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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gul elected president of Turkey despite fears for secular tradition.

History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero, IN CATULLIUM, I, 1.


HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Islam and Secularism in Turkey have been locked in struggle ever since the late eighteenth century when commercial challenges from the west and defeat by Russia prompted the Ottoman Empire to adopt western military techniques and reforms.

TAG: Gul's AK Party is only the most recent of several Islamic parties to challenge the secularization of Turkey since the rise of Menders' pro-Islam Democratic party in 1952.

IN THE NEWS: FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH GUL, OF THE ISLAMIC AK PARTY IS ELECTED PRESIDENT IN PARLIAMENTARY VOTE. THIS DESPITE FEARS BY THE ARMY AND TURKEY'S SECULAR POPULATION THAT GUL WOULD BRING IN ISLAMIST GOVERNMENT, THREATENING THE DIVISION BETWEEN RELIGION AND STATE. THE ARMY, LONG SEEN AS GUARDIAN OF TURKEY'S SECULARISM, IS ABSENT FROM THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY. ITS CHIEF, GENERAL BUYUKANIT WARNS OF 'CENTRES OF EVIL'.

IN A NUTSHELL: Ever since 1808 when Mahmud II attempted reform through an elite of western educated doctors and military officers, the military has grown as a secular, westernizing force in Turkish history. By the mid-19th century, efforts to create a western-educated elite around the sultan were in full swing. By World War I, the Ottoman Sultans had created the very secular, westernized elite that would finish them off. Most secular rebels and revolutionaries now came from within thos same elite, especially the army. By 1923, the Young Turks, as they were called, had taken over and the new Republic of Turkey was created. However, Islamic parties managed to thrive in the new democracy and the perceived threat of a return to Islam has periodically been dealt with through secular, military dictatorship. Now, the military is eying the election of Abdullah Gul to the presidency with similar suspicion.


THEN AND NOW:
Almost a century ago, in 1908, the Young Turks of the secularist CUP party dominated the government and the parliament, demanding liberal reform from the Ottoman sultan, Hamid II. Women discarded the veil and western advisors were brought in. Many feared, however, that the Young Turks had a radical, authoritarian agenda. A century later, the situation is reversed, with the new pro-Muslim AK party and its president Abdullah Gul, bringing in a period of change. Their secular opponents suspect Gul and the AK of a radical, Islamist agenda. The agents of change, secular in 1908 and Islamic in 2007, are both seen as potentially radical and authoritarian by their opponents. As secularists worry about Gul's wife wearing the Islamic headscarf, many in 1908 feared the Young Turks' prohibition of the veil.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. By the end of the 19th century, doctors, military men and other professionals had become beneficiaries of the western education encouraged by the Sultan in order to strengthen the Ottoman Empire against Europe. With the Sultan unwilling to make further reforms, they gathered to form the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP) . In 1913, after coups and counter-coups and struggles in parliament, a group of 'Young Turks' from CUP seized power in a coup d'etat. The end of Wirld War I saw the collapse of the Ottoman empire. On the 29th October, 1923 the 'Young Turks', headed by an army officer, Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey . The new state was set up on 6 principles: 1) republicanism 2) nationalism 3) populism. 4) statism 5) secularism 6) reformism (or Westernization). The following year, Turkey ended the religious Caliphate of the Sultans. Throughout the 'twenties and 'thirties Ataturk's party brought in reforms aimed at secularization and equality, women receiving the vote in 1934.
The post- war period, however, saw a gradual revival of Islam First there was Adnan Menderes who attempted greater tolerance toward Islam. He was overthrown and hanged in a military coup in 1960. The secularist military, heir to the legacy of Ataturk, set itself up as the ultimate arbiter in Turkish politics, intervening not only on religious, but on political and economic grounds as well. However, in the 1960s, in the show-down with Greece and the West over Cyprus, Islam as well as Marxism were fueled by nationalist passions . Another military coup took place in 1971. Meanwhile, the poor and the disenfranchised looked increasingly to Islamic movements. An economic and political slow-down further empowered Islamic parties, provoking the military to take power again in 1980. In the late 80s, the Islamic Welfare Party benefitted from anger against austerity measures. The Welfare (or 'Virtue') Party took power in 1995. But afterward, its opponents used the courts to ban its measures in support of Islam as unconstitutional (ie, a threat to Ataturk secularism). The movement rebounded in the form of the new AK party, winning a landslide election in 2002.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: Since November, 2002, when the Islamic AK Party's president Recep Erdogan won a large majority, there has been a marked change in Turkish politics. Turkey's rigorous secularism has been eased toward greater relgious tolerance and rights of Turkey's Kurdish minority have begun to be protected. It has also worked toward t restrictions on the powers of the military and other liberalizing measures to qualify Turkey for entry into the European Union. But the secular tradition still has mass support in Turkey. In April of this year, mass demonstrations took place protesting perceived threats to Turkey's secular traditions prompted by the decision of AK party leader Erdogan, a man with an Islamist pat, to run for office. In response, Erdogan stepped down, allowing his foregin minister, Abdullah Gul, to run in his place. But Turkey's secular population also saw Gul as an Islamist and the country seemed paralysed by a standoff between the country's pro-Islam and secualrist populations. On July 22, the AK party was re-elected to govern. Gul's election as president has fulfilled the worst fears of many secularists.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. Anatolia remained under the control of Christian Byzantium until it fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1071. The Muslim, Ottoman empire was founded by the Seljuk, Osman, in the early 14th century. By 1550, Selim I (the Magnificent) had extended the empire from Syria to Iraq and from Jerusalem to Morocco. In the middle of the following century, however, the immense bureaucracy needed to rule the empire had become entrenched, inefficient and corrupt. What was worse, the Sultans became the instruments not only of their own bureaucrats, but of the Janissaries- a highly trained slave army. Aware of its weakness next to Europe and of increasing commercial rivalry with European powers, Constantinople attempted to shape its court along the lines of the most prestigious court in Europe, the court of France. This was the beginning of repeated attempts to use 'westernization' to reinforce the Ottoman Empire against the West itself. Defeat by Russia at the end of the 18th century accelerated the rush to acquire western military technology and skills- which meant educating Ottoman officers in Europe. The first ambitious attempt at such reforms was made by Mahmud II in 1808. The Janissaries resisted but Mahmud had them crushed. By the middle of the 19th century, this policy of "defensive westernization" increased, though it was resisted, often successfully, by conservative Muslim officials throughout the empire. Indeed, western-style reform rarely got beyond the upper class in Constantinople. In 1840, the Tanzimat, a liberal constitutional reform devised by Mahmud II before his death, was intended to give Jews and Christians equality with Muslims and to promote equality in education. The Tanzimat was furiously pushed forward by Mahmud's vizier, Reshid Pasha. In 1851, religious conservatives blocked many of Reshid’s reforms.
Attempts at liberalizing, secularizing reforms from above, often stymied by conservative, Islamic resistance from below, would become the leitmotif of the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. In 1876, Midhat Pasha, ambitious governor of Bulgaria and then of Baghdad, attempted to bring in universal equality before the law, a two-chamber parliament and a European-style constitution. The Sultan, Hamid II, quashed most of Midhat's reforms only to find that Turkey's immense debt to Eurpean nations required the admission of yet more European commercial interests and financial reforms. Hamid proceeded with partial westernization, paving the way by instituting a police state and trying to disguise it all with the facade of an Islamic revival. It was during this time that the secularized intelligentsia of Istanbul, the Young Turks, saw that real reform meant doing away with the Sultan and the Caliphate altogether.

