Atatürk's Reforms

Atatürk's Reforms

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Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, cultural, social and economic reforms
Reform movement
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...

 that were designed to modernize
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

  the new Republic of Turkey into a democratic
Politics of Turkey
Politics of Turkey takes place in a framework of a strictly secular parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of government, and of a multi-party system...

 and secular
Secularism in Turkey
Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of...

 nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

. They were implemented under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

 in accordance with Kemalist ideology
Kemalist ideology
Kemalist Ideology, "Kemalism" or also known as the "Six Arrows" is the principle that defines the basic characteristics of the Republic of Turkey. It was developed by the Turkish national movement and its leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.-Fundamentals:...

.

The reform movement began with the modernization of the constitution, including enacting the new Constitution of 1924
Turkish Constitution of 1924
The Constitution of 1924, formally titled the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey , was the fundamental law of Turkey from 1924 to 1961. It replaced the Constitution of 1921 and was ratified by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey following the proclamation of the republic on 29 October 1923....

, and the adaptation of European laws and jurisprudence to the needs of the new republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. This was followed by a thorough secularization and modernization of the administration, with particular focus on the education system. The development of industry was promoted by strategies such as import substitution and the founding of state enterprises and state banks. Central to these reforms were the belief that Turkish society would have to Westernize itself both politically and culturally in order to modernize.

Political reforms


Until the moment the republic was formally proclaimed, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 was still in existence, with its heritage of religious and dynastic authority. The dynasty was abolished by the Ankara Government, but its traditions and cultural symbols remained active among the people (though less so among the elite). Atatürk's political reforms involved a number of fundamental institutional changes that would see the end of these traditions, and a carefully planned program of political change was implemented to unravel the complex system that had developed over the centuries.

Not only were all the social institutions of Turkish society reorganized, but the social and political values of the state were replaced as well. This new, secular state ideology was to become known as Kemalism, and it is the basis of the democratic Turkish republic.
Since the establishment of the republic the Turkish military has perceived itself as the guardian of Kemalism, and it has intervened in Turkish politics to that end on several occasions, including the overthrow of civilian governments by coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

. While this may seem contrary to democratic ideals, it was argued by military authorities and secularists as necessary in the light of Turkish history, ongoing efforts to maintain secular government, and the fact that the reforms were implemented at a time
Interwar period
Interwar period can refer to any period between two wars. The Interbellum is understood to be the period between the end of the Great War or First World War and the beginning of the Second World War in Europe....

 when the military occupied 16.9% of the professional job positions (the corresponding figure today is only 3%).

Establishment of the Republic


The most fundamental reforms allowed the Turkish nation to exercise popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with Republicanism and the social contract...

 through representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

. This involved dissolving the two main offices that had claims over the sovereignty of the people; the Ottoman Dynasty
Ottoman Dynasty
The Ottoman Dynasty ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 to 1922, beginning with Osman I , though the dynasty was not proclaimed until Orhan Bey declared himself sultan...

 on November 1, 1922, and the Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 on March 3, 1924. Following the latter, the Sultan and his family were declared personae non gratae of Turkey
150 personae non gratae of Turkey
After the Turkish War of Independence , the newly established Republic of Turkey presented a list of 600 names to the Conference of Lausanne, which were to be declared personae non gratae. Later, a list comprising only 150 of these, put into effect by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April...

 and exiled.

Those ancient institutions were replaced by the Turkish Republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 ("Türkiye Cumhuriyeti") that was proclaimed on October 29, 1923 by the Turkish Grand National Assembly by a law, and subsequently by adoption of the Constitution of 1924
Turkish Constitution of 1924
The Constitution of 1924, formally titled the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey , was the fundamental law of Turkey from 1924 to 1961. It replaced the Constitution of 1921 and was ratified by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey following the proclamation of the republic on 29 October 1923....

. The bicameral system of the Ottoman Empire — composed of an Upper House
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of viziers, assigned by the Sultan, and a Lower House
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of deputies selected by two-level elections — was dissolved, which had already been defunct since the Allied Invasion of Istanbul in 1920 and consequently, the foundation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly the same year. The new system, which gave primacy to national independence and popular sovereignty, established the offices of Prime Minister and President while placing legislative power within a unicameral Grand National Assembly. The Assembly was elected by direct election
Direct election
Direct election is a term describing a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the person, persons or political party that they desire to see elected. The method by which the winner or winners of a direct election are chosen depends upon the...

 using a type of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

.

