Turkey Brief History

By | October 26, 2021


Materials referable to the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic have been found in particular in the Antalya region, in the Kara’in cave. More recent frequentations are attested, in the same region, in the shelters of Belbasi and Beldibi, as well as levels with microlithic industries without geometric elements. Neolithic finds are much more abundant, especially in the southern areas, where there were populations dedicated to hunting and later to the domestication of animals, the breeding of livestock and the cultivation of vegetable products. The best known prehistoric stations are Çatal-Hüyük, Mersin and Hacilar (VII millennium BC). Recent theories postulate an origin of the Indo-European languages, brought together with the Neolithic innovations in the old continent, right in the Anatolian Peninsula. The Bronze Age saw the birth of large fortified settlements, as evidenced by the first two levels of Troy, Kültepe and Malatya, characterized by real “palace” structures, by a rich material culture and by the emergence, at the beginning of II millennium a. C., of writing, all phenomena that prelude to the flowering of the Hittite civilization. For the history preceding the First World War see Asia Minor.


According to Usprivateschoolsfinder, the defeat in the First World War overwhelmed not only the Central Empires (Austria-Hungary, Germany) but also their ally the Ottoman Empire. The harsh conditions of the peace treaty (Sèvres, August 10, 1920), which drastically reduced the Turkish territory to Anatolia alone and imposed the Franco-British protection and the presence of the troops of the victors on the national territory, reinvigorated the nationalistic currents which, under the leadership of Muṣṭafâ Kemâl (Kemāl Atatürk), they overthrew the decrepit sultanate (1 November 1922) and established the republic. This was officially born on October 29, 1923 by the Grand National Assembly of Angora (now Ankara) which entrusted power to Muṣṭafâ Kemâl. The latter, in April 1924, had the new Constitution promulgated, which provided for a democratically elected Grand Assembly and the figure of the President of the Republic, holder of executive power together with the Council of Ministers. With a truly innovative spirit for the time, the state was secularized; Islamic laws and courts were abolished along with the Muslim calendar; the Latin alphabet was introduced in place of the Arabic one; many traditions and the use of the fez. With the Greeks cleared of Anatolia (1921-22), Turkey became a nation state with few and well-kept ethnic minorities. Cohesion within the state was pursued by the Republican People’s Party, founded and chaired by Kemâl. The one-party phase, the backbone of a dictatorial regime, however, did not represent a reactionary involution for the country, but a phase of energetic modernization of all the structures of the state on the Western model. The foreign policy of Kemâl, now known as Atatürk (“father of the Turks”), was inspired by a prudent neutrality. This allowed him to obtain the recovery of full Turkish sovereignty over the Strait of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus (Montreux Convention, 1936) and the annexation of Alexandretta, the current İskenderun. Atatürk was succeeded as president of the republic by his old comrade in arms, ʽIsmet Inönü, wise administrator of a difficult inheritance. After the Second World War, a second party arose, the Democratic Party (1945), which assumed the role of legal opposition. The anti – communist policy of the government fueled a certain tension with the USSR which lasted until 1966. The bourgeois government privileged friendship with the United States and capitalist Europe (accession to the Council of Europe, 1949; the Atlantic Pact, 1951; to the Baghdad Pact, 1955). Adnan Menderes who rejected the opposition Kemalists. However, the degeneration of his government into an almost dictatorial regime provoked a military coup (1960), following which the rulers were tried and three of them, including Menderes himself, executed (1961). The Republican People’s Party then returned to power with ‘Iṣmet Inönü (1961), but the Democratic Party, resurrected as the Justice Party, regained the upper hand with Süleymân Demirel (1965). He led Turkey until the military coup d’etat who, from 1971 to 1973, ruled the country with an iron fist. With the end of the dictatorship, in January 1974, Bülent Ecevit came to powerof the People’s Republican Party. In July of the same year Ecevit ordered the invasion of the northern half of Cyprus to prevent an attempted annexation of the island by Greece. In the five years that followed, Turkey was torn apart by the struggle between the two most important parties and by terrorism, without the weak governments that alternated in power being able to remedy it. From 1975 to 1978 the government was entrusted to the Demirel Justice Party and from 1978 to 1979 to Ecevit’s rival party.

Turkey Brief History