RELEVANT DATES:
717- Muslim siege of Constantinople.
1071- Battle of Manzikert- Byzantines lose Anatolia to the Central Asian Seljuk Turks under Malik Shah. Seljuks establish tolerance toward Christians and Jews.
The Ottoman Empire
1326- Osman unites central Turkey as far as Anatolia. As he is dying. Osman takes Bursa in north-east Anatolia by siege
1514- Under Selim the Magnificant, Otoman power is extended to the head of the Persian Gulf. (Iraq) using Janissari slave armies made up of Christian men and boys indoctrinated in Islam and given strict training.
1650 (circa)-Selim II and weak rulers after him become the instruments of their own bureaucracy and advisors. Bureaucrats become power-hungry, corrupt and undisciplined.
1703-1730- the Ottoman court attempts to adopt the styles of French royalty. Some Enlightenment ideas begin to filter into the intelligentsia. The first Arabic printing press.
1789-1808- Selim III- By reducing his advisors to a cabinet of 12 ministers, he cuts the power of the Grand Vizier. Turkey is opened to western ideas and education. Permanent embassies are opened in London, paris, Vienna and Berlin.

Hindered by their own Bureaucracy, Ottomans turn toward the West

1808- rejecting Selim’s modernization attempts, the Janissaries force him to abdicate. Reformers in his court are massacred.
-July- Mahmud II succeeds Selim- preparing for a new attempt at reform by creating a group of loyal officers and advisors. When the Janissaries refuse the reforms, Mahmud has them isolated and killed throughout the empire. All Janissarie institutions razed and rooted out.
-a new military corps is reorganized by sending officers to school in England and using Prussian trainers and advisers.
1830-40- -education of medical and army personnel in French, English and German and leads to enlightenment and adoption of western ideas. Western books printed. When the clergy objected or blocked the reforms, they were ignored or killed outright.
-western style dress is introduced and sometimes enforced; Turkish dress is moderated. However, all of Mahmud’s reforms only reached the elite in and around Istanbul- elsewhere their application was only superficial. The administration remains conservative.

The Tanzimat- Attempt at Constitutional Reform.
1840- - the Tanzimat, a proclamation of liberal constitutional reform by Mahmud II inspired by British reforms of the 1830s, is issued after his death. Reshid Pasha, his grand vizier tries to enforce it.
-Reshid Pasha, his advisor, promotes the reform. It promises protection of life and property for all creeds, tax reform, reform of conscription pratices. Enforcement of the rule of law for all classes. Attack on corruption. Reshid’s reform movement is known at the Tanzimat.
1841- Reshid is dismissed by Mahmud's successor Sultan Abdul Majid and his campaign of reform is dropped as the regime becomes more conservative while turning anti-Christian.
1845- Reshid pushes his reforms again by attempting to westernize the education system.
1851- religious conservatives block Reshid’s education reforms. Local conservative notables co-opt his attempts to strengthen provincial governments.

Midhat Pasha makes new attempts at constitutional reform.
1876--Midhat Pasha, an ambitious governor, overthrows Sultan Aziz in a coup, places a successor on the throne. The new sultan dies and is replaced by his brother, Abdul Hamid II. He appoints Midhat Pasha as his vizier. Midhat and Hamid adopt a new constitution. Belgian and French constitutions are used as models. Universal equality before the law is declared and a two-chamber assembly along with some decentralization of government.
-however, Midhat refuses to delegate control of treasury, support abolition of the slave trade or allow mixed Muslim-Christian schools.
1877-78- Hamid II suspends the constitution under the pretext of a new Russo-Turkish war. Midhat is exiled. Reformers were fired and some imprisioned.

The Ottoman debt leads to further Westernization.
1880- Ottoman government, in debt to Europe, is bankrupted by the war with Russia. Taxes and tarrifs used to pay off the debt.
-as debt is paid off, European business interests penetrate the empire, bring more western ideas, innovation and modernization.
-as Hamid II modernizes he turns the Ottoman empire into a police state. Tries to distract the public with an Islamic revival.
1883- Hamid has Midhat and other reformers strangled in prison.

Birth of secularism: the Committee of Union and Progress.
-western-educated men in the Medical academy, the army and the engineering schools, develop an atheist, secular reform-minded movement against the sultan. They are concentrated in the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP).
-Kemal Ataturk, an army officer of the CUP, helps found ‘Vatan’ (Fatherland), a secret society.
1908- the Young Turks of CUP threaten an uprising and demand from Hamid the restoration of the 1876 constitution. Hamid reconvenes the long defunct parlaiment and appoints a new cabinet acceptable to the CUP. Muslims, Jews and Christians celebrate a new area of freedom.
-women discard the veil and western advisors are brought in.
-the CUP dominates the government and parliament. It becomes authoritarian and alienates the empire with free-thinking, atheism and Turkic ultra-nationalism.

