Points of View

Timeline of Turkish History

About This Resource

As background to Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow, the timeline features events in the modern history of Turkey. The photograph and postage stamp show Kemal Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, introducing the Latin alphabet as the official script for writing the Turkish language, replacing the Persian-Arabic script that had been used in the Ottoman Empire.  The reform was part of Ataturk’s modernization program.



Abdul Hamid, the last of the Ottoman sultans, is deposed.


Turkey allies with Germany in World War I, and former Ottoman provinces are divided as mandates among the victorious powers.


National assembly declares Turkey a republic with Mustapha Kemal (later called Atatürk or “father of the Turks”) as president. Turkey declares state secularism and adopts Gregorian calendar and Latin alphabet.


Atatürk dies.


Turkey joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


Army mounts a coup against the ruling Democratic Party. A new constitution goes into effect in 1961. The Turkish government associates formally with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1963.


Suleyman Demirel becomes prime minister. The army forces Demirel's resignation.


Political impasse results in military intervention in civilian government and martial law and later a new constitution. Turgut Ozal’s Motherland Party (ANAP) wins 1983 general election.


Tansu Ciller becomes Turkey's first woman prime minister, with Suleyman Demirel as president. Pro-Islamist Welfare Party wins elections but can not form a government. 


Welfare Party banned despite majority in parliament. Bulent Ecevit takes power with Ahmet Necdet Sezer as president.


Islamist Justice and Development Party (AK) wins election, promising to adhere to secular constitution. Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins seat in parliament. Abdullah Gul resigns as prime minister and Erdogan takes over.


In efforts to gain European Union (EU) membership, parliament reforms laws on civil rights, minority rights, penal code reforms, and the role of the military. EU membership negotiations are launched.


Secularists demonstrate in Ankara against Erdogan. The AK Party wins and candidate Abdullah Gul becomes president. Parliament approves constitutional amendments rescinding headscarf ban in universities.


A 2003 "Sledgehammer" military plot to overthrow government is exposed. Parliament initiates and voters back constitutional changes to grant parliament control over military.


The Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins re-election, and Prime Minister Erdogan begins a third term.


British Broadcasting Corporation, Country Profile – Turkey. “BBC News - Turkey Timeline.” Accessed November 23, 2012. http://news.bBCE.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1023189.stm. Image credit: “Turkey : 83th Anniversary of Turkish Language Reform to Be Celebrated.” Accessed November 23, 2012. http://www.nationalturk.com/en/turkey-83th-anniversary-of-turkish-language-reform-to-be-celebrated-14675; Postage stamp with image of Kemal Ataturk teaching Latin alphabet. “Post - Post & Tele Museum.” http://www.ptt-museum.dk/en/online_magazine/previous_articles/post/index.php?id=131.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #162: Timeline of Turkish History", June 20, 2024 http://bridgingcultures-muslimjourneys.org/items/show/162.


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