and order. A succession of nonparty governments came to power, but, unable to gain adequate parliamentary support, each quickly fell during a period of political instability that lasted until 1974. Demirel and Ecevit alternated in office as head of government during the remainder of the 1970s, a period marked by the rise of political extremism and religious revivalism, terrorist activities, and rapid economic changes accompanied by high inflation and severe unemployment. The apparent inability of parliamentary government to deal with the situation prompted another military coup in 1980, led by Chief of Staff General Kenan Evren. The new regime's National Security Council acted to restore order and stabilize the economy. It also moved deliberately toward reinstating civilian rule. A constitution for the Third Republic, promulgated in 1982, increased the executive authority of the president and provided for Evren's appointment to a seven-year term in that office. General elections to the new National Assembly held the following year enabled Turgut Özal to form a one-party majority government that promised to bring stability to the political process.
In two subsequent parliamentary elections, in 1987 and 1991, Turkey demonstrated a commitment to pluralist politics and a peaceful transfer of power. The 1991 election ended the eight-year rule of Özal's Motherland Party and brought to power the True Path Party, headed by Süleyman Demirel. Upon the death of Özal in 1993, Demirel ascended to the presidency, and Tansu Çiller became Turkey's first woman prime minister.
There is abundant archaeological evidence of a thriving neolithic culture in Anatolia at least as early as the seventh millennium B.C. What may have been the world's first urban settlement (dated ca. 6500 B.C.) has been uncovered at Çatalhüyük in the Konya Ovasi (Konya Basin). Introduced early in the third millennium B.C., metallurgy made possible a flourishing "copper age" (ca. 2500-2000 B.C.) during which cultural patterns throughout the region were remarkably uniform. The use of bronze weapons and implements was widespread by 2000 B.C. Colonies of Assyrian merchants, who settled in Anatolia during the copper age, provided metal for the military empires of Mesopotamia, and their accounts and business correspondence are the earliest written records found in Anatolia. From about 1500 B.C., southern Anatolia, which had plentiful sources of ore and numerous furnace sites, developed as a center of iron production. Two of the area's most celebrated archaeological excavations are the sites at Troy and Hattusas (Bogazköy) (see fig. 2).
The cape projecting into the Aegean between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Edremit was known in antiquity as Troas. There, a thirty-meter-high mound called Hisarlik was identified as the site of ancient Troy in diggings begun by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s. The first five levels of the nine discovered at Hisarlik contained remains of cities from the third millennium B.C. that controlled access to the shortest crossing of the Dardanelles and that probably derived their prosperity from tolls. Artifacts give evidence of 1,000 years of cultural continuity in the cities built on these levels. A sharp break with the past occurred on the sixth level, settled about 1900 B.C. by newcomers believed to have been related to the early Greeks. Built after an earthquake devastated the previous city about 1300 B.C., the seventh level was clearly the victim of sacking and burning about 1150 B.C., and it is recognized as having been the Troy of Homer's Iliad . Hisarlik subsequently was the site of a Greek city, Ilion, and a Roman one, Ilium.
Late in the third millennium B.C., waves of invaders speaking Indo-European languages crossed the Caucasus Mountains into Anatolia. Among them were the bronze-working, chariot-borne warriors who conquered and settled the central plain. Building on older cultures, these invaders borrowed even their name, the Hittites, from the indigenous Hatti whom they had subjugated. They adopted the native Hattic deities and adapted to their written language the cuneiform alphabet and literary conventions of the Semitic cultures of Mesopotamia. The Hittites imposed their political and social organization on their dominions in the Anatolian interior and northern Syria, where the indigenous peasantry supported the Hittite warrior caste with rents, services, and taxes. In time the Hittites won reputations as merchants and statesmen who schooled the ancient Middle East in both commerce and diplomacy. The Hittite Empire achieved the zenith of its political power and cultural accomplishment in the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C., but the state collapsed after 1200 B.C. when the Phrygians, clients of the Hittites, rebelled and burned Hattusas.
The twelfth to ninth centuries B.C. were a time of turmoil throughout Anatolia and the Aegean world. The destruction of Troy, Hattusas, and numerous other cities in the region was a collective disaster that coincided with the rise of the aggressive Assyrian Empire in Mesopotamia, the Dorian invasion of Greece, and the appearance of the "sea peoples" who ravaged the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.
The first light to penetrate the dark age in Anatolia was lit by the very Phrygians who had destroyed Hattusas. Architects, builders, and skilled workers of iron, they had assimilated the Hittites' syncretic culture and adopted many of their political institutions. Phrygian kings apparently ruled most of western and central Anatolia in the ninth century B.C. from their capital at Gordium (a site sixty kilometers southwest of modern Ankara). Phrygian strength soon waned, however, and the kingdom was overthrown in the seventh century B.C. by the Cimmerians, a nomadic people who had been pursued over the Caucasus into Anatolia by the Scythians.
Order was restored in Anatolia by the Lydians, a Thracian warrior caste who dominated the indigenous peasantry and derived their great wealth from alluvial gold found in the tributaries of the Hermus River (Gediz Nehri). From their court at Sardis, such Lydian kings as Croesus controlled western Anatolia until their kingdom fell to the Persians in 546 B.C.
The Armenians took refuge in the Lake Van region in the seventh century B.C., apparently in reaction to Cimmerian raids. Their country was described by Xenophon around 400 B.C. as a tributary of Persia. By the first century B.C., a united Armenian kingdom that stretched from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea had been established as a client of the Roman Empire to buffer the frontier with Persia.
Xenophon also recorded the presence of the Kurds. Contemporary linguistic evidence has challenged the previously held view that the Kurds are descendants of the Medes, although many Kurds still accept this explanation of their origin. Kurdish people migrated from the Eurasian steppes in the second millennium B.C. and joined indigenous inhabitants living in the region.
The Aegean coast of Anatolia was an integral part of a Minoan-Mycenean civilization (ca. 2600-1200 B.C.) that drew its cultural impulses from Crete. During the Aegean region's so-called Dark Age (ca. 1050-800 B.C.), Ionian Greek refugees fled across the sea to Anatolia, then under Lydian rule, to escape the onslaught of the Dorians. Many more cities were founded along the Anatolian coast during the great period of Greek expansion after the eighth century B.C. One among them was Byzantium, a distant colony established on the Bosporus by the city-state of Megara. Despite endemic political unrest, the cities founded by the Ionians and subsequent Greek settlers prospered from commerce with Phrygia and Lydia, grew in size and number, and generated a renaissance that put Ionia in the cultural vanguard of the Hellenic world.
At first the Greeks welcomed the Persians, grateful to be freed from Lydian control. But when the Persians began to impose unpopular tyrants on the city-states, the Greeks rebelled and called on their kinsmen in Greece for aid. In 334 B.C., Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont, defeated the Persians at the Granicus River (Biga Çayi), and during four years of campaigning liberated the Ionian city-states, incorporating them into an empire that at his death in 323 B.C. stretched from the Nile to the Indus.
After Alexander died, control of Anatolia was contested by several of the Macedonian generals among whom his empire was divided. By 280 B.C. one of them, Seleucus Nicator, had made good his claim to an extensive kingdom that included southern and western Anatolia and Thrace as well as Syria, Mesopotamia, and, for a time, Persia. Under the Seleucid Dynasty, which survived until 64 B.C., colonists were brought from Greece, and the process of hellenization was extended among the non-Greek elites.
The Seleucids were plagued by rebellions, and their domains in Anatolia were steadily eaten away by secession and attacks by rival Hellenistic regimes. Pergamum became independent in 262 B.C., during the Attalid Dynasty, and won fame as the paragon of Hellenistic states. Noted for the cleanliness of its streets and the splendor of its art, Pergamum, in west-central Anatolia, derived its extraordinary wealth from trade in pitch, parchment, and perfume, while slave labor produced a food surplus on scientifically managed state farms. It was also a center of learning that boasted a medical school and a library second in renown only to that of Alexandria. But Pergamum was both despised and envied by the other Greek states because of its alliance with Rome.
The last of the Attalid kings bequeathed Pergamum to his Roman allies upon his death in 138 B.C. Rome organized this extensive territory under a proconsul as the province of Asia. All of Anatolia except Armenia, which was a Roman client-state, was integrated into the imperial system by A.D. 43. After the accession of the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 B.C.-A.D. 14), and for generations thereafter, the Anatolian provinces enjoyed prosperity and security. The cities were administered by local councils and sent delegates to provincial assemblies that advised the Roman governors. Their inhabitants were citizens of a cosmopolitan world state, subject to a common legal system and sharing a common Roman identity. Roman in allegiance and Greek in culture, the region nonetheless retained its ethnic complexity.
In A.D. 285, the emperor Diocletian undertook the reorganization of the Roman Empire, dividing jurisdiction between its Latin-speaking and Greek-speaking halves. In 330 Diocletian's successor, Constantine, established his capital at the Greek city of Byzantium, a "New Rome" strategically situated on the European side of the Bosporus at its entrance to the Sea of Marmara. For nearly twelve centuries the city, embellished and renamed Constantinople, remained the capital of the Roman Empire--better known in its continuous development in the East as the Byzantine Empire.
Christianity was introduced to Anatolia through the missionary activity of Saint Paul, a Greek-speaking Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, and his companions. Christians possibly even constituted a majority of the population in most of Anatolia by the time Christianity was granted official toleration under the Edict of <"http://worldfacts.us/Italy-Milan.htm"> Milan in A.D. 313. Before the end of the fourth century, a patriarchate was established in Constantinople with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over much of the Greek East. The basilica of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), whose construction in Constantinople was ordered by Emperor Justinian in 532, became the spiritual focus of Greek Christendom.
Although Greek in language and culture, the Byzantine Empire was thoroughly Roman in its laws and administration. The emperor's Greek-speaking subjects, conscious of their imperial vocation, called themselves romaioi --Romans. Almost until the end of its long history, the Byzantine Empire was seen as ecumenical--intended to encompass all Christian peoples--rather than as a specifically Greek state.
In the early seventh century, the emperor in Constantinople presided over a realm that included not only Greece and Anatolia but Syria, Egypt, Sicily, most of Italy, and the Balkans, with outposts across North Africa as far as Morocco. Anatolia was the most productive part of this extensive empire and was also the principal reservoir of manpower for its defense. With the loss of Syria to Muslim conquest in the seventh century, Anatolia became the frontier as well as the heartland of the empire. The military demands imposed on the Byzantine state to police its provinces and defend its frontiers were enormous, but despite the gradual contraction of the empire and frequent political unrest, Byzantine forces generally remained strong until the eleventh century.
The first historical references to the Turks appear in Chinese records dating around 200 B.C. These records refer to tribes called the Hsiung-nu (an early form of the Western term Hun ), who lived in an area bounded by the Altai Mountains, Lake Baykal, and the northern edge of the Gobi Desert, and who are believed to have been the ancestors of the Turks (see fig. 3). Specific references in Chinese sources in the sixth century A.D. identify the tribal kingdom called Tu-Küe located on the Orkhon River south of Lake Baykal. The khans (chiefs) of this tribe accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Tang Dynasty. The earliest known example of writing in a Turkic language was found in that area and has been dated around A.D. 730.
Other Turkish nomads from the Altai region founded the Görtürk Empire, a confederation of tribes under a dynasty of khans whose influence extended during the sixth through eighth centuries from the Aral Sea to the Hindu Kush in the land bridge known as Transoxania (i.e., across the Oxus River). The Görtürks are known to have been enlisted by a Byzantine emperor in the seventh century as allies against the Sassanians. In the eighth century, separate Turkish tribes, among them the Oguz, moved south of the Oxus River, while others migrated west to the northern shore of the Black Sea.
The Turkish migrations after the sixth century were part of a general movement of peoples out of central Asia during the first millennium A.D. that was influenced by a number of interrelated factors--climatic changes, the strain of growing populations on a fragile pastoral economy, and pressure from stronger neighbors also on the move. Among those who migrated were the Oguz Turks, who had embraced Islam in the tenth century. They established themselves around Bukhara in Transoxania under their khan, Seljuk. Split by dissension among the tribes, one branch of the Oguz, led by descendants of Seljuk, moved west and entered service with the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad.
The Turkish horsemen, known as gazis , were organized into tribal bands to defend the frontiers of the caliphate, often against their own kinsmen. However, in 1055 a Seljuk khan, Tugrul Bey, occupied Baghdad at the head of an army composed of gazis and mamluks (slave-soldiers, a number of whom became military leaders and rulers). Tugrul forced the caliph (the spiritual leader of Islam) to recognize him as sultan, or temporal leader, in Persia and Mesopotamia. While they engaged in state building, the Seljuks also emerged as the champions of Sunni (see Glossary) Islam against the religion's Shia (see Glossary) sect. Tugrul's successor, Mehmet ibn Daud (r. 1063-72)--better known as Alp Arslan, the "Lion Hero"--prepared for a campaign against the Shia Fatimid caliphate in Egypt but was forced to divert his attention to Anatolia by the gazis , on whose endurance and mobility the Seljuks depended. The Seljuk elite could not persuade these gazis to live within the framework of a bureaucratic Persian state, content with collecting taxes and patrolling trade routes. Each year the gazis cut deeper into Byzantine territory, raiding and taking booty according to their tradition. Some served as mercenaries in the private wars of Byzantine nobles and occasionally settled on land they had taken. The Seljuks followed the gazis into Anatolia in order to retain control over them. In 1071 Alp Arslan routed the Byzantine army at Manzikert near Lake Van, opening all of Anatolia to conquest by the Turks.