The Young Turks of CUP take power.
1913- after coups and counter-coups, the Young Turks of CUP consolidate their power in a coup d’etat.
1918- Turkey is defeated on its Middle Eastern and European fronts.

End of the Ottoman Empire; birth of the Turkish republic.
Oct. 18- Sultan Muhammed VI signs an armistice with the allied powers. The Ottoman empire comes to an end.
1923- 29 Oct.- Republic of Turkey founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on 6 principles: 1) republicanism 2) nationalism 3) populism. 4) statism 5) secularism 6) reformism (Westernization).
1924- the religious Caliphate is abolished. The constitution established democracy and universal male suffrage. Most Islamic customs are abolished during a successful program of westernization.
1926- European codes of criminal, civil and commercial law are adopted.
1927- Ataturk re-elected.
1934- women win the right to vote.

Menderes: return of the struggle with Islam.
1952- President Menderes of the conservative Democratic Party, liberalizes the economy and relaxes controls on Islam provoking the ire of Inonu's secular, progressive Republican People's Party (RPP).

The Army arrives as a Secular force in politics.
-Menderes becomes authoritarian until overthrown in a coup by the army. Henceforth the army is seen as protector of the legacy of Ataturk.
1960- Menderes is executed by hanging.
1961- Inonu’s RPP is re-elected.
1965- RPP is defeated in elections by Demerel of the Justice Party (JP), successor to the DP.

Emergence of Islamic Fundamentalism.
1960s- Rise of Islamic fundamentalism and radical Marxism. They garner support as Turks protest the West’s discouragement of Turkish ambitions in Cyprus.
1971- Military coup. Constitution of 1961 suspended.
1970s- minority governments prevent progress and reform, encouraging Islamic fundamentalism.
1980- military takes power in a coup

1987- the True Path party (DYP) comes to power as successor to the JP and DP. It attempts economic reform, tries to stop the rise of Islamism under the Welfare Party and to put down thPKK.

-Turkey plunges into an economic crisis. Regimes of Demirel (JP) and Ciller (DYP) bring about austerity which only strenghtens Islamic Fundamentalism.

The Islamist vote gains power in parliament.

1995- Nekmettin Erbekan elected with an Islamic party, the Welfare or 'Virtue' Party, the largest single party, with 21.3 % of the vote.

1998- the court bans the WP for offences against the secular constitution. Erbekan is banned from political life for 5 years.

1999- WP loses badly to Bulent Ecevit, originally of the RRP, who applies for entry to the EU, cracks down on Kurdish PKK militants.

2001- Court bans the Virtue party for anti-secular activities.

2002- women achieve legal equality with men.

2002- Nov. –Recep Erdogan’s Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP or AKA) wins landslide election.

2003- Erdogan wins a seat in parliament and replaces Abdullah Gul as Prime Minister.

2005- President Sezer vetos amendment on restrictions on teaching of the Koran but parliament overturns his veto.
2007- April- thousands of demonstrators for secularism protest Erdgan’s decision to run again for office because of his Islamist past.
April -Erdogan steps down and the AKA party (JDP) has his foreign minister Abdullah Gul run in his place. Standoff between Islamists and secularists

July 22- AK party wins elections.
August 28- Abdullah Gul is elected president of Turkey.

LOCATION OF NOTE: ANKARA- Chosen by Kemal Ataturk in 1923 (instead of Constantinople) as the seat of government for the modern republic of Turkey, Ankara was also an ancient capital of the Hittites. It was an important Roman provincial capital under Augustus. In the middle of the 14th century, the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks. At Ankara, the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid was defeated in the onslaught of Tamerlane in 1402, resulting in the loss of Anatolia by the Ottomans for the next several decades. By the end of the 19th century, the city had fallen into decline and produced nothing but mohair. In 1920, Ataturk decided on Ankara as the base for his government in waiting. His choice of the city as Turkey's capital two years later came from its central location and a desire to break from the Ottoman past.

PROFILE: Adnan Menderes (1899-1961) A populist and apologist for Islam, Menderes and his Democratic Party showed promise until he tried to force through his reforms despite loss of support in parliament. Having seriously challenged the secularist, entrenched Ataturk establishment, he was overthrown by the army, sentenced to death for violating the constitution and executed in 1960. He entered politics in 1932. Before joining the government party, the RPP, he was an early, if gentle critic of Ataturk. Menderes was elected to power in 1950 at the head of the Democratic Party which he had helped found. In 1952 he liberalized the economy and relaxed controls on Islam, provoking the ire of Inonu's secular, progressive People's Republican Party. Menderes oversaw Turkey joining NATO and, despite great popular anger, gave Cyprus independence in 1959.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: In the late middle ages, it appeared that the Ottoman Caliphate would lead the way for Islam whose civilization was everywhere else in decline. But by the mid-seventeenth century the empire had grown too large to govern effectively. The sultans turned to western ideas for reform but it was too late and the process too slow. Conservative Islam repeatedly bocked the Sultan's attempts at westernization. Eventually that very western, secularization brought about a revolution against the Ottoman Sultan. With World War One the empire was lost andTurkey became a secular nation. In a broad sense, the tables had been turned. After World War Two, the secular tradition had in many ways become reactionary and rigid, the army intervening and suspending democracy whenever it felt its interests were threatened. A slow but steady Islamic revival has brought with it promises of tolerance toward minorities and aid to the poor. The historic reversal, for the time being, seems total- with liberal reform on the side of Islam and reaction entrenched with the secular powers.

PRESENT SITUATION: With Islamic AK party member Abdullah Gul in the presidency, Turks seem evenly divided, half sympathazing with the army's fear of an Islamist agenda. The history which seems to have separated Turkey from much of the Isllamic world, suggests that the rule of the AK will be relatively enlightened and mostly immune from Islamist reaction. The only thing that could radicalize the present Islamic trend and its government would be military intervention.