The establishment of the Republic did not mean the end of reform, as Atatürk and his fellow 'revolutionaries' continually presented their reform agenda before the National Assembly, the only body with authority to approve the necessary laws.

The direct involvement of the executive at this level of the legislative process may have been contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the new constitution (and the concept of the separation of power
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 expected within a representative democracy), but it was legitimised by the ongoing approval of the electorate. Through this, at least at the legislative level, the fledgling democracy developed while awaiting the true multi-party elections that were to take place in 1946.

Secularism


The establishment of popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with Republicanism and the social contract...

 involved confronting centuries-old traditions. As such, the reform process was characterized by a struggle between progressives and conservatives; on one side Atatürk and his reform-minded liberal elite, on the other the broad mass of uneducated, conservative common people.

The changes meant the end of the millet
Millet (Ottoman Empire)
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to "personal law" under which communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own system...

 system of religious/ethnic communities. The people of each millet had traditionally enjoyed a degree of autonomy, with their own leadership, collecting their own taxes and living according to their own system of religious/cultural law. Under the Kemalist reforms official recognition of the Ottoman millets was withdrawn. It was replaced by a common, secular authority. Many of the religious communities failed to adjust to the new regime This was exacerbated by the emigration or impoverishment, due to deteriorating economic conditions, of families that hitherto had financially supported community institutions such as hospitals and schools.

The secularism of the Kemalism is not antitheistic
Antitheism
Antitheism is active opposition to theism. The etymological roots of the word are the Greek 'anti-' and 'theismos'...

 or anti-Islamic
Islamophobia
Islamophobia describes prejudice against, hatred or irrational fear of Islam or MuslimsThe term dates back to the late 1980s or early 1990s, but came into common usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States....

. In fact, the Kemalist state's support for Islam was demonstrated by the establishment of Directorate for Religious Affairs
Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi
In Turkey, the Presidency of Religious Affairs is an official institution established in 1924 after the abolition of the caliphate. Founded by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as a successor to Sheikh ul-Islam, it represents the highest Islamic religious authority in the country...

 , created "to execute the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshipping places". This is also true for other religions. It acted firmly against anti-religious
Antireligion
Antireligion is opposition to religion. Antireligion is distinct from atheism and antitheism , although antireligionists may be atheists or antitheists...

 acts. The government asserted the equality of religions and free worship rights of all Turkish citizens in their own private space to the protection of the Republic. The state protected freedom of worship while itself standing aloof of any form of religious influence. Kemalist ideology‎ targeted political Islam, but it posed a threat to the independence of the state and its ability to govern with equal concern for all.

The changes were both conceptually radical and culturally significant. The religious education system was replaced by a national education system on March 3, 1924, and the office of caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

, held by the Ottomans since 1517, was abolished on the same day. The Islamic courts and Islamic canon law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 gave way to a secular law structure based on the Swiss Civil Code
Zivilgesetzbuch
The Swiss civil code is the codified law ruling in Switzerland and regulating relationship between individuals.Adopted on 10 December 1907 , and in force since 1912...

.

Milestones

  • November 1, 1922: Abolition of the office of the Ottoman Sultanate
    Abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate
    On November 1, 1922, the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished by the Turkish Grand National Assembly and Sultan Mehmed VI departed the country. This allowed the Turkish nationalist government in Ankara to become the sole governing entity in the nation....

    .
  • October 29, 1923: Proclamation of the Republic - Republic of Turkey.
  • March 3, 1924: Abolition of the office of Caliphate
    Caliphate
    The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

     held by the Ottoman Caliphate
    Ottoman Caliphate
    The Ottoman Caliphate, under the Ottoman Dynasty of the Ottoman Empire inherited the responsibility of the Caliphate from the Mamluks of Egypt....

    .

Social reforms


The Kemalist reforms brought effective social change on education, by establishing a public education system, and women's suffrage. However, attempts to reform the Ottoman system of feudalism
Agaluk
An Agaluk was a feudal unit of the Ottoman Empire governed by an Aga, or lord.In Bosnian history, an agaluk may often refer to land owned by an Aga....

  were less well-received. Some social institutions had religious overtones, and held considerable influence over public life.

