Turkey Since Independence

By | December 18, 2021

Here we are dealing with the history of Turkey starting from the proclamation of the republic, while, for the previous history of the Turkish state, see ottoman, empire. When the Grand National Assembly of Angora decided on the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate (November 1, 1922), Turkey found itself to be an ill-defined republican state, called the “government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey” (in the new Turkish alphabet- Latin Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisinin Hükumeti). The National Assembly, constituted in Angora on April 23, established that sovereignty belonged entirely to the nation; this delegated its powers to the Grand Assembly whose president, Muṣṭafà Kemāl, was by right the president of the ministers. With the abolition of the sultanate, the tendency of those who, once the struggle for independence was over, would have wanted to put the descendant of ‛Osmān at the head of the state; instead, the position of caliph (see) of the Muslims was left in the Ottoman family, which soon proved unsustainable. The form of the regime was surely defined later, after the conclusion of the peace conference in Lausanne (13 October 1923). In fact, on 29 October 1923 the second Grand National Assembly proclaimed the republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cümhuriyeti) and at the same time elected Gh ā z ā Mustafà Kemāl as president. The regime’s revolution was completed with the abolition of the caliphate decided by the assembly on March 3, 1924. For Turkey 2003, please check computerannals.com.

Turkey’s foreign policy was aimed at establishing peaceful relations with all states and the liquidation of some unsolved issues in the Treaty of Lausanne. In addition to the border agreements (see page 534 ff.), A Franco-Turkish friendship treaty was signed in Paris on February 3, 1930; Italian-Turkish relations were amicably affirmed with a treaty signed in Rome on May 30, 1928. Turkey maintains particularly friendly relations with the USSR (treaty of December 17, 1925, later renewed) and with Afghānistān. There is a Turkish-Persian-Afghan solidarity, as evidenced by the Turkish arbitration in the question of the borders between Persia and Afghānistān (1934). In 1935 a Protocol of neutrality and arbitration between Turkey, Persia and ‛Irāq was signed in Geneva, which was also joined by the Afghānistān. Turkey’s political activity in recent years has focused on Balkan affairs. Following the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey (Lausanne Convention of January 30, 1923, Angora Agreement of June 10, 1930), a non-negligible phenomenon of forced transmigration of one million Greeks from Turkey and half a million Turks from Turkey. Greece, Greek-Turkish relations improved and made a rapprochement possible. Turkey took an active part in the conclusion of the Pact of the Balkan Entente (Athens, February 9, 1934), which showed to be related to the Little Danube Entente. However, Bulgaria has been excluded from the Balkan Pact, whose relations with Turkey have been diplomatically correct but not cordial for years. Turkey from 1932 became part of the League of Nations. His govemment at the disarmament conference and later, discussing the rearmament of Germany in Geneva (April 17, 1935), raised the question of the Straits, which had been demilitarized under the Treaty of Lausanne. The Montreux conference (22 June-20 July 1936) led to the signing of a new convention, which, among other things, allows Turkey to rearm the straits. The commercial agreement annexed to the Treaty of Lausanne remained in force until 6 August 1929; from this date Turkey, having regained freedom of action in customs matters, has concluded new trade treaties and applied new tariffs to favor national industry and since 1931 has established direct control over foreign trade.

The most revolutionary acts of the new Turkey (for the constitutional order see above) after the abolition of the sultanate and the proclamation of the republic, are those decided on March 3, 1924 at the same time as the abolition of the caliphate: suppression of the ministries of the Scerìa and of the Waqf and unification of teaching. These decisions, validated in 1928 with the modification of the constitution (for which see above: Constitutional order) determined the secular politics of the state. Turkey must still be regarded as an Islamic country, but the state is secular and its policy in many manifestations is irreligious. It will suffice to enumerate the series of legislative measures which, on the basis of this policy, radically changed the ordering of Turkish society: April 8, 1924, abolition of the courts of the Scerìa; November 30, 1925, closing of tekke, türbe and zaviye ; February 17, 1926, approval of the new Civil Code (translation of the Swiss Civil Code), with consequent abrogation of Muslim law also in everything concerning the family and succession; 10 March 1926, approval of the new Penal Code (translation of the Italian Penal Code); April 9, 1928, law for the secularization of the state. A complex of other reforms, while not affecting the constitutional systems, has accentuated the detachment of the Turkish people from Islamic and oriental traditions and customs: August 1925, abolition of the fez and obligation to wear the European hat (Ş apka); December 1925, introduction of the European calendar and the European counting of hours (the Gregorian calendar had already been introduced in 1917, but the years from the ègira continued to be counted); May 24, 1928, introduction of European digits instead of Arabic numerals; November 3, 1928, law on the replacement of the new Turkish-Latin alphabet for the Arabic one; September 10, 1929, suppression of the teaching of Arabic and Persian in middle schools; 1931-35, movement for linguistic reform for the revision of the teaching of Turkish history with a nationalist orientation to the bitter end (see also Turks); December 3, 1934, law forbidding Christian ecclesiastics and men of Jewish and Muslim religion to wear their special clothes except in places and ceremonies of worship; May 27, 1935, fixing of the weekly rest on Sunday for all citizens without regard to confessions (until now the official rest day was Friday, a public holiday of Islamism).

