The Turks since settled in Asia Minor, were a factor that acted as a catalyst in the later course of Greece’s history. The history of the two passed through many stages of conflict and change without ever being able to reach a stable form of cooperation. The problems are not of international relations, but cohabitation problems. The relationship between the two nations over the last 70 years has intensified even more due to factors that include: persecution of the Greek minority in Turkey, creating minority issue in Western Thrace, Cyprus, control over the Aegean Archpelagos.
Turkey occupies a central position between the continents of Europe and Asia and has absolute control over the sea route from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean, because the Hellespont straits – Bosporus are national territory. Turkey covers an area of 780,057 sq. km, of which 23,680 sq. km belonging to the European part and 756,400 square kilometers in Asia. It has a total land border of 2,753 km of which 610 thousand are with the former Soviet republics of the Caucasus, 454 thousand with Iran, 331 km with Iraq, 877 km with Syria, with 212 thousand Greece and 269 km with Bulgaria. Bordered consecutive N-E-S-W with the following countries: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nakhichevan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Greece and Bulgaria.From the above area 35% is arable land, 25% grassland, 23% forest and 17% of populated areas. The territory of Turkey in the European part is generally flat with slight elevations. The Asian part, known as Anatolia, has a very high perimeter while the interior is a large plateau average height of 750 meters. Turkey’s highest peak is the biblical Ararat (5,165 m). Between the European and the Asian part of Turkey are the straits (Bosphorus, Marmara, Dardanelles) that separates the Black Sea from the Aegean and the Mediterranean .
Turkey is at the center of an unstable but very important region. Located in the middle of a pentagon composed of the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caucasus and beyond Central Asia, the Black Sea region. Its role is defined as a factor of stability, which is able (because of its military power) to influence developments in the region. The end of Cold War formed a new geopolitical reality in the region. This reality led Turkey to adjust its policy in the wider Balkan region, Central Asia and the Middle East. In the new security architecture that emerged in Europe and the new world order worldwide, and while it appeared that its role would be restricted after the end of the cold war, exactly the opposite happened. The strategic direction of its foreign policy remains the effort for closer association with the EU. With the help that it provided in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, and less in the Iraq war, confirmed and further strengthened the change that began in 1979 with its strategic role and becoming a frontline ally of the U.S. in Middle East and Central Asia. Its geographical position, but also the continued willingness to cooperate with the U.S. in the region have made it an important ally within the U.S. defense strategy, which aims to prevent or quickly address local threats. A militarily strong Turkey is a key factor for the success of U.S. policy. This role is enhanced with more military cooperation with Israel, which guarantees the exchange of information to better address terrorism in the region. The U.S. considers that the Turkish state is an important bastion of the West in the Middle East.
Turkey has been inhabited since ancient times by a variety of people. Major impact in the country had Turkish tribes who came from the East. Today, it is almost impossible to define the average Turk ethnically. You may find Turks blond with blue eyes, redhead, provenance mountainous with black eyes and hair, Mediterranean and Mongolians.
Its population, according to the last official evidence, is around 65 million. In the composition of the population, an important role is played by two factors: First, the proportion of women is relatively (high 52%) which means proportionately higher labor and military force. Second and most importantly, the age pyramid of the percentage of young people is proportionately very large. Children up to 14 years represent 38% of the population, that is a very broad term.
The Turkish Constitution of 1982 prohibits proselytizing and allows freedom of religion. Of the 57,000,000 inhabitants of Turkey, after the removal of Christians and Jews, the rest are Muslims and belong to two main beliefs, orthodox Muslims, Sunni 90% and the minority Alevis (diiton) 10%.
Approximately 88% of the population speaks Turkish, while 12% speak other languages (about 29) and mostly Kurdish.
