Modern Turkey Period: Foundations of Modern Turkey Directions



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Middle Eastern Studies Name:

Modern Turkey Period:
Foundations of Modern Turkey
Directions: Answer the following questions based on Cleveland & Bunton’s A History of the Modern Middle East, Chapter 10.


  1. What were the major terms of the Treaty of Sèvres (1920)?
    -SW Anatolia to Italy & France

-Armenian state centered around Erzurum
-Greece gained territory in Thrace & administration of Izmir
-Turkish straits & finances under Allied administration



  1. How did Turks respond to the Treaty of Sèvres?
    -resistance groups rose up to oppose the occupation & division of land
    -started as volunteer militias and guerilla fighters
    -developed into national war of independence with leadership of key Ottoman generals
    -formed a parallel government



  2. What were the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)?
    -Turkish sovereignty over what is now Turkey
    -Turkish straits remain under Allied control (until 1936)

-separate agreement made with Greece, including forced population exchange


  1. Why is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk important/famous?
    -father of modern Turkey
    -Ottoman general in WWI – led Turks to victory at Gallipoli

-one of the major leaders during the war for independence
-transformed Turkey into a modern republic*



  1. Why was the capital moved to Ankara?
    -symbolized the Turkishness of the new state



  2. What were the overall goals of Atatürk’s reforms?
    -root out the Ottoman past
    -modernize & Westernize Turkey
    -promote Turkish nationalism & cultural identity



  3. Describe each of the six principles of Kemalism:



    1. reformism
      -openness to innovation & acceptance of nonviolent change
      -incremental change through politics instead of drastic change through war




    1. republicanism
      -constitution & representative government
      -emphasis on popular sovereignty



    2. secularism
      -reduce the influence of Islam & Islamic groups on politics & society
      -redirect focus on the state/nationalism
      -sort of separation of church & state



    3. nationalism – Ne mutlu Türküm diyene
      -create pride in Turkishness & promote symbols of national identity



    4. populism
      -establishment of people’s houses throughout the country (clubs, recreational organizations)
      -government effort to take revolution to the masses: provided forum for government information/propaganda



    5. etatism
      -state capitalism
      -state sponsored industrialization to promote economic independence
      -capitalist system, but the state provides funding & initiative



  1. Name five changes Atatürk made in his reforms.



    1. Had the Qur’an translated into Turkish

    2. Closed religious schools

    3. Banished Ottoman royals

    4. Outlawed the fez

    5. Changed the day of rest from Friday to Sunday

    6. Popular sovereignty

    7. Alphabet became based on the Roman alphabet instead of the Arabic alphabet – developed the Turkish language

    8. Established free and compulsory elementary education

    9. Changed to Gregorian calendar from Islamic

    10. Abolished khalifate



  2. Describe Turkish foreign policy under Atatürk.

-relatively peaceful
-Turkey was focused more on domestic issues
-renounced claims to further territory*
-had little influence over the Arab world
-Alexandretta peninsula dispute

What might be the positive and negative long term effects of Kemalism & Atatürk’s changes on Turkish society?



Middle Eastern Studies Name:

Modern Turkey Period:
Key Contemporary Issues: Politics & Religion



Directions: Working in your group, read the assigned reading and answer the designated questions for your topic. Prepare to teach your topic to the class.


  1. Political Parties – Finkel 72-77, 118-123; BBC Article



    1. What political party is currently in power in Turkey? Who is the Prime Minister? Who is the President?
      -Justice and Development Party (AKP)
      -Prime Minister: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

-President: Abduallah Gül



    1. What are this party’s major positions and objectives?
      -rebuild constitution to meet demands of justice & enhance individual freedoms
      -make Turkish society/politics more democratic
      -negotiate & cooperate with rivals
      -want more openness & freedom in expressions of religion in public
      -want to join European union



    2. What are the two major opposition parties?
      -Republican People’s Party (CHP)
      -Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)






    1. What are these parties’ major positions and objectives?
      -CHP: secularist; center-left; defending values of secular system from religious influence; protectionist & antiglobalist
      -MHP: ultranationlists; focused on fighting the “enemy within” (aka anyone who is different); like prosecuting people who “insult the Turkish state”



  1. The Military & The Constitution – Finkel 126-137



    1. What is the military’s role in Turkish politics?
      -view role as keeping order & defending the secular integrity of the state from “enemy within”
      -staged a lot of coups



    2. Why does Finkel believe that another coup is unlikely?
      -military would not have popular support
      -would make Turkey less stable



    3. What is the Ergenekon Conspiracy?
      -group of various people in Turkey (lawyers, professionals, etc.) who tried to destabilize Turkey & block AKP reforms in order create the conditions for a coup
      -hundreds were arrested and put on trial as conspirators



    4. Describe Turkey’s Constitution.
      -1961 constitution enshrined personal freedoms while protecting the integrity of the state
      -1982 constitution created a powerful state apparatus and protected the political heirs of the 1980 coup
      -parliamentary system with Prime Minister holding more power than President



