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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turkey, Israel at Standoff over Apologies on Aid Flotilla.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

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.




TAG: After 400 years of relatively moderate rule by the Ottoman Empire, Israel has experienced calm relations with secular, pro-western Turkey. However, with a new Islamic leadership, (although by no means Islamist),  many Turks have reached out to Palestinians in Gaza blockaded by Israel.

IN THE NEWS:  AS TURKS WELCOME HOME THE 'MARVI MARMARA,' ONE OF THE SHIPS IN THE FLOTILLA BRINGING MEDICAL AND FOOD RELIEF AID TO GAZA,  ISTANBUL, ISTANBUL ASKS ISRAEL FOR THE NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. WITH ON CONDITION- THAT ISRAEL APOLOGIZE FOR LANDING COMMANDOS ON THE SHIP AND KILLING EIGHT MEMBERS OF THE AID CONVOY LAST MAY. ISRAEL HAS REFUSED, DEMANDING THAT THE APOLOGY SHOULD COME FROM TURKEY ON GROUNDS THAT THE FLOTILLA WAS HEADING TO BREAK ISRAEL'S BLOCKADE OF GAZA AND PROVIDE SUPPORT "FOR TERRORISTS" IN THE WORDS OF ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER, AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN. HOWEVER, TALKS BETWEEN TURKEY AND ISRAEL, BEHIND THE SCENES, ARE UNDER WAY.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOWAfter nearly a hundred years of secular, western-syle government, Turkey elected Recewp Erdogan and his Islamic JDP (AK in Turkish) Party in a landslide in 2002, less to foment an Islamist agenda, as many Turkish secularists contend, than to bring about needed democratic refomrs and to free Turkish religious Muslims, from restrictions in the practise of Islam. There followed controversy about restrictions on teaching the Koran in schools and about Erdogan's allegedly Islamist past and hidden, Islamist agenda. The AK party again won elections in 2007. He was faced by a secularist opposition which had supported Israel in its foreign policy and which now, in 2008 protested his goverment's decision to permit Muslim women to wear the headscarf in the universities. Bt October of that year, he was dealing with a secularist, far-right conspiracy. During Israel's 2008-2009 'Operation Cast Lead' in which the Isralei military laid siege to Palestinian Gaza and blockaded Dazan territory, Erdogan openly criticised Israel for what many saw as Israel's heavy-handed overreaction to Gaza rocket attacks. At the same time he dalt with the ultra-nationalist secularist 'Sledgehammer' conspiracy at home, In May, 2009 Turkish human rights activists aboard a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza to break the blockade and deliver food and medical aid but they were intercepted by Israeli commandos who killed eight activists aboard the Marvi Marmara who were armed only with furniture and clubs. Erdogan laucnhed a strong protest and diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel reached the breaking point. In June, Israeli commandos killed Palestinian commando divers in waters off Gaza.

IN HISTORY: Israel came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks in 1516 and restored trade routes and security throughout the Middle East, a region which had been in decay since the end of the Crusades. Palestine expeienced revival in trade and some degree of prosperity, though it was administered from Ottoman Damascus as a southern adjunct to the large province of Syria. While France's Francis I was allowed to guarantee the protection of Christian shrines in Palestine, the Ottomans tended to neglect the area. Despite economic improvement, it became backward and isloated. It was Lebanon which, in the 17th and 18th century prospered due to European trade contact and French protection of the Lebanese Christian population. Palestine, as always, remained a baxkwater subject to the designs of larger powers.  Between 1831 and 1840, Mohammed Ali, the pro-western, refomist Ottoman Viceroy of  Egypt seized Egypt, Palestine and Syria, encouraging greater French involvement with Lebanese Christians. The English, suspecting the rule of Mohammed Ali as a move by the French to gain control of English trade routes through the Red Sea to India, overthrew the Viceroy Ai in 1840.

The cracks began to show in the Ottoman Empire as attempts at European-style reform from the centre, in Constantinople, were resisted in the provinces as local populations turned on Jews, Christians and other minorities whom the reforms seemed to favour. Late in the 19th century, civil war between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, presaged the 20th century conflict into which Israel would  be drawnl.