The largest minority in Turkey are the Kurds, who make up 15% of the total population. The Kurds reside mainly in the counties Diarmpekir, Van, Xakkari, Mertin, Agra, Kars, Xos, Erzurum and Siirt. The Treaty of Sèvres recognized the right of Kurds for the first time to have an independent state. The treaty was not applied and Kurdistan was divided into three states: Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Kurdish issue occupied for many years, both Turkish, and neighboring governments, because separatist movements every year become stronger and more frequent as the statements of Turkish officials for existing disruptive trends in the country suggest, andmilitary exercises to intimidate the residents of SE Turkey. With the capture of the PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in March 1999, the Kurdish issue faced a critical juncture, as the division of the population in the Turks and Kurds is now evident to international observers. The image of the interior division became a separate weight, contrasting with the progress of the Kurds in northern Iraq to a de facto autonomy in the country, with the apparent direction of the U.S.. The sharp contrast of U.S. policy on the issue of Turkey’s Kurds and the Kurds of Iraq, has caused anxiety, resentment, strong protests by Turkey and friction in relations between the two countries. The creation of an autonomous Kurdish statehood in Iraq, adjacent to the «problem» to Turkey, potentially threatening to bring a Kurdish state in the region and drags Turkey in an apocalyptic policy about this process of political, economic and territorial upheavals in the Middle East. Already, the struggle of Kurdish separatists against security forces in Turkey, is a major outbreak in Turkey and basically an «undeclared» civil war is underway. It is noteworthy that the Turkish propaganda displays the Kurds as terrorists and is trying to get the message of struggling against terrorists as the international public opinion is sensitive to the fight against international terrorism.
Important for Turkey is the problem of the Armenians. The Armenians flourished in the area between Lake Van and Mount Ararat. Nearly 1,500,000 Armenians were killed or displaced in the late Ottoman Empire. Those who remained were converted to Islam. Today it is estimated that, in addition to the 70,000 Armenian minority, there are many crypto-Armenians who appear as Turks. The Armenians of the Diaspora pose a serious problem for Turkey, creating occasional terrorist attacks on diplomatic and other personnel of Turkey abroad. After a long and painful struggle, they managed to recognize the «genocide» of Armenians from France, while the House of Representatives in 2007, raised the issue of recognition of «genocide», which contributed to the Turkish reaction.
- Arab (400000-600000) residing in the state of Hatay (Alexandretta Sanjak).
- Jewish 30000-35000) living throughout Turkey.
- Greek, about 3,000 Greeks living in Istanbul, Imbros and Tenedos
Although Turkey is trying to adapt its economy to Western standards,this never happened because of the serious structural problems that it faces, which is primarily due to the shape and character of its people. Turks for many years were preoccupied only by military issues and the economic life of the country was left in the hands of other nations nationals (mainly Greeks and Armenians). Thus, the modern Turkish state was forced to develop its own economic activity, with the known effects of the state – an entrepreneur. In recent years, a great effort of independence of the economy and of attraction of investors from abroad, with the introduction of the joint ventures. The system provides for the funding of projects by a group of foreign investors, with the participation of the Turkish state. The group will operate the project for 15 years and then returns to the state. Already several projects are undertaken by American, Australian and Japanese companies. The current size of the economy, low GDP, unemployment (over 20% in 1982), the inflation in 1986 had remained at 82% versus 20% predicted, the excessive external debt at around $ 28,189, combined with the virtually nonexistent private initiative, political instability and the disproportionate share of defense spending in GDP 7.5%) did not leave much room for optimism. Nevertheless Turkey with training programs is trying to increase GDP and reach the per capita income to $ 1.500 by 1995.
Turkey has a rich subsoil, which is not systematically exploited. Main minerals are chromium, coal, iron ore, copper, oil, uranium, and fluoride.
Turkey is predominantly an agricultural country. The territory of Turkey is suitable for agricultural cultivation and if there had been proper operation, Turkey would have become a rich agricultural country. Its livestock are developed enough to cover domestic needs and allow for exports.
Industrial products in Turkey account for 75% of its exports. Overall, the country’s industrialization effort did not help reduce the problem of unemployment.
In the commercial sector, the primary objective is to increase exports of Turkey. Exports graded as follows: 75% Industrial products, fruits and vegetables 9%, industrial raw materials and timber 7%, livestock products 4.5%. Imported items are 71% raw materials, 22% machinery and other materials. The trade deficit in 1986 was $ 3,200 million.
