Turkey profile

A chronology of key events:

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

Istanbul

Istanbul

Europe meets Asia in Turkey's largest city

  • Former capital of Byzantine and Ottoman empires
  • 1930: Constantinople officially renamed Istanbul
  • Population: 9.4 million

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

1925 - Adoption of Gregorian calendar. Prohibition of the fez.

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 - Republic's first open 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.

1961 - New constitution establishes two-chamber parliament.

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

Ottoman Empire

Actor dressed up as Ottoman soldier

Multi-ethnic state lasted more than 600 years

  • Developed in late 13th century
  • Extended into south-east Europe, north Africa, Middle East
  • Replaced by Turkish Republic in 1922

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.

1976 - Earthquake kills more than 5,000 people in western Van province.

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 house.

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

PKK war

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

Kurdistan Workers' Party launches separatist guerrilla war in southeast.

Kemal Ataturk

Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk

Founder of the Turkish republic

  • Born in 1881
  • President from 1923
  • Died in 1938

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.

Turkey joins Black Sea alliance.

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

Ceasefire with PKK breaks down.

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

Ciller coalition collapses. 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.

1996 - Centre-right coalition falls. Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan heads first pro-Islamic government since 1923.

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.

Kurdish leader

Kurdish leader Ocalan

Kurdistan Workers' Party leader Abdullah Ocalan is serving a life sentence

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.

1999 July - Ocalan receives death sentence, later commuted to life imprisonment.

1999 August - Devastating earthquake with epicentre at Izmit in Turkey's heavily populated northwest kills 17,000 people.

1999 November - Second quake in same region kills hundreds more.

Into the new millennium

2000 - Ahmet Necdet Sezer takes over from Suleyman Demirel as president.

2001 January - Diplomatic row with France after French National Assembly recognises the killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

2001 May - European Court of Human Rights finds Turkey guilty of violating the rights of Greek Cypriots during its occupation of northern Cyprus.

2001 June - Constitutional Court bans opposition pro-Islamic Virtue Party, saying it had become focus of anti-secular activities. New pro-Islamist party Saadet is set up by former Virtue Party members in July.

2001 November - British construction firm Balfour Beatty and Impregilo of Italy pull out of the controversial Ilisu dam project. Swiss bank UBS follows suit in February 2002.

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 March - Turkish and Greek governments agree to build a gas pipeline along which Turkey will supply Greece with gas.

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.

Kurdish rebels

Kurdish rebels

The PKK - Kurdistan Workers Party - is a rebel group fighting for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey

  • Founded in 1974. Took up arms against Turkey in 1984
  • More than 40,000 people have been killed in conflict
  • Listed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, US and EU
  • Since his capture, founder Abdullah Ocalan has encouraged quest for Kurdish rights via political rather than military means
  • Government has lifted some restrictions on Kurdish cultural and political rights to try to end conflict
  • Kurds say restrictions and mass arrests of Kurdish politicians have continued

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.

Four Kurdish activists, including former MP Leyla Zana, freed from jail.

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 July - Six killed in bomb attack on a train in the east. Officials blame the PKK.

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 April - At least a dozen people are killed in clashes between Kurdish protesters and security forces in the south-east. Several people are killed in related unrest in Istanbul.

Hrant Dink

Funeral of Hrant Dink

Murder of journalist Hrant Dink shocked Turkey

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 August-September - Bombers target resorts and Istanbul. Shadowy separatist group Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAC) claims responsibility for some attacks and warns it will turn "Turkey into hell".

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 brings forward national elections to 22 July to try end the standoff between secularists and Islamists over the choice of the next president.

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.

Headscarf row

Turkish women wearing headscarves

The headscarf issue divides religious and secularist Turks

Tension mounts on Turkey-Iraq border amid speculation that Turkey may launch an incursion to tackle Kurdish rebels.

Bomb blast in Ankara kills six and injures 100. PKK denies responsibility.

2007 July - AK Party wins parliamentary elections.

2007 August - Abdullah Gul is elected president.

2007 October - Diplomatic row with United States after a US congressional committee recognises the killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Parliament gives go-ahead for military operations in Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.

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.

Parliament approves constitutional amendments which will pave the way for women to be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf in universities.

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 February - Protesters marking the 10th anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the banned Kurdish PKK movement, clash with police in south-east Turkey.

Prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk defies Turkish law by giving speech to parliament in his native Kurdish. State TV cuts live broadcast, as the language is banned in parliament.

2009 June - Trial starts of a further 56 people in connection with the alleged ultra-nationalist Ergenekon plot to bring down 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.

