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History Of Turkey Pre Republic


Anatolia (Asia Minor), the landmass that is now Turkey, had been a cradle to a wide variety of civilizations and kingdoms in antiquity. The Seljuk Turks were the first Turkish power to arrive in the 11th century as conquerors (earlier Turkish peoples such as the Pechenegs had become allies and subordinates of the Byzantine Empire), who proceeded to gradually conquer the existing Byzantine Empire with its Greek population and heritage.

Their Turkish successors, the Ottoman Empire, completed this conquest in the 15th century with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. At its peak under Sultan Suleyman the 'Magnificent' between 1520-1555, the empire stretched from the gates of Vienna to the Persian Gulf, from the Crimea to Morroco.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century the Ottoman empire began to lose a foothold on its territories, first with Algeria and Tunisia, then Greece, Egypt, Libya and the Balkans in the 1912 Balkans war. Faced with territorial losses on all sides Turkey forged an alliance with Germany who supported it with troops and equipment. In World War I Turkey entered the war on the side of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy, Austro-Hungary) and was subsequently defeated.

On October 30th 1918, the Mondros Armistice was signed followed by the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10th 1920. These sought to break up the Ottoman empire and force large concessions on Turkey in favour of its rival Greece who had fought against the Germans. Greece, France and Italy were awarded parts of the coast of Minor Asia. The city of Izmir (Smyrna), with its large Greek population, was awarded to Greece. The Greek army took it over on May 15 1919 and triggered the War of Independence. A nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal, rejected the Sèvres and organised an army which repelled Greece from Turkey. By September 18th 1922 the country was liberated resulting in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, recognising the new borders of Turkey.

On October 29th 1923 The Republic of Turkey was proclaimed and Mustafa Kemal, later taking the last name Atatürk (meaning father of Turks), would be her first president.


The history of Anatolia and Thrace before the Republic of Turkey  >>>


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