Turkey

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Modern Turkey came in to being on 29th October 1923 when the Republic of Turkey was formed. This ended 623 years of Ottoman rule and was recognised internationally with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on 24th July 1923.

The first president and a founder of the new Turkey was Mustafa Kemal. In 1934 the Turkish parliament gave Kemal the honorific title of Atatürk which means ‘Father of the Turks’ hence the name we know so well today, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

From 1923 until 1946 the country went through a period of one party rule, that of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) led by Mustafa Kemal. It was a period of great cultural, social and economic change and largely created the democratic secular state we recognise today.

In 1946 the first multi-party elections were held, with the CHP maintaining their large majority. However, in 1950 they were defeated by the Democratic Party which took 408 of the 487 seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

Between 1946 and 2001 Turkey went through 43 governments including three military coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Following the 1980 coup the military rulers banned all political parties. In 1983, when new elections were held, the old parties were not permitted to stand using their former names. Many new parties were created and many of the old parties renamed themselves.

Turkish politics has always been based around its personalities which may well explain the proliferation of political parties and the constant change of name. Throughout this turbulent period parties merged and old names started to creep back in to use in the 1990s.

The modern era of politics in Turkey emerged with the 2002 general election. There had been three years of unsuccessful coalition between the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and Motherland Party (ANAP).

A new party born from the modernising wings of three older parties was formed in 2001, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The AKP swept away the coalition parties in the 2002 election, taking 363 of the 550 seats in parliament.

The only other party represented in the 2002 parliament was Atatürk’s old party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who took 178 seats, the remainder were a few independents.

The 2002 election was the first time for many years that one party was able to rule alone. The AKP was equally successful in 2007 when it retained 341 seats, losing just 22 seats. The CHP retained second place with 112 seats and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) returned, taking 71 seats.

In 2004 the electoral law was changed to raise the threshold required to gain a seat in parliament to 10%. Executive power is held by the Council of Ministers and Legislative power by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

The military have always been very powerful in Turkey and consider themselves the guardians of the secular state as created by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The President is elected directly for a five year term.
The unicameral National Assembly of Turkey has 550 members elected by proportional representation for four year terms.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Turkey at joint 75th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 41 (where 100 is least corrupt).