Turkey: General Outline

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    Turkey: General Outline konusu Geographically, the country is located in the northern half of the hemisphere at a point that is about halfway between the equator and the north pole, at a longitude of 36 degrees N to 42 degrees N and a latitude of 26 degrees E to 45 degrees EThe lands of Turkey are located at a point where the three continents making up the old world Asia, Africa and Europe are closest to each other, and straddle the point where Europe and Asia meet Turkey is roughly rectangular in shape and is 1,660 kilometers wide

    Because of its geographical location the mainland of Anatolia has always found favour throughout history, and is the birthplace of many great civilizations It has also been prominent as a centre of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides


    The actual area of Turkey inclusive of its lakes, is 814,578 square kilometres, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located in Europe


    The land borders of Turkey are 2,573 kilometres in total, and coastlines (including islands) are another 8,333 kilometres, Turkey has two European and six Asian countries for neighbours along its land borders

    Turkey's borders on the European continent consist of a 212-kilometre frontier with Greece and a 269-kilometre border with BulgariaThe land border to the northeast with the commonwealth of Independent States is 610 kilometres long; that with Iran, 454 kilometres long, and that with Iraq 331 kilometres long In the south is the 877 kilometre-long border with Syria, which took its present form in 1939, when the Republic of Hatay joined Turkey

    Geographical Regions

    The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a narrow but long beltTurkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions The land of this region is approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area

    Whilst the region is the smallest of the regions of Turkey after the Southeast Anatolia region, it has the highest population density of all the regionsThe Marmara region covers the area encircling the Sea of Marmara, includes the entire European part of Turkey, as well as the northwest of the Anatolian plain

    [​IMG]The most important peak in the region is Uludag (2,543 metres), at the same time it is a major winter sports and tourist centre In the Anatolian part of the region there are fertile plains running from east to west

    The Aegean region extends from the Aegean coast to the inner parts of western Anatolia There are significant differences between the coastal areas and those inland, in terms of both geographical features and economic and social aspects

    In general, the mountains in the region fall perpendicularly into the sea and the plains run from east to west The plains through which Gediz, Kücük Menderes and Bakircay rivers flow carry the same names as these rivers

    In the Mediterranean region, located in the south of Turkey, the western and central Taurus Mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline The Amanos mountain range is also in the area

    The Central Anatolian region is exactly in the middle of Turkey and gives the appearance of being less mountainous compared with the other regions The main peaks of the region are Karadag, Karacadag, Hasandag and Erciyes (3917 metres)

    The Eastern Anatolia region is Turkey's largest and highest region About three fourths of it is at an altitude of 1,500-2,000 metres Eastern Anatolia is composed of individual mountains as well as of whole mountain ranges, with vast plateaus and plains The mountains: There are numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek and Turkey's highest peak, Mount Agri (Ararat), which is 5,165 metres high

    These are the plains of Malazgirt, Mus, Capakcur, Uluova and MalatyaAt the same time, several plains extended along the course of the River Murat, a tributary of the Firat (Euphrates)

    The Southeast Anatolia region is notable for the uniformity of its landscape, although the eastern part of the region is comparatively more uneven than its western areas


    Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea i the west In the northwest there is also an important internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world

    Because the mountains in the Black Sea region run parallel to the coastline, the coasts are fairly smooth, without too many indentations or projections The length of the Black Sea coastline in Turkey is 1,595 kilometres, and the salinity of the sea is 17% The Mediterranean coastline runs for 1,577 kilometres and here too the mountain ranges are parallel to the coastline

    [​IMG]The salinity level of the Mediterranean is about double that of the Black Sea

    Although the Aegean coastline is a continuation of the Mediterranean coast, it is quite irregular because the mountains in the area fall perpendicularly into the Aegean Sea As a result, the length of the Aegean Sea coast is over 2,800 kilometres The coastline faces out to many islands
    The Marmara Sea is located totally within national boundaries and occupies an area of 11,350 square kilometres The coastline of the Marmara Sea is over 1,000 kilometres long; it is connected to the Black Sea by the Bosphorus and with the Mediterranean by the Dardanelles


    Turkey's longest rivers, the Kizilirmak, Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black SeaMost of the rivers of Turkey flow into the seas surrounding the country The Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf The Susurluk, Biga and Gonen pour into the Sea of Marmara, the Gediz, Kucuk Menderes, Buyuk Menderes and Meric into the Aegean, and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Goksu into the Mediterranean