PLUS CA CHANGE: Minorities and non-Muslum subjects were seen as a source of instability by the Sultans; while Islam and poverty became a threat to the military establishment of 1980s. Both were dealt with by force. In1877, Sultan Hamid II suspended his reforming constitution from the year before and dismissed and jailed many of his own reformers. Almost a century later, in 1980, the Turkish military likewise likewise used force to prevent unrest, taking power in a military coup.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF TURKEY AND FOR THE HISTORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE.
The Hittites

1900 BC- Hittites migrate from the Caucasus to Northern Anatolia.

1680-1650- Labarna established as capital of Hittite Kingdom.

1550- the Hittite New Kingdom.

-Hittites defeated by Egypt and forced to pay tribute.

1380- Hittite King Shubbiluliu defeats the Mitanni. The Hittites are the first to smelt Iron- explaining some of their military superiority.

1380-1200- the Hittite Empire.

1294- Battle of Kadesh, Syria: Hittites push back the Egyptians.

1260- Destruction of Troy.

1200- Hittites defeated by the Hyksos.

The Greeks and Persians

1200- beginning of the Iron Age.

1200-700- the Dark Age of Greece.

-decline of Mycenae and of the Anatolian Hittites

-the Greeks colonize the Anatolian coast,

546 BC- Persian conquest of Anatolia.

521-486- BC- Darius the Great extends the empire as far as the Aegean and Macedonia;

490- Darius the Great invades Greece. He is defeated at Marathon.

480- Darius the Great’s army is defeated at Thermopylae; his navy is destroyed at Salamis

Alexander and the Seleucids

336- Alexander the Great takes Anatolia.

312-280- Seleucus controls Alexander’s empire which includes Anatolia and most of the Middle East.

263- the Greek Seleucid kings begin to lose Anatolia.

175- Antioch IV, Epiphanes consolidates Cilicia (SE Anatolia), Syria, Babylonia, Media. Encourages Hellenism and Greek manners. Tries to abolish Judaism in order to unify everyone against Rome

Rome

100 AD- Rome controls Asia Minor (Anatolia)

63 AD- Rome begins to conquer the Seleucid Levant..

Byzantium

305-324 AD Constantine and the eastern Empire victorious in civil war.

313- Conversion of Constantine to Christianity.

325- the Council of Nicea.

330- Rome replaced by Constantinople as capital of the empire. Founding of Constantinople and Byzantium.

527-565- Reign of Justinian

610-641- Reign of Heraclitus of Byzantium.

The Arrival of Islam

717- Muslim siege of Constantinople.

800-1000- Byzantine and Islamic Arab rivalry over Jerusalem.

The Seljuk Turks

1040-1170- the Middle East dominated by the Seljuk Turks.

1071- Battle of Manzikert- Byzantines lose Anatolia to the Central Asian Seljuk Turks under Malik Shah. Seljuks establish tolerance toward Christians and Jews.

-Seljuks set up their capital in the Hittite city of Konia. Konia becomes a great cultural center.

The Crusaders

1204- Constantinople sacked by the Crusaders.

1204-1261- Latin empire of Constantinople.

1243- Mongols break up the Seljuk empire into rival principalities.

The Ottomans

-Osman rallies followers in Sogut, in north-central Anatolia.

1249- the Mamluks, a Turkish slave corps under the Fatimids, found a dynasty in Egypt, overthrowing the Ayyubids and taking Palestine

1261-1453- Constantinople retaken by the Palaeologi. Byzantium is restored.

-in Palestine, the Mamluks try to resist the growing power of the Ottoman Turks by making trade contact with Europe

1326- Osman unites central Turkey as far as Anatolia. As he is dying. Osman takes Bursa in north-east Anatolia by siege.

The Ottoman Invasion of the Balkans

-Osman’s son Othan expands Ottoman rule into the Balkans.

1354- the Ottoman Turks under Murad invade the Balkans.

1389- Murad and the Ottomans take the southern Balkans at the Battle of Kosovo.

1395- the Sultan Bayezid lays siege to Constantinople and defeats Christian armies.

1402- Bayezid defeated by Tamerlane at Ankara.

1421- Mehmet consolidates Ottoman power.

- Murad II extends Ottoman conquests as far as Hungary.

1451- Mehmet II.

Ottomans Take Constantinople

1453- Constantinople falls to the Turks under Mehmet II. Mehmet rebuilds Constantinople as a tolerant center of learning.

-Mehmett II takes Greece as far as the Adriatic.

Selim the Magnificent

1514- Under Selim the Magnificant, Otoman power is extended to the head of the Persian Gulf. (Iraq) using Janissari slave armies made up of Christian men and boys indoctrinated in Islam and given strict training.

-France joins the Italian city states in trade with the Ottoman Levant.

1516- Ottomans under Selim take Jerusalem and Egypt from the Mamluks.

Palestine

1517- Palestine and Gaza come under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. But for the Ottomans, there is no single entity called Palestine. It is divided into the Sanjak (district) of Jerusalem in the south and the vilayat (province) of Beirut in the north. The city of Jerusalem is ruled directly from Constantinople.

-the Ottomans bring an end to strife between Turks and Mamluks in Palesine.

-the Ottomans restore security to trade routes throughout the Middle East.

-Palestine begins a short-lived economic and cultural recovery with the renewed flourishing of Arab traders

- under Ottoman rule, the Mamluk territory of southern Syria and Palestine is ruled from Damascus.

-the Ottomans isolate Palestine from outside influences. However, they grant Francis I of France the right to protect Christian shrines in Palestine.

Far-flung Conquests.

1520-1566- Suleiman takes Rhodes, North Africa, defeats the Portugeuse at the Red Sea.

1526- battle of Mohacs- conquest of Hungary by the Ottomans.

-Egypt is still administered by the Mameluks.

1529- Suleiman promises to help the King of Hungary against the Habsburgs in return for Hungarian assistance in laying siege to Vienna. The siege fails when the weather turns cold.

Ottoman Engagement with Europe; France and Lebanon.