Russian Jews, the first settlers, first arrived in Jerusalem in 1882 at a time when Palestinian Arabs and its Christians were kept poor by tax collectors and absentee Turkich landlords. At the opening of the 20th century, Arab nationalism was developing against Turkish Ottoman rule. Then the Young Turks launched a series of coups, overthrowing the Sultante and setting up a secularist, pro-western government in Constantiople, with a Sultan figurehead. With World War One and Turkey's alliance with the Axis Powers, the Ottoman emmpire disintegrated with the defeat of Germany and Turkey. France received Syria as a mandate and the British received the mandate for Palestine and Jordan. In 1917, Britain was persauded, with the Balfour Declaration, to declare Palestine a Jewish homeland. Afterward, Turkey's secular-pro-western governments generally supported Israel. It was only in the 1960s that the Islamic revival began, a slow movement which struggled under a secular military dictatorship producing, in the end, a democratically elected Islamic governing party in 2002. 



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

                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.


                France gets Guarantees of Protection of Christians in Lebanon.
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.

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

                             Ottoman Reforms.
-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.
                             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
                             Ottoman Reforms Backfire.
-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..
-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.

                             Growth Returns to Jerusalem; Civil War in Lebanon.
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.

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

                              Jerusalem: First European Settlers.

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.

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.

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 era of freedom.

                            Ottomans, Palestine, World War I.

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.

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’.

                              World War II.

1939-1944- Turkey neutral in World War II.

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

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

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 Erdogan’s decision to run again for office because of his Islamist past.
July 22- AK party wins elections.

                                Israel-Gaza War.
2008 Dec 19- Hamas increases rocket fire from Gaza.

Dec 27- In Operation Cast Lead, Israel bombs tunnels and Hamas bases in Gaza killing about 400 as Hamas rains rockets on Israel.
-PA Prime Minister and security chief Salam Fayyad, backed by US Security Coordinator Dayton, uses Palestinian security to prevent any protest of  Israel's Gaza offensive or support of Hamas in the West Bank.

2009- Jan 18- Israel declares cease fire in Operation Cast Lead after killing 1,300 land losing 13 soldiers of its own.



                                Headscarf Controversy in Turkey
2008 February - Thousands protest at plans to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf to university.
Parliament approves constitutional amendments which will pave the way for women to be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf in universities.

2008 October - Trial starts of 86 suspected members of  the shadowy ultra-nationalist anti-Islamic Ergenekon group, which is accused of plotting a series of attacks and provoking a military coup against the government.


2009 June - Trial starts of a further 56 people in connection with the alleged ultra-nationalist Ergenekon plot to bring down the government.

2010 January - Newspaper carries report on alleged 2003 "Sledgehammer" plot to destabilise country and justify military coup. Head of armed forces, Gen Ilker Basbug, insists that coups are a thing of the past.
June 7- 4 Palestinian diver commandos are killed off Gaza by an Israeli naval patrol. Hamas claims they were only training.

                                   Israeli Attack on Flotilla
2010 May - Relations with Israel come under severe strain after nine Turkish activists are killed in an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla attempting to reach blockaded Gaza.


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 2007, 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.

In October 2007, after the military suffers casualties in engagements with the Kurdish PKK, Turkey considers cross-border attacks to eliminate PKK targets in northern Iraq- and will do so beginnign in December an January.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Congress cenures the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians in 1915, while the White House warns that such a move coould endanger relations with Turkey and the need for stability in northern Iraq.

As a reversal of the pro-secular ban on the Islamic headscarf  for women is discussed by parliament in January, 2008, thousands of secularists demonstrate in Istanbul. Throughout February and March Turkish warplanes inflict heavy casualties on Kurdish targets insude Iraq. In April, secualr Turks demonstrate against the AK Islamic governing party as a state prosecutor investigates it for alleged Islamist activities. In July, in a seeming tit for tat, secularists are indicted for planning terror plots against the Islamic AK governing party and in October 86 suspected of belonging to the ultra-nationalist secular Ergenekon group go on trial.

During the first ever visit of a Turkish head of state to Armenia in September, crowds demonstrate, demanding Turkish recognition of guilt in the Armenian Genocide. In December, 200 Turkish writers issue an apology on the internet for Turkey's genocide arried out against the Armenian people in 1915.