    [​IMG]In terms of numbers of lakes, the Eastern Anatolian region is the richest It contains Turkey's largest, Lake Van (3713 square kilometres), and the lakes of Ercek, Cildir and Hazar There are also many lakes in the Taurus mountains area: the Beysehir and Egirdir lakes, and the lakes that contain bitter waters like the Burdur and Acigoller lakes, for example Around the Sea of Marmara are located the lakes of Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Kucukcekmece and Buyukcekmece In Central Anatoia is the second largest lake in Turkey: Tuzgolu: The waters of this lake are shallow and very salty The lakes of Aksehir and Eber are also located in this region

    As a result of the construction of dams during the past thirty years, several large dam lakes have come into existence Together with the Ataturk Dam lake which started to collect water in January 1990, the following are good examples: Keban, Karakaya, Altinkaya, Adiguzel, Kilickaya, Karacaoren, Menzelet, Kapulukaya, Hirfanli, Sariyar and Demirkopru

    The Climate

    Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape , and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, results in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall
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    An Outline of Turkish History from its Inception to 1350

    Throughout history the Turks have established numerous states in different geographical areas on the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa Therefore, they encountered different cultures, they influenced these cultures and were influenced by them

    The Chinese records reported that the first appearance of the Turks in history was in the Kömen Mountains, where the most ancient remains were found The culture referred to as Tagar, featuring remains found on the Tagar Island at the Yenisei River on the northern foot of the Köğmen Mountains and dating back to the seventh century BC, is attributed to the ancient Turks The Tagar Culture, however, originated from another ancient culture called the Karasuk which flourished on the same shores, which dates back to two thousand BC

    It is accepted that Turkish political history in Asia starts with the Huns The Hun State , which first appeared in the third century BC, became a significant and powerful state during the reign of its founder, Mete Khan, and passed through fundamental changes, economically and socially, due to her relations with China Having a defined and certain strategy, Mete first of all defeated the Mongolians and then the Yuechis, and thereafter, having taken the western gates and trade routes of China under his control, he gained significant economic power This systematic expansion policy resulted in the seizure of Eastern Turkestan, the wheat and provisions granary, by the Huns
    After the collapse of the Asian Hun State, a new state called the Göktürk was founded by the Turkish tribes who adopted the traditions and administrative experiences of the Huns The Göktürk State (552-740) is the second great state established by the Turks Unlike the Huns, the Göktürks attached particular importance to urbanization, realized agricultural reforms and seed improvement and "sagacity" was the foremost concept

    They asserted that the state could not be ruled only by fighting and bravery and the Khanate should also require wisdomBilge Khan and Kultegin took their place in history as the wisest and most heroic figures among Turkish statesmen It was because of this that both the Khans and Tonyukuk, another Göktürk Khan, immortalized their accomplishments with inscriptions These inscriptions are the first written texts of the Turkish language

    The Göktürk State collapsed after struggles with the Chinese, on the one hand, and with the Turkish tribes within the state, such as the Dokuz O¤uzlar, Karluks and Basm›ls, on the other hand The Uigur Turks, who were the native tribes of the Orhun and Selenge valleys, founded the third great Turkish state The Uigur State (741-840) attached importance to trade and continued the traditions and customs of the Göktürks The trade developed and the Manichean temples were turned into bazaar temples in time due to the influence of Manicheism, the official religion

    The warlike aspects of the Uigurs gradually grew weaker in time as they developed culturally and commercially The Kyrgyz Turks living to the northwest, took advantage of this situation and planned a surprise attack on the Uigur capital city, which resulted in a war and at the end the Uigur state collapsed

    The Western Turks A group of Huns who migrated towards the West first settled in a region to the north of the Black Sea extending to the Danube River First the Huns made raids on Iran and Anatolia via the Caucasia, and then they attacked the territories of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires They fought with the Franks in 428, and two years later, reached the areas which are presently the Netherlands and Denmark The Western Huns, who were known as the first Turkish state founded in Europe, became a great state with territories extending from the banks of the Rhine to the Volga River, under the leadership of Attila the Hun This state played an important role in transmitting Eastern civilization to the West, and organized campaigns to Italy, the Balkans and Gaul in the reign of Attila The Western Hun State collapsed a short time after Attila passed away (470)

