Turkish Polıtıcs Dersi 2. Ünite Özet

09.08.2022
11
A+
A-

From Constitutional Monarchy Of The Ottoman Empire To The Multi-Party Period Of The Republic Of Turkey

Açıköğretim ders notları öğrenciler tarafından ders çalışma esnasında hazırlanmakta olup diğer ders çalışacak öğrenciler için paylaşılmaktadır. Sizlerde hazırladığınız ders notlarını paylaşmak istiyorsanız bizlere iletebilirsiniz.

Açıköğretim derslerinden Turkish Polıtıcs Dersi 2. Ünite Özet için hazırlanan  ders çalışma dokümanına (ders özeti / sorularla öğrenelim) aşağıdan erişebilirsiniz. AÖF Ders Notları ile sınavlara çok daha etkili bir şekilde çalışabilirsiniz. Sınavlarınızda başarılar dileriz.

From Constitutional Monarchy Of The Ottoman Empire To The Multi-Party Period Of The Republic Of Turkey

Classical Age of Ottoman Empire

Starting its adventure as a beylic, Ottoman reign became a powerful empire particularly after the reign of Mehmed the Conqueror. In its most powerful era, in the Classical Period of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1600), the ruler was certainly the center of the administrative structure of the state. Everyone was the servant of the ruler. He possesses all the property. From this aspect, the ruler has the absolute authority.

After the end of the classical period, different actors other than the ruler began to play a role in limiting the absolute authority of the ruler. For example, it may be stated that ayans (Notables), bureaucrats, councilors, and even international forces represent significant transformations in the authority of the ruler by undertaking different functions.

If we exclusively consider the administrative structure of the Ottoman State during its classic period, the administrators representing the ruler’s authority are located at the top layer of the stratification. These are soldiers, bureaucrats, and clergymen. The other major element of the stratification system consists of the rayah (reaya). The peasants, merchants, and artisans are the components that create this layer.

The principal responsibility of the Ottoman administrative structure, which represented the authority of the sovereign, was to keep everyone’s position within the group and to accomplish the functions of the group. Hence, social mobility was kept to a minimum in this administrative structure.

Consequently, the primary objective of the political system consisted of taking measures to prevent the radical transformation of the stratification system and maintaining the status quo.

During the classical period, the economic structure of the Ottoman Empire is mainly based on agriculture. Hence, the villagers are the very basis of this structure, based on agriculture. The fact that they continue to cultivate their land and give some of the products they produce each year to the center in kind or in cash is of crucial importance in preserving the economic balances.

Apart from the villagers, craftsmen constitute another major group in the Ottoman Empire. Craftsmen, who earn their living with small handicrafts, such as shoemaking, masonry, blacksmithing, carpentry, weaving, are strictly controlled by the Craftsmen Guild (Lonca Teşkilatı).

Finally, tradesmen constitute another category outside the ruling class in the Ottoman Empire. However, it is difficult to say that their share in the system is very powerful during this period.

The Ottoman Empire thought that the only way to become a powerful state and to maintain its existence was to render the state functional to secure justice. The happiness and loyalty to the state were only achievable with the excellent operation of the principle of the circle of justice. Justice means protecting the people from persecution. Soldiers’ harassment and pillage weren’t allowed. Also, the administrators weren’t allowed the act of extortion.

Disintegration of the Classical Age of Ottoman Empire

From the 1300s until the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire was able to protect the status quo of the classical period without any significant obstacles. On the contrary, after the 1600s, it was impossible to maintain this order for various reasons. One of the main reasons is the disintegration of provincial order. When the land system, based on the production of small peasants and a subsistence economy began to be dissolved principally because of the corruption caused by the Sipahis, the control of the land was captured by the landlords and the Christian notables; and millions of peasants experienced harsh conditions. the development of new weapon technologies was another significant development that transformed the classical order and that diminished the importance of the timar holder in the system. the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the world economy gradually lost its value with the loss of commercial significance of the Mediterranean and the Silk Road. Certainly, the financial burden caused by the long wars with Iran and Russia signifies another important factor. All of these reasons caused the disintegration of the classical Ottoman system.

The most significant signs of the disintegration of the classical order are the revolts. One of the most wellknown of these is the Celali rebellions, which developed under the leadership of the rulers who lost their importance and values in the system. With these rebellions between 1556-1650, the Sipahi took action in order to compensate for their loss. On the other hand, the Patrona Halil uprising of 1730 represents the reactions to the capitalization process in agriculture. In other words, Patrona Halil rebellion is a clear reaction of the traditional urban production system to the big investments and the investor class that were created with capitalization.

Ottoman Modernization

The disintegration of the classical order meant the loss of power for the Ottoman Empire socially and economically, politically and militarily. The defeats, particularly in the military field, were regarded as the biggest problem for the administrator classes, followed by the disintegration of the classical order. Accordingly, there are efforts to implement a series of reform initiatives first in the military field for the restoration of the traditional order.

The reform initiatives that started during the reign of Selim III and continued during the reign of Mahmud II were maintained during the administration of prominent administrators of the Tanzimat (Mustafa Reşid Pasha, Ali Pasha, and Fuat Pasha), as well as during the reign of Abdülhamid II and the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti-İTC). Before examining each period separately, it is possible to identify some significant common points related to the Ottoman modernization. Firstly, reform initiatives were mainly launched in the military field. Secondly, the reform initiatives that were launched in the military field were implemented in other problematic areas. Finally, we should not forget to mention that the measures taken in the education system continued for a while. Thirdly, we may generally observe an effort towards the centralization in the reform initiatives launched by Selim III. Centralizing measures were taken against the elements of the environment (ayan, bureaucrats, and minorities) that challenge the central government. Forthly, every reform initiative primarily aims to restore the existing order. Hence, the purpose of the reforms is to take measures against the disintegration of the basic principle that can be summarized by the system of the circle of justice. Fifth, new institutions and staff associated with reform initiatives had been influential in the determination of the fate of the Empire. As a result of the power struggles in question, many significant political developments occured. For example, Deed of Alliance (Sened-i İttifak), Edict of Tanzimat (Imperial Edict of Reorganization) and Edict of Islahat (Imperial Reform Edict), first and second Constitutional Eras, various military coup attempts, 31 March Incident, rebellions organized by the separatist movements and the Balkan Wars may be listed in this context.

Deed of Alliance

The Deed of Alliance is a treaty signed between ayans and the Ottoman State at the end of a meeting organized in the Ottoman capital with the invitation of Alemdar Mustafa Pasha. During the meeting, it was decided to reform the Janissary corps, to empower ayans with the authority to exert power on the bureaucratic officers assigned by the state, to guarantee the safety of the goods and privileges of the ayans and to include them in their heritage. In return, the ayans promised to show full respect to Sultan, to provide armed power and pay their taxes.

Moreover, Deed of Alliance is considered to be the first constitutional document, through which the powers of the sovereign were limited for the first time, similar to the British Magna Carta that dates back to 1215. In this respect, it certainly represents a very critical step in our political life.

Edict of Tanzimat and Edict of Islahat

In its most general sense, the Edict of Tanzimat promised four basic reforms. The first of these is that the Edict guarantees the life, honor, and property of the subjects of the ruler. The second is the establishment of a regular taxation system that would replace the tax farming system. The third one is the compulsory military service. The latter signifies the promise of equality before the law for all the subjects, regardless of religion.

The Edict of Tanzimat is very significant in some respects. Firstly, the Edict of Tanzimat represents an attempt to expand the reform initiatives which were previously implemented in the Ottoman Empire, into the political, administrative and legal areas. Secondly, it occurred as a consequence of the pressure of the Western states about guaranteeing equality and assurance to the Christian population of the Empire. Moreover, the Edict of Tanzimat is the first comprehensive reform initiative for the solution of the “Eastern Question”. Thirdly, for the first time in the Ottoman state system, a ruler restricted his powers and authority with the Edict of Tanzimat.

