The Rise of Turkey(Last Part): Ups & Downs
In the world of the twenty-first century, if any country has made itself known in world politics in a completely new way, it is undoubtedly Turkey. In today's world politics, the country competes with the superpowers in terms of diplomatic and military power. In particular, the leadership of the Muslim world has shifted from Saudi Arabia to Turkey. Let's take a look at the story behind the rise of Turkey in world politics. In the first episode, we reviewed the time of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Today we will discuss it from the end of the twentieth century.
After Kemal Atatürk's death, his comrade Mustafa Ismat Inon came to the power. It was a time of turmoil for the whole world. The war of World War II has rung out, and Turkey, an economically weak state, has now taken a completely neutral role from the lessons of World War I. In the post-war period, Turkey made major changes in its foreign policy and military policy. During the time of Kemal Atatürk, the budget allocated to the army was very low. But, after Second World War, defense spending increased.
After the war, when the Soviet Union wanted to control the Black Sea and Aegon Sea Straits, Turkey became very uncomfortable. Which caused Turkey to become closer to the United States during the post-World War II Cold War. Following this, they joined NATO in 1952. They get a lot of military aid from the US. But Turkey's economic situation continues to deteriorate. Their domestic production falls to 70%. Inflation rose to about 354% between 1938 and 1946. The government took many initiatives to raise the value of the currency but they failed. Mustafa Atatürk's Kemalism failed here. But Turkey started to reap the benefits of his educational reforms.
As literacy rates continue to rise, the number middle class people grows. The people of Turkey became politically aware and a new political party, was established named The Democrat Party. The party became popular soon after its formation and came to power in 1950. After coming to power, they achieved many successes in the field of agriculture. Later, foreign exchange crisis and inflation crippled the industries. As well as low agricultural production made the entire country's economy is in a state of collapse. This poor state of the economy also increases political unrest. The government directly used the military to suppress dissent. That later allowed the army to intervene.
This is a period of political turmoil and economic restructuring in Turkey. Three times during these four decades of military intervention, Turkey got its first female Prime Minister. Islamist and conservative political parties emerged. In addition, the Cyprus crisis brought Greece to the brink of war. We will try to briefly discuss the bold events related to political economy and foreign policy during that period.
In 1960, the military intervened to bring out political reforms. Many in the Democrat and Republican parties were imprisoned and admitted to repression. They came to power through a bloodless coup. They formed the National Unity and drafted a constitution. Later arranged a general election in 1961. No party could win the majority in the elections. But the new political party named 'Justice Party (JP)' shows surprise. The coalition government continued to disintegrate, prompting plans for military intervention. But in the end, it did not materialize due to Inon's efforts.
Elections were held again in 1963 and JP this time won a majority and formed the government. JP attempted to revive the economy but political unrest continued. Particularly in the northern Kurdistan Province, where armed rebellions broke out. By which the army imposed martial law to quell. Thus the army again interfered in politics by imposing martial law in some other provinces. In 1980, the army intervened for the third time and a new constitution was drawn up. Elections were held again in 1982. The Motherland Party or MP shows surprise in that election. They won that election and remained in power until 1991. Turkey's economy got a solid foundation during its rule.
Then in the 1993 elections, no party got a majority. Again the coalition government was formed when Turkey got its first female Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller. But that government fell in 1995 due to the conspiracy of the partners, and the prime minister again called a general election.
After the Justice Party came to power in the 60s, they were able to strengthen the base of the economy. That is why they emphasize the free economy. Reforms to an industrial economy from an agricultural one. Foreign investment increased which brought the unemployment problem under control. But their Government fell down before the inflation problem was solved. The economy continued to boom thereafter, collapsing again in the late 1970s when oil prices rose and foreign remittances declined. After the Motherland Party came to power in 1983, Turkey undertook one of its biggest economic reforms, privatizing the state-owned industrial sector. It takes various initiatives to increase foreign investment. Besides, they are able to enter the free market economy. They benefited from the fall in oil prices during the Iran-Iraq war. But the heavily subsidized state-owned factories, and the then-depressed state of the world economy, increased their trade deficit, which in turn increased inflation and unemployment. Later, after massive budget cuts, and by strengthening the banking sector, the economy turned around and gradually prospered. Turkey is still trying to join the European Union which will further boost its economy.
During World War II, Turkey's position was completely neutral. After the World War, Turkey joined the US wing against Soviet aggression. In 1952 they joined the military alliance NATO. Turkey applied to join the European Union in 1959 in order to expand its trade. But Turkey was not yet a member of the EU. The country's human rights situation and economic situation were too fragile for EU membership. Under such conditions, the country was almost at war with Greece in the Cyprus crisis in 1974.
After a Greek-backed coup in Cyprus, Turkey occupied the northern part of Cyprus to protect the Turkish community there. It was the first such attack since Turkey's independence. Turkey still has cool relations with Greece. Being part of the NATO alliance, the invasion of Iraq was carried out using Turkish soil during the Middle East crisis. Relations also deteriorated with Syria for supporting Kurdish rebels.
A country can influence world politics only when its economy is sound and politically stable. To understand Turkey's rise, we must have an understanding of its political history and economic dynamics. From the above discussion, it can be seen that Turkey came close to achieving that economic and political stability in the late twentieth century. Later, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had the opportunity to express Turkey's dominance in world politics.
You will notice that from the six principles of Kemalism theory, the development of Turkish nationalism is extensive today. However, Turkey has moved away from the secularism of Kemalism. From Europe-centric foreign policy, they have adopted an offensive policy in the Middle East, especially in Syria, Azerbaijan, and the Caucasus region. In today's world where politics are being controlled by charismatic personalities, Turkey has started to express itself on behalf of the Muslim world.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have faced an image crisis in the Muslim world. The reforms undertaken by Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman seem to backfire at this stage. Turkey wants to take advantage of the leadership vacuum created by this image crisis. We can also see that conservatives are in power in most of the superpowers in the world. So, time will tell how far Turkey can go following the current trend.