Religious insignia


The Ottoman Empire had a social system based on religious affiliation and religious insignia extended to every social function. It was common to wear clothing that identified the person with their own particular religious grouping and accompanied headgear which distinguish "rank", "profession" throughout the Ottoman Empire. The turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

s, fezes, bonnet
Bonnet (headgear)
Bonnets are a variety of headgear for both sexes, which have in common only the absence of a brim. Bonnet derives from the same word in French, where it originally indicated a type of material...

s and head-dresses surmounting Ottoman styles show the "sex", "rank" and "profession" (both civil and military). These styles were accompanied with a strict regulation beginning with the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent. Sultan Mahmud II followed on the example of Peter the Great in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in modernizing the Empire and used the dress code of 1826 which developed the symbols (classifications) of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 among the public. Kemalist view of change, like that of Peter I of Russia
Government reform of Peter I
Government reform of Peter I refers to modifications made to the state apparatus of Russia during the rule of Peter I.Peter ascended to the throne in 1682; he ruled jointly with his half-brother Ivan V. After Ivan's death in 1696, Peter implemented a series of sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing...

 or Sultan Mahmud II, was achieved through introduction of the progressive customs by decrees, while banning the traditional customs. The view of their social change proposed; if the permanence of secularism was to be assured by removal of persistence of traditional cultural values (the religious insignia), a considerable degree of cultural receptivity by the public to the further social change could be achieved. The "dress code" give a chance for removal of persistence of traditional values in the society.

Kemalists defined a non-civilized (non-scientific, non-positivist) person as one who functioned within the boundaries of superstition. The ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 was not a scientific group, and it was acting according to superstitions developed throughout centuries. Their name was "Gerici". On February 25, 1925 parliament passed a law stating that religion was not to be used as a tool in politics. The question became how this law could be brought to life in a country whose scholars are dominated by the ulema. Kemalist ideology waged a war against superstition by banning the practices of the ulema and promoting the civilized way ("westernization"), with establishing lawyers, teachers, doctors. The ban on the ulema's social existence came in the form of "dress code." The strategic goal was to change the large influence of the ulema over politics by removing them from the social arena. However, there was the danger of being perceived as anti-religious. Kemalists defended themselves by stating "Islam viewed all forms of superstition (non-scientific) nonreligious". The ulema's power was established during the Ottoman Empire with the conception that secular institutions were all subordinate to religion; the ulema were emblems of religious piety, and therefore rendering them powerful over state affairs. Kemalists claimed "the state will be ruled by positivism not superstition." A good example was the practice of medicine. Kemalists wanted to get rid of superstition extending to herbal medicine, potion, and religious therapy for mental illness, all of which were practised by the ulema. They excoriated those who used herbal medicine, potions, and balms, and instituted penalties against the religious men who claimed they have a say in health and medicine. On September 1, 1925, the first Turkish Medical Congress was assembled, which was only four days after Mustafa Kemal was seen on August 27 at Inebolu wearing a modern hat and one day after the Kastamonu speech on August 30.
Official measures were gradually introduced to eliminate the wearing of religious clothing and other overt signs of religious affiliation. Beginning in 1923, a series of laws progressively limited the wearing of selected items of traditional clothing. Mustafa Kemal first made the hat compulsory to the civil servants. The guidelines for the proper dressing of students and state employees (public space controlled by state) was passed during his lifetime. After most of the relatively better educated civil servants adopted the hat with their own he gradually moved further. The Hat Law of 1925 introduced the use of Western style hats instead of the fez. Legislation did not explicitly prohibit veils or headscarves and focused instead on banning fezzes and turbans for men.

Another control on the dress was passed in 1934 with the law relating to the wearing of 'Prohibited Garments'. It banned religion-based clothing, such as the veil and turban, while actively promoting western-style attire.

Convents and dervish lodges



Social change also included centuries old religious social structures that has been deeply rooted within the society, some are established within the state organisation of the Ottoman Empire
State organisation of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire developed a highly advanced organisation of state over the centuries. Even though it had a very centralized government with the Sultan as the supreme ruler, it had an effective control of its provinces and inhabitants, as well as its officials. Wealth and rank wasn't necessarily...