The Edict of Islahat of 1856 was published at the end of a series of controversial meetings held with the grand vizier, the foreign minister, Sheikh ul-lslam and the representatives of the Western European states. The basic purpose of the Edict is to fulfil the commitments of the Edict of Tanzimat. In this respect, a number of concrete measures were listed in the Edict of Islahat. These include making a budget, the establishment of a bank, requesting competent experts from the European capital and European countries for economic growth, and the establishment of mixed courts.

It is essential to highlight that the Ottoman Empire started to become a part of the capitalist economy in 1838 along with the trade agreement with England and the Ottoman Land Code of 1858. In other words, the Tanzimat Period as a whole symbolizes the transfer of reform initiatives from military to administrative, political, legal and economic fields.

Young Ottomans and Ottoman Constitution of 1876

Young Ottomans was a secret society established around the organization called “İttifak-ı Hamiyet”. These young people, customarily from prosperous families, fled to Europe after an unsuccessful attempt of coup d’état in 1867 and were reorganized under the name of “Young Ottomans Society” there. They have quite different ideas regarding the apprehension and solution of current problems. In contrast, their common characteristics consist of their opposition to the leading political actors and practices of the Tanzimat Era.

The opposition of the Young Ottomans about the Tanzimat Era was based on several ideas. First of all, the Pashas built a regime of despotism during the Tanzimat Era, which was not acceptable to them. Secondly, the Pashas in question adopted the most superficial parts of European culture. Fourthly, the Edict of Tanzimat is a missed opportunity and a major capitulation to Western states. Fifth, the Edict of Tanzimat required the continuation of reforms without explicitly limiting it according to the principles of sharia. Sixth, setting Western institutions as an example caused confusion and chaos among bureaucrats. Finally, the reforms particularly had an impact on a limited environment.

The young Ottomans achieved their objectives on the adoption of the constitutional monarchy on 23 December 1876. Abdülhamid II promulgated the Ottoman constitution of 1876, namely Kanun-i Esasi. After the elections, the first Ottoman parliament (Meclis-i Mebusan) convened on March 19, 1877. On the other hand, on February 14, 1878, Abdülhamid suspended the parliament and constitution since Russia penetrated to the suburbs of İstanbul.

Abdülhamid II established a new regime of absolutism and it lasted until 1909. Abdülhamid II has pioneered the modernization of the Ottoman Empire in several fields through various reform initiatives. For example, thanks to the investments in improving communication and transport networks, the state has become more centralized than previous initiatives. Furthermore, the construction of the railway and the use of steamboats have led to significant economic development.

The Young Turks (Jön Türkler) and the 1908 Young Turk Revolution

During the reign of Abdülhamid II, modern educational institutions were in such good quality that they were able to provide the qualified labor force needed by the bureaucracy. However, Abdülhamid II was not able to instill loyalty in the new generations of bureaucrats and officers, the Ottoman intelligentsia. Therefore, this generation led an opposition movement against Abdülhamid II, which was quite effective. İbrahim Temo, İshak Sukuti, Abdullah Cevdet, Mehmet Reşid, and Konyalı Hikmet Emin established the Committee of the Ottoman Union (İttihad-i Osmani Cemiyeti) on June 3, 1889. This society, which became very popular outside Mekteb-i Tıbbiye in a short period of time, succeeded in being influential in other educational institutions as well as among Ottoman bureaucrats. Through the activities that were carried out in order to become a powerful opposition movement against the administration of Abdülhamid II and to influence large parts of society, the Young Turks grew in numbers and transformed into a complex structure. They started to incorporate many tendencies, ranging from ulama to biological materialists, from positivists to minority separatists, from ultra-nationalists to humanists.

When we study the social background of the Young Turks, we can distinguish some major characteristics. First of all, they were exclusively men. The majority was Muslim. Again in this Muslim majority, the number of Turks was higher than the Kurdish, Arab, Circassian, and Albanians. Although there were a few Dönmehs (Who converted publicly to Islam), in practice, there were no Christians among them. Almost all of them lived in the cities. The majority were of Macedonia or İstanbul origins.

It would be important to highlight the main reasons for opposing Abdülhamid II: First of all, they believed that the strategies adopted by Abdülhamid in the administration of the state would trigger the separatist movements. Secondly, they had a hard time finding a place in a system that was just partly modern after receiving a modern education. Finally, attempts to build institutions and values that would enable them to achieve their goals of establishing a strong state were often contrary to the realities during the reign of Abdülhamid II.

In a short time, Abdülhamid II discovered the danger and strived to prevent the Young Turk movement by taking certain measures. These measures began with the arrest of the opposition. Afterwards, the measures continued with the sentences of imprisonment and exile.

Critical Steps Between Constitutional Period II and the War of Independence

Until the 1908 revolution, the İTC was simply a political community that forced the ruler to restore the 1876 Constitution. However, after Abdülhamid II restored the constitution in 1908, the responsibility of the İTC was seriously increased. While the traditional power of the Sultan was failing, the İTC gained respect owing to both the mystical characteristic of being a secret organization, and also the success of the revolution. The committee withdrew to a supervisory committee position, responsible for safeguarding the Constitution and acting only if necessary, and left power to the parliament. Certainly, it is hard to say that this claim completely reflected the reality of the period because, starting with the 1908 elections, the İTC attempted to influence indirectly the administration of the country. On the other hand, it wasn’t still possible for the İTC to achieve an absolute control over parliament as the candidates who ran in the elections on behalf of the İTC were not elected directly from the members of the community. It may be assumed that this led to a modest weakness in terms of the İTC: the possibility of movement to act as a party was strictly limited.

Although the İTC did not have an absolute control over the Parliament, the secret central committee of the society strived to control the political activities. It is obviously clear such control efforts on the political activities of the İTC caused serious disturbance in some cases. In fact, the development of the opposition against the İTC should be considered as a reaction of the external interventions of the İTC to the administrative functions.

The conservatives became one of the significant opposition groups against the İTC, which was led by rather materialistic and positivist viewpoints. In fact, the events that were culminated in the 31 March Incident, were initiated by the conservatist Dervish Vahdedi, the owner of the Volkan newspaper. The spokesmen of the soldiers involved in this counterrevolution asserted some basic requests. The first one was the removal of the Grand Vizier with the Ministers of the Navy and War. The second was the replacement of some İTC officers. The third is the replacement of Ahmet Rıza, the President of the Parliament. The fourth is the banishment of some İTC parliamentarians from İstanbul. The fifth is to return to sharia law. The sixth is an amnesty for the mutineering soldiers.

Considering these requests, let us try to list the mains reasons behind the 31 March Incident. First of all, because of the rationalist policies of the post1908 bureaucracy, some people who were seen abundant were removed from the offices. Secondly, the measures taken by the İTC to pave the way for the officers who studied at the Ottoman Military College to reach higher positions in the bureaucratic hierarchy led to a great dissatisfaction among the uneducated military staff. Thirdly, Ulama was aware that it would not be easy to maintain its effectiveness within a state structure controlled by the İTC. Finally, the Ahrar opposition contributed significantly to the 31 March Incident.

With the rebels taking control in İstanbul, the leaders of the İTC either hid or they fled from İstanbul. However, some other members of the union acted quickly to take the necessary measures to repel the coup attempt on 31 March. Mahmud Şevket Pasha, commander of the Army and Niyazi Bey moved the army from Macedonia to İstanbul and on 24 April 1909 İstanbul was taken. After the Army of Action took control of İstanbul, Independence Tribunals (İstiklal Mahkemesi) were established, the supporters of the coup were prosecuted, and Abdülhamid II was deposed on April 27. In addition, the opposition parties, mainly the Ahrar Party, were closed because they supported the coup attempt.

