About Turkey

About Turkey

by Rashid Ergener


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About Turkey is a treasury of information about life in Turkey, written by an expert on the history, politics, and economy of this land�one of the longest continually inhabited places in the world. About Turkey gives you an insider�s view of life styles, current affairs, the status of women, commerce, industry, and much more. It presents a detailed look at Turkish society as only a native and a scholar can know it. About Turkey will help anyone interested in Turkey make sense of what you read or what you see on the Turkish streets and in the countryside. It is also a passionate statement of Turkish points of view on internal and international politics. In these pages you will learn about the unique role of the �Father of modern Turkey,� Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and you will come to understand why his memory remains a dominant force in the daily life of Turks.

About Turkey is, indeed, �everything you always wanted to know about Turkey.�

About the Author

Dr. Rashid Ergener is an economist with degrees from Yale and Oxford. He has also been the guide for some distinguished guests, including a number of world leaders. After a 20-year career as professor of economics at the prestigious Bogazi�i University in Istanbul, Rashid Ergener has turned his passion for Turkish history and culture into a second career as one of the most sought-after tour guides for visiting diplomats and dignitaries, as well as for discriminating Western tourists. He is the author of several books, including a book of poetry and Anatolia, Land of Mother Goddess, an account of some of the earliest civilizations founded in the land now known as Turkey. Dr. Ergener is the founder and president of the Turkish Friends of �atalh�y�k (the oldest-known, city-sized settlement in the world).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780971060968
Publisher: Pilgrims' Process, Inc.
Publication date: 08/01/2002
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 0.28(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)

First Chapter

Turkey is a young republic situated on a very ancient land. Throughout the ages, several miraculous occurrences took place on the land that is now Turkey. Perhaps the most important of these is the Neolithic revolution, during which our ancestors made the transition from a hunter-gatherer, nomadic existence to sedentary living and food production. The largest known Neolithic settlement is �atalh�y�k, located in central Turkey. This fascinating site possibly had a population of 10,000 as early as the sixth millennium BC.

The land we call Turkey served as a bridge between Asia and Europe. Turks, who originated in Central Asia, arrived in the eleventh century AD and rapidly conquered the land from the Eastern Roman Empire, founding the Seljuk State. Seljuk Turks withstood the Crusades and the Mongol raids but disintegrated shortly thereafter, splitting into sixteen smaller principalities. One of these, the Ottoman, grew to be a world empire.

Spreading over three continents, from the gates of Vienna to the Arab peninsula, the Ottoman Empire covered all of North Africa and all lands around the Black Sea. It was a miraculous accomplishment. But it came to an end as the Ottomans fell behind the advances in science and industry that took place in the West and as the conquered nations rose one by one against their rule. The First World War witnessed the final dissolution of the empire as Arabs mobilized by Lawrence of Arabia rose against the sultan. Turkey, the heartland of the Ottoman Empire, was occupied and partitioned by the allies after the War.

A new miraclecthe Turkish Republiccemerged from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. This miracle would not have been possible if it ere not for the leadership of a single man, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a young general at the time and the Turkish hero of the Gallipoli Campaign. He mobilized a war-weary, worn-out nation with a per-capita income of $50 in a campaign against the victors of the First World War, despite the urgings to the contrary of the sultan, the traditional ruler, and his government. Ataturk led his armies brilliantly to victory in a war that was fought against seemingly impossible odds. Following the successful conclusion of the war in 1923 he declared the Turkish Republic and sent the royal family into exile. He then spent the remaining fifteen years of his life as the first president of Turkey, leading the reforms that forged a modern nation out of the debris of a medieval empire.

For the first time in history, Ataturk made a Moslem nation into a secular one. Also for the first time in a Moslem country, he recognized the complete legal equality of women with men. Turkish women could vote and be elected to office before French, Italian, Greek, and Swiss women. He changed the lifestyle of the nation. The weekly holiday was changed from Friday to Sunday. The way people dressed was changed; the red fez was made illegal and the black veil strongly discouraged. Western calendar and measurement systems were adopted.

Even though Ataturk was one of the most brilliant military leaders in history and had the rank of field marshal, (his rank well earned on the field), he never wore a uniform after becoming president and he banned his generals from politics. He also banned all medals, decorations, and aristocratic titles. Unlike his contemporaries Hitler and Mussolini, he never declared himself president for life nor did he interfere in daily government or in the courts, thus laying down the foundations of a democracy. It is part of his legacy that Turkey has been a multi-party democracy since 1946.

Unlike the European dictators who were his contemporaries, Ataturk refused to define nationhood based on race. He introduced the modern concept of nationhood with the statement, �How happy is the one who calls oneself a Turk,� meaning that one is a Turk not by race, ethnic group, or religion, but by choice. �A Turk,� he said, �is a citizen of the Turkish Republic.�

His nation honored him with the name �Ataturk,� meaning �father of Turks,� when he made it a law that Turks would have second names as well as first, something that they did not have before. He continues to bless his people and to give them affirmation as befits a true father, from his mausoleum in Ankara, where there is not one single word that praises him but, instead, many of his words that praise his beloved people, such as �The right to rule belongs to the people,� �Turks are brilliant, Turks are intelligent, Turks are hard working.�

This book is an overview of contemporary Turkey, this amazing miracle initiated on a very ancient land by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.


Table of Contents

Turkey, Turks, Ataturk
Social Security and Health
The Turkish Family
Life Style
Growth and Income Distribution
Inflation and Privatization
Industry, Energy, and Oil
Southeast Anatolia Project
Trade, Foreign Investment, Tourism
Public Finance
Living Standards
The Military
PKK Terrorism
International Policy and Relations with Neighbors
The Gap Project and Turkey's Neighbors
Central Asia, Oil, Straits
Relations with Armenians
Relations with Greece
European Union Membership

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