. The abolishment of caliphate position removed the highest religious-political position at the government level, but left the Muslim brotherhoods (Muslim associations for any purpose, working as a society of Muslim believers) who were institutionalized under convents and dervish lodges, which were the official establishment of the extension of political power among the society without any organizing structure. By enactment of the law related to religious covenants and dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

 lodges, such institutions declared totally illegal.

Women's rights



The reforms in the Turkish civil code, including those affecting women's suffrage, were "breakthroughs not only within the Islamic world but also in the western world".

Legal equality between the sexes was instituted between 1926–1934 with changes to a multitude of rules and regulations. Women gained many rights for the first time, including the rights to vote.

Turkish women's rights campaigners differed from their sisters (and sympathetic brothers) in other countries. Rather than fighting directly for their basic rights and equality, they saw their best chance in the promotion and maintenance of Kemalist reform, with its espousal of secular values and equality for all, including women.

During a meeting in the early days of the new republic, Atatürk proclaimed:

Milestones

  • November 25, 1925: Change of headgear and dress
  • November 30, 1925: Closure of religious convents and dervish
    Dervish
    A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

     lodges.
  • June 21, 1934: Law on family names
    Surname Law (Turkey)
    The Surname Law of the Republic of Turkey was adopted on June 21, 1934. The law required all citizens of Turkey to adopt the use of surnames. Turkey's Christian and Jewish citizens were already using surnames, but Muslims generally did not use Western-style surnames...

    .
  • November 26, 1934: Abolition of titles and by-names.

Legal reforms



The Ottoman Empire was a religious empire in which each religious community enjoyed a large degree of autonomy (See Millet
Millet (Ottoman Empire)
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to "personal law" under which communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own system...

). Each millet had an internal system of governance based upon its religious law, such as Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, or Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

.

The leading legal reforms instituted by Mustafa Kemal included a secular constitution
Constitution of Turkey
This article relates to a current event. See also the Turkish constitutional referendum, 2010The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey is Turkey's fundamental law. It establishes the organization of the government and sets out the principles and rules of the state's conduct along with its...

 (laïcité
Laïcité
French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

) with the complete separation of government and religious affairs, the replacement of Islamic courts and Islamic canon law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 with a secular civil code based on the Swiss model
Zivilgesetzbuch
The Swiss civil code is the codified law ruling in Switzerland and regulating relationship between individuals.Adopted on 10 December 1907 , and in force since 1912...

, and a penal code based on that of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (1924–37). The reforms also instituted legal equality and full political rights for both sexes December 5, 1934, well before several other European nations
Timeline of women's suffrage
Women's suffrage has been achieved at various times in various countries throughout the world. In many countries women's suffrage was granted before universal suffrage, so women from certain classes or races were still unable to vote, while some granted it to both sexes at the same time.The...

.

In 1920, and today, the Islamic Law
Islamic law
Islamic law can refer to:*Sharia: The code of conduct enjoined upon Muslims in the Quran*Fiqh: Muslim jurisprudence...

 does not contain provisions regulating the sundry relationships of "political institutions" and "commercial transactions". The Ottoman Empire dissolved not only because of its outdated systems, but also its traditions were not applicable to the demands of its time. For example, the rules relating to "criminal cases" which were shaped under Islamic Law
Islamic law
Islamic law can refer to:*Sharia: The code of conduct enjoined upon Muslims in the Quran*Fiqh: Muslim jurisprudence...

 were limited in serving their purpose adequately. Beginning with the 19th century, the Ottoman Islamic codes and legal provisions generally were impracticable in dealing with the wider concept of social systems. The non-Muslim millet affected with the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in Europe modernized the Christian Law. Islamic Law and Christian Law became drastically different. Polygamy has not been practiced by law-abiding citizens of Turkey after Atatürk's reforms, in contrast to the former rules of the Megelle. There were thousands of articles in the Megelle which were not used due to their inapplicability.

Legal reforms of Kemal could be perceived as the last step of a failed history of modernization in Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire tried to modernize the code with the reforms of 1839 (Hatt-i Sharif
Hatt-i Sharif
The Hatt-i Sharif of Gülhane or Tanzimât Fermânı was an 1839 proclamation by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I that launched the Tanzimât period of reforms and reorganization....

). Hatt-i Sharif tried to end the confusion in the judicial sphere by extending the legal equality to all citizens. In 1841 a criminal code was drawn up. When the Empire dissolved, there was still no legislation with regard to family and marital relationships. The adaptation of laws relating to family and marital relationships is an important step which is attributed to Mustafa Kemal.

