Turkey profile - Timeline

  • 30 November 2015
  • From the section Europe

A chronology of key events:

Ottoman Empire

1453 - Sultan Mehmed II the Magnificent captures Constantinople, ending Byzantine Empire and consolidating Ottoman Empire in Asia Minor and Balkans.

15th-16th centuries - Expansion into Asia and Africa.

1683 - Ottoman advance into Europe halted at Battle of Vienna. Long decline begins.

19th century - Efforts at political and economic modernisation of Empire largely founder.

1908 - Young Turk Revolution establishes constitutional rule, but degenerates into military dictatorship during First World War, where Ottoman Empire fights in alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary.

1918-22 - Partition of defeated Ottoman Empire leads to eventual triumph of Turkish National Movement in war of independence against foreign occupation and rule of Sultan.Modern Turkey

1923 - Grand National Assembly declares Turkey a republic and Kemal Ataturk president.

1928 - Turkey becomes secular: clause retaining Islam as state religion removed from constitution.

1938 - President Ataturk dies, succeeded by Ismet Inonu.

1945 - Neutral for most of World War II, Turkey declares war on Germany and Japan, but does not take part in combat. Joins United Nations.

1950 - First free elections won by opposition Democratic Party.

Military coups

1952 - Turkey abandons Ataturk's neutralist policy and joins Nato.

1960 - Army coup against ruling Democratic Party.

1963 - Association agreement signed with European Economic Community (EEC).

1965 - Suleyman Demirel becomes prime minister - a position he is to hold seven times.

1971 - Army forces Demirel's resignation after spiral of political violence.

1974 - Turkish troops invade northern Cyprus.

1978 - US trade embargo resulting from invasion lifted.

1980 - Military coup follows political deadlock and civil unrest. Imposition of martial law.

1982 - New constitution creates seven-year presidency, and reduces parliament to single chamber.

1983 - General election won by Turgut Ozal's Motherland Party.

Kurdish war

1984 - Turkey recognises "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus."

Kurdistan Workers' Party launches separatist guerrilla war in southeast.

1987 - Turkey applies for full EEC membership.

1990 - Turkey allows US-led coalition against Iraq to launch air strikes from Turkish bases.

1992 - 20,000 Turkish troops enter Kurdish safe havens in Iraq in anti-PKK operation.

1993 - Tansu Ciller becomes Turkey's first woman prime minister, and Demirel elected president.

1995 - Major military offensive launched against the Kurds in northern Iraq, involving some 35,000 Turkish troops.

Pro-Islamist Welfare Party wins elections but lacks support to form government - two major centre-right parties form anti-Islamist coalition.

Turkey enters EU customs union.Rise of political Islam

1996 - Centre-right coalition falls. Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan heads first pro-Islamic government since 1922.

1997 - Coalition resigns after campaign led by the military, replaced by a new coalition led by the centre-right Motherland Party of Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

1998 January - Welfare Party - the largest in parliament - banned. Yilmaz resigns amid corruption allegations, replaced by Bulent Ecevit.

1999 February - PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan captured in Kenya.

2001 June - Constitutional Court bans opposition pro-Islamic Virtue Party, saying it had become focus of anti-secular activities.

2002 January - Turkish men are no longer regarded in law as head of the family. The move gives women full legal equality with men, 66 years after women's rights were put on the statute books.

2002 August - Parliament approves reforms aimed at securing EU membership. Death sentence to be abolished except in times of war and bans on Kurdish education, broadcasting to be lifted.

Islamist party victorious

2002 November - Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AK) wins landslide election victory. Party promises to stick to secular principles of constitution. Deputy leader Abdullah Gul appointed premier.

2002 December - Constitutional changes allow head of ruling AK Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to run for parliament, and so to become prime minister. He had been barred from public office because of previous criminal conviction.

2003 March - AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins seat in parliament. Within days Abdullah Gul resigns as prime minister and Erdogan takes over.

Parliament decides not to allow deployment of US forces ahead of war in Iraq but allows US use of Turkish air space. It authorises dispatch of Turkish forces into Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

2003 June-July - Eyeing future EU membership, parliament passes laws easing restrictions on freedom of speech, Kurdish language rights, and on reducing political role of military.

Istanbul attacks

2003 November - 25 people are killed and more than 200 injured when two car bombs explode near Istanbul's main synagogue. Days later two co-ordinated suicide bombings at the British consulate and a British bank in the city kill 28 people.

2004 January - Turkey signs protocol banning death penalty in all circumstances, a move welcomed in EU circles.

2004 May - PKK says it plans to end a ceasefire because of what it calls annihilation operations against its forces.

2004 June - State TV broadcasts first Kurdish-language programme.

2004 September - Parliament approves penal reforms introducing tougher measures to prevent torture and violence against women. Controversial proposal on criminalising adultery dropped.

EU talks

2004 December - EU leaders agree to open talks in 2005 on Turkey's EU accession. The decision, made at a summit in Brussels, follows a deal over an EU demand that Turkey recognise Cyprus as an EU member.

2005 January - New lira currency introduced as six zeroes are stripped from old lira, ending an era in which banknotes were denominated in millions.

2005 May - Parliament approves amendments to new penal code after complaints that the previous version restricted media freedom. The EU welcomes the move but says the code still fails to meet all its concerns on human rights.

2005 June - Parliament overturns veto by secularist President Sezer on government-backed amendment easing restrictions on teaching of Koran.