-1536- Francis I of France and the sultan, Suleiman I, sign a treaty of capitulations concerning permanent French trading settlements in the Levant and Turks trading in France; free trade and freedom of religion in one another's countries. Right to be tried in court by one's own consul or nationals. The agreement is renewable upon expiry.

1541- Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the magnificent rebuilds city walls of Jerusalem.

1566- death of Suleiman the Magnificent.

1571- the Christian Holy League (Venice, the Italian city states and Spain) defeats the Ottoman navy in the battle of Lepanto off the coast of Greece. Ottoman expansion ends.

-1580 (circa)- in Rome, Gregory XIII founds a seminary to train Maronite seminarians for the clergy.

1585-1635- Fakhr al Din, Druze leader in Lebanon conducts his own foreign policy and invites Christian missionaries.

-European powers begin to close in on the Ottoman Empire but they want the sultan kept in place so that no country can seize the overall advantage.

-1600-1900- Lebanese tribal chiefs encourage French Catholic missionaries to develop education in the country. Rome-educated Maronite priests return to Lebanon and spread western ideas.

1642-91- Suleiman II.

1649- Ottoman Sultan issues a decree allowing France's Louis XIV to protect the Maronites. French clergy and French-educated Maronite priests begin to influence political institutions.

Seeds of Ottoman Weakness

Selim II and weak rulers after him become the instruments of their own bureaucracy and advisors. Bureaucrats become power-hungry, corrupt and undisciplined.

-outlying regions like Egypt, Yemen, Arabia, Kurdish provinces in east Turkey, Moldavia and Walachia are only loosely controlled, keeping their own systems of rule and having only a tributary relationship. As government from the center weakens, their autonomy increases.

1656- Grand Vizier Mehmet Koprulu slows Ottoman decline by instituting reforms. Thousands executed for corruption.

The Last Seige of Vienna

-the Koprulu dynasty takes Turkey into Poland and the Ukraine but by 1700 the empire has lost territory to Poland, Russia and Austria.

1683- the Ottoman siege of Vienna fails when the city is relieved by the Polish king, John Sobieski. Henceforth, the Ottoman Empire will gradually shrink until its end in 1920.

1699- the Ottomans begin to release territories in the Balkans.

Rapprochement with France

1703-1730- the Ottoman court attempts to adopt the styles of French royalty. Some Enlightenment ideas begin to filter into the intelligentsia. The first Arabic printing press.

The French form close trade relations with Ottoman Syria.

-1736- with Ottoman approval, France becomes protector of the Maronite Christians. The Church of Rome grants the Maronites recognition.

-1740- trade agreements between France and the Ottomans confirmed in perpetuity.
-the coastal area around Beirut and Tyre becomes the most Europeanized part of the Muslim world.
Conflict with Russia

-1757- contrary to the agreement with the French, the Ottomans agree to Russia being the protector of Christians in the Levant.

1772-1774- the First Russo Turkish War.

1774- Ottoman forces routed by Russia under Catherine II. Peace of Kuchuk Kainarji.

Russia consolidates control over the Black sea and reduces Turkish power in the Crimean, clearing the way for Crimea’s annexation. This treaty is seen as the beginning of Ottoman decline. The Ottomans reaffirm Russia as the protector of Christians in the Levant.

-the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji also allows Russia to be protector of Greek Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman empire.

-prompted by French protection of the Maronites, Lebanon's Ottoman rulers incite the Druzes to move against the Maronites

.

Bonaparte Invades Egypt.

1798-99- to cut India off from the British, the French, under General Bonaparte, launch an invasion of Egypt and from Egypt to Palestine and Syria, breaking the rule of the Mamluks. Appealing to English strategic help and Turkish armies, Bonaparte is forced back to Egypt. Though their attempt at domination fails, the French manage to sustain a presence in the region dating back to the Crusades.

Ottoman Attempts at Reform.

-Ottoman rulers are convinced that the only way to overcome defeat at the hands of Europe is to adopt European military methods and technology

1789-1808- Selim III- By reducing his advisors to a cabinet of 12 ministers, he cuts the power of the Grand Vizier. Turkey is opened to western ideas and education. Permanent embassies are opened in London, paris, Vienna and Berlin.

-French military assistance and supply is secured via Napoleon’s ambassador. But the Janissaries rebel and force Selim to cancel the idea..

1807- Selim III launches a modernization program.

1808- rejecting Selim’s modernization attempts, the Janissaries force him to abdicate. Reformers in his court are massacred.

-July- Mahmud II succeeds Selim- preparing for a new attempt at reform by creating a group of loyal officers and advisors. When the Janissaries refuse the reforms, Mahmud has them isolated and killed throughout the empire. All Janissarie institutions razed and rooted out.

-a new military corps is reorganized bys sending officers to school in England and using Prussian trainers and advisers.

Invasion by the Egyptian Viceroy, Muhammed Ali.

-1831- Muhammed Ali, Egyptian viceroy to the Ottomans, deals with rebellions against the Ottomans in Saudi Arabia and in Greece. The Ottoman Sultan, Mahmoud, having promised him Syria and Palestine as a reward, renegs. Ali rebels, takes Syria and from Syria occupies Palestine. He and his son open the area to European influence.

1831-40- Egyptian occupation of Syria and Palestine. Because Ali is a protege of France, France refuses to help the Sultan. Ali wins Cilicia, Palestine and Syria.

-Mohammed Ali invites the French Jesuits to set up in Lebanon where the Jesuits become protectors of the Maronite Christians.

-Britain, meanwhile, allies itself with Druze chieftains in southern Lebanon

Ottoman Reforms.

1834- a national militia is set up by the Ottomans to supervise military training in the remote provinces.

-the power of the provinces is reduced. Roads, trade, postal service and communications are reformed. Corruption is reduced.

-education of medical and army personnel in French, English and German and leads to enlightenment and adoption of western ideas. Western books printed. When the clergy objected or blocked the reforms, they were ignored or killed outright.

-western style dress is introduced and sometimes enforced; Turkish dress is moderated. However, all of Mahmud’s reforms only reached the elite in and around Istanbul- elsewhere their application was only superficial. The administration remains conservative.