On November 21, 1911, the opponents were united under the name of Freedom and Accord Party (Hürriyet ve İtilaf Fırkası-HİP). HİP decided to bring to law a real constitutionalism, which had not been established until then. HİP, which adopted a strategy based on the indispensability of freedom, aimed to ensure the union of the state, in particular by protecting the rights of minorities.

It was in 1913 that the İTC could attain the absolute control in İstanbul. After a new coup d’état, the İTC maintained complete control after Mahmud Şevket Pasha was slain. Hence, the İTC was able to smoothly implement the reforms it required. In fact, between 1913 and 1918, significant innovations took place in our political life under the leadership of the İTC management.

During the time when İTC was influential on the administrative affairs of the Ottoman Empire, namely between 1908 and 1918, it is impossible to state that the conditions around the Empire were favorable. Among the developments that caused the ill fate, we should mention the Yemeni rebellion and the invasion of Tripoli but the Balkan Wars were undoubtedly the most significant reason. The last significant development that prepared the fate of the Ottoman Empire was the First World War. In this war, the Ottoman Empire, together with Germany, fought against the Allies consisting of Russia, France and England and the defeat was concluded with the Armistice of Mudros.

Among the developments that prepared the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, we must first mention the steps taken for the independence struggle. The first of these steps was taken before the end of World War I. The leaders of the Unionists took the necessary measures for the establishment of the Karakol Society. The first aim of the society established in November 1918 was to protect and defend the Unionists in the post-war environment. Another purpose was to strengthen the resistance movements in Anatolia and the Caucasus by sending money, weapons, supplies, and tools (Zürcher, 2010, p. 205). Another step that prepared the establishment of the Republic is the establishment of the “The Association for Defense of National Rights” (Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti), which worked for the national independence where there is no regular and independent army. The developments that started with Mustafa Kemal’s arrival to Samsun on 19 May 1919 are perhaps the most significant steps of the war of independence. In the end, the Turkish army fought resolutely until it obtained its independence and hence, the Republic of Turkey was found.

Proclamation of the Republic and One-Party Period

In this process, the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ coexist. With the government of İTC in the last period of the Ottoman Empire, this transformation was accelerated. Many reforms to be implemented during the Republican period were first discussed during this period. Thus, Turkish political scientist Tarık Zafer Tunaya called this process “a political laboratory” for the Republican era. preRepublican reforms mainly relied on the coexistence of the ‘new’ and the ‘old’, which required a gradual transition to be implemented in time. In the Republican period, the power of the opposition was gradually diminished. As a result, there was no group left that maintained the power to oppose to the planned reforms.

The War of Independence was won when people from different political tendencies and ideologies in the country united for a common goal, which was independence of the motherland. However, after the war was over, political conflicts found a ground to make themselves reappear. since he desired to accomplish many reforms after the war, Atatürk did not want to continue with the current composition of the Assembly. In the elections held in July 1923, members of the Grand National Assembly were renewed.

The first indicator of the political polarization to be seen in the new period was the establishment of the People’s Party (Halk Fırkası-HF) on 9 September 1923 by Atatürk. During the same period, some news about the proclamation of the Republic was heard. In one respect, it was intended to prepare the public for the idea of the Republic. It was soon realized that the establishment of the People’s Party was closely related to this decision because some parliamentarians in the Assembly opposed to the proclamation of the Republic. On 29 October 1923, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. The commanders of the War of Independence and a large number of parliamentarians weren’t informed about the proclamation of the Republic. In spite of that, the proclamation of the Republic didn’t get much negative reaction. the staff acting together in the War of Independence was now divided into two different movements and pursued their political career from different perspectives.

The First Opposition Attempt: Progressive Republican Party

32 parliamentarians, who left HF established the Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası-TpCF). The “Republican” word in the name was particularly important because the founders of the Party declared that they were not against the republican regime by using this statement. In response to this, HF added the “Republican” adjective to their name and became “Republican People’s Party” (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi-CHP). Meanwhile, the Progressive Republican Party made great progress in the process of organization within the country in a short time.

In February 1925, an armed uprising, known as “Sheikh Said Rebellion” started in Diyarbakır and Elazığ. The armed forces quickly intervened and declared martial law in the eastern provinces. The first duty of the new government was to create the “Law on the Maintenance of Order” (Takrir-i Sükûn Kanunu), a regulation of a state of emergency. This law empowered the government to follow policies that restrict the freedoms of large sections of the country. Through an article that was added to the Law on Treason (Hıyanet-i Vataniye Kanunu), the prosecution of those who abused religion for political purposes because of treason was made possible.

Political and Social Reforms

In the first years of the Republic, a wide range of political, social and economic policies was adopted, the first steps of which were taken before the republican period. However, the Republican regime pursued a much more comprehensive project in terms of social, political, cultural and economic transformation of the country. The creation of a nation-state was certainly at the center of the political transformation. The emergence of the nation-state model is strictly related to the rise of nationalist movements after the French Revolution. In this process, the concept of ‘citizenship’ became popular instead of the concept of ‘subject’ (teba). Frequently, it was highlighted that the citizens are “equal” and no one is privileged. Besides, it was noted that the citizens have certain obligations.

One of the primary objectives of the new nation-state was to create a national bourgeoisie. The state, on the one hand, acted as a direct commercial actor by establishing public enterprises. For example, İş Bankası and Sanayi and Maadin Bank were established upon the orders of Atatürk to bring a national character to the banking system. The structure of the capital of the previously established Ziraat Bank was altered, all to keep the capitalist class under the control of the state.

On the other hand, in certain sectors, the state was directing the structure of the capital. In addition, it encouraged the strengthening of national capital. In this period, Turkey’s economy was mainly based on agriculture. The industrial sector that would cause the real growth within the country was very weak. In 1927, Law for the Encouragement of Industry (Teşvik-i Sanayi Kanunu) was issued. Through this law, domestic companies were granted economic incentives together with tax exemptions.

Another great principle on which the new regime was based was secularism. Through the secularization policies, the influence of religion on political and social areas was aimed to diminish. Major developments in this stance were the abolition of the caliphate, the closure of Medressehs and lodges and zawiyas, the law of unification of education, and some regulations brought in the name of modern clothing.

Another major reform that was initiated in 1928 was the adoption of the Latin alphabet instead of the Arabic one. In the beginning, the rate of literacy in the country considerably fell with this amendment, the solution for which was a comprehensive literacy campaign launched across the country to compensate this fall. Furthermore, the regime valued teachers greatly in this process. The duty of transferring the Republican ideology to the people in the first years of the regime was given to teachers.

Controlled Opposition Initiative: Establishment of Liberal Republican Party

In 1930, there was a second attempt to adopt a multi-party democracy through the foundation of another opposition party. Nevertheless, the opposition party was not established in its own dynamics. At the time, Atatürk requested that Fethi Bey (former Prime Minister), who was the Paris embassy, establish an opposition party with a liberal program. Atatürk requested from his sister Makbule Hanım and some CHP deputies that they register as members of the new party. Atatürk promised the Liberal Republican Party (Serbest Cumhuriyet FırkasıSCF) founders that he would be impartial against both parties as the President of the Republic.

SCF produced a significant impact in a short time. A large number of citizens from different areas applied to the party for becoming a member. However, the growth of the party in a short time led to negative consequences for its political future. SCF participated in the local elections in October 1930, and won 30 out of 502 municipalities. The claims that the results of the elections were dishonest, made by the party’s leader, Fethi Bey, raised the tension considerably in politics. The tension between these two parties and the unease in his own party worried Atatürk as well, and he told Fethi Bey that he was the leader of CHP and would no longer remain neutral. This situation alarmed SCF leaders, particularly Fethi Bey. Therefore, in November 1930, SCF dissolved itself. He returned to diplomacy.

One of these reasons why this opposition party was made to be founded by Atatürk was presumably to eliminate the dissatisfaction arousing within the country at the time.