Armenia had been annexed by the Byzantine Empire in 1045, but religious animosity between the Armenians and the Greeks prevented these two Christian peoples from cooperating against the Turks on the frontier. Although Christianity had been adopted as the official religion of the state by King Titidates III around A.D. 300, nearly 100 years before similar action was taken in the Roman Empire, Armenians were converted to a form of Christianity at variance with the Orthodox tradition of the Greek church, and they had their own patriarchate independent of Constantinople. After their conquest by the Sassanians around 400, their religion bound them together as a nation and provided the inspiration for a flowering of Armenian culture in the fifth century. When their homeland fell to the Seljuks in the late eleventh century, large numbers of Armenians were dispersed throughout the Byzantine Empire, many of them settling in Constantinople, where in its centuries of decline they became generals and statesmen as well as craftsmen, builders, and traders.
Within ten years of the Battle of Manzikert, the Seljuks had won control of most of Anatolia. Although successful in the west, the Seljuk sultanate in Baghdad reeled under attacks from the Mongols in the east and was unable--indeed unwilling--to exert its authority directly in Anatolia. The gazis carved out a number of states there, under the nominal suzerainty of Baghdad, states that were continually reinforced by further Turkish immigration. The strongest of these states to emerge was the Seljuk sultanate of Rum ("Rome," i.e., Byzantine Empire), which had its capital at Konya (Iconium). During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Rum became dominant over the other Turkish states (see fig. 4).
The society and economy of the Anatolian countryside were unchanged by the Seljuks, who had simply replaced Byzantine officials with a new elite that was Turkish and Muslim. Conversion to Islam and the imposition of the language, mores, and customs of the Turks progressed steadily in the countryside, facilitated by intermarriage. The cleavage widened, however, between the unruly gazi warriors and the state-building bureaucracy in Konya.
The success of the Seljuk Turks stimulated a response from Latin Europe in the form of the First Crusade. A counteroffensive launched in 1097 by the Byzantine emperor with the aid of the crusaders dealt the Seljuks a decisive defeat. Konya fell to the crusaders, and after a few years of campaigning Byzantine rule was restored in the western third of Anatolia.
Although a Turkish revival in the 1140s nullified many of the Christian gains, greater damage was done to Byzantine security by dynastic strife in Constantinople in which the largely French contingents of the Fourth Crusade and their Venetian allies intervened. In 1204 these crusaders installed Count Baldwin of Flanders in the Byzantine capital as emperor of the so-called Latin Empire of Constantinople, dismembering the old realm into tributary states where West European feudal institutions were transplanted intact. Independent Greek kingdoms were established at Nicaea and Trebizond (present-day Trabzon) and in Epirus from remnant Byzantine provinces. Turks allied with Greeks in Anatolia against the Latins, and Greeks with Turks against the Mongols. In 1261 Michael Palaeologus of Nicaea drove the Latins from Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire, but as an essentially Balkan state reduced in size to Thrace and northwestern Anatolia.
Seljuk Rum survived in the late thirteenth century as a vassal state of the Mongols, who had already subjugated the Great Seljuk sultanate at Baghdad. Mongol influence in the region had disappeared by the 1330s, leaving behind gazi amirates competing for supremacy. From the chaotic conditions that prevailed throughout the Middle East, however, a new power emerged in Anatolia--the Ottoman Turks.
Documentation of the early history of the Ottomans is scarce. According to semilegendary accounts, Ertugrul, khan of the Kayi tribe of the Oguz Turks, took service with the sultan of Rum at the head of a gazi force numbering "400 tents." He was granted territory--if he could seize and hold it--in Bithynia, facing the Byzantine strongholds at Bursa, Nicomedia (Izmit), and Nicaea. Leadership subsequently passed to Ertugrul's son, Osman I (r. ca. 1284-1324), founder of the Osmanli Dynasty--better known in the West as the Ottomans. This dynasty was to endure for six centuries through the reigns of thirty-six sultans (see table 2, Appendix A).
Osman I's small amirate attracted gazis from other amirates, who required plunder from new conquests to maintain their way of life. Such growth gave the Ottoman state a military stature that was out of proportion to its size. Acquiring the title of sultan, Osman I organized a politically centralized administration that subordinated the activities of the gazis to its needs and facilitated rapid territorial expansion. Bursa fell in the final year of his reign. His successor, Orhan (r. 1324-60), crossed the Dardanelles in force and established a permanent European base at Gallipoli in 1354. Murad I (r. 1360-89) annexed most of Thrace (called Rumelia, or "Roman land," by the Turks), encircling Constantinople, and moved the seat of Ottoman government to Adrianople (Edirne) in Europe. In 1389 the Ottoman gazis defeated the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo, although at the cost of Murad's life. The steady stream of Ottoman victories in the Balkans continued under Bayezid I (r. 1389-1402). Bulgaria was subdued in 1393, and in 1396 a French-led force of crusaders that had crossed the Danube from Hungary was annihilated at Nicopolis (see fig. 5).
In Anatolia, where Ottoman policy had been directed toward consolidating the sultan's hold over the gazi amirates by means of conquest, usurpation, and purchase, the Ottomans were confronted by the forces of the Mongol leader Timur (Tamerlane), to whom many of the Turkish gazis had defected. Timur crushed Ottoman forces near Ankara in 1402 and captured Bayezid I. The unfortunate sultan died in captivity the next year, leaving four heirs, who for a decade competed for control of what remained of Ottoman Anatolia. By the 1420s, however, Ottoman power had revived to the extent that fresh campaigns were undertaken in Greece.
Aside from scattered outposts in Greece, all that remained of the Byzantine Empire was its capital, Constantinople. Cut off by land since 1365, the city, despite long periods of truce with the Turks, was supplied and reinforced by Venetian traders who controlled its commerce by sea. On becoming sultan in 1444, Mehmet II (r. 1444-46, 1451-81) immediately set out to conquer the city. The military campaigning season of 1453 commenced with the fifty-day siege of Constantinople, during which Mehmet II brought warships overland on greased runners into the Bosporus inlet known as the Golden Horn to bypass the chain barrage and fortresses that had blocked the entrance to Constantinople's harbor. On May 29, the Turks fought their way through the gates of the city and brought the siege to a successful conclusion.
As an isolated military action, the taking of Constantinople did not have a critical effect on European security, but to the Ottoman Dynasty the capture of the imperial capital was of supreme symbolic importance. Mehmet II regarded himself as the direct successor to the Byzantine emperors. He made Constantinople the imperial capital, as it had been under the Byzantine emperors, and set about rebuilding the city. The cathedral of Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque, and Constantinople--which the Turks called Istanbul (from the Greek phrase eis tin polin , "to the city")--replaced Baghdad as the center of Sunni Islam. The city also remained the ecclesiastical center of the Greek Orthodox Church, of which Mehmet II proclaimed himself the protector and for which he appointed a new patriarch after the custom of the Byzantine emperors.
At the apex of the hierarchical Ottoman system was the sultan, who acted in political, military, judicial, social, and religious capacities, under a variety of titles. He was theoretically responsible only to God and God's law--the Islamic seriat (in Arabic, sharia ), of which he was the chief executor. All offices were filled by his authority, and every law was issued by him in the form of a firman (decree). He was supreme military commander and had official title to all land. During the early sixteenth-century Ottoman expansion in Arabia, Selim I also adopted the title of caliph, thus indicating that he was the universal Muslim ruler. Although theocratic and absolute in theory and in principle, the sultan's powers were in practice limited. The attitudes of important members of the dynasty, the bureaucratic and military establishments, and religious leaders had to be considered.
Three characteristics were necessary for acceptance into the ruling class: Islamic faith, loyalty to the sultan, and compliance with the standards of behavior of the Ottoman court. The last qualification effectively excluded the majority of common Turks, whose language and manners were very different from those of the Ottomans. The language of the court and government was Ottoman Turkish, a highly formalized hybrid language that included Persian and Arabic loanwords. In time Greeks, Armenians, and Jews were also employed in state service, usually in diplomatic, technical, or commercial capacities.
The day-to-day conduct of government and the formulation of policy were in the hands of the divan, a relatively small council of ministers directed by the chief minister, the grand vizier. The entranceway to the public buildings in which the divan met--and which in the seventeenth century became the residence of the grand vizier--was called the Bab-i Ali (High Gate, or Sublime Porte). In diplomatic correspondence, the term Porte was synonymous with the Ottoman government, a usage that acknowledged the power wielded by the grand vizier.
The Ottoman Empire had Turkish origins and Islamic foundations, but from the start it was a heterogeneous mixture of ethnic groups and religious creeds. Ethnicity was determined solely by religious affiliation. Non-Muslim peoples, including Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, were recognized as millets (see Glossary) and were granted communal autonomy. Such groups were allowed to operate schools, religious establishments, and courts based on their own customary law.
Selim I (r. 1512-20) extended Ottoman sovereignty southward, conquering Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He also gained recognition as guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Selim I's son, Süleyman I (r. 1520-66), was called the "lawgiver" (kanuni ) by his Muslim subjects because of a new codification of seriat undertaken during his reign. In Europe, however, he was known as Süleyman the Magnificent, a recognition of his prowess by those who had most to fear from it. Belgrade fell to Süleyman in 1521, and in 1522 he compelled the Knights of Saint John to abandon Rhodes. In 1526 the Ottoman victory at the Battle of Mohács led to the taking of Buda on the Danube. Vienna was besieged unsuccessfully during the campaign season of 1529. North Africa up to the Moroccan frontier was brought under Ottoman suzerainty in the 1520s and 1530s, and governors named by the sultan were installed in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. In 1534 Kurdistan and Mesopotamia were taken from Persia. The latter conquest gave the Ottomans an outlet to the Persian Gulf, where they were soon engaged in a naval war with the Portuguese.
When Süleyman died in 1566, the Ottoman Empire was a world power. Most of the great cities of Islam--Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad--were under the sultan's crescent flag. The Porte exercised direct control over Anatolia, the sub-Danubian Balkan provinces, Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia. Egypt, Mecca, and the North African provinces were governed under special regulations, as were satellite domains in Arabia and the Caucasus, and among the Crimean Tartars. In addition, the native rulers of Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, and Ragusa (Dubrovnik) were vassals of the sultan.
The Ottomans had always dealt with the European states from a position of strength. Treaties with them took the form of truces approved by the sultan as a favor to lesser princes, provided that payment of tribute accompanied the settlement. The Ottomans were slow to recognize the shift in the military balance to Europe and the reasons for it. They also increasingly permitted European commerce to penetrate the barriers built to protect imperial autarky. Some native craft industries were destroyed by the influx of European goods, and, in general, the balance of trade shifted to the disadvantage of the empire, making it in time an indebted client of European producers.
European political intervention followed economic penetration. In 1536 the Ottoman Empire, then at the height of its power, had voluntarily granted concessions to France, but the system of capitulations introduced at that time was later used to impose important limitations on Ottoman sovereignty. Commercial privileges were greatly extended, and residents who came under the protection of a treaty country were thereby made subject to the jurisdiction of that country's law rather than Ottoman law, an arrangement that led to flagrant abuses of justice. The last thirty years of the sixteenth century saw the rapid onset of a decline in Ottoman power symbolized by the defeat of the Turkish fleet by the Spanish and Portuguese at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and by the unbridled bloody succession struggles within the imperial palace, the Seraglio of Constantinople.
Ottoman imperial decadence was finally halted by a notable family of imperial bureaucrats, the Köprülü family, which for more than forty years (1656-1703) provided the empire with grand viziers, combining ambition and ruthlessness with genuine talent. Mehmet, followed by his son Ahmet, overhauled the bureaucracy and instituted military reforms. Crete and Lemnos were taken from <"http://worldfacts.us/Italy-Venice.htm">Venice, and large provinces in Ukraine were wrested temporarily from Poland and Russia. The Köprülü family also resumed the offensive against Austria, pushing the Ottoman frontier to within 120 kilometers of Vienna. An attempt in 1664 to capture the Habsburg capital was beaten back, but Ahmet Köprülü extorted a huge tribute as the price of a nineteen-year truce. When it expired in 1683, the Ottoman army again invaded Austria, laying siege to Vienna for two months, only to be routed ultimately by a relief force led by the king of Poland, Jan Sobieski.
The siege of Vienna was the high-water mark of Ottoman expansion in Europe, and its failure opened Hungary to reconquest by the European powers. In a ruinous sixteen-year war, Russia and the Holy League--composed of Austria, Poland, and Venice, and organized under the aegis of the pope--finally drove the Ottomans south of the Danube and east of the Carpathians. Under the terms of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the first in which the Ottomans acknowledged defeat, Hungary, Transylvania, and Croatia were formally relinquished to Austria. Poland recovered Podolia, and Dalmatia and the Morea were ceded to Venice. In a separate peace the next year, Russia received the Azov region (see fig. 6).
The last of the Köprülü rulers fell from power when Mustafa II (r. 1695-1703) was forced by rebellious janissaries to abdicate. Under Ahmet III (r. 1703-30), effective control of the government passed to the military leaders. Ahmet III's reign is referred to as the "tulip period" because of the popularity of tulip cultivation in Istanbul during those years. At this time, Peter the Great of Russia moved to eliminate the Ottoman presence on the north shore of the Black Sea. Russia's main objective in the region subsequently was to win access to warm-water ports on the Black Sea and then to obtain an opening to the Mediterranean through the Ottoman-controlled Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. Despite territorial gains at Ottoman expense, however, Russia was unable to achieve these goals, and the Black Sea remained for the time an "Ottoman lake" on which Russian warships were prohibited.
During the eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire was almost continuously at war with one or more of its enemies--Persia, Poland, Austria, and Russia. Under the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kaynarja that ended the Russo-Ottoman War of 1768-74, the Porte abandoned the Tartar khanate in the Crimea, granted autonomy to the Trans-Danubian provinces, allowed Russian ships free access to Ottoman waters, and agreed to pay a large war indemnity.
The implications of the decline of Ottoman power, the vulnerability and attractiveness of the empire's vast holdings, the stirrings of nationalism among its subject peoples, and the periodic crises resulting from these and other factors became collectively known to European diplomats in the nineteenth century as "the Eastern Question." In 1853 Tsar Nicholas I of Russia described the Ottoman Empire as "the sick man of Europe." The problem from the viewpoint of European diplomacy was how to dispose of the empire in such a manner that no one power would gain an advantage at the expense of the others and upset the political balance of Europe.
The first nineteenth-century crisis to bring about European intervention was the Greek War of Independence (1821-32). In 1827 an Anglo-French fleet destroyed the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets at the Battle of Navarino, while the Russian army advanced as far as Edirne before a cease-fire was called in 1829. The European powers forced the Porte to recognize Greek independence under the London Convention of 1832.
Muhammad Ali, an Ottoman officer who had been designated pasha of Egypt by the sultan in 1805, had given substantial aid to the Ottoman cause in the Greek war. When he was not rewarded as promised for his assistance, he invaded Syria in 1831 and pursued the retreating Ottoman army deep into Anatolia. In desperation, the Porte appealed to Russia for support. Britain then intervened, constraining Muhammad Ali to withdraw from Anatolia to Syria. The price the sultan paid Russia for its assistance was the Treaty of Hünkar Iskelesi of 1833. Under this treaty, the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits were to be closed on Russian demand to naval vessels of other powers.
War with Muhammad Ali resumed in 1839, and Ottoman forces were again defeated. Russia waived its rights under the 1833 treaty and aligned itself with British efforts to support the Ottoman Empire militarily and diplomatically. Under the London Convention of 1840, Muhammad Ali was forced to abandon his claim to Syria, but he was recognized as hereditary ruler of Egypt under nominal Ottoman suzerainty. Under an additional protocol, in 1841 the Porte undertook to close the straits to warships of all powers.
The Ottoman Empire fought two more wars with Russia in the nineteenth century. The Crimean War (1854-56) pitted France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Under the Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, Russia abandoned its claim to protect Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire and renounced the right to intervene in the Balkans. War resumed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Russia opened hostilities in response to Ottoman suppression of uprisings in Bulgaria and to the threat posed to Serbia by Ottoman forces. The Russian army had driven through Bulgaria and reached as far as Edirne when the Porte acceded to the terms imposed by a new agreement, the Treaty of San Stefano. The treaty reduced Ottoman holdings in Europe to eastern Thrace and created a large, independent Bulgarian state under Russian protection.
Refusing to accept the dominant position of Russia in the Balkans, the other European powers called the Congress of Berlin in 1878. At this conclave, the Europeans agreed to a much smaller autonomous Bulgarian state under nominal Ottoman suzerainty. Serbia and Romania were recognized as fully independent states, and the Ottoman provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were placed under Austrian administration. Cyprus, although remaining technically part of the Ottoman Empire, became a British protectorate. For all its wartime exertions, Russia received only minor territorial concessions in Bessarabia and the Caucasus. In the course of the nineteenth century, France seized Algeria and Tunisia, while Britain began its occupation of Egypt in 1882. In all these cases, the occupied territories formerly had belonged to the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire had a dual economy in the nineteenth century consisting of a large subsistence sector and a small colonial-style commercial sector linked to European markets and controlled by foreign interests. The empire's first railroads, for example, were built by foreign investors to bring the cash crops of Anatolia's coastal valleys--tobacco, grapes, and other fruit--to Smyrna (Izmir) for processing and export. The cost of maintaining a modern army without a thorough reform of economic institutions caused expenditures to be made in excess of tax revenues. Heavy borrowing from foreign banks in the 1870s to reinforce the treasury and the undertaking of new loans to pay the interest on older ones created a financial crisis that in 1881 obliged the Porte to surrender administration of the Ottoman debt to a commission representing foreign investors. The debt commission collected public revenues and transferred the receipts directly to creditors in Europe.
The 1860s and early 1870s saw the emergence of the Young Ottoman movement among Western-oriented intellectuals who wanted to see the empire accepted as an equal by the European powers. They sought to adopt Western political institutions, including an efficient centralized government, an elected parliament, and a written constitution. The "Ottomanism" they advocated also called for an integrated dynastic state that would subordinate Islam to secular interests and allow non-Muslim subjects to participate in representative parliamentary institutions.
In 1876 the hapless sultan was deposed by a fetva (legal opinion) obtained by Midhat Pasha, a reformist minister sympathetic to the aims of the Young Ottomans. His successor, Abdül Hamid II (r. 1876-1909), came to the throne with the approval of Midhat and other reformers. In December of that year, on the eve of the war with Russia, the new sultan promulgated a constitution, based on European models, that had been drafted by senior political, military, and religious officials under Midhat's direction. Embodying the substance of the Young Ottoman program, this document created a representative parliament, guaranteed religious liberty, and provided for enlarged freedom of expression. Abdül Hamid II's acceptance of constitutionalism was a temporary tactical expedient to gain the throne, however. Midhat was dismissed in February 1877 and was later murdered. The sultan called the empire's first parliament but dissolved it within a year.
Unrest in Eastern Rumelia led the European powers to insist on the union of that province with Bulgaria in 1885. Meanwhile, Greek and Bulgarian partisans were carrying on a running battle with Ottoman forces in Macedonia. In addition, the repression of revolutionary activities in Armenia during 1894-96 cost about 300,000 lives and aroused European public opinion against the Ottoman regime. Outside support for a rebellion on Crete also caused the Porte to declare war on Greece in 1897. Although the Ottoman army defeated the Greeks decisively in Thrace, the European powers forced a compromise peace that kept Crete under Ottoman suzerainty while installing the son of the Greek king as its governor.
More isolated from Europe than it had been for half a century, the Ottoman regime could count on support only from Germany, whose friendship offered Abdül Hamid II a congenial alternative to British and French intervention. In 1902 Germany was granted a ninety-nine-year concession to build and operate a Berlin-to-Baghdad rail connection. Germany continued to invest in the Ottoman economy, and German officers held training and command posts in the Ottoman army.
Opposition to the sultan's regime continued to assert itself among Westernized intellectuals and liberal members of the ruling class. Some continued to advocate "Ottomanism," whereas others argued for pan-Turanism, the union of Turkic-speaking peoples inside and outside the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish nationalist ideologist of the period was the writer Ziya Gökalp, who defined Turkish nationalism within the context of the Ottoman Empire. Gökalp went much farther than his contemporaries, however, by calling for the adoption of the vernacular in place of Ottoman Turkish. Gökalp's advocacy of a national Turkish state in which folk culture and Western values would play equally important revitalizing roles foreshadowed events a quarter-century in the future.
The repressive policies of Abdül Hamid II fostered disaffection, especially among those educated in Europe or in Westernized schools. Young officers and students who conspired against the sultan's regime coalesced into small groups, largely outside Istanbul. One young officer, Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk), organized a secret society among fellow officers in Damascus and, later, in Thessaloniki (Salonika) in present-day Greece. Atatürk's group merged with other nationalist reform organizations in 1907 to form the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Also known as the Young Turks, this group sought to restore the 1876 constitution and unify the diverse elements of the empire into a homogeneous nation through greater government centralization under a parliamentary regime.
In July 1908, army units in Macedonia revolted and demanded a return to constitutional government. Appearing to yield, Abdül Hamid II approved parliamentary elections in November in which the CUP won all but one of the Turkish seats under a system that allowed proportional representation of all millets . The Young Turk government was weakened by splits between nationalist and liberal reformers, however, and was threatened by traditionalist Muslims and by demands from non-Turkish communities for greater autonomy. Abdül Hamid II was forced to abdicate and was succeeded by his brother, Mehmet V, in 1909. Foreign powers took advantage of the political instability in Istanbul to seize portions of the empire. Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina immediately after the 1908 revolution, and Bulgaria proclaimed its complete independence. Italy declared war in 1911 and seized Libya. Having earlier formed a secret alliance, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria invaded Ottoman-held Macedonia and Thrace in October 1912. Ottoman forces were defeated, and the empire lost all of its European holdings except part of eastern Thrace.
The disasters befalling the empire led to internal political change. The liberal government in power since July 1912 was overthrown in January 1913 in a coup engineered by Enver Pasha, and the most authoritarian elements of the Young Turk movement gained full control. A second Balkan war broke out in June 1913, when the Balkan allies began fighting among themselves over the division of the spoils from the first war. Taking advantage of the situation, Ottoman forces turned on Bulgaria, regaining Edirne and establishing the western boundary of the empire at the Maritsa River.
After a brief period of constitutional rule, the leadership of the CUP emerged as a military dictatorship with power concentrated in the hands of a triumvirate consisting of Mehmet Talat Pasha, Ahmet Cemal Pasha, and Enver, who, as minister of war, was its acknowledged leader in the war.
As the two European alliance systems drew closer to war in 1914, Enver's pronounced pro-German sympathies, shared by many in the military and bureaucracy, prevailed over the pragmatic neutrality proposed by Talat and Cemal. Germany had been pro-Ottoman during the Balkan wars, but the Porte had no outstanding differences with either Britain or France in the summer of 1914. In guiding his government toward alignment with Germany, Enver was able to play on fear of the traditional Ottoman enemy, Russia, the ally of Britain and France in the war.
On August 2, 1914, Enver concluded a secret treaty of alliance with Germany. General mobilization was ordered the next day, and in the following weeks concessions granted to foreign powers under the capitulations were canceled. It remained for Germany, however, to provide the casus belli. Two German military vessels--the battleship Göben and the heavy cruiser Breslau --that had been caught in a neutral Ottoman port when war broke out in Europe were turned over to the Ottoman navy. In October they put to sea with German officers and crews and shelled Odessa and other Russian ports while flying the Ottoman flag. Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire on November 5, followed the next day by Britain and France. Within six months, the Ottoman army of about 800,000 men was engaged in a four-front war that became part of the greater conflict of World War I.
Enver launched an ill-prepared offensive in the winter of 1914-15 against the Russians in the Caucasus, vainly hoping that an impressive demonstration of Ottoman strength there would incite an insurrection among the tsar's Turkish-speaking subjects. Instead, a Russian counteroffensive inflicted staggering losses on Ottoman forces, driving them back to Lake Van. During the campaign in eastern Anatolia, assistance was given to the Russians by some Armenians, who saw them as liberators rather than invaders. Armenian units were also part of the Russian army. Enver claimed that an Armenian conspiracy existed and that a generalized revolt by the Armenians was imminent. During the winter months of 1915, as the shattered Ottoman army retreated toward Lake Van, a massive deportation of as many as 2 million Armenians was undertaken in the war zone. It shortly degenerated into a massacre, as ethnic Turks and Kurds descended on Armenian villages or slaughtered refugees along the road. The most conservative estimates put the number of dead at 600,000, but other sources cite figures of more than 1 million. The situation of those Armenians who survived the march out of Anatolia was scarcely improved under the military government in Syria. Others managed to escape behind Russian lines. The episode occasioned a revulsion in Western Europe that had its effect in the harsh terms meted out by the Allies in the postwar settlement.
In the spring of 1915, the Allies undertook naval and land operations in the Dardanelles that were intended to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war with one blow and to open the straits for the passage of supplies to Russia. Amphibious landings were carried out at Gallipoli, but British forces, vigorously opposed by forces commanded by Atatürk, were unable to expand their beachheads. The last units of the expeditionary force were evacuated by February 1916.
In Mesopotamia the Ottoman army defeated a British expeditionary force that had marched on Baghdad from a base established at Basra in 1915. The British mounted a new offensive in 1917, taking Baghdad and driving Ottoman forces out of Mesopotamia. In eastern Anatolia, Russian armies won a series of battles that carried their control west to Erzincan by July 1916, although Atatürk, who was then given command of the eastern front, led a counteroffensive that checked the Russian advance. Russia left the war after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The new Russian government concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers in March 1918, under which the Ottoman Empire regained its eastern provinces.
Sharif Husayn ibn Ali, the sultan's regent in Mecca and the Hijaz region of western Arabia, launched the Arab Revolt in 1916. The British provided advisers, of whom T.E. Lawrence was to become the best known, as well as supplies. In October 1917, British forces in Egypt opened an offensive into Palestine; they took Jerusalem by December. After hard fighting, British and Arab forces entered Damascus in October 1918. Late in the campaign, Atatürk succeeded to command of Turkish forces in Syria and withdrew many units intact into Anatolia.
