Turkey: 20th Century Timeline

Turkey: 20th Century Timeline

Today’s Turkey is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire which was found in 1299.

Ottoman Empire was found near Bursa, a city by the Marmara sea and then expanded into Thrace, and then towards Balkans. By the beginning of the 15th century, most of Ottoman Empire consisted of European lands and later the empire spread onto 3 continents.

The modern Turkish Republic was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, to transform the country into a democracy in the modern sense.

20th century was a very important era in Turkish history with drastic effects on Turkish people. During this century, Turkey turned from a multi-cultural Empire that was situated on 3 continents into an ethnic-state stuck between the East and the West.

Turkey went through a social transformation such as mass urbanisation. Stuck between the communist Soviet block, the Capitalist West and the chaotic Middle-east on south, the Turkish peoples went through an intense transformation.

Here are some key milestones during 20th century that will help explain the situation of modern Turkey today:

1918: defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, armistice of Mudros, partial occupation by the allied ones


1919: Beginning of the national liberation war under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


1920: Treaty of Sevres (not recognized by Ataturk)


1922: Abolition of the sultanate / end of the Ottoman Empire. Reclaiming Izmir (Smyrna)

Lausanna Treaty

Lausanna Treaty


1923: proclamation of the republic by Ataturk (29.10.); Peace Treaty of Lausanne


1924: First Constitution. Abolition of the Islamic Caliphate (03.03.)


1925: Islamic Kurdish uprising under Sheikh Said (February to June). Prohibition of religious orders and communities. Abolition of Fez. Introduction of the Western calendar.


1926: Modernization of civil and criminal law on the European model.


Ataturk observing a student using Latin alphabet

Ataturk observing a student using Latin alphabet

1928: Introduction of the Latin alphabet. Abolition of Islam as state religion.


1933: Start of the emigration of German university teachers to Turkey


1934: Introduction of women’s suffrage


1936: Treaty of Montreux for the regulation of navigation through the straits (Bosphorus and Dardanelles).

Hatay province joins Turkey by referendum

Hatay province joins Turkey by referendum


1938: Hatay province (Alexandrette) joins Turkey by referendum. Death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (10.11.)


Churchill and Inönu

Churchill and Inönu

1945: Turkish declaration of war against Nazi Germany. Turkey becomes a founding member of the United Nations. Transition to a multi-party democracy.


1948: Truman Doctrine: Reinforcement of US involvement in Turkey within the containment policy of the United States


1949: Turkey joins the Council of Europe (09.08.), four months after its founding (05.05.)

Adnan Menderes became Prime minister in 1950

Adnan Menderes became Prime minister in 1950


1950: Democratic Party victory (Adnan Menderes), first-time replacement of Ataturk’s Republican People’s Party.

Turkish soldiers in Korean War

Turkish soldiers in Korean War

1952: Turkey joins NATO and participates in the Korean War with 5000 soldiers.


1959: Contracts of Zurich and London (Turkey becomes a guarantee for Cyprus together with Greece and Great Britain)


1960: First coup d’etat of the military (27.05.): Withdrawal of the Menderes government. Independence of Cyprus


1961: Second, liberal constitution


1963: Association of Turkey to the EEC (Treaty of Ankara of 12.09.1963)


1971: Second coup by the Turkish military (12.03.)

Cypriot Turks welcoming Turkish army

Cypriot Turks welcoming Turkish army


1974: Turkish military intervention in Cyprus as a result of the Greek-inspired coup d’etat on the island (20.07.)

General Kenan Evren

General Kenan Evren

1980: Third coup d’etat of the military (12 September). General Evren becomes the president


1982: Adoption of the third constitution by referendum (07.11.)


1983: In the parliamentary elections, the Motherland Party (ANAP) receives an absolute majority under Turgut Ozal

Turgut Ozal saluting people at a political rally

Turgut Ozal saluting people at a political rally


1987: referendum on the re-admission of politicians banned in 1980; Parliamentary elections: Ozal’s victory (ANAP). EC membership application


1995: First civil constitutional amendment. Early parliamentary elections: Islamist Welfare Party (Refah Partisi: RP) wins by a small margin.


1996: Customs Union with the EU from 01.01 .;


1997: Turkish Military warns Islamist Welfare Party (Refah Partisi: RP) against Islamist activity. Welfare Party and PM Necmettin Erbakan resigns (June 1997).


1998: Yilmaz (ANAP) government dissolves in November


11.1. 1999: minority government under Bulent Ecevit (DSP)

PKK leader Ocalan captured and flown in from Kenya

PKK leader Ocalan captured and flown in from Kenya


Early 1999: Detention of PKK leader Ocalan in Kenya and transfer to Turkey (since then on the prison island Imrali / Marmara Sea)


10./11.12. 1999: Turkey becomes EU candidate country (HE Helsinki)

This article originally appeared on EverythingTurkish

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