Leading trade partners of Turkey are the countries of the OECD. Has good trade relations with the Islamic countries as well as countries of the East. Europe
Turkey has made great efforts to increase its commercial fleet to compete with countries that have a large merchant fleet, with the primary objective being Greece. Her efforts had impressive results in the beginning, when it developed a fleet of approximately 6 million tons. It failed for bureaucratic reasons, but also because the services offered are of low quality.
Turkey – EU
Turkey is associated with the EEC in 1964, following the example of Greece. Since then, I has been working to acquire full membership. Connection with the EU is being seen as a means to obtain the conditions for the development of both agriculture and industry, so that it can improve its economy. Turkey considers an unfavorable evolution Greece’s accession to the EU and tried to impede the argument that Greece’s problems will become problems of the EU. The issue of normalization of Turkey’s relations with Europe, should not be confused with the problem of joining the EU, although it is associated with it.
On their behalf , EU partners are skeptical, politically at least, to the entrance of Turkey in the Union. Most support the geostrategic reasons invoked by Turkey, but they separate it from its accession to the EU for many reasons such as:
The rapid population growth. It is estimated that in 2000, one in four Europeans will be Turks.
Free movement of workers will result in the immigration of 4,000,000 unemployed Turks from the depths of the East to Europe. Today, Turkey, via Germany and with the support of France, trying to achieve the Customs Union with the EU. Its ultimate goal is, through the customs union to join as a full member in it.
The effort of reform under Kemal proved unsustainable. The Turkish people initially relied on Kemal, but failed to follow the leader’s effort to modernize and as a result it remained, for the most part, adhered to tradition and conservatism.
In 1923, Turkey became a republic, with Kemal as its first presiden, who remained in that position until his death in 1938. Since the death of Kemal and up until 1964, there was only the «Democratic Party of the People.» Kemal’s successor, Ismet Inonu, introduced a more liberal regime, and in 1950 the first free elections took place in Turkey, where the winner was renamed «Democratic Party» and President Celal Bayar was elected.
In 1961, due to the severe economic and political instability prevailing in Turkey, the military took over the governance of the country under President General Gursel.
In 1971, the second coup takes place and was succeeded of a series of governments that fail one after another, as they did not have popular support.
In 1980 due to dire economic and political situation in Turkey, a third coup took place, leading up to the formation of the National Security Council and the imposition of martial law in 67 provinces of the country. After a series of pressures from the international community in 1981 the restoration of political normality began, with the establishment of the Consultative Assembly, the primary purpose of which was to draft a new constitution. In 1982 the new constitution was passed with a percentage of 91.4%, and General Evren was elected president for 7 years with the same percentage. After one year political parties were established and a constitution was implemented. The military, which directs the country’s political system, is now faced with the painful dilemma, especially after the beginning of the effort for accession to the EU, whether to proceed or not to implement its political, social and economic modernization, without losing its regulatory role in the political system. The effort to modernize the political system requires structural changes f revolutionary character, that call for radical transformation in the structures of power and limitation of the army in the political scene, an effort that the army is not willing to accept and allow.
Status – Government Structure
The government of Turkey in accordance with the Constitution of 1982, is a Presidential Republic of Western type (before it was named a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy). This is a presidential system with excessive purchasing powers for the President. It has been shown that, in the life of the «Turkish Republic», the military is always behind the political scene. Legislative power is exercised by the Grand National Assembly (Senate – House) and lists 400 members, elected by general elections which are held every 5 years. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, the 20-member Cabinet (appointed by the President of the Republic) and the National Security Council (PSC).Judiciary is independent and is administratively attached to the Department of Justice, it is similar to the Western system, has as prototype the Swiss Civil Code, the Italian Criminal Law and German Commercial Law.When it comes to administration, Turkey is considered to have a generally decentralized system. The entire system is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and implemented by prefectures running 76 counties in the country.
- Panturkism. Ranturkism is the Turkish expression of «irredentism». This is a purely racist ideology of nationalistic character, which aims to create a unified and powerful state which goes beyond the borders of Turkey and reaches Muslim territories of the former Soviet Union, uniting all peoples who speak the Turkish language. The emergence of «Panturkism» is located on the border of the 19th and 20th century, as a corollary of Turkism, that Turkish nationalism. Kemal objected to the «Pantourkism and accepted principles of Turkism and limited Turkish nationalism in current Turkey. Today, Turkey directs the idea of «irredentism» with various events and claims against neighbors who it considers more vulnerable. This campaign seeks the assimilation of non Turkish populations living either inside Turkish territory, or in neighboring countries, against which Turkey has claims. Finally, the rage against minorities manifests in severity and each time that Turkey faces serious internal and external problems.