Ottoman resistance was exhausted. Early in October, the war government resigned, and the Young Turk triumvirate--Enver, Talat, and Cemal--fled to exile in Germany. Mehmet VI (r. 1918-22), who had succeeded to the rule upon his brother's death in July, sued for peace through a government headed by liberal ministers that signed an armistice at Mudros on October 30, 1918, that had been dictated by the Allies. Allied warships steamed through the Dardanelles and anchored off Istanbul on November 12, the day after the end of the war in Europe. In four years of war, the Ottoman Empire had mobilized about 2.8 million men, of whom about 325,000 were killed in battle. In addition, more than 2 million civilians, including both Turks and Armenians, are believed to have died of war-related causes. Talat and Cemal, who were held responsible for the deportation of Armenians and the mistreatment of refugees, were assassinated by Armenian nationalists in 1921. The following year, Enver was killed while fighting the Bolsheviks in Central Asia.
Atatürk returned to Istanbul at the end of the war, his military reputation untarnished by the defeat of the empire that he had served. Revered by his troops as well as the Turkish masses, Atatürk soon emerged as the standard-bearer of the Turkish nationalist movement.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1881, Atatürk was the son of a minor government official in a city where Turks outnumbered Greeks. His ardent Turkish nationalism dated from his early days as a cadet in the military school at Monastir (in the present-day Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) during a time of constant conflict between Ottoman troops and Macedonian guerrillas, who attacked the Turkish population in the region. Following graduation from the military academy in Istanbul, Atatürk held various staff positions and served in garrisons at Damascus and Thessaloniki, where he became involved in nationalist activities. He took part in the coup that forced Abdül Hamid II's abdication in 1909. Atatürk organized irregular forces in Libya during the war with Italy in 1911 and subsequently held field commands in the two Balkan wars (1912-13). Assigned to a post in the Ministry of War after the armistice, Atatürk quickly recognized the extent of Allied intentions toward the Ottoman Empire.
Allied troops--British, French, and Italian, as well as a contingent of Greeks--occupied Istanbul and were permitted under the conditions of the armistice to intervene in areas where they considered their interests to be imperiled. During the war, the Allies had negotiated a series of agreements that outlined not only the definitive dismantling of the Ottoman Empire but also the partitioning among them of what Turkish nationalists had come to regard as the Turkish homeland. According to these agreements, Russia was at last to be rewarded with possession of Istanbul and the straits, as well as eastern Anatolia as far south as Bitlis below Lake Van. France and Italy were conceded portions of Anatolia, and Britain had promised Izmir to Greece--although it had also been promised to Italy--to encourage Greek entry into the war in 1917.
The Bolshevik government had renounced tsarist claims when it made its separate peace at Brest-Litovsk, but Britain, France, Italy, and Greece all pressed their respective claims at the Paris peace talks in 1919. All agreed with the provisions of President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points calling for an independent Armenia and an autonomous Kurdistan. How the Allies would implement the clause providing that the Turkish-speaking nation "should be assured of a secure sovereignty" was not clear.
The terms of a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire were presented by the Allies in April 1920 at San Remo, Italy, and were embodied in the Treaty of Sèvres, which was concluded the following August. The treaty was shaped by the wartime agreements made by the Allies. In addition, France received a mandate over Lebanon and Syria (including what is now Hatay Province in Turkey), and Britain's mandate covered Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine. Eastern Thrace up to a line from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara as well as Izmir and its hinterland were to be occupied by Greece, with the final disposition of the territory to be decided in a plebiscite. The Treaty of Sèvres was never enforced as such, as events in Turkey soon rendered it irrelevant.
The sultan was kept in the custody of the Allies to ensure the cooperation of an Ottoman administration, which had effective jurisdiction only in Istanbul and part of northern Anatolia, while they disposed of the rest of his empire. At the same time, a Turkish nationalist movement was organized under Atatürk's leadership to resist the dismemberment of Turkish-speaking areas. Atatürk had been sent to eastern Anatolia as inspector general, ostensibly to supervise the demobilization of Ottoman forces and the disposition of supplies, but more particularly to remove him from the capital after he had expressed opposition to the Allied occupation there. Upon his arrival at Samsun in May 1919, Atatürk proceeded to rally support for the nationalist cause and to recruit a nationalist army. Guerrilla warfare against the government gradually grew to full-fledged campaigns against the Greek army that threatened to involve the other Allied occupation forces.
In July 1919, a nationalist congress met at Erzurum with Atatürk presiding to endorse a protocol calling for an independent Turkish state. In September the congress reconvened at Sivas. Although the delegates voiced their loyalty to the sultan-caliph, they also pledged to maintain the integrity of the Turkish nation. The congress adopted the National Pact, which defined objectives of the nationalist movement that were not open to compromise. Among its provisions were the renunciation of claims to the Arab provinces, the principle of the absolute integrity of all remaining Ottoman territory inhabited by a Turkish Muslim majority, a guarantee of minority rights, the retention of Istanbul and the straits, and rejection of any restriction on the political, judicial, and financial rights of the nation.
Negotiations continued between the nationalist congress and the Ottoman government, but to no avail. Atatürk resigned from the army when relieved of his duties. The naming of a chief minister in Istanbul considered sympathetic to the nationalist cause brought a brief improvement in relations, however, and the Ottoman parliament, which met in January 1920, approved the National Pact. In reaction to these developments, Allied occupation forces seized public buildings and reinforced their positions in the capital, arrested and deported numerous nationalist leaders, and had parliament dismissed.
Allied actions brought a quick response from the nationalists. In April they convened the Grand National Assembly in Ankara, in defiance of the Ottoman regime, and elected Atatürk its president. The Law of Fundamental Organization (also known as the Organic Law) was adopted in January 1921. With this legislation, the nationalists proclaimed that sovereignty belonged to the nation and was exercised on its behalf by the Grand National Assembly.
During the summer and fall of 1919, with authorization from the Supreme Allied War Council, the Greeks occupied Edirne, Bursa, and Izmir. A landing was effected at the latter port under the protection of an Allied flotilla that included United States warships. The Greeks soon moved as far as Usak, 175 kilometers inland from Izmir. Military action between Turks and Greeks in Anatolia in 1920 was inconclusive, but the nationalist cause was strengthened the next year by a series of important victories. In January and again in April, Ismet Pasha defeated the Greek army at Inönü, blocking its advance into the interior of Anatolia. In July, in the face of a third offensive, the Turkish forces fell back in good order to the Sakarya River, eighty kilometers from Ankara, where Atatürk took personal command and decisively defeated the Greeks in a twenty-day battle.
An improvement in Turkey's diplomatic situation accompanied its military success. Impressed by the viability of the nationalist forces, both France and Italy withdrew from Anatolia by October 1921. Treaties were signed that year with Soviet Russia, the first European power to recognize the nationalists, establishing the boundary between the two countries. As early as 1919, the Turkish nationalists had cooperated with the Bolshevik government in attacking the newly proclaimed Armenian republic. Armenian resistance was broken by the summer of 1921, and the Kars region was occupied by the Turks. In 1922 the nationalists recognized the Soviet absorption of what remained of the Armenian state.
The final drive against the Greeks began in August 1922. In September the Turks moved into Izmir, where thousands were killed during the ensuing fighting and in the disorder that followed the city's capture. Greek soldiers and refugees, who had crowded into Izmir, were rescued by Allied ships.
The nationalist army then concentrated on driving remaining Greek forces out of eastern Thrace, but the new campaign threatened to put the Turks in direct confrontation with Allied contingents defending access to the straits and holding Istanbul, where they were protecting the Ottoman government. A crisis was averted when Atatürk accepted a British-proposed truce that brought an end to the fighting and also signaled that the Allies were unwilling to intervene on behalf of the Greeks. In compliance with the Armistice of Mundanya, concluded in October, Greek troops withdrew beyond the Maritsa River, allowing the Turkish nationalists to occupy territory up to that boundary. The agreement entailed acceptance of a continued Allied presence in the straits and in Istanbul until a comprehensive settlement could be reached.
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be Turkey's sole representative. In November 1922, the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the Ottoman Empire. Mehmet VI went into exile on Malta, and his cousin, Abdülmecid, was named caliph.
Turkey was the only power defeated in World War I to negotiate with the Allies as an equal and to influence the provisions of the resultant treaty. Ismet Pasha was the chief Turkish negotiator at the Lausanne Conference, which opened in November 1922. The National Pact of 1919 was the basis of the Turkish negotiating position, and its provisions were incorporated in the Treaty of Lausanne, concluded in July 1923. With this treaty, the Allies recognized the present-day territory of Turkey and denied Turkey's claim to the Mosul area in the east (in present-day Iraq) and Hatay, which included the Mediterranean port of Alexandretta (Iskenderun). The boundary with the newly created state of Iraq was settled by a League of Nations initiative in 1926, and Iskenderun was ceded in 1939 by France during its rule as mandatory power for Syria.
Detailed provisions of the treaty regulated use of the straits. General supervisory powers were given to a straits commission under the League of Nations, and the straits area was to be demilitarized after completion of the Allied withdrawal. Turkey was to hold the presidency of the commission, which included the Soviet Union among its members. The capitulations and foreign administration of the Ottoman public debt, which infringed on the sovereignty of Turkey, were abolished. Turkey, however, assumed 40 percent of the Ottoman debt, the remainder being apportioned among other former Ottoman territories. Turkey was also required to maintain low tariffs on imports from signatory powers until 1929. The Treaty of Lausanne reaffirmed the equality of Muslim and non-Muslim Turkish nationals. Turkey and Greece arranged a mandatory exchange of their respective ethnic Greek and Turkish minorities, with the exception of some Greeks in Istanbul and Turks in western Thrace and the Dodecanese Islands.
On October 29, 1923, the Grand National Assembly proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk was named its president and Ankara its capital, and the modern state of Turkey was born.
On assuming office, Atatürk initiated a series of radical reforms of the country's political, social, and economic life that were aimed at rapidly transforming Turkey into a modern state (see table A). A secular legal code, modeled along European lines, was introduced that completely altered laws affecting women, marriage, and family relations.
Atatürk also urged his fellow citizens to look and act like Europeans. Turks were encouraged to wear European-style clothing. Surnames were adopted: Mustafa Kemal, for example, became Kemal Atatürk, and Ismet Pasha took Inönü as his surname to commemorate his victories there. Likewise, Atatürk insisted on cutting links with the past that he considered anachronistic. Titles of honor were abolished. The wearing of the fez, which had been introduced a century earlier as a modernizing reform to replace the turban, was outlawed because it had become for the nationalists a symbol of the reactionary Ottoman regime.
The ideological foundation of Atatürk's reform program became known as Kemalism. Its main points were enumerated in the "Six Arrows" of Kemalism: republicanism, nationalism, populism, reformism, etatism (statism), and secularism. These were regarded as "fundamental and unchanging principles" guiding the republic, and were written into its constitution. The principle of republicanism was contained in the constitutional declaration that "sovereignty is vested in the nation" and not in a single ruler. Displaying considerable ingenuity, Atatürk set about reinventing the Turkish language and recasting Turkish history in a nationalist mold. The president himself went out into the park in Ankara on Sunday, the newly established day of rest, to teach the Latin alphabet adapted to Turkish as part of the language reform. Populism encompassed not only the notion that all Turkish citizens were equal but that all of them were Turks. What remained of the millet system that had provided communal autonomy to other ethnic groups was abolished. Reformism legitimized the radical means by which changes in Turkish political and social life were implemented. Etatism emphasized the central role reserved to the state in directing the nation's economic activities. This concept was cited particularly to justify state planning of Turkey's mixed economy and large-scale investment in state-owned enterprises. An important aim of Atatürk's economic policies was to prevent foreign interests from exercising undue influence on the Turkish economy.
Of all the Kemalist reforms, the exclusion of Islam from an official role in the life of the nation shocked Atatürk's contemporaries most profoundly. The abolition of the caliphate ended any connection between the state and religion. The Islamic religious orders were suppressed, religious schools were closed, public education was secularized, and the seriat was revoked. These changes required readjustment of the entire social framework of the Turkish people. Despite subsequent protests, Atatürk conceded nothing to the traditionalists.
In 1924 the Grand National Assembly adopted a new constitution to replace the 1876 document that had continued to serve as the legal framework of the republican government. The 1924 constitution vested sovereign power in the Grand National Assembly as representative of the people, to whom it also guaranteed basic civil rights. Under the new document, the assembly would be a unicameral body elected to a four-year term by universal suffrage. Its legislative authority would include responsibility for approving the budget, ratifying treaties, and declaring war. The president of the republic would be elected to a four-year term by the assembly, and he in turn would appoint the prime minister, who was expected to enjoy the confidence of the assembly (see table 3, Appendix A).
Throughout his presidency, repeatedly extended by the assembly, Atatürk governed Turkey essentially by personal rule in a one-party state. He founded the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi--CHP) in 1923 to represent the nationalist movement in elections and to serve as a vanguard party in support of the Kemalist reform program. Atatürk's Six Arrows were an integral part of the CHP's political platform. By controlling the CHP, Atatürk also controlled the assembly and assured support there for the government he had appointed. Atatürk regarded a stage of personal authoritarian rule as necessary to secure his reforms before he entrusted the government of the country to the democratic process.
Atatürk's foreign policy, which had as its main object the preservation of the independence and integrity of the new republic, was careful, conservative, and successful. The president enunciated the principle of "peace at home and peace abroad." This guideline, whose observance was necessary to the task of internal nation building, became the cornerstone of Turkey's foreign relations.