2005 October - EU membership negotiations officially launched after intense bargaining.

2005 November - Multi-billion-dollar Blue Stream pipeline carrying Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey opens in the port of Samsun.

2006 May - Gunman opens fire in Turkey's highest court, killing a prominent judge and wounding four others. Thousands protest against what they perceive as an Islamic fundamentalist attack.

2006 June - Parliament passes new anti-terror law which worries the EU and which rights groups criticise as an invitation to torture.

2006 July - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline opened at ceremony in Turkey.

2006 30 September - Kurdish separatist group, the PKK, declares a unilateral ceasefire in operations against the military.

2006 December - EU partially freezes Turkey's membership talks because of Ankara's failure to open its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.

2007 January - Journalist and Armenian community leader Hrant Dink is assassinated. The murder provokes outrage in Turkey and Armenia. Prime Minister Erdogan says a bullet has been fired at democracy and freedom of expression.

Secularist protests

2007 April - Tens of thousands of supporters of secularism rally in Ankara, aiming to pressure Prime Minister Erdogan not to run in presidential elections because of his Islamist background.

Ruling AK Party puts forward Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as its candidate after Mr Erdogan decides not to stand. He narrowly fails to win in the first round.

2007 May - Parliament gives initial approval to a constitutional change allowing the president to be elected by a popular vote, but the amendment is vetoed by President Sezer.

2007 July - AK Party wins parliamentary elections. Abdullah Gul elected president the following month.

2007 October - Voters in a referendum back plans to have future presidents elected by the people instead of by parliament.

2007 December - Turkey launches a series of air strikes on fighters from the Kurdish PKK movement inside Iraq.

Headscarf dispute

2008 February - Thousands protest at plans to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf to university.

2008 July - Petition to the constitutional court to have the governing AK Party banned for allegedly undermining the secular constitution fails by a narrow margin.

2008 October - Trial starts of 86 suspected members of shadowy ultra-nationalist Ergenekon group, which is accused of plotting a series of attacks and provoking a military coup against the government.

2009 July - President Abdullah Gul approves legislation proposed by the ruling AK Party giving civilian courts the power to try military personnel for threatening national security or involvement in organised crime.

2009 October - The governments of Turkey and Armenia agree to normalise relations at a meeting in Switzerland. Both parliaments will need to ratify the accord. Turkey says opening the border will depend on progress on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

2009 December - The government introduces measures in parliament to increase Kurdish language rights and reduce the military presence in the mainly-Kurdish southeast as part of its "Kurdish initiative". Constitutional reform

2010 April - Parliament begins debating constitutional changes proposed by the government with the stated aim of making Turkey more democratic. The opposition Republican People's Party says the Islamist-leaning ruling AK Party is seeking more control over the secular judiciary.

2010 May - Relations with Israel come under severe strain after nine Turkish activists are killed in an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla attempting to reach Gaza.

2010 September - Referendum on constitutional reform backs amendments to increase parliamentary control over the army and judiciary.

2010 November - The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks publishes confidential cables revealing that France and Austria have been deliberately blocking Turkey's EU membership negotiations.

2011 June - Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party wins resounding victory in general election. PM Erdogan embarks on third term in office.

Thousands of refugees fleeing unrest in Syria stream into Turkey. Ankara demands reform in Syria.

2011 August - President Gul appoints top military leaders after their predecessors resign en masse. This is the first time a civilian government has decided who commands the powerful armed forces.

2011 October - PKK rebels kill 24 Turkish troops near the Iraqi border, the deadliest attack against the military since the 1990s.

2012 June - Turkey permits schools to offer the Kurdish language as an optional course.

2012 October - Tension rises with Damascus. After Syrian mortar fire on a Turkish border town kills five civilians, parliament authorises military action inside Syria, and the armed forces respond with artillery fire into Syria.


2013 May-June - Mass anti-government protests spread to several cities, sparked by plans to develop one of Istanbul's few green spaces. The police respond with violence, and two protestors die. Prime Minister Erdogan responds with defiance.

2013 December-January - Government sacks numerous police chiefs over arrests of pro-government public figures on corruption charges. Observers see this as part of power struggle with former AK Party ally and influential US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen - ally turned arch-rival to PM Erdogan

Erdogan presidency

2014 August - Prime Minister Erdogan wins the first direct popular election for president.

2015 March - The "Sledgehammer" coup plot trial collapses when a court clears 236 military officers accused of involvement in an alleged conspiracy to remove former Prime Minister Erdogan from power in 2003.

2015 June - Pro-Kurdish leftwing People's Democratic Party (HDP) clears 10% threshold at parliamentary elections, depriving governing AK party of majority and scuppering plans for a referendum to grant executive powers to President Erdogan.

2015 July - Turkey announces air strikes against the the Islamic State militant group after a suspected IS suicide bomber kills 32 young activists at rally in Suruc, on Syrian border, but also ends the ceasefire with the Kurdish rebel PKK following clashes in the southeast.

2015 October - Turkey accuses Islamic State of twin suicide bomb attacks on Ankara peace rally by Kurds, in which about 100 people are killed. Kurdish groups accuse government of negligence or even involvement over the attack.

2015 November - Governing AKP party regains parliamentary majority in snap elections, but falls short of the numbers needed for a referendum to boost President Erdogan's powers.

Turkey shoots down Russian warplane on Syria bombing mission. Russia, Turkey's second-largest trading partner, imposes economic sanctions.

European Union strikes deal whereby Turkey restricts flow of migrants into Europe, in return for €3bn ($3.17bn) and concessions on stalled EU accession talks.