Indeed, the reforms in the early years of the Republic have caused dissatisfaction in the wider social sectors. Furthermore, economic difficulties in the country continued. Accordingly, it could be argued that the regime needed a controlled opposition.

On the other hand, the Menemen Incident that occurred right after SCF was closed had a great impact on the regime’s policies in the 1930s. On December 23, 1930, a small group created trouble in the town of Menemen in Izmir. This group, led by Dervish Mehmet, was chanting slogans for the restoration of the Sharia and the Caliphate. Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay, the commanding officer interfered in the incident in order to solve it in a peaceful way. However, the rebels beheaded him. Then, the gendarmerie opened fire on the rebels. However, the reaction of the regime was very severe.

The Development of Kemalist Ideology and its Effects on State Governance

The state of democracy in Turkey was not very developed in the 1930s. The experience of SCF showed that the regime would not allow a new initiative for transition to democracy. Hence, the 1930s passed as the consolidation process of one-party government.

From the 1930s on, the principles of the new regime began to be expressed within the framework of the concept of ‘Kemalism’. Kemalism as a term had been used mainly in foreign sources since the War of Independence. Its first official use by the state was in 1935 when it was mentioned in the CHP program. Later, this ideology was also called Atatürkism. The main purpose of Kemalism was to achieve the ‘contemporary civilization level’. To this end, six principles were introduced by Kemalists. These were Republicanism, Secularism, Nationalism, Populism, Statism, and Reformism.

The regime continued to implement reforms in the 1930s. In line with this, one of the reforms introduced was that women were granted the right to vote and be elected. In 1935, 17 women deputies entered the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Another significant progress was the enforcement of the Surname Law. In accordance with this law, the use of certain titles and names such as Efendi, Bey, or Pasha was prohibited.

In the same period, significant steps were taken in the name of developing a consciousness of history and language. This rationale was closely related to the regime’s understanding of nationalism. Turkish Language Association was established with the purpose of working on the etymology of Turkish language.

Simultaneous with the reforms in the language, an effort was initiated to write a new history. For this purpose, ‘Turkish History Thesis’ was proposed. According to this thesis, Turks created the highest civilizations in the world. The origins of ancient civilizations, like Hittites and Sumerians, were in fact Turkish.

Authoritarian Turn of the Regime

In the second part of the one-party period, which started in 1930, all institutions of the state that posed a potential opposition threat suffered from oppression. One of the most striking examples of this was the closure of Turkish Hearths (Türk Ocakları). CHP and Atatürk himself provided financial support to Turkish Hearths. After 1923, Turkish Hearths turned out to be one of the most influential tools for spreading the principles of the regime to people. In 1931, however, Turkish Hearths were shut down with an unexpected decision. It would not be wrong to claim that their link with SCF was influential in this action. At the local level, some executives from Turkish Hearths participated in SCF.

During this period, some other non-governmental organizations, such as Turkish Women’s Association, which were in close contact with the regime, and masonic lodges, which played a significant role in the movement of Young Turks, were also closed. The reason for the closure of the association of Turkish women was the claim that the regime had already granted the required rights to Turkish women.

Another development in the same process was the closure of Darülfünun in 1933 within the framework of the university reform. Darülfünun had been the essential civil education institution in the country until then. İstanbul University was established instead of this school. Nevertheless, during the reorganization process, many of the faculty members of Darülfunun could not get a place in the new university. Those who guarded their place happened to be the ones presenting loyalty to the new regime, while those who were seen as opponents were dismissed.

State and Party Identification

One of the most significant aspects of the 1930s in terms of the political system was the establishment of identification between the state and CHP. In 1935, this identification relationship obtained a legal dimension. The Minister of Internal Affairs became the Secretary-General of the Party. The governors of the provinces also were appointed as the provincial heads of CHP. Similarly, the district governors became the provincial heads of CHP as well in their districts. Thus, the state and CHP were accepted as an entity.

A more significant evidence of state and party identification is the addition of the Six Arrows to the Turkish Constitution in 1937 (Köker, 1995, p. 133). The principles of republicanism, secularism, nationalism, populism, statism, and reformism had already been included in the CHP’s party program in 1931.

National Chief Period

After the death of Atatürk, a new power struggle emerged inside the regime. Thus, upon Atatürk’s loss, both names were naturally candidates for presidency. The Chief of General Staff, Marshal Fevzi Çakmak, who had been one of the leading names since the War of Independence was also another candidate. In the end, İsmet İnönü was elected as the president without facing a strong objection.

İnönü was certainly the closest person to Atatürk throughout all reform processes. He completely embraced the Kemalist principles. He also believed that one-party administration was the best option for the country. Thus, CHP government maintained its current management approach during the first years of İnönü’s presidency. On the contrary, İnönü also strived to change the elites of power and to expand the support around him. He dismissed some strong politicians and bureaucrats from the regime, and he rehabilitated some other persons such as Kazım Karabekir, Rauf Orbay, and Refet Bele. All these steps could be considered as his attempts to fortify power. The CHP congress which convened in 1938, gave him the title ‘National Chief’, whereas Atatürk was honored with the name of ‘Eternal Chief’. İnönü was also accepted as the ‘unchangeable president’ of CHP, which meant his full control over the regime so much that even the gap for an opposition was fulfilled by CHP itself, namely, Independent Group (Müstakil Grup).

The most significant external development during the presidency of İsmet İnönü was certainly the Second World War. Turkey chose to be neutral in World War II. The biggest reason for this was that the country’s economy was still underdeveloped despite all efforts. Even though the country did not participate in the war, defense expenditures increased so much that the economy got in an unbalanced and turbulent state. Therefore, dissatisfaction from CHP power grew in public.

After the Second World War, Turkey signed the UN Charter in San Francisco Conference in 1945 and became one of the founding nations of the United Nations Organization. This meant that Turkey made a commitment for the transition to democracy.

Another rationale for Turkey to liberalize the political system lied in the internal conditions of the country. It was apprehended that the dissatisfactions in the CHP and the political conjuncture would lead to the formation of a new party. The way to the establishment of this party was initiated by a law proposal which targeted to distribute the land of the big landowners to the farmers (Provision of Land Law for Farmers). Some CHP deputies, particularly Adnan Menderes, who owns extensive lands, opposed to this law. On June 7, 1945, four CHP deputies, Celal Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Refik Koraltan and Fuat Köprülü took initial action in the parliamentary group of the party. These deputies requested full compliance to the constitution and transition to democracy. This movement, called the Memorandum of the Four, caused a deep fracture in the parliamentary group of CHP even though the parliamentary group rejected it. It was apprehended that the mentioned deputies were going to form a new party. However, businessman Nuri Demirağ acted more quickly, and on September 5, 1945, he established an opposition party called the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi-MKP). This was the beginning of a multi-party period.

Bayar, Menderes, Koraltan, and Köprülü also declared that they established a new opposition party called Democrat Party (Demokrat Parti-DP). Former Prime Minister Celal Bayar was appointed as the leader of the party. Bayar was one of the closest persons to Atatürk. Because of this, the new opposition party wasn’t considered as reactionary.

Even though DP lost the 1946 elections, the CHP administration understood that the support for their party was in decline as well. During the one-party period, CHP hardly needed the support of the public. In order to remain in power, public support was needed, however, on the transition to the multi-party period. Hence, CHP tended to pursue policies which aim to obtain the support of the public. For example, they started to offer religion lessons in schools. Workers were given the right to organize and trade unions were allowed. Nevertheless, severe measures were taken towards radical ideological movements. During the years of war, both socialist and nationalist movements were allowed to organize. However, upon the victory of the democratic block, harsher measures were taken against such movements. For example, with the ‘Racism-Turanism lawsuit’ in 1944, the ideological leaders of the nationalist group were prosecuted for being racists. Alparslan Türkeş, Nihal Atsız, and Reha Oğuz Türkkan were among the ones who were put on trial. In 1946, Turkish Socialist Party (Türkiye Sosyalist PartisiTSP) and Turkish Socialist Workers and Peasants Party (Türkiye Sosyalist İşçi Köylü Partisi-TSİKP) were closed although they were legally allowed. Thus, the regime started a war with any movement that was considered extreme and dangerous. Many intellectuals of the period were prosecuted in this period and sentenced to prison.

