Turkey – A Great Combination of Culture and Technology

by admin on June 27, 2014

The name Turkey is derived from the Medieval Latin term ‘Truchia,’ which means ‘Land of the Turks’; it also includes the areas that were known as Anatolia and Eastern Thrace. Anatolia means Asia Minor in Latin.

When the Greeks came to power after defeating the Persians, a region was taken away from the Hittites, and new states of Phrygia and Lydia were formed out of it on the western coast, this region was Turkey.

Alexander the Great was able to defeat the mighty Persians, and briefly, the Greek Empire spread from Eastern Europe to India, but was short-lived after his death, and was broken up into pieces. A large part of Anatolia came under the empire of Selucus Nicator, one of the governors of Alexander, who controlled the Asia Minor region.

Early Turkish Empire – The Ottoman

In the 4th century AD, during the rule of Constantine the Great, the eastern part of Roman Empire, later this also known as the Byzantine Empire was established with Constantinople as its capital. After separation from the western region, the Byzantine Empire flourished for many years. The Oghuz Turks migrated into Anatolia forming the Seljuk Empire in the 11 century AD. The Seljuk defeated the Byzantine Empire in 1071, at Manzikert. They continued in power till the Mongols invaded at Kosedaq.

The Mongol occupation gave birth to a number of small Turkish states; one such state was the Ottoman Beylik, this controlled western Anatolia and took over Rumelia, and finally after conquering Istanbul, the Ottoman became a large empire in Europe, called the Turkish Empire. This empire subsequently captured eastern Anatolia, Caucasus, Middle East, Central Europe and North Africa.

Role of Turkey in World War 1:

The Ottoman Empire, supported Germany and Italy; the Central Powers, in order to form the Triple Alliance in August 1914, and it formally entered the WW1 on 28th October 1914 by bombing the  Russian Black Sea Ports. The Allied Powers comprising of England, USA and Russia, declared war on Turkey on the 4th of November 1914.

Enver Pasha was a visionary minister in Turkey during those times; he understood the military might of Germany and knew he could open a corridor from Turkey, through Asia Minor, right up to India. Germany, on the other hand, did not want Turkey to join the Allies, and through Turkey, it wished to garner support for itself from Romania and Bulgaria.

The Germans wanted to keep UK and USA out of Europe, knowing that their interest lay in the extensive Hydrocarbon reserves of Europe, Arabia and Africa.

Turkey was defeated badly in World War 1 and Anatolia, and East Thrace was run over by the Allied forces. A young leader Mustafa Kemal fought off the Allied Powers and liberated Anatolia and East Thrace, and the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 with Ankara as its capital.

Westernization of Turkey:

Mustafa Kemal or Ataturk was a true reformist and a man of great vision; he realized that Turkey was at the ‘confluence’ of modern European ideology at one side and the fundamental Islamite thought process of Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, at the other side. He went ahead and prescribed the western lifestyle for his people, which opened doors to education, technology and equality between men and women. He discontinued religious or other titles, closed down Islamic courts, replaced the Islamic canon law by secular civil code of the Swiss and modeled the Penal Code after the Italian Penal Code. He also replaced the Ottoman Turkish alphabet with the New Turkish alphabet, which was based on the Latin alphabet system. Ataturk banned the Fez hat in 1925 as part of his modernizing reforms. To give his nation a modern outlook, he allowed women to stop wearing the veil and gave them full political rights. All citizens took surnames, and the Islamic calendar gave way to the Western calendar. Surely Kemal Ataturk was a man well ahead of his times; who fore-saw what would be best for the generations to come, very few leaders have his fore-sight and statesmanship.

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