    They first came to Caucasia and the north of the Black Sea, made an agreement with the Byzantines and fought against, and defeated, Turkish tribes such as the Sabirs and Onogurs on behalf of the Byzantines These Ogur tribes, who settled to the north of the Caucasus, raided the Byzantine territories from Macedonia to ThessalyDuring the collapse of the Hun Empire in Europe, a new wave of tribal migrations started in Central Asia The north of the Black Sea was confronted with a new wave of Turkish migration The first tribes to arrive were the Sabirs, Sarogurs and Onogurs It is known that the Bulgarian Turks also came to this region along side the Ogur Turks Byzantine sources refer to the name "Bulgarian" for the first time in 482 In fact, the Avars, with the Bulgarian Turks under their sovereignty, sieged the Byzantine capital at the beginning of the seventh century The Avars , who left their homeland in Central Asia and who escaped towards the West when the Göktürk State was founded in 552, had an important place in the history of Europe They expanded to the banks of the Danube River, over the lands of the Ants, a Slavic tribe From time to time, they made raids throughout the Balkans and even as far as the Peloponnese in Greece They sieged Istanbul in 626 together with the Bulgarian Turks The borders of the Avar Empire extended from the Dnieper to the Elbe River and from the North Sea to the Adriatic Sea during the reign of their famous ruler Bayan Khan The Avar Empire collapsed between 776-803 due to the concurrent attacks of Kurum Khan, the leader of the Bulgarian Turks and Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Present excavations and research in Hungary and Central Europe reveal that the Avars had an exemplary organization within the state and the army and attained a high level of civilization

    This state, which ruled for over 300 years bears the name of "Turk" in Arabian, Syrian and Byzantine sourcesDuring the period of disintegration of the Sabir State in the east of Europe, a new Turkish state called the Khazars came into existence The Khazars, who were considered to be the continuation of the Western Göktürks, took over their military and civilian organizations The Khazars acted as an allied force of the Byzantines in the war between Byzantium and Iran It is observed that the Arabs who occupied Azerbaijan around the beginning of the eighth century, also raided Khazar territories and occupied their capital city Belencer (in Dagestan)

    The war between the Khazars and the Caliphate continued for almost 25 years The Khazar armies once again went to the south of the Caucasus from 762 AD and occupied all of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Ras Tarhan, the Khazar commander advanced up to Georgia The Khazars were threatened afterwards by other Turkish tribes, and especially by the RussiansTheir state collapsed towards the end of the tenth century due to their long lasting wars against the Pechenegs

    Turkish History in the Islamic Period They occupied the Cuman plains and expelled the Hungarians ruling the lands between the Don and Dnieper Rivers towards the WestAnother Turkish tribe living in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and the Balkans was the Pechenegs The Pechenegs, an Oghuz tribe, whose initial settlement around Balkhash Lake moved on to the nearby Aral Sea during the fight between the Göktürks and Uigurs Then they moved further towards the West and fought against the Khazars Giving assistance to the Russians in their fights with the Khazars, they played a role in the founding of this state The Pechenegs, who ruled a territory extending from the Don River to the Danube River in the tenth century, made raids on Byzantine territories from the middle of the eleventh century However, they were decisively defeated by the joint forces of the Cumans and Byzantines beside the Lower Maritsa River in 1091 Some of the separate Pecheneg groups who could not represent a political existence after this defeat were settled in the territories of the Byzantine Empire Those who stayed in the Balkans and Hungary settled there and were assimilated After the decline of the Uigur State, the Karahanid State was founded in 840 by the Turkish tribes such as the Karluks, Çigils and Arguls The reign of the Karahanids is considered to be a turning point in Turkish history, because Islam was accepted as the official religion during the reign of Satuk Buğra Khan, the Karahanid leader Being the first Muslim Turkish state established in Central Asia, they laid the foundations of an historical development called Turkish-Islamic culture and civilization

    The Karahanids, whose first city of governance was Kashgar and second was Balasagun to the north, was divided between two brothers in 1042: the Eastern Karahanids and the Western Karahanids The Eastern Karahanid State survived until 1211 and then accepted the sovereignty of the Great Seljuk State Islamic-Turkish literature was developed during the rule of the Karahanid State which was customarily governed by just, religious, and culture loving Khans and Kashgar and Balasagun became important cultural centers

    The rulers succeeding Sultan Mahmud could not maintain this brilliant periodAt the time of the rule of the Karahanids, there was another Turkish state of which the capital city was Ghazna in Afghanistan The most powerful period of the Ghaznavid State (936-1187) was the reign of Mahmud of Ghazna who used the title of "Sultan" for the first time Sultan Mahmud, who organized many campaigns to India, took these places under Turkish rule, Islamized them and laid the foundation for today's State of Pakistan The Ghaznavids had to retreat to India after the Dandanakan War with the Seljuks in 1040 and finally came under the sovereignty of the Seljuks

    The Seljuks entered into a struggle of hegemony with these two Turkish states and were successful in establishing Turkish unity Therefore, it was named the Great Seljuk StateAnother great Turkish state was the Seljuk State (1040-1157) founded by the Seljuk Bey who was a member of the Kinik tribe of the Oghuz Turks The borders of the state covered an area from the Marmara Sea to the Balkhash Lake in Central Asia and from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea to the borders of India and Yemen At the time of Seljuk rule, there were also two other great and strong Turkish states, namely the Karahanids and Ghaznavids Togrul Bey, the Sultan of the Seljuks, entered Baghdad, the Abbasid Caliphate capital and ended the domination of the Buwayhids, a Persian Shiite dynasty, in 1055 Therefore, the Caliph bestowed on Togrul Bey the title of "Ruler of the World" During the reign of Sultan Alp Arslan, the successor of Togrul Bey, the territories of the country expanded significantly