Classical Age of Ottoman Empire

Starting its adventure as a beylic, Ottoman reign became a powerful empire particularly after the reign of Mehmed the Conqueror. In its most powerful era, in the Classical Period of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1600), the ruler was certainly the center of the administrative structure of the state. Everyone was the servant of the ruler. He possesses all the property. From this aspect, the ruler has the absolute authority.

After the end of the classical period, different actors other than the ruler began to play a role in limiting the absolute authority of the ruler. For example, it may be stated that ayans (Notables), bureaucrats, councilors, and even international forces represent significant transformations in the authority of the ruler by undertaking different functions.

If we exclusively consider the administrative structure of the Ottoman State during its classic period, the administrators representing the ruler’s authority are located at the top layer of the stratification. These are soldiers, bureaucrats, and clergymen. The other major element of the stratification system consists of the rayah (reaya). The peasants, merchants, and artisans are the components that create this layer.

The principal responsibility of the Ottoman administrative structure, which represented the authority of the sovereign, was to keep everyone’s position within the group and to accomplish the functions of the group. Hence, social mobility was kept to a minimum in this administrative structure.

Consequently, the primary objective of the political system consisted of taking measures to prevent the radical transformation of the stratification system and maintaining the status quo.

During the classical period, the economic structure of the Ottoman Empire is mainly based on agriculture. Hence, the villagers are the very basis of this structure, based on agriculture. The fact that they continue to cultivate their land and give some of the products they produce each year to the center in kind or in cash is of crucial importance in preserving the economic balances.

Apart from the villagers, craftsmen constitute another major group in the Ottoman Empire. Craftsmen, who earn their living with small handicrafts, such as shoemaking, masonry, blacksmithing, carpentry, weaving, are strictly controlled by the Craftsmen Guild (Lonca Teşkilatı).

Finally, tradesmen constitute another category outside the ruling class in the Ottoman Empire. However, it is difficult to say that their share in the system is very powerful during this period.

The Ottoman Empire thought that the only way to become a powerful state and to maintain its existence was to render the state functional to secure justice. The happiness and loyalty to the state were only achievable with the excellent operation of the principle of the circle of justice. Justice means protecting the people from persecution. Soldiers’ harassment and pillage weren’t allowed. Also, the administrators weren’t allowed the act of extortion.

Disintegration of the Classical Age of Ottoman Empire

From the 1300s until the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire was able to protect the status quo of the classical period without any significant obstacles. On the contrary, after the 1600s, it was impossible to maintain this order for various reasons. One of the main reasons is the disintegration of provincial order. When the land system, based on the production of small peasants and a subsistence economy began to be dissolved principally because of the corruption caused by the Sipahis, the control of the land was captured by the landlords and the Christian notables; and millions of peasants experienced harsh conditions. the development of new weapon technologies was another significant development that transformed the classical order and that diminished the importance of the timar holder in the system. the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the world economy gradually lost its value with the loss of commercial significance of the Mediterranean and the Silk Road. Certainly, the financial burden caused by the long wars with Iran and Russia signifies another important factor. All of these reasons caused the disintegration of the classical Ottoman system.

The most significant signs of the disintegration of the classical order are the revolts. One of the most wellknown of these is the Celali rebellions, which developed under the leadership of the rulers who lost their importance and values in the system. With these rebellions between 1556-1650, the Sipahi took action in order to compensate for their loss. On the other hand, the Patrona Halil uprising of 1730 represents the reactions to the capitalization process in agriculture. In other words, Patrona Halil rebellion is a clear reaction of the traditional urban production system to the big investments and the investor class that were created with capitalization.

Ottoman Modernization

The disintegration of the classical order meant the loss of power for the Ottoman Empire socially and economically, politically and militarily. The defeats, particularly in the military field, were regarded as the biggest problem for the administrator classes, followed by the disintegration of the classical order. Accordingly, there are efforts to implement a series of reform initiatives first in the military field for the restoration of the traditional order.

The reform initiatives that started during the reign of Selim III and continued during the reign of Mahmud II were maintained during the administration of prominent administrators of the Tanzimat (Mustafa Reşid Pasha, Ali Pasha, and Fuat Pasha), as well as during the reign of Abdülhamid II and the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti-İTC). Before examining each period separately, it is possible to identify some significant common points related to the Ottoman modernization. Firstly, reform initiatives were mainly launched in the military field. Secondly, the reform initiatives that were launched in the military field were implemented in other problematic areas. Finally, we should not forget to mention that the measures taken in the education system continued for a while. Thirdly, we may generally observe an effort towards the centralization in the reform initiatives launched by Selim III. Centralizing measures were taken against the elements of the environment (ayan, bureaucrats, and minorities) that challenge the central government. Forthly, every reform initiative primarily aims to restore the existing order. Hence, the purpose of the reforms is to take measures against the disintegration of the basic principle that can be summarized by the system of the circle of justice. Fifth, new institutions and staff associated with reform initiatives had been influential in the determination of the fate of the Empire. As a result of the power struggles in question, many significant political developments occured. For example, Deed of Alliance (Sened-i İttifak), Edict of Tanzimat (Imperial Edict of Reorganization) and Edict of Islahat (Imperial Reform Edict), first and second Constitutional Eras, various military coup attempts, 31 March Incident, rebellions organized by the separatist movements and the Balkan Wars may be listed in this context.

Deed of Alliance

The Deed of Alliance is a treaty signed between ayans and the Ottoman State at the end of a meeting organized in the Ottoman capital with the invitation of Alemdar Mustafa Pasha. During the meeting, it was decided to reform the Janissary corps, to empower ayans with the authority to exert power on the bureaucratic officers assigned by the state, to guarantee the safety of the goods and privileges of the ayans and to include them in their heritage. In return, the ayans promised to show full respect to Sultan, to provide armed power and pay their taxes.

Moreover, Deed of Alliance is considered to be the first constitutional document, through which the powers of the sovereign were limited for the first time, similar to the British Magna Carta that dates back to 1215. In this respect, it certainly represents a very critical step in our political life.

Edict of Tanzimat and Edict of Islahat

In its most general sense, the Edict of Tanzimat promised four basic reforms. The first of these is that the Edict guarantees the life, honor, and property of the subjects of the ruler. The second is the establishment of a regular taxation system that would replace the tax farming system. The third one is the compulsory military service. The latter signifies the promise of equality before the law for all the subjects, regardless of religion.

The Edict of Tanzimat is very significant in some respects. Firstly, the Edict of Tanzimat represents an attempt to expand the reform initiatives which were previously implemented in the Ottoman Empire, into the political, administrative and legal areas. Secondly, it occurred as a consequence of the pressure of the Western states about guaranteeing equality and assurance to the Christian population of the Empire. Moreover, the Edict of Tanzimat is the first comprehensive reform initiative for the solution of the “Eastern Question”. Thirdly, for the first time in the Ottoman state system, a ruler restricted his powers and authority with the Edict of Tanzimat.

The Edict of Islahat of 1856 was published at the end of a series of controversial meetings held with the grand vizier, the foreign minister, Sheikh ul-lslam and the representatives of the Western European states. The basic purpose of the Edict is to fulfil the commitments of the Edict of Tanzimat. In this respect, a number of concrete measures were listed in the Edict of Islahat. These include making a budget, the establishment of a bank, requesting competent experts from the European capital and European countries for economic growth, and the establishment of mixed courts.