- Islamic Trends. Islam, since the reforms of Mustafa Kemal in the 1920s, has gained many supporters, but there never was a serious threat to state change in Turkey. But the Islamic revolution in Iran which was sparked by Islamic fanaticism, created tendencies toward establishing theocracy. The deep roots of Kemalism, coupled with the imposition of harsh measures managed to avert the danger. Today, Islamic tendencies are almost completely controlled, but not ceased from being a serious internal problem, which, when it occurs, and get out of hold , would have a catalytic effect on the maintenance of the Turkish Republic. These trends have occurred and the senior members of the Turkish Armed Forces and a large number of lower cadres have been removed from military service.
FOREIGN POLICY – RELATIONS
If there is a sequel in the political life of Turkey, it will be in foreign policy, which remains unchanged. Everyone accepts the need to stay in NATO and supported to varying degrees, depending on the policy placement, closer relations with Europe. Turkey, taking advantage of its position and its religion, wants to highlight as a country that can play the role of a bridge between the Western world and the Middle East. Today, the basic guidelines of Turkish foreign policy, which are plotted with long-term goals to develop or maintain multifaceted relationships with all countries and blocs, and economic or International Organizations, always at the best possible service to individual goals or claims (economic and political benefits).
Relations with U.S.
Regarding the current U.S. policy, according to the evidence so far does not suggest any significant change in its policy towards Turkey. Under the Bush administration, many of the senior officials of the State Department and the Pentagon appreciated the geostrategic position of Turkey as of particular importance for the U.S. Interests. Three elements caused trouble in the relations between the two countries in recent years, namely:
- Failure to grant passage of U.S. troops on Turkish territory during the war against Iraq in 2003.
- The growing anti-American sentiment in Turkey.
- The concerns of the Turkish leadership (political and military),for the processes that steadily lead to the establishment of a Kurdish state in an area of vital interest to Turkey, but also creates headaches for possible secession of territories since about 15 million Kurds are part of the population.
The U.S. interest and the economic factor, since the Ministry of Commerce has identified Turkey as one of the ten most important emerging markets.
The whole complex of Greek -Turkish relations, is governed by long lasting expansionist aspirations and demands on the part of Turkey. Currently in dispute is the legal issue of the continental shelf. Beyond that, though, Turkey continually raises unfounded and unsubstantiated claims, by virtue of which the relations between the two countries have gone through many phases of intensity in the last 15 years. These claims that artfully presented by Turkey as an Greek -Turkish differences relate to the following topics:
- Invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus and its intransigent stance on this issue.
- Turkey’s attempt to present the Muslim minority of Western Thrace as a Turkish minority .
- The unreasonable demands of the continental shelf in the Aegean
- Aegean Army establishment, permanent threat to the Greek islands.
- Its perseverance, beyond any concept of law on the issue of Lemnos.
- Search and rescue responsibilities in the Aegean.
- Demands of extensive areas of the Aegean Sea, for the conduct of military exercises from Turkey.
Greece does not recognize the existence of differences with Turkey. It only accepts the existence of the legal issue of the continental shelf. Apart from the above, there are three realities for Greece, which lead it to perceive Turkey as a threat today:
- Turkey challenges Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.
- The possibility of a landing in Eastern Aegean.
- The occupation of Northern Cyprus, which proves that Turkey is not bound by international conventions and obligations.
- At the beginning of 1988 and 1991, there was a rapprochement between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey to normalize relations between the two countries. The future will show whether Turkey really wants this normalization.