    Sultan Alp Arslan inflicted a crushing defeat on the Byzantine army under the leadership of Romanus Diogenes at Manzikert (Malazgirt) in 1071The most significant events of this period were the clashes with the Byzantine Empire This victory firmly established Turkish rule in Anatolia

    During the reign of Sultan Malik Shah, one of the most powerful rulers of the Seljuks, the Seljuk State experienced her most successful period in the fields of military, science, politics and literature Madrasahs (theological schools) were opened all over the country The most important of these was the Nizamiye Madrasah constructed by the Vizier Nizam al-Mülk which was the foundation for the architecture of the Western universities

    During the disintegration period of the Great Seljuk State many small beylics and atabeylics were also established on the Anatolian territories of the stateAfter Sultan Malik Shah died, the country was divided into small states The Syrian Seljuks (1092-1117), Iraq and Khorasan Seljuks (1092-1194), Kirman Seljuks (1092-1187) and the Anatolian Seljuks (1092-1194) were among the small states These beylics played an important role in making Anatolia Turkish through the Turkish population they brought and also the architectural works they made These beylics had a significant affect in the strengthening of the Anatolian Seljuk State which was established later in Anatolia

    Moreover, the Khorezm Shah State (1097-1231) was established by Mohammed Khorezm Shah, the son of Anushtegin, the palace servant of Sultan Malik Shah, on the territories of the Great Seljuk State The Khorezm Shah State made significant progress in science and politics
    Thereafter, trade flourished and construction activities accelerated Caravanserais were built on the roads and shipyards were constructed in Sinop and the Mediterranean, the madrasahs were opened and important developments were made in science Kiliç Arslan I then established himself in the city of Konya and started a war of attrition against the invadersThe most important state established in the place of the Great Seljuk State is definitely the Anatolian Seljuk State Suleiman ibn Qutulmish who established himself at Nicaea (Iznik) in 1078 tried to expand Turkish rule in Anatolia and he managed to spread his rule all over Anatolia in a short period of time During the reign of his son, Kiliç Arslan I, the First Crusade began, Iznik was seized by the Crusaders and given to the Byzantines However, he could not stop the Crusaders who were heading towards Syria The efforts to unify Anatolia under Turkish rule were also continued during the reign of his successor, Sultan Mesud I He repelled the Byzantine army headed for Konya and defeated the Crusaders near the Ceyhan River Sultan Kiliç Arslan II, the successor of Mesud I, made the Byzantine intrigues against the Turks ineffective and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Byzantine army under the leadership of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus I, at Myriokephalon near Denizli (1176) Following this victory, the influence of the Byzantine Empire over Anatolia was completely lost The most brilliant period of Turkish history was experienced during the reign of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I However, the death of the Sultan by poisoning created chaos in the country The religio-political rebellion of the Babais was followed by the Mongolian invasion and Anatolia was occupied by the Mongolians after the Kösedag War between the Seljuks and Mongolians in 1243 Along with the weakening of the Mongolian rule towards the end of the thirteenth century, the Turkoman groups who were settled at the frontiers during the Seljuk period, founded many beylics (principalities) of varying sizes in Anatolia The Karaman, Germiyan, Esref, Hamid, Mentese, Candar, Pervane, Sahib Ata, Karesi, Saruhan, Aydin, Inanç and Osmanogullari were among the Turkoman beylics founded in Anatolia in this period In this period, which is called the Beylics Period, all of Anatolia came under Turkish rule and a new period of welfare began in the country which had been previously exposed to a great extent to Mongolian destruction As a matter of fact, the Ottoman state was founded on these solid foundations

    In Egypt, the army commander Izzeddin Aybeg was declared the Sultan, after the death of es-Salih Necmeddin, the last Ayyubid ruler and thus the Turkish Kölemen (Mameluke) State (1250-1382) was founded The Mameluke State has an important place in Turkish history, because during the reign of Sultan Aybeg, the Mansure Victory was won which made the Seventh Crusade ineffective During the reign of Seyfeddin Kotuz, the Mongolian-Armenian-Crusaders alliance which tried to invade Egypt suffered a heavy defeat and the Mongolians were not able to enter Syria During the period of the later Sultans, the Christian hegemony in Syria would end and the territories extending to Kayseri in Anatolia would be taken under the rule of the Mameluke Sultanate In addition, trade between the east and the west developed during this period The Mameluke Sultans were bestowed the title of "Hadimü'l-Harameyn" (the Servant of Mecca and Medina), due to their services to Islam, and acquired a justified fame in the Islamic World The Mameluke State was wiped out by the Ottoman State