1839- death of Mahmud II.

-Mahmud’s proclamation of constitutional reform, the Tanzimat, inspired by British reforms of the 1830s, is issued after his death.

-Reshid Pasha, his advisor, promotes the reform. It promises protection of life and property for all creeds, tax reform, reform of conscription pratices. Enforcement of the rule of law for all classes. Attack on corruption. Reshid’s reform movement is known at the Tanzimat.

Muhammed Ali of Egypt is Stopped by the English.

-1840-1 -in a bid to stop the center of power in the Middle East moving to French-supported Egypt, the British invade and expel Muhammed Ali from Syria and Palestine and the Ottomans reassert control. Nevertheless, western influence continues to penetrate the area.the allied powers in Europe, minus France, force Ali to withdraw from Syria to Egypt.

Lebanon: the Maronite-Druze Civil War.

-1840- the Maronite-Druze feudal system falls apart. A civil war begins which will last until 1860.

1841- Reshid is dismissed and his campaign of reform is dropped as the regime becomes more conservative while turning anti-Christian.

1843- France and Britain persuade the Sultan to allow French-backed administration by the Maronites in the north and British-backed Druze administration by the British in the south.

-the treaties of capitulation 0f 1536 and 1740 become the means for the French to intervene in Lebanon in local affairs.

-peasant uprising against both Druze and Maronite rule in Lebanon.

Ottoman Reforms Backfire.

1845- Reshid attempts his reforms again by attempting to westernize the education system.

1851- religious conservatives block Reshid’s education reforms. Local conservative notables co-opt his attempts to strengthen provincial governments.

-the young, upper class Ottoman intelligentsia profits by the reforms and begin to write modern scholarly works.

-the remote non-Muslim corners of the empire also exploit the influx of western ideas to undermine Ottoman dominance. In the Balkans, Christian nationalist sentiments are aroused and rebellions are put down by force

-Anatolia, the most Turkish part of the empire, remains the most backward. Everywhere else, the Turks are in a minority.

-Muslims tend to compete for political positions, while entrepreneurship and progress in commerce is left to Jews, Greeks and Armenians and through them, the Europeans. Increasingly the Muslim population has contempt for Christians and their modernizing tendencies.

-all reform and modernization took place mostly at the top of society and even then it was superficial.

The Crimean War.

-Britain regards Turkey as a barrier to Russian expansion.

-The Sultan begins to give in to Russian pressure to restore Russia as the guarantor of Christianity and the Holy Places of the Middle East. In the end, however, the Sultan sides with England and France. In response, Russia occupies neighbouring Ottoman provinces of Wallachia and Moldovia under the pretext of protecting Russian Orthodoxy. The Russian action sparks the Crimean war.

-1854- under threat of war, Napoleon III forces the Ottoman Sultan to recognize France as protector of the Christians in the Levant. In this he had British support against the ambitions of Russia in the Middle East

1853-1856. Crimean war. Ottoman westernizers attempt to weaken Russian claims that non-Muslims are suffering under Ottoman rule. Istanbul is urged to adopt reforms. Even conservatives, influenced by young westernizers begin to back reform.

-in Lebanon, Maronite Christians, with French support and European cultural influence begin to challenge the Druzes. The local Ottoman governor inflames the conflict in hopes that the groups would destroy one another.

1855- Jerusalem expands beyond its city walls. Its population, once small and stagnant, increases.

-the Palestinian Arab Husayni family takes over large tracts of land in southern Palestine
Failed Attempts at Economic Reform

1856 -French and English allies of Turkey pressure the Sultan to adopt reforms with the “Hatti-Humayun”, a second edict of reform promoting tolerance, tax reform, modernization of the role of banks and investment houses.. However the reforms are mostly ignored by. anti-Christian Muslims. Officials, enraged by Christian-revolts in the Balkans, evade all implementation.

-Midhat Pasha, governor of Bulgaria crushes Christian rebellions but builds roads, hospitals, schools, cooperatives. He is equally hard on Muslims and Christians.

-Midhat Pasha then becomes governor of Iraq and later of Salonika.

-Sultan Abdul Aziz almost bankrupts the empire with spending.

Lebanon- bloody climax of civil war.

-1860- in Ottoman Lebanon, Druze Muslims clash again with Maronite Christians. Maronites were considered to be dhimmi, like Jews and Christians- 2nd class citizens.

-Lebanon: Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians, killling 14,000. The violence spreads to Damascus where Kurdish, Druze and Syrian Muslims kill 5,000 Christians and Jews.

-the Vatican conducts its affairs in Lebanon through French diplomats

-1861- France intervenes and forces the Ottoman sultan to appoint an Osmanli Christian governor for a special province or 'Sanjak' of Lebanon. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.

-a Majlis or administrative council is set up on the basis of equal representation of Maronites, Greek Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Druzes, Metawilas Muslims and other Muslim sects...

-Britain forces France to withdraw from Lebanon. An international commission declares it an autonomous region. French influence is sustained, however, through commerce, trade and religion.

-1864- Lebanon is to be governed separately from Syria as an autonomous region.

1864-1914- the Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon retains semi-autonomous status. But during this period many Lebanese Christians flee Ottoman rule or internal violence. The links maintained between Lebanese abroad and those still at home form an important cultural bridge between Lebanon and Europe.

-however, Muslims educated in Europe did not form the same bonds with the west and western ways. Even Lebanese Muslims educated abroad continued to identify with their Osmanli rulers

Grand Vizier Midhat Pasha and the New Constitution.

1876--Midhat Pasha overthrows Sultan Aziz in a coup. The new sultan dies and is replaced by his brother, Abdul Hamid II. He appoints Midhat Pasha as his vizier. Midhat and Hamid adopt a new constitution. Belgian and French constitutions are used as models. Universal equality before the law is declared and a two-chamber assembly along with some decentralization of government.

-however, Midhat refuses to delegate control of treasury, support abolition of the slave trade or allow mixed Muslim-Christian schools.

-Midhat modernizes the army with British and German advisors and armaments.