The relations between Albania and Turkey had undergone changes, influenced by the relations between Greece – Albania. Today, relations between the two countries are at a high level. Turkish Effects on the Albanian foreign policy are evident, due to the predominant Muslim population. The Turks due to the economic penetration, have assumed an important role in the reconstitution of the Albanian armed forces. Moreover, in proof of their support, fully adopted the complaints and claims against the Albanians in Greece (and non-existent topic Chams Tsamouria,Republic of Macedonia) Turkey, in the context of extending the ‘Muslim arc’ in the Balkans, is trying in every way to penetrate in the Republic of Macedonia, so that after the recognition of the name «Macedonia» to control at least the Muslim population. Already it has achieved serious results in areas of political, economic, commercial and military interest, making exchange visits by dignitaries and Skopje signed agreements to undertake strategic projects.
Turkish-Bulgarian relations have long been strained, with the main cause of tension coming from the Muslim minority in Bulgaria. Since 1988 an effort began, mainly from Bulgarian side, to achieve some if possible normalization of relations, which give rise to the persistence of the Turks always with regard to the issue of minority. The new political regime in Bulgaria has restored the rights of the Muslim minority. In return for the privileges came the normalization of Turkish-Bulgarian relations, which resulted in the resumption of commercial-economic relations. the bilateral agreements have been signed within the framework of the CSCE. The serious demographic problem facing the country, coupled with the high rate of population growth of the Turkish minority would increase Turkey’s role, which will serve as the protector of the growing Muslim minority in the country, probably sometime in the future to lead to more dynamic claims.
Historically, Turkey has always been an enemy of Russia. Kemal after the First World War, has allied with the Soviets who were disappointed with the founding of the Turkish Republic. Since 1967, with the visit of then Prime Minister Demirel of Turkey, relations between the two countries were normalized. In 1985, the visit of Evren was another step in normalizing relations between the two states. Nowadays relationships are not the best after Turkey’s attempt to show strength as patron of Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.
Republics of Commonwealth of Independent States
Relations with all the republics of the Commonwealth are good, both at the economic and commercial sectors. Turkey has attempted a long range approach and conclusion of bilateral agreements on politico-economic, social and military issues with the Republics of Commonwealth . The results of all these efforts made by Turkey were not expected.
Syria’s relations with Turkey are not good, because of the occupation of Alexandretta. There is no prospect of improvement of these relations.
With Iraq, Turkey has good relations in order to address the Kurds. During the Gulf War, the Western press wrote that in case of a defeat in Iraq, Turkey would occupy the Kirkuk region – Mosul which is rich in oil. The foreign minister himself has firmly denied it. Today, in response to the activation of the Kurds in northern Iraq to establish an independent state, and the claims of Ankara for the existence of PKK camps in these areas, the Turkish AF invaded rebel positions in long-term goal and aspirations both for the prevention of a State of Kurdistan, and the oil of Kirkuk – Mosul.
Relations between the two states are good. But Iran insists on the Islamic faith and keep it as a prerequisite for the improvement of their relationship.
In recent years, concerns about the role of Syria and Iran, as well as the concept of «community of interest» in a series of issues led Turkey and Israel in a dramatic approach. For about ten years, Israel and Turkey formalized their cooperation by signing a series of agreements defense and economic cooperation. Concern was expressed that this bilateral cooperation could have serious consequences for the balance of power in the Middle East, as shown by the strong reactions of many Arab countries, especially Syria, Egypt, and Iran. In response to the agreements, was the realization after many years of reluctant contacts between Syria, Iran and Iraq, which met a condemnation from Ankara – Tel Aviv, at the meeting of the Islamic Conference in Tehran in 1997.Good relations and cooperation between the two countries include diplomatic, economic and military fields. Indicative of that cooperation is the cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish lobbies in the U.S., where Turkish demands promoted by AIPAC (American – Israel Public Action Committee) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), based in Washington. Also, when Turkey promoted in 1995 the Customs Union Agreement with Europe, Israeli embassies in Europe, actively supported the Turkish request. Turkey retaliated help in various ways (eg by abstaining from condemning Israel in resolutions of the UN).
Armed Forces – Operational Capabilities
According to Turkish data, total AF amounts up to 697,000 men. Their training is realistic, continuous and painful. After 1974 there is intensive training, especially in cooperative exercise of Armed Forces and weight is given to night training with the main objects of practical training in firing live ammunition and exercises. The population of Turkey is 12,680,000 males aged 15-49 years of whom 7,500,000 are capable of military service. Each year 550,000 to 600,000 young people reach military age.