It is essential to highlight that the Ottoman Empire started to become a part of the capitalist economy in 1838 along with the trade agreement with England and the Ottoman Land Code of 1858. In other words, the Tanzimat Period as a whole symbolizes the transfer of reform initiatives from military to administrative, political, legal and economic fields.

Young Ottomans and Ottoman Constitution of 1876

Young Ottomans was a secret society established around the organization called “İttifak-ı Hamiyet”. These young people, customarily from prosperous families, fled to Europe after an unsuccessful attempt of coup d’état in 1867 and were reorganized under the name of “Young Ottomans Society” there. They have quite different ideas regarding the apprehension and solution of current problems. In contrast, their common characteristics consist of their opposition to the leading political actors and practices of the Tanzimat Era.

The opposition of the Young Ottomans about the Tanzimat Era was based on several ideas. First of all, the Pashas built a regime of despotism during the Tanzimat Era, which was not acceptable to them. Secondly, the Pashas in question adopted the most superficial parts of European culture. Fourthly, the Edict of Tanzimat is a missed opportunity and a major capitulation to Western states. Fifth, the Edict of Tanzimat required the continuation of reforms without explicitly limiting it according to the principles of sharia. Sixth, setting Western institutions as an example caused confusion and chaos among bureaucrats. Finally, the reforms particularly had an impact on a limited environment.

The young Ottomans achieved their objectives on the adoption of the constitutional monarchy on 23 December 1876. Abdülhamid II promulgated the Ottoman constitution of 1876, namely Kanun-i Esasi. After the elections, the first Ottoman parliament (Meclis-i Mebusan) convened on March 19, 1877. On the other hand, on February 14, 1878, Abdülhamid suspended the parliament and constitution since Russia penetrated to the suburbs of İstanbul.

Abdülhamid II established a new regime of absolutism and it lasted until 1909. Abdülhamid II has pioneered the modernization of the Ottoman Empire in several fields through various reform initiatives. For example, thanks to the investments in improving communication and transport networks, the state has become more centralized than previous initiatives. Furthermore, the construction of the railway and the use of steamboats have led to significant economic development.

The Young Turks (Jön Türkler) and the 1908 Young Turk Revolution

During the reign of Abdülhamid II, modern educational institutions were in such good quality that they were able to provide the qualified labor force needed by the bureaucracy. However, Abdülhamid II was not able to instill loyalty in the new generations of bureaucrats and officers, the Ottoman intelligentsia. Therefore, this generation led an opposition movement against Abdülhamid II, which was quite effective. İbrahim Temo, İshak Sukuti, Abdullah Cevdet, Mehmet Reşid, and Konyalı Hikmet Emin established the Committee of the Ottoman Union (İttihad-i Osmani Cemiyeti) on June 3, 1889. This society, which became very popular outside Mekteb-i Tıbbiye in a short period of time, succeeded in being influential in other educational institutions as well as among Ottoman bureaucrats. Through the activities that were carried out in order to become a powerful opposition movement against the administration of Abdülhamid II and to influence large parts of society, the Young Turks grew in numbers and transformed into a complex structure. They started to incorporate many tendencies, ranging from ulama to biological materialists, from positivists to minority separatists, from ultra-nationalists to humanists.

When we study the social background of the Young Turks, we can distinguish some major characteristics. First of all, they were exclusively men. The majority was Muslim. Again in this Muslim majority, the number of Turks was higher than the Kurdish, Arab, Circassian, and Albanians. Although there were a few Dönmehs (Who converted publicly to Islam), in practice, there were no Christians among them. Almost all of them lived in the cities. The majority were of Macedonia or İstanbul origins.

It would be important to highlight the main reasons for opposing Abdülhamid II: First of all, they believed that the strategies adopted by Abdülhamid in the administration of the state would trigger the separatist movements. Secondly, they had a hard time finding a place in a system that was just partly modern after receiving a modern education. Finally, attempts to build institutions and values that would enable them to achieve their goals of establishing a strong state were often contrary to the realities during the reign of Abdülhamid II.

In a short time, Abdülhamid II discovered the danger and strived to prevent the Young Turk movement by taking certain measures. These measures began with the arrest of the opposition. Afterwards, the measures continued with the sentences of imprisonment and exile.

Critical Steps Between Constitutional Period II and the War of Independence

Until the 1908 revolution, the İTC was simply a political community that forced the ruler to restore the 1876 Constitution. However, after Abdülhamid II restored the constitution in 1908, the responsibility of the İTC was seriously increased. While the traditional power of the Sultan was failing, the İTC gained respect owing to both the mystical characteristic of being a secret organization, and also the success of the revolution. The committee withdrew to a supervisory committee position, responsible for safeguarding the Constitution and acting only if necessary, and left power to the parliament. Certainly, it is hard to say that this claim completely reflected the reality of the period because, starting with the 1908 elections, the İTC attempted to influence indirectly the administration of the country. On the other hand, it wasn’t still possible for the İTC to achieve an absolute control over parliament as the candidates who ran in the elections on behalf of the İTC were not elected directly from the members of the community. It may be assumed that this led to a modest weakness in terms of the İTC: the possibility of movement to act as a party was strictly limited.

Although the İTC did not have an absolute control over the Parliament, the secret central committee of the society strived to control the political activities. It is obviously clear such control efforts on the political activities of the İTC caused serious disturbance in some cases. In fact, the development of the opposition against the İTC should be considered as a reaction of the external interventions of the İTC to the administrative functions.

The conservatives became one of the significant opposition groups against the İTC, which was led by rather materialistic and positivist viewpoints. In fact, the events that were culminated in the 31 March Incident, were initiated by the conservatist Dervish Vahdedi, the owner of the Volkan newspaper. The spokesmen of the soldiers involved in this counterrevolution asserted some basic requests. The first one was the removal of the Grand Vizier with the Ministers of the Navy and War. The second was the replacement of some İTC officers. The third is the replacement of Ahmet Rıza, the President of the Parliament. The fourth is the banishment of some İTC parliamentarians from İstanbul. The fifth is to return to sharia law. The sixth is an amnesty for the mutineering soldiers.

Considering these requests, let us try to list the mains reasons behind the 31 March Incident. First of all, because of the rationalist policies of the post1908 bureaucracy, some people who were seen abundant were removed from the offices. Secondly, the measures taken by the İTC to pave the way for the officers who studied at the Ottoman Military College to reach higher positions in the bureaucratic hierarchy led to a great dissatisfaction among the uneducated military staff. Thirdly, Ulama was aware that it would not be easy to maintain its effectiveness within a state structure controlled by the İTC. Finally, the Ahrar opposition contributed significantly to the 31 March Incident.

With the rebels taking control in İstanbul, the leaders of the İTC either hid or they fled from İstanbul. However, some other members of the union acted quickly to take the necessary measures to repel the coup attempt on 31 March. Mahmud Şevket Pasha, commander of the Army and Niyazi Bey moved the army from Macedonia to İstanbul and on 24 April 1909 İstanbul was taken. After the Army of Action took control of İstanbul, Independence Tribunals (İstiklal Mahkemesi) were established, the supporters of the coup were prosecuted, and Abdülhamid II was deposed on April 27. In addition, the opposition parties, mainly the Ahrar Party, were closed because they supported the coup attempt.

On November 21, 1911, the opponents were united under the name of Freedom and Accord Party (Hürriyet ve İtilaf Fırkası-HİP). HİP decided to bring to law a real constitutionalism, which had not been established until then. HİP, which adopted a strategy based on the indispensability of freedom, aimed to ensure the union of the state, in particular by protecting the rights of minorities.

It was in 1913 that the İTC could attain the absolute control in İstanbul. After a new coup d’état, the İTC maintained complete control after Mahmud Şevket Pasha was slain. Hence, the İTC was able to smoothly implement the reforms it required. In fact, between 1913 and 1918, significant innovations took place in our political life under the leadership of the İTC management.