1877-78- Hamid III suspends the constitution under the pretext of a new Russo-Turkish war. Midhat is exiled. Reformers were fired and some imprisioned.

-1878- French predominance in Lebanon is recognized by the Berlin Treaty. Lebanese eastern Christians become a means of French influence in the Levant.

1880- Ottoman government, in debt to Europe, is bankrupted by the war with Russia. Taxes and tarrifs used to pay off the debt.

-as debt is paid off, European business interests penetrate the empire, bring more western ideas, innovation and modernization.

-as Hamid modernizes he turns the Ottoman empire into a police state. Tries to distract the public with an Islamic revivial.

1882- settlement in Palestine by a first wave of Russian Jews in flight from pogroms in Russia.

-Palestinian peasants are impoverished under absentee landlords and Osmanli tax collectors. Palestinian Arabs and Christians, ruled in separate “millets” by the Ottomans, have little contact.

-northern Palestine is controlled by landlords based in Damascus and Beirut. The southern half is populated by nomadic Bedouin who range over the region from Jordan and Sinai

-most Palestinians associate themselves with Syria while the Husayni family takes on leadership of Palestinian Arabs. Between 1865 and World War I, 6 of Jerusalem’s 13 mayors are Husaynis.

-Arab nationalism begins to develop in opposition to Ottoman rule.

1883- Hamid has Midhat and other reformers strangled in prison.

-western-educated men in the Medical academy, the army and the engineering schools, develop an atheist, secular reform-minded movement against the sultan. They are concentrated in the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP).

-the Ottomanists, influenced by the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire, support complete equality of all the peoples of the Ottoman empire. The Pan Turanists declare a Turkic racial-ethnic ideology.

-Kemal Ataturk, an army officer, helps found ‘Vatan’ (Fatherland), a secret society.

1894- Sultan Abd al Hamid II begins the systematic killing of the Armenians.

1904-14- a second wave of Jewish settlers in Palestine- primarily intellectual and middle class. So far there is only desire for refuge, not for a state.

-to Arabist scholars and to Arab nationalists, Palestine is historically a part of southern Syria and as such is no less Arab than any other Arab region in the Middle East.

1907- all Ottoman revolutionary groups from home and abroad convene at Paris and form the middle class, liberal and nationalist Society of Union and Progress under the auspices of the CUP.

1908- the Young Turks of CUP threaten an uprising and demand from Hamid the restoration of the 1876 constitution. Hamid reconvenes the long defunct parlaiment and appoints a new cabinet acceptable to the CUP. Muslims, Jews and Christians celebrate a new area of freedom.

-women discard the veil and western advisors are brought in.

-the CUP dominates the government and parliament. It becomes authoritarian and alienates the empire with free-thinking, atheism and Turkic ultra-nationalism.

1909- 14 April- Hamid and the conservative League of Mohammed overthrow the CUP government.

-in 11 days, CUP storms Istanbul, deposes Hamid and puts his brother Mehmet V on the throne. A general purge follows.

-CUP’s repressive Turkocentric rule results in rebellions all over the empire. The Balkans are lost. Arab uprisings in Syria and Yemen. Pan Turanism takes over. CUP wants to force all subjects to become Turks.

1912- Tripoli (Libya) is lost to Italy.

1913- the Young Turks of CUP consolidate their power in a coup d’etat.

-1913-1918- Ottoman empire is under the dictatorial triumvirate of Talat Bey, Enver Pasha and Jemal Pasha. Ottoman empire is effectively a police state. More attempts are made to westernize the military.

-Enver Pasha, enamoured of Prussia, brings in German military advisors.

1914- post-Ottoman Turkey retains the ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon

1914- the Ottoman empire falls into alliance with Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.

1915- April- Australian and allied troops defeated by the Turks in Gallipoli after an attempt to invade Turkey at the Dardanelles

Slaughter of the Armenians
April- Turkey accuses Armenia of assisting Russian invasion. The Young Turk government continues the policy of liquidation begun by Sultan Hamid II in 1894, deporting 1.7 million Armenians (2/3 of the population) to Syria and Palestine. 600,000 were either murdered or died during transportation.

April 20- Armenian rebellion centred on the fortress of Van.

Aug 3-5- Russians forced by Turkish troops to withdraw from Van which is then occupied by Turkey.

May 19- Russian troops relieve the Armenians at Van. But the campaign of extermination by the Turks will contonie until 1923.

-the British, with the help of the Arabs, wrest Palestine from the Ottomans

1917- Arabia revolts against Turkish rule with the assistance of TE Lawrence.

-Baghdad and Jerusalem also rebel against Istanbul.

1917- the Balfour Declaration: Britain declares support for the idea of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

1918- Turkey is defeated on its Middle Eastern and European fronts.

Oct. 18- Sultan Muhammed VI signs an armistice with the allied powers. The Ottoman empire comes to an end.

1919- French troops under General Gouraud replace British troops in the Lebanon.

-the British allow the Emir Faisal to be military governor of Damascus.

-1919- the US King-Crane Commission finds that Maronites want to retain close ties with France while the Muslim majority opposes separating Lebanon from Syria. The Commission recommends the compromise of an autonomous Lebanese province within a larger Syrian State.

1920- Aug. 10 -the Treaty of Sevres makes Syria a French protectorate and Palestine and Jordan a British protectorate.

-the Turkish ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon is enlarged by the French into ‘Greater Lebanon’.

-the Lebanese Maronite Christian enclave is expanded to form modern Lebanon, governed separately from Syria but still under French mandate. It includes coastal Muslim regions despite Muslim protest.

1920- the nationalists defy the sultan and set up a national government in Ankara.

1921- the government in Ankara concludes a friendship treaty with the USSR.

-the allies encourage a Greek offensive against the Turkish nationalists from Izmir.

1922- the Turks capture Izmir, defeating the Greeks.

1922- Turkish nationalists led by Kemal Atatutk refuse to accept the peace terms of the Treaty of Sevres (1920).

Nov. 1 The Turkish nationalist government deposes the Sultan.

