Turkey. In December, the EU decided that Turkey should start membership negotiations with the Union in October 2005. The long-awaited message for the Turkish government came since Turkey during the year had taken the last steps in a long reform process that the EU adapted, among other things. the constitution, the legal system, minority politics and the role of the military. Parliament decided, among other things, to abolish the death penalty and state security courts, to strengthen the status of women, to criminalize marital rape and to tighten the penalties for torture, honor killings, child sex abuse and child abuse. According to an original bill, infidelity would also have been criminalized, but in September the government deleted this section following massive protests from above all the EU.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 2,186,000,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||7.40%|
|GDP per capita||$ 27,000|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||16.9%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||4.50%|
|Investment volume||16.8% of GDP|
|National debt||28.30% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 107,500,000,000|
|Number of visitors||39,811,000|
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Turkey is 84,339,078 people in 2020. Imprisoned Kurdish human rights activist Leyla Zana and three other former MPs were released on orders by the Supreme Court on June 9. In 1994, the four had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for supporting the Kurdish guerrilla group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). The Turkish state radio and TV began broadcasting short programs in Kurdish and other minority languages in June. Crucial to the EU’s acceptance of Turkish membership negotiations was also Prime Minister Erdogan’s promise that Turkey would sign a protocol to the so-called Ankara Agreement, which covers all EU countries, ie Cyprus. It was interpreted as a step towards the recognition of Cyprus.
Turkey was shaken by a number of attacks during the year, most of them small-scale. The worst was a blast attack when four people were killed on a bus in Istanbul on June 24, just before a two-day city meeting between NATO’s defense pact leaders. Other destinations included tourist hotels, foreign banks and McDonald’s restaurants. The groups behind the death were unclear; the suspicions were directed in different directions – against the illegal Turkish Communist Party-Marxist-Leninists (TKP-ML), against Islamist groups with links to the terror network al-Qaeda and against the Kurdish guerrilla group Kongra-Gel (Kurdistan People’s Congress, formerly the PKK). Kongra-Gel returned to arms on June 1 after a five-year unilateral ceasefire. Hard fighting raged at the Iraq border at the end of July between guerrillas and Turkish government troops.
Turkey’s newly acquired economic stability continued during the year. For practical and psychological reasons, on December 31, six zeros were deleted from the country’s currency so that a new Turkish lira was worth as much as a million old lira.
In September, 20,000 Turkish soldiers and 100 tanks crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan to destroy PKK bases. The Turkish forces received support from Iraqi Kurds in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and surrounded the PKK bases near the Iran border. The PKK accused the KDP under Massud Barzani’s leadership of “betraying the Kurdish case”. Iran condemned the Turkish invasion of Iraq, declaring that “whatever the problems it may have in relations with Baghdad, international borders must be respected”.
Turkey was one of the 11 countries that wanted to join the EU, but nevertheless did not attend a conference in London in April 1998, when the other 10 applicant countries met with the 15 EU members. The government of Ankara declared that the absence was due to Greece’s veto on its admission.
In April 1998, the best known of PKK commanders, Semdin Sakik, in northern Iraq, surrendered to forces led by Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani. As a reason, he indicated the fear of being executed by the leader of his party, Abdullah Öcalan. Sakik had been exempt from command of the operations in southeastern Turkey, in the mountainous Tunceli region.
The October celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the modern Turkish state and the 60th anniversary of the death of Kemal Atatürk were used by the government to reinforce the centralization of the secular state. The offensive against the country’s Islamic political forces had begun in January, when the Constitutional Court decided that the Welfare Party should be dissolved and that Necmettin Erbakan and other party leaders should stay out of politics. In the place of the forbidden party, the Party of Virtue was immediately formed. In September, an appeals court upheld a 10-month prison sentence for Istanbul’s Islamic mayor, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In late 1998, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan lost his asylum in Syria, which sent him on a round trip to a number of European countries in search of asylum. In February 1999, he was kidnapped by the Turkish intelligence when he tried to seek asylum in the Greek embassy in Kenya. It sparked fierce Kurdish rage in Europe, with Kurdish groups occupying Greek embassies in protest against the “extradition” of their leader. After a lengthy trial, Öcalan was sentenced to death in June, despite asking for mercy, and suggested that a milder punishment could pave the way for understanding between the Kurds and Ankara. But the PKK’s military weakening and the organization’s demand for the release of its leader led to a court of appeal in November affirming the death sentence.
The April 1999 election was won by the Left Democratic Party with 22.3% of the vote and 136 seats in parliament. The nationalist movement had to settle for 18.1% of the vote and 129 seats. The Islamists from the Party of Virtue came in third place 15.5%, the Fatherland Party gained 13.3% and the Right Way Party 12.1%.
By an overwhelming majority, in June, Parliament approved the formation of a new government committed to crushing the Kurdish partisans in the country’s southeast corner. The new government included Bülent Ecevit’s Left Democratic Party, the ultra-right-wing Nationalist movement and a small center-right party.
Greece’s cooperation in the capture of Öcalan, and the relief Greece sent to Turkey after the August 1999 earthquake, improved the relationship between the two inheritance enemies. The Greek government vetoed Turkish and Cyprus’s accession to the EU. After 36 years of waiting, in December 1999 Turkey was invited to meet with the EU.
The death sentence against Öcalan was suspended in January 2000 pending an order from the European Court of Human Rights. In February, a PKK Congress declared that the movement would abandon the armed struggle, and at the same time presented a 7-point plan for its transformation into political party.
During May 3rd elections, Ahmet Necdet Sezer was elected by parliament in May for a seven-year term. Sezer – who is a well-known defender of democratic rights – was expected to be able to implement the necessary reforms for Turkey to become a member of the EU. Months later, Ecevit was appointed by parliament to a prime minister by a large majority.
In July 2001, Muslim circles formed the party “Saadet” (“happiness”), which followed the Party of Virtues, which had been banned by the Constitutional Court a month earlier for conducting anti-secular activities.
For a month, the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating the Greek Cypriots’ human rights during Turkey’s occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. In an opening attempt, in March 2002, the Turkish government allowed the pipeline of a gas pipeline through Turkey to supply Greece with energy.