Turkey since 2002

Administration . The Republic of Turkey, since 1983, is a functioning democracy. General elections were held in 2002 and 2007. The office of PM was held by Abdullah Gül (AKP) in 2002-2003, by Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AKP) since 2003. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a moderate Muslim party which was founded after a predecessor, the Welfare Party (RP) had been banned in 1998.
During the presidential elections of 2007, which the AKP candidate was expected to win, mass demonstrations in favour of maintaining Turkey's secular political system were held, showing deep-rooted suspicion among the Turkish populace of a hidden agenda of the AKP. The AKP has formed cabinets since 2002 and given no indication of planning to tamper with the secularism as laid down in the country's constitution.

Foreign Policy . The Turkish government is somewhat frustrated with the way the EU treated Turkey's bid for membership (launched in 1987).
Relations with Greece remained tense over the Cyprus and Aegaean territorial waters issues; Cyprus (i.e. Greek Cyprus) was admitted into the EU in 2004, while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains an international pariah, only recognized by Turkey. Another matter which proves an obstacle to Turkish ambitions of joining the EU is the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923, which the Republic of Turkey refuses to recognize (The Turkish side insists on Turkish victims in the event given the same recognition).
In 2003 the Turkish government refused to grant US and allied troops permission to use Turkey as a basis for the invasion of Iraq (Third Gulf War).
The 2004 NATO summit was held in Istanbul.

Domestic Events . An earthquake struck the Bingol region in Anatolia in 2003. Simultaneous bombings in November 2003 killed 25 in Istanbul; among the targets Istanbul's main synagogue. In 2004 Turkey abolished the death penalty.

Ethnic, Religious Minorities . The Turkish constitution defines Turkey to be a secular state, prescribes separation of religion and state.
A ceasefire with the PKK broke down in 1993; in September 2006 the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire. Policies which used to suppress the usage of Kurdish language were no longer enforced; in 2004, the first Kurdish-language tv programmes were broadcast in Turkey.
The assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul in 2007 caused concern in Turkey and abroad.

Social History . The progress Turkey has made as a secular state can best be observed when comparing the country with her neighbours in the Arab world; the country's secular education system is one of the factors explaining why Turkey has largely escaped the wave of Islamist terrorism.
The legal status of women in Turkey is much closer to that of women in Europe than that in the Arab world.
According to the most recent census of 2000, Turkey had a population of 67.8 million; it is expected to rise to 77.9 million by 2010 (StYB 2006 p.1608). The adult literacy rate in 2002 was 93.5 % (StYB 2006 p.1614).

The Economy . Inflation, a series problem in the 1990es, fell from 85.7 % in 1997 to 45 % in 2002, 25.5 % in 2003, 10.6 % in 2004 (StYB 2006 p.1611). The figure for 2006 is 9.8 %. In 2005 Turkey introduced the New Lira in a currency reform, 1 New Lira = 1,000,000 (old) Lira.
In 1999 and 2001, Turkey had experienced a shrinking economy. Real GDP growth was 5.8 % in 2003, 8.9 % in 2004 (StYB 2006 p.1611), 7.4 % in 2005, 5.2 % in 2006.

Cultural History . Turkish athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Barcelona Athens 2004. In the 2002 World Cup the Turkish national football team took 3rd place.

Articles Politics of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Abdullah Gül, Economy of Turkey, Accession of Turkey to the EU, Elections in Turkey, Foreign Relations of Turkey, Turkish-PKK Conflict, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Turkey at the 2004 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, from Wikipedia
Timeline, from BBC News
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Turkey, by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Turkey, from Population Statistics at Univ. Utrecht
Election Results : Turkey, from Psephos, since 1995
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article : Turkey, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2002 pp.1570-1578, 2003 pp.1570-1579, 2004 pp.1589-1597, 2005 pp.1599-1608, 2006 pp.1607-1615 [G]
Entry : Republic of Turkey, Cabinet, pp.101-102; in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Article : Turkey, in : Americana Annual 2006 p.381 [G]
Article : Turkey, in : Britannica Book of the Year 2002 pp.503-505, 745 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on October 8th 2006, last revised on June 18th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz