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Constitution of Turkey


Topkapi palace in Istanbul
Topkapi palace in Istanbul

The Turkish Republic was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, after a nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was victorious in the Turkish War of Independence. The war was fought against the Allied powers, who had defeated the Ottoman Empire in World War I (1914-1918), and Greece, which sought to annex large portions of Anatolia. Atatürk envisioned Turkey as a modern, secular European state, and his principles of government, called Kemalism, remain central to political life in Turkey. Kemalism emphasized, among other things, the separation of religion and politics, a leading role for the state in the economy, the promotion of a national identity, and the importance of building modern institutions.

Overview of Turkish goverment


Under Atatürk, Turkey acquired a highly centralized government that closely controlled economic and social life. By law, there was only one political party, the Republican People’s Party (Turkish acronym, CHP). Atatürk introduced sweeping reforms to modernize Turkey. Laws forbade men from wearing the fez, a traditional hat associated with Ottoman backwardness. Religious courts were abolished in 1924, and Islam lost its status as the state religion in 1928. Under Atatürk, Turkey adopted the Western Gregorian calendar in place of the Muslim lunar calendar, and a modified Latin alphabet took the place of Arabic letters, which had previously been used to write Turkish. Atatürk also introduced universal public education in Turkey. Women gained the right to inherit property, the right to divorce, and in 1934 the right to vote and serve in parliament.

The era of multiparty democracy began in 1946, when the newly founded Democratic Party won 62 seats in parliament, joining the ruling CHP. In 1950, the Democratic Party won the national elections. However, increasing interparty tensions created a crisis, and a military junta seized power; the junta governed from 1960 to 1961. A new constitution was adopted in 1961, and general elections followed. No clear majority emerged, and a series of coalition governments ruled the country. The military intervened in the political process in 1970 and again in 1980, each time amid government paralysis and social agitation.

The era of multiparty democracy began in 1946, when the newly founded Democratic Party won 62 seats in parliament, joining the ruling CHP. In 1950, the Democratic Party won the national elections. However, increasing interparty tensions created a crisis, and a military junta seized power; the junta governed from 1960 to 1961. A new constitution was adopted in 1961, and general elections followed. No clear majority emerged, and a series of coalition governments ruled the country. The military intervened in the political process in 1970 and again in 1980, each time amid government paralysis and social agitation.

The constitution also authorized the military, through the National Security Council, to advise the government and to impose emergency rule whenever it perceived a serious threat to the political system. Turkey has been under civilian rule since 1983. However, the military intervened in the political process in February 1997 and ordered the government to implement an 18-point list of measures to reinforce the secular establishment. Since then, Turkey’s civilian governments have been wary of further military intervention, and this concern has constrained governmental policy. "Turkey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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