By the end of 1925, friendship treaties had been negotiated with fifteen states. These included a twenty-year treaty of friendship and neutrality signed that year with the Soviet Union that remained in effect until unilaterally abrogated by the Soviet Union in 1945. Turkey subsequently joined Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia in the Balkan Pact to counter the increasingly aggressive foreign policy of fascist Italy and the effect of a potential Bulgarian alignment with Nazi Germany. Turkey also entered into a nonaggression treaty with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran in 1937.
Atatürk attained his greatest diplomatic success in 1936, when Turkey persuaded the signatory powers of the Treaty of Lausanne to allow Turkish control and remilitarization of the straits as part of the Montreux Convention. Under its terms, merchant vessels were to continue to have freedom of navigation of the straits, but Turkey took over the functions of the international commission for registry, sanitary inspection, and the levying of tolls. Turkey was permitted to refortify the straits area and, if at war or under imminent threat of war, to close them to warships.
|1922||Sultanate abolished (November 1).|
|1923||Treaty of Lausanne secured (July 24).
Republic of Turkey with capital at Ankara proclaimed (October 29).
|1924||Caliphate abolished (March 3).
Traditional religious schools closed, seriat abolished. Constitution adopted (April 20).
|1925||Dervish brotherhoods abolished.
Fez outlawed by the Hat Law (November 25). Veiling of women discouraged; Western clothing for men and women encouraged.
Western (Gregorian) calendar adopted.
|1926||New civil, commercial, and penal codes based on European
models adopted. New civil code ended Islamic polygamy and
divorce by renunciation and introduced civil marriage.
Millet system ended.
|1927||First systematic census.|
|1928||New Turkish alphabet (modified Latin form) adopted. State declared secular (April 10); constitutional provision establishing Islam as official religion deleted.|
|1933||Islamic call to worship and public readings of the Kuran (Quran) required to be in Turkish rather than Arabic.|
|1934||Women given the vote and the right to hold office.
Law of Surnames adopted--Mustafa Kemal given the name Kemal Atatürk (Father Turk) by the Grand National Assembly; Ismet Pasha took surname of Inönü.
|1935||Sunday adopted as legal weekly holiday.
State role in managing economy written into the constitution.
Atatürk's death in Istanbul on November 10, 1938, caused an outpouring of grief throughout the Turkish nation. With much ceremony, the president's body was transported to Ankara and placed in a temporary tomb from which it was transferred in 1953 to a newly completed mausoleum on a hill overlooking Ankara. The building has since become a national shrine.
The stability of the new republic was made evident by the smoothness of the presidential succession. The day after Atatürk's death, the Grand National Assembly elected his chief lieutenant, Inönü, president. Celal Bayar, who had succeeded Inönü as prime minister in 1937, continued in that office.
As tensions in Europe heightened, Inönü determined to keep Turkey neutral in the event of war, unless the country's vital interests were clearly at stake. The Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of August 1939 prompted Turkey to sign a treaty of mutual assistance with Britain and France in October. Hedging its bets, the government concluded a nonaggression treaty with Nazi Germany on June 18, 1941, just four days before the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. The early military successes of the Axis forces contributed to increased pro-German sentiment, even in some official circles. However, Inönü seems never to have wavered from his position that the Axis powers could not win the war. Despite German pressure, Turkey at no time permitted the passage of Axis troops, ships, or aircraft through or over Turkey and its waters, and the Montreux Convention was scrupulously enforced in the straits. Turkey broke diplomatic relations with Adolf Hitler's government in August 1944, and, in February 1945, declared war on Germany, a necessary precondition for participation in the Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco in April 1945, from which the United Nations (UN) emerged. Turkey thereby became one of the fifty-one original members of the world organization.
The UN charter was approved by the Grand National Assembly in August 1945, but the debate on the measure during the summer brought about Turkey's first major postwar domestic political conflict. A proposal was entered by former Prime Minister Bayar, Adnan Menderes, and two additional CHP deputies calling for changes in Turkish law to assure the domestic application of the liberties and rights to which the government had ostensibly subscribed by accepting the principles of the UN Charter. When the proposal was disallowed, its four proponents left the CHP and resigned their seats in the assembly.
Despite the rejection of Menderes's proposal, the government relaxed many wartime controls and agreed to the further democratization of the political process. In January 1946, the Democrat Party (DP), headed by Bayar and Menderes, was registered; it subsequently became the main focus of opposition to the CHP. The general elections in July 1946 gave the DP sixty-two seats out of 465 in the assembly, demonstrating the appeal of the new party. Although the DP represented the interests of private business and industry, it also received strong support in rural areas.
In the May 1950 general election, about 88 percent of an electorate totaling about 8.5 million went to the polls, returning a huge DP majority. In the assembly, 408 seats went to the DP and only sixty-nine to the CHP, whose unbroken dominance since the founding of the republic was thus ended. Bayar was elected president by the new assembly, replacing Inönü, and named Menderes prime minister. As expected, the Menderes government's economic policy reduced reliance on state direction while encouraging private enterprise and foreign investment in industrial development.
In the May 1954 election, the DP increased its parliamentary majority. Taking its election victory as a mandate to make sweeping changes, including reform of the civil service and state-run enterprises, the Menderes government obtained the passage of a legislative package by means that the opposition characterized as "undemocratic and authoritarian." The CHP concentrated its attacks on a government-sponsored law that limited freedom of the press. Tension increased when the press law was tightened further and restrictions were imposed on public assembly several months before the scheduled October 1957 election. The government argued that the legislation was necessary to prevent "irresponsible journalists" from inciting disorder. The inability of the two main political parties to cooperate in the assembly brought the parliamentary process to a standstill as months passed. When a tour of central Anatolia by CHP leader Inönü in early 1960 became the occasion for outbreaks of violence along his route, the Menderes government reacted by suspending all political activity and imposing martial law. On April 28, 1960, students in Istanbul who were demonstrating against government policies in defiance of martial law were fired on by police; several were killed. The following week, cadets from the military academy staged a protest march in solidarity with the student movement, thereby bringing an element of the armed forces into confrontation with civilian authorities.
Atatürk had always insisted that the military forces, as a national institution above partisanship and factionalism, should stay out of politics. The military leadership traditionally had subscribed to this viewpoint, with the proviso that a major role of the armed forces was to act as guardian of the constitution and Kemalism. By 1960, with the military already deeply involved in political affairs because of the government's use of martial law to enforce its policies, the senior command concluded that the government had departed from Kemalist principles and that the republic was in imminent danger of disintegration. On May 27, 1960, Turkish army units, under the direction of the chief of General Staff, Cemal Gürsel, seized the principal government buildings and communications centers and arrested President Bayar, Prime Minister Menderes, and most of the DP representatives in the Grand National Assembly, as well as a large number of other public officials. Those arrested were charged with abrogating the constitution and instituting a dictatorship.
The coup was accomplished with little violence and was accepted quickly throughout the country. The government was replaced by the Committee of National Unity (CNU), composed of the thirty-eight officers who had organized the coup. The committee acted as supreme authority, appointing a cabinet, initially consisting of five officers and thirteen civilians, to carry out executive functions. The number of civilians in the cabinet, however, was later reduced to three. General Gürsel, who had fought at Gallipoli under Atatürk, temporarily assumed the positions of president, prime minister, and defense minister. At the outset, Gürsel announced that the committee's rule would be of an interim nature and that government would be returned to civilian hands at an early date.
The most pressing problems the CNU faced in the first months after the coup were economic. The ousted regime had been responsible for inflation and heavy debt, and emergency austerity measures had to be taken to stabilize the economy. An economic planning agency, the State Planning Organization, was established to study social and economic conditions and to draw up the country's five-year development plans.
In January 1961, a constituent assembly was formed in which the CNU participated. This interim legislature produced a new constitution, which, after much debate, it ratified in May and submitted to a popular referendum in July. This constitution, which created Turkey's so-called Second Republic, contained a number of substantial departures from the 1924 constitution but continued to embody the principles of Kemalism. The new constitution was approved by 60 percent of the electorate. The large opposition vote was a disappointment to the CNU and showed that sympathy for the DP persisted, particularly in socially conservative small towns and rural constituencies.
Meanwhile, the trial of some 600 former government officials and DP functionaries had begun in October 1960 on the island of Yassiada in the Bosporus. All but about 100 of those tried were found guilty, and fifteen death sentences were pronounced. Partly in response to public appeals for leniency, the death sentences of former President Bayar and eleven others were commuted to life imprisonment, but Menderes and two former cabinet ministers were hanged.
Fourteen political parties offered candidates in the October 1961 election, but only four won seats in the bicameral Grand National Assembly created under the new constitution. The results gave the CHP 173 seats in the lower house--the 450-member National Assembly--and only thirty-six in the 150-member Senate. The Justice Party (Adalet Partisi--AP), generally recognized as the heir of the DP, obtained 158 seats in the lower house and seventy in the upper. The remaining seats were divided between the New Turkey Party and the Republican Peasants' Nation Party, subsequently renamed the Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Haraket Partisi--MHP). The New Turkey Party was led by onetime DP dissidents who had broken with Menderes in the mid-1950s; the MHP attracted militant rightists. Because neither of the two larger parties commanded a majority, formation of a broad coalition either between the two larger parties or between one of them and the two smaller parties would be necessary.
The new bicameral legislature elected General Gürsel president of the republic. On taking office, he asked seventy-eight-year-old former President Inönü to form a government. Inönü, who had first been named prime minister by Atatürk in 1923, attempted to reach an agreement with the AP for a coalition in which that party would share an equal number of cabinet posts with the CHP, but party leaders failed to resolve their differences concerning amnesty for those convicted in the Yassiada trials. President Gürsel and General Cevdet Sunay, chief of the General Staff, warned that the irresponsibility of some legislators could provoke renewed military intervention in politics. In February 1962, a group of army officers staged a revolt in Ankara in protest of the role of the AP in government-proposed amnesty plans. The uprising was quickly suppressed, and suspected sympathizers in the officer corps were purged. Inönü subsequently introduced legislation granting amnesty to the officers involved in the revolt. In October 283 of those who had been convicted at Yassiada were given executive clemency on the recommendation of the assembly and freed. Another two years elapsed before former President Bayar and the remaining prisoners were released.
The AP made such significant gains in the 1964 local elections that Inönü stepped down as prime minister. After unsuccessful attempts by the AP and the CHP to form a government, an interim administration was appointed to serve until the October 1965 general election. Voters in that election gave the AP a clear majority in the Grand National Assembly. The vote allowed the new prime minister, forty-four-year-old Süleyman Demirel, to form a single-party government and claim a popular mandate for his legislative program. An engineer and former head of the National Water Authority, Demirel was a onetime protégé of Menderes. Although Demirel cultivated a pragmatic and technocratic image for the young party, the AP inherited the DP's identification with right-wing populism and catered to the same broadly based constituency. The party attracted support from the business community and from artisans and shopkeepers, but its real strength lay in the peasantry and in the large number of workers who had recently arrived in the cities from the countryside. Although it never disavowed the principle of secularism enshrined in Kemalism, the AP promoted tolerance of the open expression of the traditional Islam that appealed to many in these latter groups. While accepting a large role for state enterprises in a mixed economy, the AP also encouraged the development of a stronger private sector than had been allowed previously and was receptive to foreign investment in Turkey.
Although Demirel increased defense spending and took a hard line on law-and-order issues, military leaders remained suspicious of his party because of its roots in the DP. Demirel seemed to improve his standing among them by supporting the successful presidential candidacy of General Sunay when Gürsel died in office in 1966, but objections by the military subsequently forced the prime minister to withdraw legislation that would have restored full political rights to surviving former DP leaders. Enactment of other legislation was also hampered by growing factional splits in the AP. Representing the party's business-oriented liberal wing, Demirel urged greater reliance on a market economy. He was opposed on some issues and prodded on others by a traditionalist wing that was socially conservative, more agrarian in its orientation, and had ties to the Islamic movement.
Following the CHP's defeat in the 1965 general election, that party engaged in an internal debate to determine its position in the left-right continuum. When forty-year-old Bülent Ecevit succeeded Inönü as party leader the following year, he sought to identify the CHP with the social democratic parties of Western Europe. The party platform favored state-directed investment over private investment and recommended limits on foreign participation in the Turkish economy. It also called for rapid expansion of public services financed by taxation that would restrict the growth of private incomes. Ecevit emphasized the CHP's dedication to maintaining political secularism in contrast to the AP's leniency in the face of a revival of religious influence. While promising to adhere to Turkey's defense commitments, he insisted on a more self-reliant foreign policy that included efforts to improve bilateral relations with the Soviet Union.
As party leader, Ecevit attempted to transform the CHP from an elitist party seeking to guide the nation from above into a mass movement involving a broadly based constituency in the political process. Ecevit's socialist rhetoric was compatible with the Kemalist principles of state direction of the economy, but the shift to the left he inaugurated caused dissension in the party. In 1967 forty-five CHP deputies broke away to form a centrist party that won nearly 7 percent of the vote in the October 1969 general election. Both major parties lost votes, but right-of-center parties, led by the AP, outpolled the CHP and the small left-wing parties by nearly two to one, and the AP was able to increase its Grand National Assembly majority by sixteen seats. To some observers, the election results indicated a polarization of Turkish politics that would pull the AP and CHP in opposite directions and aggravate political extremism.
The extreme left was represented in the Grand National Assembly during the 1960s by the Turkish Workers' Party (TWP). Its platform called for the redistribution of land, nationalization of industry and financial institutions, and the exclusion of foreign capital, and urged closer cooperation with the Soviet Union. The party attracted the support of only a small number of trade unionists and leftist intellectuals. Although it had won fifteen seats in the 1961 election, its share of the vote in 1965 and 1969 averaged less than 3 percent. Of greater consequence in the 1960s--and for the future--was the party of the extreme right led by Alparslan Türkes, one of the architects of the 1960 coup. Türkes had been among those officers ousted from the CNU for opposing the restoration of democratic institutions. He subsequently resigned from the army and in 1965 took control of the Republican Peasants' Nation Party, later the MHP. Türkes came to personify the ultranationalistic and authoritarian nature of his party. Labeled by some as fascist, the MHP demanded strong state action to maintain order and manage the economy. Although sympathetic to private ownership, the party was hostile toward capitalism and foreign investment. Essentially secularist, the MHP nonetheless regarded Islam as one of the pillars of the Turkish state, and Türkes incorporated references to religion into his nationalist platform.
Türkes's party had won 14 percent of the vote and fifty-four seats in the 1961 election, but electoral support plummeted to under 3 percent in 1965, when many marginal rightist voters switched to the AP. In 1969 the MHP was reduced to a single seat in the Grand National Assembly; however, Türkes's inflammatory rhetoric and confrontational tactics gave the party a higher profile than its strength at the polls alone would have justified. He organized the party on military lines and indoctrinated party activists, imposing strict discipline on them. The party's youth movement included a paramilitary arm, the "Gray Wolves," whose members disrupted left-wing student activities, initiated physical attacks on political opponents, and retaliated for assaults on MHP members. MHP-incited violence escalated in the late 1960s and set the tone for the volatile political atmosphere of the 1970s.
Turkey's links to the United States grew rapidly in the aftermath of World War II. Turkey took a resolutely pro-Western stance as the Cold War developed in the late 1940s and, in 1950, sent an infantry brigade to the Korean Peninsula to serve under UN command there. The pattern of close bilateral ties with the United States that characterized postwar Turkish foreign relations began to take shape with an agreement signed in Ankara in September 1947 implementing a policy formulated by President Harry S Truman the previous March. Known as the Truman Doctrine, the president's policy declaration spelled out United States intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece. Truman won approval from the United States Congress for an initial appropriation of US$400 million to aid both countries. Congress also authorized United States civilian and military personnel to assist in economic reconstruction and development and to provide military training. Turkey subsequently participated in the United States-sponsored European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan). Turkey also was admitted to membership in the Council of Europe and in 1959 applied for association with the European Community (EC), later called the European Union (EU--see Glossary). Set aside after the 1960 coup, Turkey's application finally was approved in 1964.
Turkey was admitted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO--see Glossary) in 1952, and in 1955 joined with Britain, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan in the Baghdad Pact, a multilateral defense agreement that became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after the overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958. Turkey played a vital diplomatic and strategic role as the bridge between the NATO and CENTO alliance systems. The headquarters of NATO's Allied Land Forces Southeastern Europe (LANDSOUTHEAST) was established at Izmir. In addition, operational bases near Adana were developed for NATO purposes. A 1954 military facilities agreement with the United States permitted the opening of other NATO installations and the stationing of United States forces in Turkey. Headquarters for CENTO were moved to Ankara when Iraq withdrew from the alliance.
Turkish participation in NATO was complicated by a regional dispute between Turkey and Greece involving the status of the island of Cyprus, until 1960 a British crown colony. The Greek-speaking Cypriots sought an end to British rule and many favored enosis (union) with Greece. Fearing discrimination and the loss of identity, the Turkish-speaking minority countered with proposals for partition of the island between the two ethnic communities. Conflict between the two communities led to major crises in 1964 and again in 1967, during which Turkey and Greece--both members of NATO--reached the verge of war.
The Demirel government's majority in the Grand National Assembly gradually dissipated after the 1969 general election as factions within the circle of its initial supporters regrouped in new political constellations. In 1970 three small rightist parties that had usually cooperated with the government merged as the National Salvation Party (Milli Selamet Partisi--MSP), an explicitly Islamic-oriented party that imposed politically compromising demands on Demirel as the price of their continued support. Some former AP members deserted the AP in 1971 to form the more right-wing Democratic Party. Other, more liberal AP members, dissatisfied with Demirel's concessions to the right, defected from the party and sat as independents. As a result of these shifts, the Demirel government lost its parliamentary majority and, in the eyes of critics, forfeited its right to govern the country. Acts of politically motivated violence and terrorism escalated in frequency and intensity. Unrest was fueled in part by economic distress, perceptions of social inequities, and the slowness of reform, but protest was increasingly directed at Turkey's military and economic ties to the West.
On March 12, 1971, the armed forces chiefs, headed by army commander General Faruk Gürler, presented a memorandum to President Sunay demanding the installation of a "strong and credible government." The military leaders warned civilian officials that the armed forces would be compelled to take over the administration of the state once again unless a government were found that could curb the violence and implement the economic and social reforms, including land reform, stipulated in the 1961 constitution. Demirel resigned the same day. The incident was referred to as the "coup by memorandum."
After consultation with Gürler and the other armed forces chiefs, Sunay asked Nihat Erim, a university professor and CHP centrist, to form a "national unity, above-party government" that would enlist the support of the major parties. Erim led the first of a series of weak caretaker cabinets that governed Turkey until the October 1973 elections.
A joint session of the Grand National Assembly was convened in March 1973 to elect a successor to President Sunay. Many observers had assumed that General Gürler, whose candidacy had the open backing of the armed forces, would be elected without serious opposition, but Demirel was determined to resist what he considered dictation by the military. The AP nominated Tekin Ariburun, chairman of the Senate, to oppose Gürler. After seven ballots, Gürler and Ariburun withdrew. When Sunay's term expired on March 28, Ariburun, in his capacity as Senate chairman, became acting president under the constitution. On April 6, deputies and senators in the Grand National Assembly elected Fahri Korutürk president on the fifteenth ballot. Significantly, the new president, a seventy-year-old retired admiral who had served as an independent member of the Senate since 1968, had a direct tie to Atatürk, who reportedly had conferred on him the name Korutürk, meaning "Protect the Turks."
In the 1973 election, Ecevit's CHP increased its support by more than 1 million votes by calling for redistribution of wealth through taxation and social services, rural development, land reform, continued state direction of economic activity, and a general amnesty for political prisoners detained under martial law. However, holding only 185 seats, the party failed to gain an overall majority in the Grand National Assembly. The AP, which saw its share of the vote decline to 30 percent, retained only 149 seats. A large segment of its right-wing support was siphoned off by the MSP and the Democratic Party, which won forty-eight seats and forty-five seats, respectively. The Republican Reliance Party (RRP), formed by the merger of centrist groups that had seceded earlier from the CHP, won thirteen seats. The MHP took three seats.
The most significant consequence of the 1973 election was that the Democratic Party and the MSP held the balance of power in parliament, and it was unlikely that any coalition government could be formed without the participation of one or both of them. The politicians in the Democratic Party strongly resented the warnings periodically handed down to elected officials by military leaders, but also disapproved of Demirel on personal as well as political grounds. The MSP was led by Necmettin Erbakan, who had been leader of the proscribed New Order Party. The MSP was regarded as a revival of that party under a new name. The principal plank in the MSP's platform was the restoration of Islamic law and practice in Turkey. The party sought improved relations with other Muslim countries and less reliance on the West, yet was also ardently anticommunist. Advocating direct election of the president and the strengthening of executive authority, the MSP, while upholding the right to private property, opposed the liberal economic policies favored by the AP.
In January 1974, Ecevit, leader of the party founded by Atatürk, reached a short-lived agreement with Erbakan, the head of an Islamic revivalist party, to join in a coalition government in which Erbakan would be Ecevit's deputy prime minister. In September the MSP pulled out of the coalition. Ecevit remained prime minister at the head of another caretaker government while Korutürk vainly tried to interest Demirel in joining with the CHP in a government of national unity. In November, Korutürk persuaded Sadi Irmak, an elderly senator and an independent, to preside over a nonparty government and prepare the country for an early general election. Irmak's failure to obtain a parliamentary vote of confidence created a parliamentary crisis that left Turkey without a stable, majority-based government for more than a year, during which time economic conditions continued to deteriorate, fanning unrest around the country. Late in 1974, four of the five right-of-center parties in the Grand National Assembly--the AP, MSP, MHP, and RRP--formed an opposition bloc, called the National Front. In March 1975, the National Front parties joined in a minority coalition government under Demirel's premiership. Despite its ineffectiveness, the National Front coalition managed to struggle along for two years, maintaining a slim parliamentary majority dependent on support from independents.
Trading on Ecevit's enormous popularity, in the 1977 election the CHP increased its share of the vote to more than 40 percent and remained the largest party in the Grand National Assembly. However, the 213 seats that it won were still insufficient to form a single-party government. The AP had also improved its standing by taking back some of the votes lost to other right-wing parties in 1973; it returned 189 deputies. MSP representation was cut in half, to twenty-four seats, and the Democratic Party was reduced to one seat. The MHP, however, nearly doubled its vote and elected sixteen deputies. Despite its electoral success, the CHP failed to form a governing coalition.
At length Demirel put together another right-of-center government, linking the AP with the MSP and the MHP in a coalition that depended on a four-seat majority. But the inducements that he offered to assure cooperation caused concern within the liberal wing of his own party. Under the arrangement, responsibility for key areas of concern--public order, the economy, and social reform--was divided among the three party leaders. Demirel was assigned internal security, Erbakan the economy, and Türkes social affairs, including education. Each leader expected to exercise exclusive authority in his particular area, but the arrangement soon proved unworkable. Meanwhile, groups identified with one of the coalition partners, the MHP, were among the principal instigators of the mounting political violence.
Anger and frustration at the government's ineffectiveness in dealing with the economy and restoring public order led to an erosion of support from liberal AP deputies. On the last day of 1977, the Demirel government was defeated on a vote of confidence in which a dozen AP deputies sided with the CHP opposition. The party leaders having ruled out a "grand coalition," President Korutürk turned to Ecevit to lead a new government, which was backed by a four-seat parliamentary majority.
The Ecevit administration was crisis-ridden from the start. The prime minister's attempt to combine regard for civil liberties with tougher law-and-order measures satisfied no one, least of all the military and the police. In December 1978, the government was forced to proclaim martial law in thirteen provinces in reaction to a serious outbreak of sectarian violence. The calm imposed by martial law was only temporary, and in April 1979, the government extended legal restrictions.
Ecevit resigned in October 1979, after the CHP lost ground to the AP in by-elections, and advised President Korutürk to summon Demirel to replace him. Demirel rejected Ecevit's subsequent proposal for a "grand coalition" and chose instead to put together a technocratic government whose members were selected for their competence rather than their political affiliation. Subsidies to state enterprises were reduced as part of a plan for restructuring, but attempts to rationalize the workforce and control labor costs were challenged by the trade unions in a series of strikes. Demirel countered by extending martial law still further, imposing severe curbs on union activity, and restricting public assembly. Meanwhile, military leaders made no secret of their uneasiness at the growing influence that religious sectarianism was having on politics in obvious defiance of the constitution.
President Korutürk's seven-year term in office expired in April 1980. After 100 ballots, the joint session of the Grand National Assembly failed to agree on a successor. Korutürk retired on schedule, and the chairman of the Senate, Ihsan Sabri Çaglayangil, was installed as acting president of the republic. Çaglayangil could do little more than provide the signature necessary for the enactment of legislation.
The historical distrust between Turkey and Greece was compounded during the 1970s by the unfolding Cyprus dispute and conflicting claims in the Aegean Sea. Problems arising from the relationship between Turkish- and Greek-speaking Cypriots on the island had produced a pattern of confrontation between the two countries during the previous decade.
In July 1974, the president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, demanded withdrawal of Greek army officers assigned to the National Guard on the well-founded charge that they were using their position to subvert his government. In reaction, Athens engineered an anti-Makarios coup, which was carried out successfully by conspirators planning union with Greece. In Ankara, Prime Minister Ecevit condemned the coup as constituting a direct threat to Cyprus's Turkish minority. At the UN, the Turkish representative stated that his government had determined that Greece's direct involvement in the coup was aimed at the annexation of Cyprus in violation of the 1960 independence agreement guaranteed by Turkey, Greece, and Britain. He stressed that Turkey had a clear responsibility under the agreement to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Between July 20 and 22, 1974, some 30,000 Turkish troops, supported by air and naval units, were dropped or landed on Cyprus in the Kyrenia area and advanced toward Nicosia, the Cypriot capital. By the time a UN-sponsored cease-fire went into effect on July 22, Turkish troops controlled the twenty-kilometer-long Nicosia-Kyrenia road and occupied territory on both sides of it, in some places thirty kilometers deep, in an area that had a large Turkish Cypriot population.
The discredited Greek government fell within days as a result of the Cyprus imbroglio. Meeting in Geneva on July 30, the foreign ministers of the three guaranteeing powers--Turan Günes of Turkey, James Callaghan of Britain, and Georgios Mavros representing the new provisional Greek government--accepted the establishment of a buffer zone between the two sides on Cyprus, patrolled by UN forces. They agreed to meet again at Geneva in a week's time to work out terms for a constitutional government that would be representative of both communities on the island.