During the time when İTC was influential on the administrative affairs of the Ottoman Empire, namely between 1908 and 1918, it is impossible to state that the conditions around the Empire were favorable. Among the developments that caused the ill fate, we should mention the Yemeni rebellion and the invasion of Tripoli but the Balkan Wars were undoubtedly the most significant reason. The last significant development that prepared the fate of the Ottoman Empire was the First World War. In this war, the Ottoman Empire, together with Germany, fought against the Allies consisting of Russia, France and England and the defeat was concluded with the Armistice of Mudros.

Among the developments that prepared the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, we must first mention the steps taken for the independence struggle. The first of these steps was taken before the end of World War I. The leaders of the Unionists took the necessary measures for the establishment of the Karakol Society. The first aim of the society established in November 1918 was to protect and defend the Unionists in the post-war environment. Another purpose was to strengthen the resistance movements in Anatolia and the Caucasus by sending money, weapons, supplies, and tools (Zürcher, 2010, p. 205). Another step that prepared the establishment of the Republic is the establishment of the “The Association for Defense of National Rights” (Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti), which worked for the national independence where there is no regular and independent army. The developments that started with Mustafa Kemal’s arrival to Samsun on 19 May 1919 are perhaps the most significant steps of the war of independence. In the end, the Turkish army fought resolutely until it obtained its independence and hence, the Republic of Turkey was found.

Proclamation of the Republic and One-Party Period

In this process, the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ coexist. With the government of İTC in the last period of the Ottoman Empire, this transformation was accelerated. Many reforms to be implemented during the Republican period were first discussed during this period. Thus, Turkish political scientist Tarık Zafer Tunaya called this process “a political laboratory” for the Republican era. preRepublican reforms mainly relied on the coexistence of the ‘new’ and the ‘old’, which required a gradual transition to be implemented in time. In the Republican period, the power of the opposition was gradually diminished. As a result, there was no group left that maintained the power to oppose to the planned reforms.

The War of Independence was won when people from different political tendencies and ideologies in the country united for a common goal, which was independence of the motherland. However, after the war was over, political conflicts found a ground to make themselves reappear. since he desired to accomplish many reforms after the war, Atatürk did not want to continue with the current composition of the Assembly. In the elections held in July 1923, members of the Grand National Assembly were renewed.

The first indicator of the political polarization to be seen in the new period was the establishment of the People’s Party (Halk Fırkası-HF) on 9 September 1923 by Atatürk. During the same period, some news about the proclamation of the Republic was heard. In one respect, it was intended to prepare the public for the idea of the Republic. It was soon realized that the establishment of the People’s Party was closely related to this decision because some parliamentarians in the Assembly opposed to the proclamation of the Republic. On 29 October 1923, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. The commanders of the War of Independence and a large number of parliamentarians weren’t informed about the proclamation of the Republic. In spite of that, the proclamation of the Republic didn’t get much negative reaction. the staff acting together in the War of Independence was now divided into two different movements and pursued their political career from different perspectives.

The First Opposition Attempt: Progressive Republican Party

32 parliamentarians, who left HF established the Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası-TpCF). The “Republican” word in the name was particularly important because the founders of the Party declared that they were not against the republican regime by using this statement. In response to this, HF added the “Republican” adjective to their name and became “Republican People’s Party” (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi-CHP). Meanwhile, the Progressive Republican Party made great progress in the process of organization within the country in a short time.

In February 1925, an armed uprising, known as “Sheikh Said Rebellion” started in Diyarbakır and Elazığ. The armed forces quickly intervened and declared martial law in the eastern provinces. The first duty of the new government was to create the “Law on the Maintenance of Order” (Takrir-i Sükûn Kanunu), a regulation of a state of emergency. This law empowered the government to follow policies that restrict the freedoms of large sections of the country. Through an article that was added to the Law on Treason (Hıyanet-i Vataniye Kanunu), the prosecution of those who abused religion for political purposes because of treason was made possible.

Political and Social Reforms

In the first years of the Republic, a wide range of political, social and economic policies was adopted, the first steps of which were taken before the republican period. However, the Republican regime pursued a much more comprehensive project in terms of social, political, cultural and economic transformation of the country. The creation of a nation-state was certainly at the center of the political transformation. The emergence of the nation-state model is strictly related to the rise of nationalist movements after the French Revolution. In this process, the concept of ‘citizenship’ became popular instead of the concept of ‘subject’ (teba). Frequently, it was highlighted that the citizens are “equal” and no one is privileged. Besides, it was noted that the citizens have certain obligations.

One of the primary objectives of the new nation-state was to create a national bourgeoisie. The state, on the one hand, acted as a direct commercial actor by establishing public enterprises. For example, İş Bankası and Sanayi and Maadin Bank were established upon the orders of Atatürk to bring a national character to the banking system. The structure of the capital of the previously established Ziraat Bank was altered, all to keep the capitalist class under the control of the state.

On the other hand, in certain sectors, the state was directing the structure of the capital. In addition, it encouraged the strengthening of national capital. In this period, Turkey’s economy was mainly based on agriculture. The industrial sector that would cause the real growth within the country was very weak. In 1927, Law for the Encouragement of Industry (Teşvik-i Sanayi Kanunu) was issued. Through this law, domestic companies were granted economic incentives together with tax exemptions.

Another great principle on which the new regime was based was secularism. Through the secularization policies, the influence of religion on political and social areas was aimed to diminish. Major developments in this stance were the abolition of the caliphate, the closure of Medressehs and lodges and zawiyas, the law of unification of education, and some regulations brought in the name of modern clothing.

Another major reform that was initiated in 1928 was the adoption of the Latin alphabet instead of the Arabic one. In the beginning, the rate of literacy in the country considerably fell with this amendment, the solution for which was a comprehensive literacy campaign launched across the country to compensate this fall. Furthermore, the regime valued teachers greatly in this process. The duty of transferring the Republican ideology to the people in the first years of the regime was given to teachers.

Controlled Opposition Initiative: Establishment of Liberal Republican Party

In 1930, there was a second attempt to adopt a multi-party democracy through the foundation of another opposition party. Nevertheless, the opposition party was not established in its own dynamics. At the time, Atatürk requested that Fethi Bey (former Prime Minister), who was the Paris embassy, establish an opposition party with a liberal program. Atatürk requested from his sister Makbule Hanım and some CHP deputies that they register as members of the new party. Atatürk promised the Liberal Republican Party (Serbest Cumhuriyet FırkasıSCF) founders that he would be impartial against both parties as the President of the Republic.

SCF produced a significant impact in a short time. A large number of citizens from different areas applied to the party for becoming a member. However, the growth of the party in a short time led to negative consequences for its political future. SCF participated in the local elections in October 1930, and won 30 out of 502 municipalities. The claims that the results of the elections were dishonest, made by the party’s leader, Fethi Bey, raised the tension considerably in politics. The tension between these two parties and the unease in his own party worried Atatürk as well, and he told Fethi Bey that he was the leader of CHP and would no longer remain neutral. This situation alarmed SCF leaders, particularly Fethi Bey. Therefore, in November 1930, SCF dissolved itself. He returned to diplomacy.

One of these reasons why this opposition party was made to be founded by Atatürk was presumably to eliminate the dissatisfaction arousing within the country at the time.

Indeed, the reforms in the early years of the Republic have caused dissatisfaction in the wider social sectors. Furthermore, economic difficulties in the country continued. Accordingly, it could be argued that the regime needed a controlled opposition.

On the other hand, the Menemen Incident that occurred right after SCF was closed had a great impact on the regime’s policies in the 1930s. On December 23, 1930, a small group created trouble in the town of Menemen in Izmir. This group, led by Dervish Mehmet, was chanting slogans for the restoration of the Sharia and the Caliphate. Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay, the commanding officer interfered in the incident in order to solve it in a peaceful way. However, the rebels beheaded him. Then, the gendarmerie opened fire on the rebels. However, the reaction of the regime was very severe.