These measures can be better understood by summarizing the events of internal politics and the struggle of tendencies and people that has been fought in Turkey in these twelve years. Mustafà Kemāl (Kemal Atatürk from the year 1934, in which the law for the obligatory introduction of the family surname was approved), even after being elected president of the republic (October 29, 1923) remained at the head of the “People’s Party” (Halk F ī rkasï) formed in 1923 as heir, but in an innovative and more revolutionary sense, of the “Association for the defense of the rights of Anatolia and of European Turkey”, which had gathered in its ranks the political and military leaders in the struggle for independence against the Greeks and against the sultan. The “People’s Party” ruled Turkey until 1924 with ‛Iṣmet Pascià (since 1934 ‘Ismet Inonü) prime minister; at the end of 1924 symptoms of opposition appeared; the discontent and dissenters formed a new progressive republican party on November 17, 1924, chaired by General Kāẓim Qara Bekir Pascià; the ministry ‛Iṣmet resigned and a ministry presided over by Fetḥī Bey, of moderate tendencies, came to the government. The People’s Party, which became the People’s Republican Party on 10 November 1924, however, he got his revenge the following year; the revolt of the Kurds of the eastern provinces (spring 1925) brought back to power ‛Iṣmet Pascià, who has remained prime minister to this day. The Progressive Republican Party broke up; since 1925 Turkey has had only one party, the People’s Republican Party (Cümhuriyet Halk Fïrkasï), who marked the directives of the government. The party has a vast organization that reaches as far as the villages and is also involved in sports and cultural propaganda, making use of the institution called Halk Evi “House of the People” which replaced the Türk Oca ǧ ï in 1932. The deputies of the present great assembly (Kamutay) of Angora are all members of this party, except 13 independents. A few years ago there was another attempt to establish the internal politics of the country on a double game of tendencies, giving rise to a movement in opposition to the dominant party; the experiment, which is believed to have been suggested by the president of the republic himself, was conducted by Fetḥī Bey, who founded a liberal republican party in 1930; the excesses which immediately gave rise to freedom of discussion led the government to put an end to the movement, which ended the same year. Among the events of the internal politics of the Republic of Turkey, some facts should be noted, which prove how the revolutionary action of the dominant party did not pass without opposition: the Kurdish revolt of 1925 was based on the aspirations of autonomy of that people and found an easy pretext in the secular politics of the government; it was violently repressed then and had sporadic manifestations still in the eastern provinces, especially in the Kurdish insurrection of Aǧrï Daǧo Ararat (1931). A dangerous movement of religious reaction, promptly suppressed, arose in Menemen (Smyrna) in 1931; sporadic opposition to the obligation to wear a hat, to use the Turkish-Latin alphabet, to pronounce the ez ā n or call to prayer occurred in recent years in Istanbul Brussa and in some eastern provinces; the activity of the Muslim brotherhoods (Naqshibendi and Mevlevi) abolished in 1925 can actually be said to have ceased, despite some isolated attempts by sheikhs and a few followers.

The directives that have dominated and continued to regulate the policy of the new Turkey essentially consisted of the program of modernizing the country according to European systems, strengthening economic resources and strengthening the means of defense towards the outside. The personal tendencies of the leaders and the experience of the last decades of the Ottoman Empire meant that modernization was set in motion towards a complete break with the traditions of the past and the elimination of everything connected with the Ottoman regime, with Islamic civilization. and oriental uses. Ultimately, all this effort is driven by a strong nationalist revolutionary sentiment that is not lacking in excesses.

Turkey Since Independence