Milestones

  • March 1, 1926: Introduction of the new penal law
    Criminal law
    Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

     modeled after the Italian
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     penal code.
  • October 4, 1926: Introduction of the new civil code
    Civil code
    A civil code is a systematic collection of laws designed to comprehensively deal with the core areas of private law. A jurisdiction that has a civil code generally also has a code of civil procedure...

     modeled after the Swiss civil code.
  • December 5, 1934: Full political rights to women, to vote and be elected.
  • February 5, 1937: The inclusion of the principle of laïcité
    Laïcité
    French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

     in the constitution.

Educational reforms




The educational reforms combined with the opening of People's Houses
People's Houses
People's Houses were originally leisure and cultural centres built with the intention of making art and cultural appreciation available to the working classes...

throughout the country and the active encouragement of people by Atatürk himself with many trips to the countryside teaching the new alphabet. However, "its effect on the struggle against illiteracy was disappointing".

The literacy reform was also supported by strengthening the private publishing sector with a new Law on Copyrights and congresses for discussing the issues of copyright, public education and scientific publishing.

Unification


The unification of education had two important features. The first one was the democratization and the second one was to activate secularism in the field of education. Unification came with the Law on Unification of National Education, which introduced three regulations: First, all medreses and schools administered by private foundations or the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı
Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi
In Turkey, the Presidency of Religious Affairs is an official institution established in 1924 after the abolition of the caliphate. Founded by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as a successor to Sheikh ul-Islam, it represents the highest Islamic religious authority in the country...

 (Presidency for Religious Affairs) were connected to the Ministry of National Education. Second, the money allocated to schools and medreses from the budget of the Diyanet was transferred to the education budget. Third, the Ministry of Education had to open a religious faculty for training higher religious experts within the system of higher education, and separate schools for training imams and hatips.

With the unification of education, along with the closure of the old-style universities, applied a large-scale program of science transfer from Europe. One of the cornerstone of educational institutions, the University of Istanbul, accepted German and Austrian scientists who the National Socialist regime in Germany had considered 'racially' or politically undesirable. This political decision was accepted as the building the nucleus of science as a modern institution in Turkey. The reform aimed to break away the traditional dependency [since the Ottoman Empire] on the transfer of science and technology by foreign experts.

Language reforms


On November 1, 1928, the new Turkish alphabet
Turkish alphabet
The Turkish alphabet is a Latin alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, seven of which have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. This alphabet represents modern Turkish pronunciation with a high degree of accuracy...

 was introduced by the Language Commission at the initiative of Atatürk, replacing the previously used Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

. The adoption of the Latin alphabet and the purging of foreign loanwords was part of Mustafa Kemal's program of modernization.

The removal of Arabic script was defended on the ground that it was not appropriate for the authentic Turkish phonology
Turkish phonology
The phonology of the Turkish language describes the set of sounds and their relationships with one another in spoken Turkish. One characteristic feature of Turkish is a system of vowel harmony that distinguishes between front and back vowels. The majority of words in Turkish adhere to a system of...

, which needs a new set of symbols to be correctly represented. The Ottoman Perso-Arabic script was an abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

, which made it too ambiguous for the Turkish language, in which vowels are far more important than in Arabic. A well-known example of the deficiency of the Arabic script is the phrase محمد پاشا اولدو, which can represent either Mehmet Paşa oldu (Muhammad became a Pasha) or Mehmet Paşa öldü (Muhammad Pasha died). Ottoman writers had to work around such ambiguities via circumlocutions, usually of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 origin.

The abandonment of the Arabic script was not merely a symbolic expression of secularization by breaking the link to Ottoman Islamic texts to which only a minor group of ulema had access; but also Latin script would make reading and writing easier to learn and consequently improve the literacy rate.

Adaptation of technical vocabulary was another step of modernization, which was tried thoroughly. Non-technical Turkish was vernacularized and simplified on the ground that the language of Turkish people should be comprehensible by the people. A good example is the Turkish word "Bilgisayar" (bilgi = "information", sayar = "counter"), which was adapted for the word "Computer".