1923- The Treaty of Lausanne. The Turks renegotiate the treaty of Sevres, establishing the present day borders of Turkey. Greeks living in Turkey repatriated to Greece Turks livin in Greece and Blugaria are repatriated to Turkey.

1923- 29 Oct.- Republic of Turkey founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on 6 principles: 1) republicanism 2) nationalism 3) populism. 4) statism 5) secularism 6) reformism (Westernization).

1924- the religious Caliphate is abolished. The constitution established democracy and universal male suffrage. Most Islamic customs are abolished during a successful program of westernization.

1926- European codes of criminal, civil and commercial law are adopted.

1927- Ataturk re-elected.

1932- Turkey enters the League of nations.

1931- Ataturk re-elected

1934- women win the right to vote.

1935- Ataturk re-elected. Turkey is almost completely modernized and westernized

1938- death of Kemal Ataturk.

-Ismet Inonu succeeds Ataturk.

1939-1944- Turkey neutral in World War II.

1945- Turkey declares war on Japan and Germany in order to join the UN.

1945- President Inonu brings in relaxed rule with People’s Republican Party (RPP) and allies formation of new parties.

1946- right wing Democratic Party (DP) formed.

1950- the DP wins elections.

1952- abandoning neutrality, Turkey joins NATO as its easternmost member. It has control over passage of the Soviet fleet through the Bosporus.

-President Menderes (DP) liberalizes the economy and relaxes controls on Islam provoking the ire of the RPP.

-Menderes becomes authoritarian until overthrown in a coup by the army. Henceforth the army is seen as protector of the legacy of Ataturk.

1961- Inonu’s RRP is re-elected.

1965- RRP is defeated in elections by Demerel of the Justice Party (JP), successor to the DP.

1960s- Rise of Islamic fundamentalism and radical Marxism. They garner support as Turks protest the West’s discouragement of Turkish abitions in Cyprus.

1971- Military coup. Constitution of 1961 suspended.

1973- military rule ends with the election of Ecevit.

1974- Turkish military invades, taking control of northeastern Cyprus. Relations with the allies are strained and the US imposes a four year trade embargo.

1970s- minority governments prevent progress and reform, encouraging Islamic fundamentalism.

1980- military takes power in a coup.

1980-85- Martial law imposed.

1984- PKK- the Kurdish Worker’s party is formed. It begins a campaing of attacks on the Turkish state and military in order to form an independent Kurdistan.

1987- the True Path party (DYP) comes to power as successor to the JP and DP. It attempts economic reform, tries to stop the rise of Islamism under the Welfare Party and to put down thPKK.

-Turkey plunges into an economic crisis. Regimes of Demirel (JP) and Ciller (DYP) bring about austerity which only strneghtens Islamic Fundamentalism.

-1990- with the falll of the Sovoet Union Turkey attempts to be mother of all Turkic Islamic nations in Asia.

1995- Nekmettin Erbekan elected with the Welfare Party, the largest single party, with 21.3 % of the vote.

-the WP forms an alliance with Ciller’s DYP.

-the WP changes into the Virtue Party (VP)

1998- the court bans the WP for offences against the secular constitution. Erbekan is banned from political life for 5 years.

1999- Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK is captured by the Turkish military. The PKK begins to disband.

1999- WP loses badly to Ecevit who applies for entry to the EU, cracks down on the PKK

1999- Helsinki Conferecne- Turkey’s application is recognized pending improvements in human rights, democracy etc.

2000- VP is banned by the courts.

2001- Turkey protests as France recognizes victims of the Armenian genocide of_____

2001- Court bans the Virtue party for anti-secular activities.

2002- women achieve legal equality with men.

2002- eight ministers resing over Ecevit’s handling of the economic crisis. Foregin Minister Cem launches new social democratic party for EU membership.

2002- legislation is passed in Ankara which will allow Turkey to enter the EU. Abolition of death penalty and press censorship; political and cultural rights for minority groups

2002- Nov. –Recep Erdogan’s Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP) winds landslide election.

2003- Erdogan wins a seat in parliament and replaces Abdullah Gul as Prime Minister.

-Turkish parliament votes not to let the US use Turkey for the invasion of Iraq.

-parliament passes more on Kurdish rights and restrictions on the military to qualify for the EY.

2004- PKK ends ceasefire in response to military operations against it.

-EU agrees to 2005 talks on Turkish membership on condition that Turkey recognize Cyprus as member of the EU.

2005- President Sezer vetos amendment on restrictions on teaching of the Koran but parliament overturns his veto.

2006- spring- Kurdish protestors killed in clashes with Turkish military in southeast.

2006- May- Islamist gunman shoots four to death in Turkish high court.

2006- September- terrorist bombings of Turkish resorts. Kurdish Freedom Falcons claim responsibility.

2006- 30 September- PKK declares unilateral ceasefire.

2007- Armenian journalist and activist Hrant Dink is assassinated. Prime Minister Erdogan calls it an offence against democracy and freedom of expression.

April- thousands of demonstrators for secularism protest Erdgan’s decision to run again for office because of his Islamist past.

April Erdogan steps down and the AK party (JDP) has his foreign minister Abdullah Gul run in his place. Standoff between Islamists and secularists.

May- Elections are moved up to July 22 to end the standoff.

Turkish military prepares for a possible incursion into Iraq to quell PKK insurgents.

July 22- AK party wins elections.

October- PPK Kurdish separatists guerillas score high casualties in an attack on Turkish troops in the south-eastern Kurish border region.

-Turkey announces it is considering a cross-border military incursion to neutralize PKK units in northern Iraq. The US abjects strongly to any attempts by Turkey to destabilize northern Iraq, the relatively stable region, strongly supported by Washington.

-Oct. 11- The US House of Representatives passes a resolution condenming the Armenian genocide; the mass extermination and relocation of Armenians carried out in Arenia by Turkey in 1915.

-Oct. 12- The White House, CIA boss Robert Gates and Condoleeze Rice warn that censuring Turkey for the genocide at this time will endanger the US alliance with Turkey, its dependence on its Turkish air base for transporting military supplies to iraq and to Afghanistan, as well as the stibility of the boder region in Iraqi Kurdistan.
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