The Republic of Turkey
The description of the 75 years of the statehood of Turkey.
As Turkey blows out the candles celebrating 75 years of statehood, it is entitles to a moment of reflection. Just as an individual may think back over a life of achievement to the adventures of youth, so too a nation remembers its history. The Turkish story is one remarkable accomplishment ― the construction of an enduring, secular democracy on the ashes of an empire. It is also an exciting tale that begins with the extraordinary heroism of both a people and a visionary leader. The founding of the Republic is a rare instance of conviction and idealism triumphing over fierce odds.
The history of the last 75 years is a story with a purpose, as this booklet sets out.
That purpose is to ensure the productive lives of over 62 million Turkish citizens. Turks enjoy a free and democratic society and the nation bears its full responsibility in the architecture of the modern world. Situated on NATO’s southern flank, Turkey continues to hold enormous importance for the western alliance it helped to create. In addition to this strategic importance, the country now finds itself as the center of over-lapping economic zones, some of which did not eve exist a decade ago. Prominent among these are the oil and gas-rich states of Central Asia to which Turkey has not just geographic but cultural affinity. Turkey is also the industrial and trading hub of the states around the Black Sea and in the Near East. But underlining both its Western vocation and economic strength is its customs union with the European Union: Turkish products compete at home and abroad on equal terms with those of the most developed economies. Turkey is poised to play a constructive role in the political and economic reconstruction of the Balkans, the Caucasus and Middle East. It is also a force for international cooperation in the environmental protection of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Aegean.
Turkish leadership in these areas is all the more valuable for its example as a secular democracy where the great majority of its population professes Islam. If a “Turkish model” exists, it is for its political institutions, its entrepreneurial and productive skills, and the benefits which its people have reaped from competition and free trade.
Seventy-five years was no ordinary birthday. It was particularly poignant because those of the first generation who helped relaunch the nation back in 1923 would have been those most to celebrate what has been achieved. It would be tempting to dedicate this anniversary to them, but they would have been the first to say that birthdays are for young people. And Turkey, in its demographic composition and in its enthusiasm, remains an extraordinarily youthful nation.
Proof of that vigor is the pace at which the nation embraces change. The Istanbul Stock Exchange has a technological infrastructure as sophisticated as those of markets in Zurich or Milan which it out-trades on a good day. The skyline of Turkish corporates includes firms which inching their way up the Fortune 500. Turkey sells televisions to Japan and fashion accessories to New York. Once-isolated towns in the east now fill order books for department stores in Hamburg and Madrid, being chosen as suppliers because of quality and rapid delivery. An area surrounding the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and equal in size to the entire Benelux countries put together is becoming a garden again as the result of massive hydroelectric and irrigation project. And all this is happening at a rate which would astound not only those who celebrated that proclamation of statehood back in 1923 but anyone watching Turkey even a decade ago.
The candles on the cake burned brightly. This is how it all began…