Another important part of Atatürk's reforms encompassed his emphasis on the Turkish language and history, leading to the establishment of Turkish Language Association
Turkish Language Association
The Turkish Language Association is the official regulatory body of the Turkish language, founded on July 12, 1932 and headquartered in Ankara, Turkey...

 and Turkish Historical Society
Turkish Historical Society
The Turkish Historical Society also known as Turkish Historical Association or Turkish History Foundation is a research society studying the history of Turkey and the Turkish people, founded in 1931 by the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with headquarters in Ankara, Turkey.-Presidents:The...

 for research on Turkish language
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 and history
History of Turkey
The history of the Turks begins with the migration of Oghuz Turks into Anatolia in the context of the larger Turkic expansion, forming the Seljuq Empire in the 11th century. After the Seljuq victory over forces of the Byzantine Empire in 1071 at the Battle of Manzikert, the process was accelerated...

, during the years 1931–2.

Milestones

  • March 3, 1924: The unification of education
  • January 1, 1928: Establishment of Turkish Education Association
    Turkish Education Association
    The Turkish Education Association was established on January 1, 1928, under Atatürk's vision and leadership. The organization acquired the status of an 'association for public benefit' in the resolution of the Council of Ministers, on December 12, 1939. Atatürk always believed in the indisputable...

     for supporting children in financial need and contributing to the educational life.
  • November 1, 1928: Adoption of the new Turkish alphabet
    Turkish alphabet
    The Turkish alphabet is a Latin alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, seven of which have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. This alphabet represents modern Turkish pronunciation with a high degree of accuracy...

  • 1931: Establishment of Turkish Historical Society
    Turkish Historical Society
    The Turkish Historical Society also known as Turkish Historical Association or Turkish History Foundation is a research society studying the history of Turkey and the Turkish people, founded in 1931 by the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with headquarters in Ankara, Turkey.-Presidents:The...

     for research on history
    History of Turkey
    The history of the Turks begins with the migration of Oghuz Turks into Anatolia in the context of the larger Turkic expansion, forming the Seljuq Empire in the 11th century. After the Seljuq victory over forces of the Byzantine Empire in 1071 at the Battle of Manzikert, the process was accelerated...

  • July 12, 1932: Establishment of Turkish Language Association
    Turkish Language Association
    The Turkish Language Association is the official regulatory body of the Turkish language, founded on July 12, 1932 and headquartered in Ankara, Turkey...

     for regulating the Turkish language
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

  • May 31, 1933: Regulation of the university education

Economic reforms


Economic reforms included the establishment of many state-owned factories throughout the country for the agriculture, machine making and textile industries.

Many of these grew into successful enterprises and were privatized
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 during the latter part of 20th century.

Atatürk considered the development of a national rail network
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 as another important step for industrialization. In 1927 he established the Turkish State Railways
Turkish State Railways
The State Railways of the Turkish Republic or TCDD is the government owned, national railway carrier in the Republic of Turkey, headquartered in Ankara...

, developing an extensive rail network in a relatively short timespan.

Milestones

  • July 24, 1923: Abolition of the capitulations
    Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire
    Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire were contracts between the Ottoman Empire and European powers, particularly France. Turkish capitulations, or ahdnames, were generally bilateral acts whereby definite arrangements were entered into by each contracting party towards the other, not mere...

     with the Treaty of Lausanne
    Treaty of Lausanne
    The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

  • 1924: The Weekend Act (Workweek
    Workweek
    The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest respectively. The legal working week , or workweek , is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most Western countries it is Monday to Friday. The weekend comprises the two traditionally...

    : Monday to Friday become work days)
  • 1925: Establishment of model farms; Atatürk Orman Çiftliği
    Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo
    Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo is an expansive recreational farming area, which houses a zoo, several small agricultural farms, greenhouses, restaurants, a dairy farm and a brewery in Ankara, Turkey...

  • 1925: The International Time and Calendar System (Gregorian calendar
    Gregorian calendar
    The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

    , Time zone
    Time zone
    A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. In order for the same clock time to always correspond to the same portion of the day as the Earth rotates , different places on the Earth need to have different clock times...

    )
  • 1926: The Obligation Law
  • 1926: The Commercial Law
  • May 31, 1927: Establishment of the Turkish State Railways
    Turkish State Railways
    The State Railways of the Turkish Republic or TCDD is the government owned, national railway carrier in the Republic of Turkey, headquartered in Ankara...