In February 2009, President Gul attempts to persuade Iraq to put pressure on Kurdish rebel operations near the Turkish border, trhe occasion of the first visit of a Turkish president to Iraq in 30 years.  In June and July, meanwhile, 56 more Ergenekon members are tried for attempting to subvert the AK party as the government attains powers to try military personnel foe subversion.

Turkey and Armenia meet in October to discuss the normalization of relations; and in December Ankara launches its Kurdish Initiative, expanding Kurdish language rights and limiting military operations in the Kurdish southeast.

February 2010 sees the arrest of nearly 70 members of the military in the "Sledgehammer Plot" intended to destabilize the government and justify a military coup. Meanwhile, the US-nacked Turkish-Armenian talks break down and Armenia suspends the ratification of the peace accord.

Turkish activists are killed by Israeli commandos attacking an international supply convoy- heading to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The May 20 landing and assault on a Turkiush ship brings down world-wide opprobrium fon Israel, which claims its soldiers were acting in self defence. In July, 126 current and former Turkish military personnel are indicted in the secularist 'Sledgehammer' plot to overthrow the government. In September, a move by parliament to increase government control of the army and judiciary is approved by referendum while secular critics see it as an attempt at Islamist control of the  judiciary.



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.


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.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF TURKEY AND FOR THE HISTORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE.  (Thanks to the BBC for some items after 2007)

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 II suspends the constitution under the pretext of a new Russo-Turkish war. Midhat is exiled. Reformers were fired and some imprisoned.

-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 II modernizes he turns the Ottoman empire into a police state. Tries to distract the public with an Islamic revival.

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.

Unlike the former constitution, constitution of 1961 is based on human rights; with Article 11, the individual's freedom are secured at all times. The phrase social state was included in this Constitution for the first time. The 1961 constitution also introduced a senate to form a bicameral system.
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.


1961- Inonu’s RRP is re-elected.

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 the PKK.

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

-1990- with the fall of the Soviet 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- VP loses badly to Ecevit who applies for entry to the EU, cracks down on the PKK

1999- Helsinki Conference- 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 Condoleeza 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.


Parliament gives go-ahead for military operations in Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.
Voters in a referendum back plans to have future presidents elected by the people instead of by parliament.

2007 December - Turkey launches a series of air strikes on fighters from the Kurdish PKK movement inside Iraq.

Headscarf dispute

2008- January- President Bush visits Turkey and meets with President Gul to discuss the Kurdish situation.

January- Turkish war planes bomb Kurdish rebel installations on the Turkey-Iraq border. 

-warming of relations with Greece.

2008 February - Thousands protest at plans to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf to university.
Parliament approves constitutional amendments which will pave the way for women to be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf in universities.

February- Turkish war planes continue bombing Kurdish targets in northern Iraq; a ground attack follows. Iraq, fearing Turkish contact with Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region, deamnds immediate withdrawal.

March 8- Kurdish Iraq president Jalal Talabani visits Turkey and proposes a "strategic relationship" involving offers of Iraqi oil.

Kurdish protests inside Turkey continue as Turkey hits Kurdish targets inside Iraq, inflicting casualties.

April 12- Secular Turks launch protests the ruling AK party as the party comes under fire from a state prosecutor investigating the party with an end to shuttign down for Islamist activities.

June 6- a top court decision allows a ban to resume on head-scarves in Turkish universities.

2008 July - Petition to the constitutional court to have the governing AK Party banned for allegedly undermining the secular constitution fails by a narrow margin.

July 14- 86 secular Turks indicted on charges of terrorism directed against the Islamic government run by the AK party.

2008 October - Trial starts of 86 suspected members of a shadowy ultra-nationalist Ergenekon group, which is accused of plotting a series of attacks and provoking a military coup against the government.

Sept 6- first ever visit by a Turkish leader to Armenia as crowds in Yerevan demand Turkish recognition of responsibility for the Armenian genocide during World War I.

Dec 15- 200 Turkish writers issue an apology on the internet for Turkey's WW I massacre of Armenians.

2009- In a bid to meet EU human rights standards, Turkey posthumously restores citizenship of national poet Nizam Hikmet (d. 1951), jailed for being communist.


2009 February - Protesters marking the 10th anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the banned Kurdish PKK movement, clash with police in south-east Turkey.
Prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk defies Turkish law by giving speech to parliament in his native Kurdish. State TV cuts live broadcast, as the language is banned in parliament.