    Kara Yusuf, who managed to recover after this war, reestablished his state after 1406 and captured Mardin, Erzincan, Baghdad, Azerbaijan, Tabriz, Kazvin, and Sultaniye His son Ulug Bey ascended the throne as a well-known astronomer Only Hüseyin Baykara from the Tamerlane dynasty could manage to hold out in Khorasan Miranshah, his son, founded states in Baghdad and AzerbaijanOne of the most important states of the fourteenth century was the Tamerlane State (1370-1507) It was founded by Tamerlane, who was a provincial governor in one of the Çagatay khanates The borders of the state extended from the Volga River to the Ganges River in India, and from the Tanri Mountains to Izmir and Damascus Tamerlane, who had a violent character, caused great damage during his military expeditions The state became an empire in a period of 35 years It disintegrated just as rapidly as it was established after the death of Tamerlane Muhammed, his grandson, founded a state in Samarkand Pir Muhammed and Iskender, his other grandsons, founded a state in Iran Shahruh, his younger son, founded a state in Khorasan During the period of Shahruh, who tried to establish unity by enlarging the borders of his state, a brilliant cultural life was startedHerat, the capital city, became one of the most significant cultural centers of Turkish history Ali ½ir Nevai, the Turkish poet and statesman, was educated here Herat was seized by the Uzbeks after the reign of Baykara and the Tamerlane dynasty disappeared When the Tamerlane State was established, the Turkoman group of the Karakoyunlu, which settled between Irbil and Nakhichevan, founded a state, the center of which was Tabriz This state formed by the Yiva, Yazir, Döger and Avsar tribes of the Oghuz Turks was called the Karakoyunlu State (1380-1469) The Karakoyunlu State fought with Tamerlane Kara Yusuf, the ruler of the Karakoyunlu State, had to take refuge in the Ottoman state during the reign of Yildirim Beyazid as a result of pressure by Tamerlane This strained relations between the Ottomans and the Tamerlanes and was considered to be a reason for the Ankara War of 1402 After his death, the country was dragged into chaos Although Cihan-shah managed to reunify the state, he was defeated by Akkoyunlu Uzun Hasan at Mardin and the country entered under the hegemony of the Akkoyunlu State
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    Ataturk's Life

    [​IMG]"There are two Mustafa Kemals One is the flesh-and-bone Mustafa Kemal who now stands before you and who will pass away The other is you, all of you here who will go to the far corners of our land to spread the ideals which must be defended with your lives if necessary I stand for the nation's dreams, and my life's work is to make them come true"

    Atatürk stands as one of the world's few historic figures who dedicated their lives totally to their nations

    He was born in 1881 (probably in the Spring) in Selanik, then an Ottoman city, now in Greece His father, Ali Riza, a customs official turned timber merchant, died when Mustafa was still a boy His mother, Zubeyde, a devout and strong-willed woman, raised him and his sister First enrolled in a traditional religious school, he soon switched to a modern school In 1893, he entered a military high school where his mathematics teacher gave him the second name Kemal (meaning "perfection") in recognition of young Mustafa's superior achievement He was thereafter known as Mustafa Kemal

    In 1905, Mustafa Kemal graduated from the Military Academy in Istanbul with the rank of Staff Captain Posted in Damascus, he started, with several colleagues, a clandestine society called "Homeland and Freedom" to fight against the Sultan's despotism Mustafa Kemal's career flourished as he won fame and promotions because of his heroism in the farflung corners of the Ottoman Empire, including Albania and Tripoli He also briefly served as a staff officer in Selanik and Istanbul and as a military attache in Sofia

    Promoted to general in 1916, at age 35, he liberated two major provinces in eastern Antalia that yearWhen the Dardanelles campaign was launched in 1915, Colonel Mustafa Kemal became a national hero by winning successive vistories and finally repelling the invaders In the next two years, he served as commander of several Ottoman armies in Palestine and Aleppo, achieving anotherr major victory by stopping the enemy advance at Aleppo

    On May 19, 1919, Mustafa Kemal landed in the Black Sea port of Samsun to start the War of Independence In defiance of the Sultan's government, he rallied a liberation army in Anatolia and convened the Congresses of Erzurum and Sivas which established the basis for the new national effort under his leadership On April 23, 1920, the Grand National Assembly was inaugurated Mustafa Kemal was elected to its Presidency

