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Turkey

Yearbook 2000

2000 TurkeyTurkey. During the year, Turkey was marked by the debate over the dominance of the nationalist establishment. The police found a series of mass graves in January and February with a total of 57 people, most of them Kurds, who had been murdered by the underground militant group Hizbullah ('the party of God', not to be confused with the Iran-backed guerrilla in Lebanon). According to COUNTRYAAH, the group had used military weapons purchased by the government, prompting government critics to believe that the country's leadership had used Hizbullah in the fight against the banned guerrilla group PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party).

The government decided in January to respect an order of the European Court of Human Rights not to execute Abdullah Ícalan, imprisoned former leader of the PKK, until his case has been raised in a higher instance. The PKK announced its support for Ícalan's earlier call for peace on February 8.

Three mayors belonging to the Kurdish party Hadep (Halkin Democracy Party, People's Democratic Party) were detained for just over a week in February, but were then released pending trial. At the same time, 18 members of Hadep, including party leader Ahmet Turan Demir and former party leader Murat Bozlak, were sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for supporting the PKK.

Parliament elected Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Constitutional Court, on 5 May as new president. He received 330 votes out of 533; Seventeen members abstained. Sezer went hard at the end of the summer, when he refused to sign a decree that the government had proposed, which would have made it possible to dismiss public servants who are perceived as overly Kurdish or overly Islamic-minded.

On August 15, Turkey signed two UN conventions to guarantee the social and political rights of minorities. At the same time, in the autumn, the Turkish government's own human rights commission published a report criticizing the use of torture in prisons and police stations. The country's largest human rights organization, IHD (Insan Haklari Dernegi, Human Rights Association), also reported on 406 cases of torture, 112 extrajudicial executions or deaths during torture and 211 withdrawn or prohibited publications in the first eight months of 2000. The EU noted in a November 8 report that Turkey has long before the situation is satisfactory in terms of human rights.

Necmettin Erbakan, Prime Minister 1996-97 and leader of the Islamist subsequently banned Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP), was sentenced March 10 to one year in prison for a speech in which he criticized the government's secularist policy.

33 militant Islamists were sentenced to death on June 16 for inflicting the hotel fire that claimed the lives of 37 left-wing intellectuals in the city of Sivas in 1993. A further 14 Islamists were sentenced to prison for between six and a half and 20 years.

On June 27, Parliament approved the country's next five-year development plan. Among the main features were increased resources for infrastructure in the country's Kurdish parts, lost public expenditure and an investment in small businesses. Parliament approved on 23 June plans for an oil pipeline to be built from the capital of Azerbaijan Baku to the port city of Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

At least 32 people, most women and children, drowned on May 20 when two excursion boats sank in the Black Sea.

2000 Turkey

Anatolia has been inhabited for thousands of years. In the 8th century BCE, the Greeks founded the city of Byzans by the strategically important Bosphorus Strait, through which traffic between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean passes. After the Roman conquest of Byzan in 96 BCE, Emperor Constantine ordered its reconstruction, renamed Constantinople and made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. It survived a century after the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire at the hands of the Mongols.

1453-1918 The Ottoman Empire

The Turks attacked Constantinople in 1453, renamed it Istanbul and made it the capital of the thriving Ottoman Empire. In the 16th century, the empire stretched from present-day Algeria in the west to the Caucasus in the east, from Hungary in the north to the southernmost part of the Arabian peninsula in the south, and the population rounded it 50 million - 10 times more than in the then United Kingdom. Western visitors marveled at the government's efficiency and wealth and the respect it had for farmers' rights. This also explains why Christian peasants in the Balkans frequently joined the "faithless" Muslims in the struggle against the Christian nobility and church.

Yet the 17th-century empire began to be overtaken by the impressive technological development and aggressive trade expansion in Western Europe. When the Portuguese opened the trade route south of Cape of Good Hope, the Ottoman monopoly on trade between Europe and the East gradually eroded. Even the empire's own borders had to succumb to the onslaught of European traders who imported French, English and Dutch goods into the eastern Mediterranean.

The development of the Turkish empire came to anticipate the history that would later surpass the great civilizations of India and China. Everything was transformed into a peripheral market, which was forced on European products and which in turn provided the necessary food and raw materials for industrial development and the labor market in Europe. The Turkish craftsmen went bankrupt, the local textile industry could not compete with British technology, and the farmers became poorer because they had to pay prices for imported products.

In the 19th century, a modernization movement known as Tanzimat sought to introduce European ideas and centralize the state by taking advantage of modern technology, the telegraph and the railways. Agreements were signed with Great Britain and Germany, but the abundant capital and quantity of goods merely increased Turkish dependence on Europe. The main consequence was that the huge Turkish foreign debt made the country "the pariah of Europe".

Due. dissatisfaction with the autocratic government developed in the early 20th century the first secret organization within universities and military academies. It was the "young Turks" who, in 1908, led a rebellion in Macedonia. Within a few days, Sultan Abdul Hamid was forced to accept the imposition of a constitution limiting his powers of power. The following year he was forced to resign. He was replaced by Mohamed V, who handed over the real power to the Young Turks. They developed a nationalist policy that brought them in opposition to the country's foreign trade partners and a number of the country's ethnic minorities - especially Greeks and Armenians.

 

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