The Turkish Republic

Led by Atatürk during its first 15 years of existence, the Turkish Republic was founded on six principles embodied in the Constitution: republicanism (based on the premise that sovereignty belonged to the people), Turkish nationalism (which emphasized the glories of the past Turkish and the need for the Turks to form their own state according to modern principles and without foreign intervention), populism (the idea of the people ruling through the Grand National Assembly, where all economic and social interests would be represented), secularism (which dictated a total separation between the Muslim religion and the state), statism (which means state interventionism in almost all sectors of the economy and its control over the rest,in order to ensure rapid economic development) and a revolutionary attitude, which dictated that all these changes be instituted at once and in their entirety so that Turkish society could develop as quickly as possible.

The Atatürk years of rule were years of substantial economic progress and general development. Turkey avoided any kind of territorial claim, establishing good diplomatic relations with its Balkan neighbors and at the same time emphasizing its secularist policy, avoiding alliances with Muslim countries in the east.

From neutrality to the western alliance

According to, Atatürk was succeeded as president by Ismet Inönü, who continued his internal politics. Aware of the ordeal of World War I, Inönü kept the country neutral for most of World War II, until February 1945 when Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan. After the war, the Soviet Union attempted to include Turkey within its sphere of influence through control of the western Turkish provinces and the Straits. In response, Turkey accepted the large-scale aid offered by the United States, establishing agreements for economic and military cooperation; in 1952 it became a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At the same time, Inönü democratized the regime and allowed the introduction of opposition political parties.

In 1950, the Democratic Party, defending the introduction of private enterprise, triumphed in the general elections, while the Atatürk Republic Party became part of the opposition.
Led by President Celal Bayar, along with Prime Minister Adanan Menderes and Foreign Minister Fuat Köprülü, the Democratic Party controlled the Turkish government between 1950 and 1960.

The Turkish economy expanded rapidly during this period as a result of the new economic liberalism and large-scale foreign aid, especially from the United States after Turkey’s entry into NATO. However, the mismanagement of this rapid economic growth led to severe economic and social straits and increased political discontent, led by the Republican Party, while the Democrats increased the repression.

In 1960 a military coup d’état overthrew the government led by Menderes, some of whose members were associated with cases of corruption, and in 1961 it established a new Constitution.

Process towards chaos

After 1961, Turkey became run by a series of weak governments. The rapid economic development of the 1950s, in combination with liberal legislation on the self-employed and corporations, led to the creation of a number of organizations that assumed the power and authority held in principle by the government, the legislature and the parties. politicians. At the same time, an increasingly active left movement gave rise to extremist groups that carried out terrorist acts for their own purposes.

In response, far-right terrorist groups emerged, increasing violence in the country, which was completely divided. Unions created after 1950 were merged into two large workers’ confederations, the Turkish Labor Party, which represented the more moderate groups, and the Confederation of the Union of Trade Unions, which incorporated communist groups and other left-wing parties.

In the mid- 1960s, the influence of these organizations spread throughout Turkey. The internal situation provoked the confrontation between the two parties with the greatest representation; the Republican Party, under the leadership of Bülent Ecevit, tended to incorporate ideals of a social democratic type, and the Justice Party, headed by Süleymán Demirel, maintained to a greater or lesser extent the old traditions of Atatürk. Several minority communist and socialist parties represented the different spheres of the left, while the National Action Party led the nationalist options and the National Salvation Party demanded the return to an Islamic regime. The proportional representation established by the 1961 Constitution it made it difficult for the parties to obtain the majority necessary to develop a complete government program.

Foreign policy

Despite the chaos of government of this period, Turkey remained faithful to its alliance with the West, providing military bases for NATO and the US military forces. This alliance was subject to considerable tension in 1974, when Turkey occupied the northern third of Cyprus, in response to a Greek civil rebellion on the island, which sought to declare it an independent republic. Following these events, the United States suspended military and economic aid to Turkey, which responded with the temporary closure of all US military bases in the country.

Turkish troops remained in northern Cyprus, and Turkey continued its policy of separating from the Cypriot and Turkish governments, defying the United States and UN resolutions.
Different European governments began negotiations during the 1990s, with both Greece and Turkey, to admit divided Cyprus as a full member of the European Union.

The Congress of the United States resumed economic aid, achieving the Turks reopened US bases, but the incident caused resentment among the population strong against the US military presence, which was compounded by demonstrations by leftist groups. Islamic groups also began to oppose the presence of the United States and requested a greater approach to their Arab neighbors, thus benefiting from the wealth that the oil fields contributed and, therefore, from the political power that derived from this.

The Turkish Republic

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