    Following the Turkish triumph at the two major battles at Inonu in Western Turkey, the Grand National Assembly conferred on Mustafa Kemal the title of Commander-in-Chief with the rank of MarshalFighting on many fronts, he led his forces to victory against rebels and invading armies At the end of August 1922, the Turkish armies won their ultimate victory Within a few weeks, the Turkish mainland was completely liberated, the armistice signed, and the rule of the Ottoman dynasty abolished

    In July 1923, the national government signed the Lausanne Treaty with Great Britain, France, Greece, Italy and others In mid-October, Ankara became the capital of the new Turkish State On October 29, the Republic was proclaimed and Mustafa Kemal Pasha was unanimously elected President of the Republic

    [​IMG]The account of Atatürk's fifteen-year presidency is a saga of dramatic modernization With indefatigable determination, he created a new political and legal system, abolished the Caliphate and made both government and education secular, gave equal rights to women, changed the alphabet and advanced the arts, sciences, agriculture and industry
    In 1934, when the surname law was adopted, the national parliament gave him the name "Atatürk" (Father of Turks)

    On November 10, 1938, following an illness of a few months, the national liberator and the Father of modern Turkey died His legacy to his people and to the world endures
  4. Siraç

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    Domestic Policy

    Why did the reforms which began in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century fail to meet with the success achieved by those in Japan?

    The Empire was not homogenous: The nationalist movements that began in the 19th century could not have been prevented

    The nations of the West constantly fomented troubles among the Ottoman minorities, with which they felt an affinity

    Great Britain saw this Russian policy as a threat to its own interests, and "protected" the Ottomans until the end of the 19th centuryRussia wished to establish its presence on the Mediterranean by protecting those of the Orthodox Faith, who constituted the largest non-Muslim minority in the Ottoman Empire This was, however, exploitative protection When the German Union was established in 1871, this new imperialist force effected a rapprochement with the Ottomans

    Having been on the defensive in an endless series of wars since the early 18th century, the Ottomans found themselves with an economy in collapse The capitulations had been used entirely as a means of explorations

    Most important of all, the Turks had watched passively as science and technology developed in Europe, and had failed to reform their educational system

    The reforms of the 19th century had created a polarity in the culture, for the old scholastic system of education continued to exist side by side with the new schools, and there was a chasm between those who emerged from the one and those who emerged from the other

    Despite legal reforms, the state continued to be a theocratic one, thus limiting the effectiveness of what Westernizing reforms were made

    In founding the Turkish Republic, the great leader Atatürk was well aware of all this In addition, he took inspiration from the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution, with the democratization that it brought

    All of the principles of Turkish reform were established by Atatürk This powerful leader put his principles into action whenever the opportunity presented itself, and philosophized about them afterwards At the same time he strove to make them permanent In a succinct manner he described the aim of all the reforms: To achieve the level of contemporary civilization, which of course meant Western civilization But Atatürk was a pragmatist, and knew that civilization was to be taken from any and all sources, so long as it could be adapted to Turkish society

    At the heart of Atatürk's reforms were rationalism, the use of intelligence, and the love of humankind

    The Political Side
    At the very outset of the War of Independence, a new state was founded that replaced an age-old Turkish tradition, the sovereignty of one individual, with the sovereignty of the nation (April 23,1920), and this for the first time in Asia

    With victory won, the sultanate was abolished forever (November 4, 1922) and a Republic proclaimed (October 29, 1923), so that there was no longer any need for the Caliphate, which was at odds with the fundamental philosophy of the new state, and was abolished by the National Assembly on March 3, 1924 A new organization responsible to the Prime ministry was established to deal exclusively with matters of Muslim worship Thus the theocratic nature of the government was reduced almost to nil, and a secular state launched

    In 1924 a modern new Constitution was adopted , with the aim of creating the conditions necessary for democracy

    In 1928 an amended Constitution removed the last vestiges of government involvement in religion, thus making the Republic thoroughly secular

    In 1934 another amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote for deputies to the National Assembly, and to run for office In this matter Turkey was in advance of many European nations

    Further change in 1937 put into the Constitution six of the fundamental principles of Turkish reform:

    Republicanism, nationalism, populism, statism, secularism and reformism These principles are still part of the Constitution today

    As for Republicanism, with this principle Turkish reforms find concrete backing in the structural nature of the state Turkey is a state, governed by democratic principles and democracy itself is basically political, intellectual and egalitarian

    The main objective of the Kemalist revolution was to create an independent national state whose basis was the national resistance spirit The last stage reached today in the development of societies is the nation Through Nationalism, Atatürk gave his own people a national identity and the Turkish Nation reached the final victory by orientation to the national objectives and common interests The nation is not a race, but a togetherness of spirits and a moral medium moulded by history The spirit of nationality, or simply nationalism, appears as a deep-rooted psychological affinity to and respect for the national history and successes and miseries in the past This spirit does not solely consist of an appreciation of the past and of the things which occurred in the past There is another factor of nationalism: the aims, hopes and expectations directed to the future