Despite the cease-fire and a UN Security Council resolution calling for the phased reduction of hostile forces on Cyprus, the Turks continued to land reinforcements. In the week between the cease-fire and the first Geneva foreign ministers' conference, they pushed Greek Cypriot forces to the western extremity of the Kyrenia Range and consolidated their positions around Nicosia. Glafcos Clerides, acting president of Cyprus, and Rauf Denktas, leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, attended the second session of the Geneva talks, held August 8-14. Denktas rejected the notion of communal autonomy within a federal system favored by Greece and the Greek Cypriot authorities, proposing instead the creation of a single autonomous Turkish region in the northern third of the island, a suggestion Clerides refused to consider. Although Turkey backed the Turkish Cypriot demand for regional autonomy, Günes, speaking for his government, offered an alternative plan that would have allowed the Turkish Cypriots the same amount of land by halving their holdings in the north and creating several autonomous Turkish enclaves elsewhere on the island. The Günes plan would have sharply reduced the number of refugees from both communities. Talks broke down, however, when Günes abruptly rejected a request from Mavros and Clerides for a three-day adjournment to enable them to communicate the Turkish proposal to their respective governments.
Two hours after the collapse of the Geneva talks, Turkish forces on Cyprus moved out of the Kyrenia bridgehead to cut off the northeastern third of the island. After three days of fighting, Clerides accepted a Turkish cease-fire offer that left the Turks in control of all territory north of a line that ran from Lefka in the west to Famagusta in the east. Ecevit held that this division should form the basis for two autonomous regions within a federal state. In February 1975, the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was established in the northern region with Denktas as president. In 1983 this entity was constituted as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). To date, only Turkey has granted official recognition to the TRNC.
The partition of Cyprus created about 200,000 refugees out of a population of about 600,000. About 10,000 Turkish Cypriot refugees from enclaves in the south were flown to northern Cyprus from British bases by way of Turkey. Greek Cypriot authorities protested this action and charged that at the same time the Turks were sending in settlers from Anatolia to colonize areas where Greek Cypriots had been dispossessed.
Relations between Turkey and Greece had already been tense before the Cyprus crisis as a consequence of the continuing dispute over competing rights in the Aegean region. Tensions heightened after March 1974, when Greek drillers struck oil off the island of Thasos. Given the dependence of both countries on oil imports, this development brought into focus a range of outstanding regional disputes: the demarcation of the continental shelf for the purpose of establishing seabed mineral rights, extension of territorial waters and airspace, and the militarization of Greek islands off the Turkish coast. A few months earlier, in late 1973, Turkey had granted oil concessions in several Aegean seabed areas, some of which were on part of the continental shelf claimed by Greece.
In January 1975, Greece submitted a claim to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for sole rights to the continental shelf. Greece claimed seabed rights off each of the several hundred Greek islands in the Aegean, some of them no more than a few nautical miles from the Turkish coast. Greece also unilaterally attempted to extend its territorial waters from six nautical miles to the twelve nautical miles accepted elsewhere in the world and prohibited Turkish overflights in those areas. Prime Minister Irmak responded that it was "unthinkable" that Turkey would accept the Aegean as a "Greek lake" and charged that Greek claims and alleged Greek militarization of the Aegean were in contravention of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. However, Greece maintained that it had primary responsibility for the defense of the Aegean as part of its NATO commitments.
During the summer of 1976, Turkish naval escorts confronted Greek warships when the latter challenged a Turkish vessel engaged in seismic research on the seabed in disputed waters between the Turkish islands of Gökçeada (Imroz) and Bozca Ada (Tenedos). For a brief period, war between the two NATO allies seemed imminent. Although Turkey and Greece subsequently agreed to settle outstanding disputes through negotiation, troop alerts and naval demonstrations were repeated the following year. Ecevit and Greek prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis met in Switzerland in March 1978 to find a mutually acceptable framework for resolving their differences. Two months later, they met again in Washington to discuss issues of bilateral interest. At these meetings, the two leaders affirmed their mutual wish to find peaceful solutions to their unresolved disputes, but relations between the two countries remained strained.
In February 1975, the United States Congress imposed an arms embargo on Turkey on the grounds that United States-supplied military equipment had been used illegally during the Cyprus operation. In June Turkey confirmed that twenty United States installations in Turkey would be subject to a "new situation" unless negotiations were opened on their future status. President Gerald Ford urged Congress to reconsider the arms embargo, citing the damage it would do to vital United States interests in the eastern Mediterranean. Angered by the defeat in Congress the following month of a measure to lift the embargo, the Turkish government announced the abrogation of the 1969 defense cooperation treaty with the United States and placed United States installations, mainly communications and monitoring stations, under Turkish control. This action, however, did not affect the only United States combat unit in Turkey, an aircraft squadron based in Incirlik under NATO command.
President Ford signed legislation in October that partially lifted the embargo, allowing the release of arms already purchased by Turkey. In 1978 the administration of President Jimmy Carter succeeded in persuading Congress to end the embargo, although an amendment to the Security Aid Act required periodic review of conditions as a prerequisite to continued military assistance. Shortly thereafter, Turkey allowed United States installations to reopen under Turkish supervision while a completely new defense cooperation pact was negotiated.
In 1980 United States military assistance to Turkey amounted to US$250 million, and economic aid to about US$200 million. The United States also joined other countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in pledging emergency credits in a bid to halt Turkey's slide into bankruptcy during the financial crisis of the late 1970s.
The Turkish economy was severely hurt by the increase in oil prices after 1973. Conditions deteriorated over the next several years, reaching the crisis level by 1977. Inflation reached a rate exceeding 50 percent that year, while unemployment was unofficially estimated at as high as 30 percent of the available workforce. Domestic industries also lost ground in export markets because of increases in the cost of raw materials and energy. Turkey's trade deficit reached US$4 billion in 1977, contributing to a balance of payments deficit nearly five times the 1974 level. Becoming skeptical of Turkey's ability to repay existing debts, a number of foreign creditors refused to extend further loans. As a result, the country virtually ran out of foreign exchange to meet its immediate commitments and was faced with national bankruptcy, which was averted only when the Central Bank intervened by suspending payments for many imports and, in effect, forced credit from foreign exporters.
Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary), the Demirel government belatedly announced such measures as a 10 percent devaluation of the currency and substantial increases of some government-subsidized prices. By the end of 1977, Turkey had accumulated a total external debt of more than US$11 billion. The Ecevit government came to power in January 1978 with a stabilization program that essentially had had to be approved by the IMF and the OECD. The plan included incentives for foreign investment and further price adjustments to restrain domestic demand. An international consortium of six banks collaborated in restructuring the Turkish debt and arranged for a US$500 million loan to the Central Bank for economic development. Subsidies to state-directed enterprises were cut, but Ecevit insisted on increased public spending for employment and regional development, which he argued were required to maintain "domestic peace."
Despite the stabilization program, another major devaluation of the Turkish lira (for value of the Turkish lira--see Glossary), and rescheduling of the foreign debt, there were no clear signs in 1978 that economic recovery was under way. In fact, austerities imposed under the program had the opposite effect to what was intended. Because of energy conservation efforts and restrictions imposed on imports of raw materials, industrial production fell. Consequently, exports lagged and unemployment continued to increase. State enterprises registered losses of about US$2 billion for the year. Because of a lack of confidence in the government, the stabilization program failed to attract new investment from abroad.
On returning to office in November 1979, Demirel proposed a new economic stabilization program that for the first time emphasized private-sector initiatives. The program, drawn up in consultation with a consortium of international banks, was approved by parliament, and Turgut Özal, an economist, was placed in charge of implementing it. Some progress was recorded, but the government's attention was diverted by intensified political violence, which by mid-1980 was claiming twenty or more lives a day.
Turkey faced recurrent political violence throughout the 1970s. Political parties, particularly those of the extreme right, organized strong-arm auxiliaries for street fighting. Kurdish nationalism and sectarian divisions were also factors. From time to time, specifically from 1971 to 1973 and again in December 1978, the frequency of such violence and the involvement of increasing numbers of persons led to the imposition of martial law in parts of the country.
Most of the violence-prone groups of the right were apparently attached, directly or indirectly, to Türkes and the MHP. The best organized of these, the Gray Wolves, were armed and regularly resorted to terrorist tactics. Other groups--particularly those on the left--used violence in the hope that the reaction of the state would lead to revolution. Their members assaulted politicians and public officials, the police, journalists, and members of rival groups. United States military personnel stationed in Turkey were also targets of attack. Some groups involved in the violence were identified with the Kurdish nationalist movement.
The Ecevit government initially tried to play down the significance of Kurdish separatism and to avoid actions that might alienate the many Kurds who supported the CHP and lead them to join extremist groups that they might otherwise ignore. Opposition members in the Grand National Assembly, who tended to identify any sign of restiveness in the Kurdish regions with Kurdish separatism, insisted on stronger measures from the government. In April 1979, the martial law that had been proclaimed in some parts of the country the previous December was extended to provinces with Kurdish-speaking majorities.
Estimates vary, but some sources claim that as many as 2,000 persons died in political violence in the two-year period 1978-79. The single most serious incident erupted in the town of Kahramanmaras in December 1978, when more than 100 persons were killed in sectarian conflict between Sunni and Alevi (see Glossary) Muslims. The incident led to the imposition of martial law in the Kahramanmaras Province that same month.
The military became increasingly uneasy over continued criticism of the armed forces in the Grand National Assembly. The apparent inability of successive governments to deal with problems of the economy and public order led many in the military to conclude that the 1961 constitution was defective. Their frustration with the political process was confirmed in September 1980, when the assembly was unable to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to elect a new president.
The summer of 1980 was a chaotic time in Turkey. Political violence and sectarian unrest mounted in the cities and spread through the countryside. The work of parliament had come almost to a standstill, and the country was left without an elected president. On September 5, Ecevit aligned the CHP with Erbakan and his NSP to force the resignation of Demirel's foreign minister, Hayrettin Erkman, whose strongly pro-Western views had won him the approval of General Staff officers. The next day, the NSP sponsored a massive rally at Konya, where Islamists (also seen as fundamentalists) demonstrated to demand the reinstatement of Islamic law in Turkey, reportedly showing disrespect for the flag and the national anthem. These acts were regarded as an open renunciation of Kemalism and a direct challenge to the military. On September 7, General Evren met secretly with armed forces and police commanders to set in motion plans for another coup.
In the early morning hours of September 12, 1980, the armed forces seized control of the country. There was no organized resistance to the coup; indeed, many Turks welcomed it as the only alternative to anarchy. Whereas the 1960 and 1971 military coups had institutional reform as their objective, the 1980 action was undertaken to shore up the order created by the earlier interventions. A five-member executive body, the National Security Council (NSC--see Glossary), was appointed. Composed of the service chiefs and the gendarmerie commander, it was headed by General Evren, who was recognized as head of state. On September 21, the NSC installed a predominantly civilian cabinet and named Bülent Ulusu, a recently retired admiral, prime minister. A 160-member Consultative Assembly subsequently was appointed to draft a constitution for what would become Turkey's Third Republic.
The first order of business for the military regime was to reestablish law and order in the strife-torn country. Martial law was extended to all the provinces. Suspected militants of all political persuasions as well as trade union and student activists were arrested, and party leaders were taken into custody along with a large number of deputies. Demirel and Ecevit were soon released but told to keep a low profile. When Ecevit began to publish political articles, he was rearrested and jailed for several months. The Grand National Assembly was dissolved and its members barred from politics for periods of up to ten years. Political parties were abolished and their assets liquidated by the state. The trade unions were purged and strikes banned. Workers who were striking at the time of the coup were given substantial pay raises and ordered back to their jobs.
Altogether, some 30,000 people were reported arrested in the first few weeks after the coup. Figures are uncertain, but a year later about 25,000 were still being held, and, after two years, an estimated 10,000 remained in custody, some without having been formally charged. Türkes and nearly 600 of his followers from the MHP were tried on charges of committing or abetting terrorist acts. A number of those found guilty of terrorism were hanged. Erbakan and Türkes were subsequently convicted of election tampering and given two-year prison terms. Turkey's international reputation suffered as a result of charges of political repression, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment without trial, torture, and other human rights violations. West European governments appealed to the military regime to restore parliamentary rule, and a portion of the OECD's relief package for Turkey was withheld. The European Community also suspended financial assistance, and Turkish delegates were denied their seats in the assembly of the Council of Europe.
The performance of the Turkish economy improved significantly in the first two years after the military intervention. The new regime saw to it that the economic stabilization program introduced by Demirel was implemented under the direction of Özal, one of the few members of the former government retained after the coup. Austerity measures were strictly enforced, bringing the inflation rate down to 30 percent in 1982. Disagreement developed within the government, however, over the strict monetarist policies promoted by Özal, which were seen in some quarters as running counter to Kemalist principles. Özal was forced to resign as minister of state in July 1982, when the country's largest money broker, the Kastelli Bank, collapsed.
The draft of a new constitution was presented by the Consultative Assembly to the nation on July 17, 1982. In providing for a strong presidency, it took partial inspiration from the 1958 constitution that established France's Fifth Republic. The constitution was put to a national referendum on November 7, 1982, and received approval from 91.4 percent of the electorate. The only parts of the country to register significant "no" votes were those with large Kurdish populations. Included in the vote was approval of Evren as president for a seven-year term. He took office on November 9, 1982.