  2. Islam – Finkel 138-149



    1. What is the relationship between the government and religion in Turkey?
      -constitution guarantees freedom of religion as long as it doesn’t threaten the integrity of the secular state
      -government funds & influences religious organizations
      -legal system based on Swiss legal code (civil law) not shariah (religious law)




    1. Who are the Alevis?
      -shi’a minority in Turkey
      -part of cultural dissent in Turkey
      -practices emphasize mystical and folk traditions rather than mainstream practices



    2. What concerns do secularists have about the AK party?
      -fear that AKP’s Islamic ideals could lead to fundamentalism in Turkey and thus conflict with secular state
      -“fudamentalists in liberal clothing”
      -worried that the AKP will try to legislate private morality


    3. What evidence does Finkel use to argue that Turkey is not in danger of becoming a fundamentalist state?
      -attempts to restrict private acts have not been successful

-AKP has not really tried to Islamicize Turkey
-religious organizations focused on acceptance into the mainstream rather than overthrowing order



  1. Gender & Sexuality – Finkel 165-175



    1. What advances has Turkey made regarding women’s rights?
      -legal/political rights including voting rights
      -access to public/professional life; increasing # of women in politics



    2. What limitations do women still face in Turkish society?
      -high rates of domestic & sexual violence
      -husbands must consent to abortions
      -lack of equality in representation in workforce, health, education
      -societal treatment of women not always reflecting political/legal status



    3. What is the headscarf issue in Turkey? Why is this such a big deal?
      -right/obligation vs. creeping fundamentalism
      -headscarves banned in government offices & universities (for the past few years universities have been allowed to choose to allow headscarves)
      -puts education/employment opportunities out of reach of women who choose or are made to wear a headscarf



    4. What is the status of LGBT people in Turkey?
      -homosexuality is legal
      -LGBT community often faces discrimination; not viewed positively by much of society
      -anti-discrimination laws in effect


Middle Eastern Studies Name:

Modern Turkey Period:
Key Contemporary Issues: Kurds and Armenians
Directions: Complete the following chart based on class readings & videos.


Rick Steves’ “Eastern Turkey”

Finkel 149-165

Who are the Kurds?
-nomads/shepherds

-10 million in Turkey


-skilled in country, struggle in city

Who are the Kurds?

-predominantly Muslim


-identity shaped on location, language, & religion
-28-35 million (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria)
-largely rural, tribal (tribal organization viewed by others as “primitive”)



What is the Kurdish problem?
-some want to form own country

-most want to be able to be Kurdish Turks




What is the Kurdish problem?

-Kurds desire either their own country or cultural recognition, increased autonomy

-Turkey has difficulty accommodating its own cultural diversity
-Turkey takes a carrot & stick approach (carrot for those who assimilate, stick for those who don’t)
-laws include one that made it illegal to be educated in Kurdish
-Turkey doesn’t make it illegal to be Kurdish per se, but does prosecute incitement to separatism & aiding terrorism

-terrorism vs. freedom fighting (PKK & Abdullah Öcalan)


-regional poverty & underdevelopment
-issue of territorial integrity


“Turkey and the PKK: A Chance for Peace?"

What is the latest development in the Kurdish problem? Why is there reason to be optimistic?

-PKK cease fire declared by Abudullah Öcalan


-PKK forces will disarm & leave Turkey
-hope for peaceful settlement

-Turkey’s government is becoming more democratic & open to diversity

-better understanding with northern Iraq
-potential for Turkish – Kurdish alliance

-recognition of need to cooperate


-release of eight Turkish prisoners by PKK
-Turkish government has been part of talks for cease fire instead of PKK unilaterally declaring a cease fire


Finkel, 175-179

What is the controversy surrounding the Armenian genocide of 1915?

-1915: Armenian rebellion in Eastern Turkey


-Ottoman government contained rebellion by forcibly deporting Armenians, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Armenian deaths
-Turkey continues to refuse to recognize this as a genocide; people in Turkey (like writer Orhan Pamuk) have been charged with crimes against Turkey for discussing it as a genocide




Middle Eastern Studies Name:

Modern Turkey Period:
Key Contemporary Issues: EU Membership & Cyprus
Directions: Complete the following chart based on class readings & discussion.



Arguments for EU Membership
-partial membership keeps Turkey out of decision making process for issues that affect Turkey

-many Turks consider themselves part of Europe

-exclusion of Muslim Turkey has impact on 16 million Muslims living in Europe

-important & large market for European economy

-important strategic ally for Europe

-application process forces Turkey to improve human rights record & increase democracy, leading to better conditions for women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, &c.




Arguments against EU Membership
-Europe is Christian, not Muslim

-Turkey has a less than stellar record on human rights (including women’s rights, minority rights)

-Turkey has strong connections to Middle East & Asia

-EU membership could undermine Turkish sovereignty



What is Turkey’s role in Cyprus? Why is this an issue for EU membership?

-Cyprus is divided into Northern (Turkish) Cyprus & Southern (Greek) Cyprus



-a 2004 settlement between the two parts of Cyprus was rejected by Southern Cyprus, but EU granted Cyprus membership anyway
-the Cyprus issue has held up aspects of the membership application process





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