March 10- Turkey indicts 56 more people in ultranationalist secularist plot t bring down the AK party.

March 23- Turkish president first is Turkish leader to visit Iraq in 30 years- in a bid to talk Iraqi leaders into putting military pressure on Kurdish rebels threating Turkey.

2009 June - Trial starts of a further 56 people in connection with the alleged ultra-nationalist Ergenekon plot to bring down the government.

2009 July - President Abdullah Gul approves legislation proposed by the ruling AK Party giving civilian courts the power to try military personnel for threatening national security or involvement in organised crime.

PM Tayyip Erdogan holds a rare meeting with the leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, Ahmet Turk, as part of efforts to solve the Kurdish problem politically.

July 29- Turkey says it is ready to grant more rights to Kurds in an attempt to end the Kurdish insurgency.

Rapprochement


2009 October - The governments of Turkey and Armenia agree to normalise relations at a meeting in Switzerland. Both parliaments will need to ratify the accord. Turkey says opening the border will depend on progress on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Oct 15- Turkish PM Erdogan and Iraqi PM Maliki meet to discuss economic ties as Maliki asks Erdogan to stop military incursions into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.

2009 December - The government introduces measures in parliament to increase Kurdish language rights and reduce the military presence in the mainly-Kurdish southeast as part of its "Kurdish initiative". The Constitutional Court considers whether to ban the Democratic Society Party over alleged links to the PKK, in a move that could derail the initiative.

2010 January - Newspaper carries report on alleged 2003 "Sledgehammer" plot to destabilise country and justify military coup. Head of armed forces, Gen Ilker Basbug, insists that coups are a thing of the past.

-police round up 120 Al Qaeda suspects in nationwide search.

2010 February - Nearly 70 members of the military are arrested over alleged "Sledgehammer" plot. Thirty-three officers are charged with conspiring to overthrow government.

2010 March - US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passes resolution describing killing of Armenians by Turkish forces in World War I as genocide, prompting Ankara to recall its ambassador briefly.

April 22- Armenia suspends tarification of US-backed peace accords with Turkey.

Constitutional reform

2010 April - Parliament begins debating constitutional changes proposed by the government with the stated aim of making Turkey more democratic. The opposition Republican People's Party says the Islamist ruling party is seeking more control over the secular judiciary with some of the proposals.

2010 May - Relations with Israel come under severe strain after nine Turkish activists are killed in an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla attempting to reach blockaded Gaza.

May 14- Greece anbd Turkey whold joint cabinet talks in Athens in order overcome ancient grievances, improve ecinomic ties and deal with Greece's foregin debt crisis.

Court Indicts Almost 200 in Attempted Military Coup.

2010 July - Istanbul court indicts 196 people, including serving and former senior military officers, accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

PKK leader Murat Karayilan says PKK is willing to disarm in return for greater political and cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds. Turkey refuses to comment.

2010 September - Referendum on constitutional reform backs amendments to increase parliamentary control over the army and judiciary. Critics see it as attempt by the pro-Islamic government to appoint sympathetic judges.

2010 November - The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks publishes confidential cables revealing that France and Austria have been deliberately blocking Turkey's EU membership negotiations.

2011 January - The EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele voices frustration at slow pace of talks on Turkish membership.

2011 June - Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins resounding victory in general election. PM Erdogan embarks on third term in office.Thousands of refugees fleeing unrest in Syria stream into Turkey. Ankara demands reform in Syria.


2011 August - President Gul appoints top military leaders after their predecessors resign en masse. This is the first time a civilian government has decided who commands the powerful armed forces.
Turkey launches retaliatory military strikes against alleged Kurdish rebels in the mountains of northern Iraq.

2011 October - PKK rebels kill 24 Turkish troops near the Iraqi border, the deadliest attack against the military since the 1990s.
Iran, Turkey agree to co-operate to defeat Kurdish militants.

Tensions with France

2011 December - Relations with Paris are soured after French MPs pass bill making it a criminal offence to deny that the mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide. Though the bill has the backing of President Sarkozy and is approved by the French Senate, it is later struck down by France's Constitutional Court, which rules that it infringes on freedom of expression.

2012 January - A court jails three people for incitement over the 2007 killing of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, one of them for life. The verdict prompts protests that no one has been convicted of the killing and allegations of state collusion in Mr Dink's death.