A new law on political parties was issued in March 1983, which included a ten-year ban on all politicians active in the pre-September 1980 period. Parties were invited to form so as to contest parliamentary elections later in the year but were required to receive approval from the military rulers. Of fifteen parties requesting certification, only three received approval: the Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi--ANAP), the Populist Party (Halkçi Partisi--HP), and the Nationalist Democracy Party (Milliyetçi Demokrasi Partisi--MDP), the latter being the clear favorite of the military.
The Motherland Party was led by Turgut Özal, who had helped formulate the economic stabilization plan under the 1979 Demirel government and then implemented the program under the military government. Özal was able to draw on support from a broad coalition of forces from the political landscape of the 1970s. The Motherland Party drew to its ranks adherents of the old Justice Party, the Islamist National Salvation Party, and the extreme right-wing Nationalist Action Party. The Populist Party, which came closest to expressing the traditional Kemalist values of the CHP, was led by Necdet Calp. The Nationalist Democracy Party was seen by the electorate as the party of the generals, who openly supported it. Its leader, Turgut Sunalp, was a retired general. The Motherland Party came to be viewed by the electorate as the most distant from the military, and its success in the first postcoup election may be largely attributed to this perception.
In parliamentary elections held on November 6, 1983, the Motherland Party won 45.2 percent of the vote and an absolute majority of seats in the new unicameral National Assembly. The Populist Party won 30.5 percent of the vote, and the Nationalist Democracy Party obtained only 23.3 percent of the vote. The results were widely viewed as a rebuke to the military.
Municipal elections followed the parliamentary elections early the following year. Prior to the March 25, 1984, election date, the assembly voted to allow some of the banned parties to participate. Among the new parties were the Social Democratic Party (Sosyal Demokrat Parti--Sodep), led by university professor Erdal Inönü, son of Turkey's second president, and the True Path Party (Dogru Yol Partisi--DYP), led unofficially by Süleyman Demirel. The Motherland Party continued as Turkey's leading party, claiming 41.5 percent of the vote nationwide; the Social Democratic Party drew 23.5 percent, and the True Path Party 13.5 percent. Another new party with a religious orientation, the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi--RP; also seen as Prosperity Party), garnered 4.5 percent.
The two parties that had competed with the Motherland Party in the previous general elections now appeared even weaker, receiving some 7 percent of the vote each. The 1984 municipal elections would be the last in which each would compete. In November 1985, the Populist Party merged with the Social Democratic Party, and in May 1986 the leadership of the Nationalist Democracy Party voted to dissolve the organization. Most of the party faithful found a new home in the broad spectrum that made up the Motherland Party; others joined the True Path Party. At this time, Ecevit also emerged with a rival left-of-center party, the Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Partisi--DSP), officially led by his wife, Rahsan.
In national elections for local government officials held on September 28, 1986, Özal's party saw its popularity decline, although it still garnered a plurality of votes. The Motherland Party received 32 percent of votes cast, compared with 23.7 percent for the True Path Party, which emerged as the second largest party at a time when Demirel, its de facto leader, was still officially banned from politics. The product of a merger, the new Social Democratic Populist Party (Sosyal Demokrat Halkçi Parti--SHP) took 22.7 percent of the vote; the DSP drew 8.5 percent. Following this election, Özal found himself under increasing pressure to restore the political rights of the banned politicians. The assembly repealed the provisional article of the constitution that would have banned them from political activity until 1991.
Following the constitutional amendments, which also enlarged the National Assembly to 450 seats, the prime minister announced that assembly elections would be held early, on November 29. Özal also amended the election laws to increase the advantage to large parties, which under existing laws already stood to gain from minimum-threshold provisions and the manner in which extra seats were allocated. The Motherland Party saw its electoral percentage drop to 36.3 percent, nearly 10 percentage points below its 1983 total, but given the late amendments to the electoral law, the party retained an absolute majority in the assembly with 292 seats, or 65 percent of the total. The SHP won 24.8 percent of the vote and received 22 percent of the seats; Demirel's party won 19.2 percent of the vote but only 13 percent of the seats. The leader of the True Path Party denounced the late changes to the election law and dubbed the new government the "election-law government." None of the other parties competing reached the required 10 percent threshold; Ecevit's DSP received 8.5 percent of the vote, while Erbakan's Welfare Party received less than 7 percent.
In 1989, as Evren's term as president drew to an end, Özal announced that he would seek to succeed him. This decision was made despite the steadily declining popularity of Özal and the Motherland Party. In municipal elections on March 26, the Motherland Party polled only 21.9 percent of the vote, third behind the SHP's 28.2 percent and the True Path Party's 25.6 percent. On October 30, 1989, parliament elected Özal Turkey's eighth president. He was sworn in on November 9, after Bayar the second civilian in modern Turkish history to hold the position.
Özal's popularity declined steadily, largely because of problems in the economy. Of particular concern was the recurrence of high inflation, which had returned to precoup levels and was rapidly eroding the purchasing power of most Turks. Coupled with economic difficulties were widespread perceptions of government corruption and nepotism, which forced the resignation of several members of Özal's government.
In the summer of 1990, the crisis in the Persian Gulf resulting from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait gave Özal the opportunity to regain the political initiative. The Turkish government moved quickly to support UN sanctions against Iraq, on August 7 stopping the flow of oil through the pipeline from Iraq to Turkey's Mediterranean coast. In September the assembly voted to allow foreign troops onto Turkish soil and to authorize Turkish troops to serve in the Persian Gulf. Opposition parties found little to offer in the way of other options. Özal no doubt hoped that Turkey's willing participation in the United States-led coalition would strengthen the country's image abroad as a crucial ally, a particular concern in the post-Cold War world. Some have speculated that he hoped Turkish involvement would lead to EC admission, much as Turkey's participation in the Korean War had provided the opportunity to join NATO. The government authorized the use of the air base at Incirlik by Allied aircraft in the bombing campaign against Iraq. In addition, Turkish troops were deployed along the Turkish-Iraqi border, although Ankara insisted that it did not intend to open a second front against Iraq and that it remained committed to Iraq's territorial integrity.
In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi Kurds attempted to throw off the rule of Saddam Husayn in northern Iraq, following encouragement by United States officials. The uprising, which failed to receive support from the allied coalition, was quickly crushed, leading a massive number of Iraqi Kurdish civilians to seek safety in Iran and Turkey. The Turkish government was unable or unwilling to permit several hundred thousand refugees to enter the country. The coalition allies, together with Turkey, proposed the creation of a "security zone" in northern Iraq. By mid-May 1991, some 200,000 Kurdish refugees had been persuaded to return to Iraq.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and its East European bloc had significant implications for Turkey's foreign policy. In the trans-Caucasian region of the former Soviet Union, the armed conflict between the newly independent republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region found the Turkish government trying to remain above the fray, despite popular sympathy for the Azerbaijani claims. Turkey sought close ties with the new republics of Central Asia, arguing that Turkey's experience as a secular republic could serve as a useful model for these states.
Relations with Bulgaria, which were strained by the faltering communist regime's persecution of ethnic Turkish Bulgarians in the late 1980s, improved following that regime's collapse. The new government abandoned the campaign of ethnic harassment. Elsewhere in the Balkans, Turkey maintained close relations with Albania and established contact with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Relations with Greece continued to be complicated by long-standing differences over Cyprus and naval and air rights in the Aegean Sea. In 1986 Özal paid an official visit to the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which to date remains without diplomatic recognition from any state other than Turkey. In March 1987, Greece and Turkey nearly came to blows over oil-drilling rights in the Aegean Sea. Nevertheless, both countries' governments displayed a willingness to emphasize diplomacy over force. In June 1989, Özal became the first Turkish prime minister to visit Athens in thirty-six years. Talks on the future of Cyprus, held under UN auspices, have remained inconclusive, and the island remains under a de facto partition after more than twenty years.
Turkey's 1991 parliamentary elections may have been the most significant since the restoration of civilian rule. Political power passed peacefully from the Motherland Party to its major rival, the True Path Party. In the vote held on October 21, Demirel's party won about 27 percent and captured the largest block of seats, 178. The Motherland Party, widely predicted as destined for oblivion, surprised its critics by polling some 24 percent of the vote and winning 115 seats. The SHP, which had expected to do better, won 20.8 percent of the vote, or eighty-eight seats. Left-of-center votes were split between the SHP and the DSP; the latter gained about 10.8 percent of the vote and seven seats. The Welfare Party appeared to do very well, with 16.9 percent and sixty-two seats, but this result reflected a strategic decision to join forces with another religiously oriented party in order to surpass the 10 percent threshold. Following the elections, the alliance was dissolved in the assembly. Although the Motherland and True Path parties were not too far apart ideologically, the personal discord between Özal and Demirel precluded any coalition arrangement. Instead, Demirel made common cause with Erdal Inönü's SHP, an alliance with the left that he had resisted throughout the 1970s. The coalition controlled 266 seats in parliament and reflected the support of almost 48 percent of the electorate.
Defining the place of the Kurdish ethnic minority in Turkey remained a difficult challenge throughout this period; indeed, it may have ranked as the primary challenge to domestic political stability. Given the founding principles of the Turkish republic, conceiving the country as the homeland of the Turks, any proposed recognition of Kurdish linguistic or cultural rights has been questioned on the grounds that such recognition would threaten the unity of the Turkish nation.
President Özal went farther than any Turkish official in extending recognition of Kurdish identity when, in January 1991, he proposed rescinding a law prohibiting the playing of Kurdish music or the use of Kurdish speech. Law 2932, passed in 1983 (declaring the mother tongue of Turkish citizens to be Turkish), was repealed in April 1991, thereby legalizing Kurdish speech, song, and music. Proposals were also floated for a relaxation of the ban on Kurdish in the print and broadcast media and in education, but such liberalization did not occur.
Since the restoration of civilian rule, Turkish governments have been faced with the armed insurrection of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan--PKK). The PKK, one of several armed Kurdish guerrilla organizations, was founded by Abdullah Öcalan in 1978. Öcalan fled to Syria after the 1980 coup. The PKK, which was officially banned by the Turkish government, began a sustained guerrilla campaign in March 1984, timed to coincide with the beginning of the Kurdish new year. The conflict, which between 1984 and 1994 claimed about 12,000 lives, showed no signs of abating by the early 1990s. The Turkish army was unable to defeat the PKK with military force alone, while the PKK was no closer to its goal of an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey (see Political Parties, ch. 4; Kurdish Separatists, ch. 5).
In 1980 the rate of inflation was more than 100 percent at one point and stayed at 70 percent for most of the year. The economic stabilization program, begun before the coup, now proceeded unhindered by political resistance. The program aimed to improve Turkey's balance of payments, bring inflation under control, and create an export-oriented free-market economy. To achieve these goals, the plan sought devaluation of the lira on a continuing basis, increases in interest rates to reduce inflation and overconsumption, a freeze on wages, and a reduction in state subsidies. Exports were to be encouraged through subsidies for exporters, reductions in bureaucratic regulations, and the abolition of customs duties on imports needed for export-oriented industries. Foreign investment was actively encouraged by laws providing for easy repatriation of capital and export of profits,and the establishment of four free-trade zones.
The results of the ambitious programs of the 1980s were mixed. On the negative side, purchasing power declined 40 to 60 percent in the decade from 1979 to 1989. Inflation, which had been brought down to annual rates of 30 to 40 percent in the early 1980s, was back up to nearly 70 percent by 1988. The steady decline in Özal's popularity with the electorate can be attributed in large part to these disappointing results. The government continued to run a high deficit, partly because of its unwillingness or inability to end support of large state-owned industries. On the positive side, exports grew by an average of 22 percent each year between 1980 and 1987. Exports in 1979 amounted to US$2.3 billion; in 1988 the value of exports had increased to US$11.7 billion. Moreover, industrial exports rose in this period from less than 45 percent of all exports to more than 72 percent.
The government also undertook to modernize the country's infrastructure, emphasizing improvements in roads and telecommunications. In July 1988, a second bridge across the Bosporus was opened, paralleling the first bridge opened in 1973. Together with a bypass road around Istanbul, the bridges were intended to facilitate commercial traffic moving to and from Europe and the Middle East. Of perhaps the most long-term significance was the ongoing commitment to the Southeast Anatolia Project (Güneydogu Anadolu Projesi--GAP), a series of dams along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that when completed would include hydroelectric plants as well as extensive irrigation works. The latter were projected to allow for the irrigation of 1.6 million hectares of land, or twice the area previously under cultivation. In addition, the plentiful hydroelectricity would supply energy for Turkish industry. Because of Turkey's inability to come to agreement with its downstream neighbors, Iraq and Syria, no international funds were made available for GAP. The project, consequently, was self-financed. In 1992 a milestone was reached with the opening of the Atatürk Dam on the Euphrates, northwest of Urfa.
On April 17, 1993, President Özal died suddenly of a heart attack. On its third ballot, on May 16, the assembly elected Süleyman Demirel as Turkey's ninth president. Demirel was succeeded by former economics minister Tansu Çiller, who became Turkey's first woman prime minister. She received nearly 90 percent of the votes cast in a special election for the leadership of the True Path Party. The smooth succession of power may be seen as evidence that civilian rule was firmly in place. Moreover, the accession of Çiller to the prime minister's office, the second highest position in the nation, showed the extent to which Atatürk's legacy, and in particular the political rights of women, was becoming ingrained in the Turkish body politic.