Role of the Armed Forces of Turkey
Turkey’s AF played an important role for a very long time and still do today. From the 6th of November 1983 and after the elections, the country was governed by a Parliament but remained under martial law for several years in some areas particularly vulnerable in SE Turkey and Istanbul. Today in SE Turkey in a state of emergency are 10 counties.
Organization of the AF
AF are under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In fact this subjection is typical, since in fact the MoD only deals with the procedures of national defense budget, equipment and represents the general AF in legislative bodies. The Turkish General Staff is an effective management on the three branches, and the Chief of the Armed Forces appointed by the President of the Republic, falls under the Prime Minister and the term of up to three years, with the possibility of three annual renewals.
Sectors of the AF
- Army. The strength of the Army is 470,000 men, of whom 420,000 are conscripts. Upon completion of the reorganization of the Army, it is expected that the active power will be reduced by 100,000 to 150,000 men. The Army is organized into the Army General Staff, Army Commands 4, 1 AA Regardless Administration and Internal Zones 2 Administrations. It has enough material that is constantly updated. The General Staff defines the mission of Army in peacetime, such as preparing units for modern war and in time of war as safeguarding national independence and sovereignty unity under all defensive Concept in conjunction with the other branches.
- Navy. Turkey since the mid-1970’s has made impressive efforts and continues to be strong and moving forward to the development and modernization of the Turkish Navy to commission the construction of new plants and modernization of the older parallel. The overall strength of the Turkish Navy is 51,000 men, of whom 39,000 are conscripts. Naval Forces Command (GEN) has 4 existing Administration: Management Fleet Management North Sea Area, South Sea Area Command and the Naval Training Command. According to a statement of the navy for NATO’S SIXTEEN Nation’s in 1986 is «Not only is the defense of the country is in a very, very shore and strategically important position, but also to ensure naval control over the entire area of responsibility of the South Wing of the Alliance. » Continuing the detailed analysis of individual missions, adding that one of them is «the conduct of amphibious operations where required.»
- Aviation. Turkish Airforce (TA) is the newest weapon of Turkey’s AF. Founded in 1911 for the first time as part of the GI tract and in 1912 founded the Gesilkoi Istanbul’s first School of Aviation. Since 1951 an ongoing effort to modernize and develop the TA is taking place and the entry of Turkey into NATO in 1952, led to its equipment with A / F F-84. In the following years it received A / V F-104, F-5, F-102 and F-100. At the end of 1974 it began its equipment with modern A / F F-4 and in the end of1987 with A / F F-16. Ttis the air force is up to 56,000 men, of whom 35,000 are conscripts. Turkish Aviation Administration (GEA) is under the command of the 1st and 2nd Tactical Command, Air Training Administration, Management Main Air Base and Management Maintenance and Supply. Its mission is to create strong and decentralized Aviation, strengthening air defense of the country and the land and naval support businesses.
The first steps towards the development of the Turkish war industry were made in 1923, with the establishment of factories copper, brass and steel. Since 1960 with the help of the U.S. and Western Germany the expansion and modernization of military plants took place and Turkey increased their production, while established new industries and munitions plants. In 1974, after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the imposition of the U.S. embargo, the Turks fully realized the need to develop independent national defense industry and in 1975 created the Special Service Force Industry under MoD. Significant for the development of war industry was the signing of an agreement between the U.S. and Turkey, the foundation known as DECA (DEFENCE – ECONOMIC COOPERATION AGREEMENT), where the Supplementary Agreement No. 2 clearly provides for cooperation between the two countries and clarifies and details the degree, type and areas of cooperation. So some responsibility for the development of the Turkish defense industry is undertaken by the U.S..
Defense industry sectors are: Shipyards, tanks and APCs industry, ammunition, vehicles, portable weapons, rockets and missiles, optics and electronics, and finally aircraft and aircraft engines
The Turkish AF have the means to launch nuclear weapons, as well as other NATO countries. Regarding the use of NW during general war, Turkey would follow the policy of NATO. Turkey’s intentions remain unknown when examining the joint research with Pakistan in the field of nuclear weapons.