The Development of Kemalist Ideology and its Effects on State Governance

The state of democracy in Turkey was not very developed in the 1930s. The experience of SCF showed that the regime would not allow a new initiative for transition to democracy. Hence, the 1930s passed as the consolidation process of one-party government.

From the 1930s on, the principles of the new regime began to be expressed within the framework of the concept of ‘Kemalism’. Kemalism as a term had been used mainly in foreign sources since the War of Independence. Its first official use by the state was in 1935 when it was mentioned in the CHP program. Later, this ideology was also called Atatürkism. The main purpose of Kemalism was to achieve the ‘contemporary civilization level’. To this end, six principles were introduced by Kemalists. These were Republicanism, Secularism, Nationalism, Populism, Statism, and Reformism.

The regime continued to implement reforms in the 1930s. In line with this, one of the reforms introduced was that women were granted the right to vote and be elected. In 1935, 17 women deputies entered the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Another significant progress was the enforcement of the Surname Law. In accordance with this law, the use of certain titles and names such as Efendi, Bey, or Pasha was prohibited.

In the same period, significant steps were taken in the name of developing a consciousness of history and language. This rationale was closely related to the regime’s understanding of nationalism. Turkish Language Association was established with the purpose of working on the etymology of Turkish language.

Simultaneous with the reforms in the language, an effort was initiated to write a new history. For this purpose, ‘Turkish History Thesis’ was proposed. According to this thesis, Turks created the highest civilizations in the world. The origins of ancient civilizations, like Hittites and Sumerians, were in fact Turkish.

Authoritarian Turn of the Regime

In the second part of the one-party period, which started in 1930, all institutions of the state that posed a potential opposition threat suffered from oppression. One of the most striking examples of this was the closure of Turkish Hearths (Türk Ocakları). CHP and Atatürk himself provided financial support to Turkish Hearths. After 1923, Turkish Hearths turned out to be one of the most influential tools for spreading the principles of the regime to people. In 1931, however, Turkish Hearths were shut down with an unexpected decision. It would not be wrong to claim that their link with SCF was influential in this action. At the local level, some executives from Turkish Hearths participated in SCF.

During this period, some other non-governmental organizations, such as Turkish Women’s Association, which were in close contact with the regime, and masonic lodges, which played a significant role in the movement of Young Turks, were also closed. The reason for the closure of the association of Turkish women was the claim that the regime had already granted the required rights to Turkish women.

Another development in the same process was the closure of Darülfünun in 1933 within the framework of the university reform. Darülfünun had been the essential civil education institution in the country until then. İstanbul University was established instead of this school. Nevertheless, during the reorganization process, many of the faculty members of Darülfunun could not get a place in the new university. Those who guarded their place happened to be the ones presenting loyalty to the new regime, while those who were seen as opponents were dismissed.

State and Party Identification

One of the most significant aspects of the 1930s in terms of the political system was the establishment of identification between the state and CHP. In 1935, this identification relationship obtained a legal dimension. The Minister of Internal Affairs became the Secretary-General of the Party. The governors of the provinces also were appointed as the provincial heads of CHP. Similarly, the district governors became the provincial heads of CHP as well in their districts. Thus, the state and CHP were accepted as an entity.

A more significant evidence of state and party identification is the addition of the Six Arrows to the Turkish Constitution in 1937 (Köker, 1995, p. 133). The principles of republicanism, secularism, nationalism, populism, statism, and reformism had already been included in the CHP’s party program in 1931.

National Chief Period

After the death of Atatürk, a new power struggle emerged inside the regime. Thus, upon Atatürk’s loss, both names were naturally candidates for presidency. The Chief of General Staff, Marshal Fevzi Çakmak, who had been one of the leading names since the War of Independence was also another candidate. In the end, İsmet İnönü was elected as the president without facing a strong objection.

İnönü was certainly the closest person to Atatürk throughout all reform processes. He completely embraced the Kemalist principles. He also believed that one-party administration was the best option for the country. Thus, CHP government maintained its current management approach during the first years of İnönü’s presidency. On the contrary, İnönü also strived to change the elites of power and to expand the support around him. He dismissed some strong politicians and bureaucrats from the regime, and he rehabilitated some other persons such as Kazım Karabekir, Rauf Orbay, and Refet Bele. All these steps could be considered as his attempts to fortify power. The CHP congress which convened in 1938, gave him the title ‘National Chief’, whereas Atatürk was honored with the name of ‘Eternal Chief’. İnönü was also accepted as the ‘unchangeable president’ of CHP, which meant his full control over the regime so much that even the gap for an opposition was fulfilled by CHP itself, namely, Independent Group (Müstakil Grup).

The most significant external development during the presidency of İsmet İnönü was certainly the Second World War. Turkey chose to be neutral in World War II. The biggest reason for this was that the country’s economy was still underdeveloped despite all efforts. Even though the country did not participate in the war, defense expenditures increased so much that the economy got in an unbalanced and turbulent state. Therefore, dissatisfaction from CHP power grew in public.

After the Second World War, Turkey signed the UN Charter in San Francisco Conference in 1945 and became one of the founding nations of the United Nations Organization. This meant that Turkey made a commitment for the transition to democracy.

Another rationale for Turkey to liberalize the political system lied in the internal conditions of the country. It was apprehended that the dissatisfactions in the CHP and the political conjuncture would lead to the formation of a new party. The way to the establishment of this party was initiated by a law proposal which targeted to distribute the land of the big landowners to the farmers (Provision of Land Law for Farmers). Some CHP deputies, particularly Adnan Menderes, who owns extensive lands, opposed to this law. On June 7, 1945, four CHP deputies, Celal Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Refik Koraltan and Fuat Köprülü took initial action in the parliamentary group of the party. These deputies requested full compliance to the constitution and transition to democracy. This movement, called the Memorandum of the Four, caused a deep fracture in the parliamentary group of CHP even though the parliamentary group rejected it. It was apprehended that the mentioned deputies were going to form a new party. However, businessman Nuri Demirağ acted more quickly, and on September 5, 1945, he established an opposition party called the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi-MKP). This was the beginning of a multi-party period.

Bayar, Menderes, Koraltan, and Köprülü also declared that they established a new opposition party called Democrat Party (Demokrat Parti-DP). Former Prime Minister Celal Bayar was appointed as the leader of the party. Bayar was one of the closest persons to Atatürk. Because of this, the new opposition party wasn’t considered as reactionary.

Even though DP lost the 1946 elections, the CHP administration understood that the support for their party was in decline as well. During the one-party period, CHP hardly needed the support of the public. In order to remain in power, public support was needed, however, on the transition to the multi-party period. Hence, CHP tended to pursue policies which aim to obtain the support of the public. For example, they started to offer religion lessons in schools. Workers were given the right to organize and trade unions were allowed. Nevertheless, severe measures were taken towards radical ideological movements. During the years of war, both socialist and nationalist movements were allowed to organize. However, upon the victory of the democratic block, harsher measures were taken against such movements. For example, with the ‘Racism-Turanism lawsuit’ in 1944, the ideological leaders of the nationalist group were prosecuted for being racists. Alparslan Türkeş, Nihal Atsız, and Reha Oğuz Türkkan were among the ones who were put on trial. In 1946, Turkish Socialist Party (Türkiye Sosyalist PartisiTSP) and Turkish Socialist Workers and Peasants Party (Türkiye Sosyalist İşçi Köylü Partisi-TSİKP) were closed although they were legally allowed. Thus, the regime started a war with any movement that was considered extreme and dangerous. Many intellectuals of the period were prosecuted in this period and sentenced to prison.

BİR YORUM YAZIN

ZİYARETÇİ YORUMLARI - 0 YORUM

Henüz yorum yapılmamış.