  • 1933: The System of Measures (International System of Units
    International System of Units
    The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system and is generally a system of units of measurement devised around seven base units and the convenience of the number ten. The older metric system included several groups of units...

    )
  • December 1, 1933: First Five Year Development Plan (Planned economy)
  • 1937: Second Five Year Development Plan (Planned economy)

Source


The reforms were guided by educational and scientific progress, and based on the principles of positivist
Positivism
Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

 and rationalist
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

. Members of Republican People's Party
Republican People's Party (Turkey)
The Republican People's Party is a centre-left Kemalist political party in Turkey. It is the oldest political party of Turkey and is currently Main Opposition in the Grand National Assembly. The Republican People's Party describes itself as "a modern social-democratic party, which is faithful to...

, mostly graduates of the 'modern schools' that were established during Tanzimat
Tanzimat
The Tanzimât , meaning reorganization of the Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimât reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against...

 era, applied their western-inspired modernization to all areas of government.

Effectiveness


Some people thought that the pace of change under Atatürk was too rapid as, in his quest to modernize Turkey, he effectively abolished centuries-old traditions. Nevertheless, the bulk of the population willingly accepted the reforms, even though some were seen as reflecting the views of the urban elites at the expense of the generally illiterate inhabitants of the rural countryside, where religious sentiments and customary norms tended to be stronger.

Probably the most controversial area of reform was that of religion. The policy of state secularism ("active neutrality") met with opposition at the time and it continues to generate a considerable degree of social and political tension. However, any political movement that attempts to harness religious sentiment at the expense of Turkish secularism is likely to face the opposition of the armed forces, which has always regarded itself as the principal and most faithful guardian of secularism. Some assert that a historical example is the case of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes
Adnan Menderes
Adnan Menderes was the first democratically elected Turkish Prime Minister between 1950–1960. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party in 1946, the fourth legal opposition party of Turkey. He was hanged by the military junta after the 1960 coup d'état, along with two other cabinet...

, who was overthrown by the military in 1960. He and two of his Ministers were hanged by the Military Tribunal. However, their charges were not for being anti-secular. Although Menderes did relax some restrictions on religion he also banned the millet party which was avowedly Islamist. Further, the charges at the Military Tribunal did not involve antisecular activities and it can be concluded that Menderes was overall in favour of the secular system.

Reform or Revolution


The Turkish name for Atatürk's Reforms literally means "Atatürk's Revolutions", as, strictly speaking, the changes were too profound to be described as mere 'reforms'. It also reflects the belief that those changes, implemented as they were during the Single-Party period, were more in keeping with the attitudes of the country's progressive elite than with a general populace accustomed to centuries of Ottoman stability – an attempt to convince a people so-conditioned of the merits of such far-reaching changes would test the political courage of any government subject to multi-party conditions.

See also

  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

  • History of the Republic of Turkey
    History of the Republic of Turkey
    The Republic of Turkey was created after the overthrow of Sultan Mehmet VI Vahdettin by the new Republican Parliament in 1922. This new regime delivered the coup de grâce to the Ottoman state which had been practically wiped away from the world stage following the First World War.-Single-party...

  • Timeline of the Republic of Turkey
    Timeline of the Republic of Turkey
    This is a timeline of the Republic of Turkey. To read about the background to these events, see History of the Republic of Turkey. See also the List of Presidents of Turkey....

  • Modernization
    Modernization
    In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...


Further reading

  • Bein, Amit. Ottoman Ulema, Turkish Republic: Agents of Change and Guardians of Tradition (2011) Amazon.com
  • Ergin, Murat. "Cultural encounters in the social sciences and humanities: western émigré scholars in Turkey," History of the Human Sciences, Feb 2009, Vol. 22 Issue 1, pp 105-130
  • Hansen, Craig C. "Are We Doing Theory Ethnocentrically? A Comparison of Modernization Theory and Kemalism," Journal of Developing Societies (0169796X), 1989, Vol. 5 Issue 2, pp 175-187
  • Hanioglu, M. Sukru. Ataturk: An intellectual biography (2011) Amazon.com
  • Kazancigil, Ali and Ergun Özbudun. Ataturk: Founder of a Modern State (1982) 243pp
  • Ward, Robert, and Dankwart Rustow, eds. Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (1964).
  • Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey (2003) Amazon.com
  • Zurcher, Erik. Turkey: A Modern History (2004) Amazon.com

External links