    Their duty is to defend the country's independence both at domestic and international levels Populism is a cornerstone of the state and is a form of the consciousness of national sovereigntyThe principle of Populism symbolizes the contemporary concept of democracy, and the rational nationalism that can develop and flourish only in free and democratic countriesThe nation shall be governed by persons elected by the people Parallel to the essence of this principle it has been guaranteed, in the Turkish laws that each Turkish citizen possesses equal rights regardless of race, sex, creed etc and the state treats them equally

    Statism was admitted into the political life of Turkey in 1936 as one of the basic characteristics of the Turkish State by a constitutional amendment The statism adopted by Turkey, retains individual initiative as the basic factor while it commits the state particularly in the field of economics in order to raise the country to a high level of welfare taking into account the general and high interests of the nation According to Atatürk, the moderate statism that he had devised is the system best suited to the country's requirements He has made the following priority listing for the duties and responsibilities of the state:

    - to act in leading Turkey toward industrialization and the contemporary level of civilization;

    - to establish and maintain public order in the country and to preserve individual freedoms;

    - to provide the means of political freedom and well-being of individuals;

    - to maintain good relations with foreign powers in order to safeguard and guarantee the country's future

    Secularism, a corollary of democracy, characterizes best Atatürk's modern society and the young Turkish Republic This principle provides for the administration of the state by contemporary laws based on scientific facts as well as for freedom of thought distinct from the pressure of any type of dogma

    The principle of Reformism is instrumental in following up developments and advances in the world of science Through reformism, Turkey can reach the level of contemporary civilization

    These six basic principles constitute the roots of the Republic of Turkey

    How, then, did democratic movements come about in the framework of these reforms? Atatürk was passionate about liberty and democracy "All rights," he said in 1931, "are based on the individual In a democracy neither the state nor any other party may interfere with the freedoms of the individual" "Democracy means love of the country"

    Following the foundation of the Republic, Atatürk wished to institute democracy in all its principles and manifestations, and said, "We Turks are at heart democratic"

    Despite the evident respect and even longing for democracy inherent in these words, until 1945 Turkey did not have a multi-party system, even though there was nothing in the Constitution or in law to prevent the founding of political parties The leader of the nation also was eager on this point One may cite two instances of an approach to a multi-party system prior to 1945 One was in 1924, when a number of Atatürk's comrades in arms opposed him for personal and ideological reasons, and founded a new party This was tolerated even though the regime had as yet scarcely been established

    Unfortunately a certain number of conservatives who were disturbed by Atatürk's reforms used this party for their own purposesThe Depression of 1930 affected Turkey as well as other countries, and Atatürk was of the opinion that the government should be controlled, new ideas presented For this, a multi-party system was needed At that time the renowned statesman Fethi (Okyar) Bey, a close friend of Atatürk's, was the Ambassador to France He declared his intention, probably with the encouragement of Atatürk, to found a new party Atatürk's response was positive As long as it did not violate the principle of secularism, new parties would be welcome Thus in 1930 Fethi Bey established the Republic's third political party The party lost its democratic basis, and eventually dissolved itself

    Legal Reforms
    In point of fact, Islamic law was progressive for its age, and with the exception of certain matters was even modernCanonical law was the essence of the Ottoman legal system, although a combination of custom and jurisprudence also existed that gave the sultan a certain freedom of action But through the ages, while secular law was being developed in the West, Ottoman law, as in so many other areas, remained rigidly fixed

    In 1839 the famous Tanzimat reform movement brought legal changes as well as others, as certain European laws not in direct contradiction with the Islamic code were adopted Nevertheless the legal system still left much to be desired

    The Republican government put an end to the confusion in this sphere Above all; there was now a national state, so that the conditions existed for legal reform

    The essence of this reform was that men and women be completely equal before the law There had to be a civil code which would resolve this and other problems, and after long debate the most recent, advanced code in Europe was settled on in 1926, the civil code of Switzerland According to this,

    - Men and women were equal,

    - Women were free to choose any profession,

    - Marriage was to be with a single spouse,

    - Divorce would involve equal conditions for the man and woman,

    - Men's and women's shares in heritance were to be equal

    After these changes, others were made in other areas For example, under the old system two female witnesses were required, but only one male witness Laws concerning commerce and business were revised, as were articles of the penal code In all these areas there was reform

    Reforms in education were particularly important if changes in other areas were to be properly grasped, and to be lasting The fundamental reforms enacted by the government of the Republic were as follows:

    - All education based on religion was abolished, and all schools placed under state direction