2012 March - Former armed forces chief Gen Ilker Basbug goes on trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

2012        Mar 25, Pres. Obama met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a nuclear security conference in South Korea. Obama other key allies considered providing Syrian rebels with communications help, medical aid and other "non-lethal" assistance.

2012        Mar 29, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his country's unwavering support for Tehran's nuclear ambitions in a meeting with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Turkey relies on Iran for 30% of its oil imports, and has refused to go along with sanctions imposed by the US and Europe, saying it will observe only UN-mandated restrictions on Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran strongly supports reforms in Syria under Pres. Assad, but visiting Turkish PM Erdogan said Assad can't be trusted and must step down.
 
2012        Apr 9, Syrian forces fired across the border into a refugee camp in Turkey, wounding at least five people.

2012        Apr 12, Turkish prosecutors ordered the arrest of dozens of former military officers, including four retired generals, over their role in forcing the resignation in 1997 of an Islamist PM Necmettin Erbakan.
 
2012        May 10, A Turkish court placed in custody six active and five retired generals as part of a widening probe into the 1997 bloodless coup that toppled the country's first Islamist-led government.

2012        Jun 19, In Turkey thousands of feminists and activists sent a petition to several government ministries to protest a bill that would ban abortions beyond the first six weeks of pregnancy.

 2012        Jul 25, Turkey sealed its border with Syria to trucks, effectively cutting off a trade relationship once worth almost $3 billion with the embattled nation. A foreign ministry diplomat said 2 more Syrian brigadier generals crossed into Turkey, bringing to 27 the number of generals who have fled the unrest in Syria.

2012        Aug 5, Turkey’s interior minister said security forces have killed as many as 115 Kurdish rebels during a major offensive over the past 2 weeks near the southeastern town of Semdinli. Rebels fired on military posts in Hakkari on the Iraq border triggering clashes that left dead 22 rebels, soldiers and village guards.
 
2012        Sep 11, In Turkey a suicide bomber threw a hand grenade and then blew himself up at the entrance to a police station in a suburb of Istanbul. One police officer was killed, and seven others were wounded. Police identified the bomber as a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

 2012        Sep 21, A Turkish court convicted 326 military officers, including the former air force and navy chiefs, of plotting to overthrow the PM Erdogan’s Islamic-based government in 2003.

  2012        Oct 4, Turkey's Parliament authorized military operations against Syria and its military fired on targets there for a second day after deadly shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.
 
2012        Nov 6, A Turkish court opened a trial in absentia of four former Israeli military commanders in the killing of nine people aboard a Turkish aid ship that tried to break a Gaza blockade in 2010.
 
2012        Nov 15, Turkey endorsed the newly formed Syrian rebel coalition as the legitimate leader of Syria.

 2012        Nov 21, Turkey's government requested the deployment of NATO's Patriot surface-to-air missiles to bolster its defenses along its border with Syria.

2012        Dec 7, The Dutch government approved a NATO request to send two batteries of Patriot missile defense systems to Turkey, following in Germany's footsteps.

2013        Feb 11, In Turkey a car bomb exploded at the Bab al-Hawa frontier post along Syria's border, killing 14 people. A Syrian opposition faction later accused the Syrian government of the bombing, saying it narrowly missed 13 leaders of the group. On March 11 Turkey’s police said five suspects have been detained.

2013        Feb 25, In Turkey German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with Turkish leaders amid growing frustration in Turkey over its slow-moving EU membership and a perceived reluctance by European nations to crackdown on Turkish militants operating in their nations.

 2013        Mar 19, In Turkey assailants fired a rocket at PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party headquarters and hurled two hand-grenades at the Justice Ministry's parking lot, wounding one person. The outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, soon said it carried out the attacks in retaliation for a recent police crackdown on its members.

2013        Mar 22, Israel and Turkey agreed to restore full diplomatic relations after PM Benjamin Netanyahu apologized in a phone call for a deadly naval raid against a Gaza-bound international flotilla in a dramatic turnaround partly brokered by President Barack Obama.

2013        Apr 8, Turkish police used water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse thousands of people protesting outside a court house in support of 275 people who are on trial for allegedly plotting to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

2013        Apr 15, A Turkish court convicted Fazil Say (43), a top pianist and composer, of denigrating religion. He was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence.



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