    - Serious steps were taken to make primary school education mandatory

    This single reform did much to make the culture of the West accessible to the Turkish nationThe biggest single step was the adoption of the Roman alphabet Arabic script, completely incompatible with Turkish, had been a major cause of sterility in philosophy and letters, and in 1928 it was replaced by an essentially Roman alphabet in the short space of only six months Suddenly the reading and writing of Turkish became far easier to learn, and tens of thousands of adults were taught literacy in the special schools set up for this purpose

    It was only natural that all of this should have an impact on the life of science, scholarship and thought Among the Ottomans there were many madrashahs, where Islamic thought was the subject of study, and only in 1900 was the first university opened in Istanbul True universities were needed if science and letters were to progress, and in 1933 Atatürk refounded the University of Istanbul This is an important date for higher education in Turkey, for at this time Turkey opened its arms to Jewish and other scholars and scientists fleeing, or being run out of, Hitler's Germany In Turkey they found safety and civilized surroundings, and they were the true founders of Turkish universities, which today number thirty

    The modernizing reforms together make up a whole Having turned its face to the West, the nation brought about a great change through individual steps, each of which may seem like a detail, but taken together amount to a great achievement Those we may cite are the following:

    - Clothing was secularized Henceforward divines were to dress like any other citizen, except when leading worship An exception was the highest placed divine in each religion

    Now it was abolished- The fez, which in point of fact has no place either among the Turks or in Islam, had in a short time become a symbol of religion

    - The internationally accepted calendar was adopted, as were European units of time, weight and length Numerals also took their western forms

    In all these reforms, the goal was to create a modern, advanced society
  5. Siraç

    Siraç Site Yetkilisi Admin Editör

    Turkish Folklore

    Folk Literature

    Composed of "Tekke" and "Asik," works of literary worth, often anonymous and passed down from generation to generationThese include epics, legends, folk poems, ballads, elegies, folk songs, riddles, folk tales anecdotes, proverbs, expressions and rhymes

    Folk Heroes

    Nasrettin Hoca
    His witticisms are known throughout Turkey and often appear in conversationA 13th century humorist and sage from Aksehir

    A jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century and now immortalized as a shadow puppet Karagoz is a rough man of the people who uses his ribald wit to get the better of his pompous friend, Hacivat The puppets are made from gaily painted, translucent animal skins and are projected onto a white screen

    Yunus Emre
    The 13th century philosopher poet, one of Turkey's national treasures, promoted basic themes of universal love, friendship, brotherliness and divine Justice His simple and pure writing is relevant and thought-provoking to this day

    A 15th century folk poet, Koroglu was a role model for his contemporaries and a hero of his time His adventures have been recounted for centuries and perhaps now with more interest than ever Koroglu was one of the first people to pioneer the ideal of unconditional help for the poor and down trodden He was also spoke out against government control and harrassment

    Folk Dances

    Folk dances have different characteristics based on region and location and are generally engaged in during weddings, journeys to the mountains in the summer, when sending sons off to military service and during religious and national holidays The best known folk dances are:

    This Black Sea dance is performed by men only, dressed in black with silver trimmings The dancers link arms and quiver to the vibrations of the kemence, a primitive type of violin

    Kasik Oyunu
    The Spoon Dance is performed from Konya to Silifke and consists of gaily dressed male and female dancers clicking out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand

    Kilic Kalkan
    The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa represents the Ottoman conquest of the city It is performed by men only, dressed in early Ottoman battle dress, who dance to the sound of clashing swords and shields withoout music

    In this Aegean dance, colorfully dressed male dancers, called 'efe', symbolize courage and heroism

    Folk Music

    A whirling dervishes performance
    The lively Turkish folk music, which originated on the steppes of Asia, is in complete contrast to the refined Turkish classical music of the Ottoman court Until recently, folk music was not written down, and the traditions have been kept alive by the 'asiklar', or Turkish troubadours Distinct from Turkish folk music is Ottoman military music, now performed by the 'mehter takimi' (Janissary Band) in Istanbul, which originated in Central Asia, and is played with kettle drums, clarinets, cymbals and bells The mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes is dominated by the haunting sound of the reed pipe or 'ney', and can be heard in Konya during the Mevlana Festival in December

    Performing Arts

    There are six varieties of traditional Turkish performing arts:
    Village Plays
    Plays are put on in accordance with rural traditions on special days, weddings and holidays

    A kind of one-act dramatic play where the narrator also imitates the various characters in the play

    Traditional show theatre, where the shadows of human and animal figures, cut out of leather and colored, are thrown onto a white curtain using a light source behind it

    Orta Oyun
    In style and theme resembles Karagoz, but is performed by real actors

    Tuluat Theater
    rA mixture of Orta Oyun and western theater

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