PM Tayyip Erdogan holds a rare meeting with the leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, Ahmet Turk, as part of efforts to solve the Kurdish problem politically.

Rapprochement with Armenia

Ceremony for Turkish and Armenian agreement to normalise ties

Turkey and Armenia began edging towards a restoration of ties in 2009

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". The Constitutional Court considers whether to ban the Democratic Society Party over alleged links to the PKK, in a move that could derail the initiative.

2010 January - Newspaper carries report on alleged 2003 "Sledgehammer" plot to destabilise country and justify military coup. Armed forces head Gen Ilker Basbug insists that coups are a thing of the past.

2010 February - Nearly 70 members of the military are arrested over alleged "Sledgehammer" plot. Thirty-three officers are charged with conspiring to overthrow government.

2010 March - US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passes resolution describing killing of Armenians by Turkish forces in World War I as genocide, prompting Ankara to recall its ambassador briefly.

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 blockaded Gaza.

2010 July - Istanbul court indicts 196 people, including serving and former senior military officers, accused of plotting to overthrow the government as part of the alleged anti-Islamist Ergenekon organisation.

PKK leader Murat Karayilan says it is willing to disarm in return for greater political and cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds. Turkey refuses to comment.

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

Coup 'plots'

An armoured vehicle on 5 August 2013 carries a prisoner to a court in Silivri, near Istanbul, where prosecutors were due deliver their final arguments in the case against 275 people accused of plotting to overthrow the Islamic-leaning government

Hundreds of army officers have been tried in connection with alleged coup plots, in what is seen as a blow to the military's power

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 Party (AKP) 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.

Iran, Turkey agree to co-operate to defeat Kurdish militants.

Tensions with France

2011 December - Relations with Paris are soured after French MPs pass bill making it a criminal offence to deny that the mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide. Later, the bill is struck down by France's Constitutional Court.

2012 January - A court jails three people for incitement over the 2007 killing of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, one of them for life.

2012 March - Former armed forces chief Gen Ilker Basbug goes on trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, which he denies as "tragicomic".

2012 June - Turkey permits schools to offer the Kurdish language as an optional course. The armed forces strike PKK rebel bases in Iraq after eight Turkish soldiers are killed in a PKK attack in southern Turkey. There are further strikes in September.

Tensions with Syria

2012 July - Turkey changes its rules of engagement after Syria shoots down a Turkish plane, saying Syrian troops will be seen as a military threat if they approach Turkey's borders.

2012 September - A court jails three generals for 20 years for plotting the alleged Operation Sledgehammer (Ergenekon) coup against the Islamist government in 2003. Another 330 officers receive lesser sentences. All maintain their innocence.

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.

An EU Commission report on Ankara's progress towards EU membership highlights numerous concerns about democracy and human rights.

Summer of protest

Police use water cannon against protesters in an Istanbul street on 31 May 2013

Anger at plans to redevelop an Istanbul park spilled over into protests against perceived government authoritarianism in mid-2013

2013 April - The military leader of the Kurdish rebel PKK group, Murat Karayilan, says fighters will begin to withdraw from Turkey in early May. This follows a call by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan for a ceasefire in March as part of peace negotiations with the government.

Famous pianist Fazil Say receives suspended 10-month jail sentence for "insulting Muslim values" on Twitter, in a case that raises further concerns about the government's erosion of secular rights.

Protests

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 is defiant, but both President Gul and Deputy Prime Minister Arinc apologise for the violence.

2013 June - At Germany's instigation, the EU puts membership talks with Turkey on hold.

2013 August - Former armed forces chief Gen Ilker Basbug and at least five other generals receive life sentences for plotting to overthrow the Islamist government. The sentencing hearing is the culmination of the trials of the government's secularist opponents that began in 2008.

2013 September - Trial begins of former senior military officers accused of plotting to overthrow an earlier pro-Islamist government led by Necmettin Erbakan in 1997.

2013 October - The EU announces that membership talks with Turkey will restart in November.

Corruption probe & fallout

2013 December - Police detain dozens of people, including the sons of three ministers, as part of an investigation into corruption allegations.

The government responds by sacking several police chiefs, and Prime Minister Erdogan denounces the inquiry as a "dirty operation" by political rivals, fuelling speculation about a feud between him and a former AK Party ally, influential US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The purge of police chiefs continues in the New Year.

2014 January - Prime Minister Erdogan's power struggle with influential US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters in the police and judiciary leads government to sack police chiefs in 15 provinces, ostensibly over corruption allegations against the prime minister.

2014 March - Parliament passes a bill to shut down private preparatory schools, many run by Mr Gulen's Hizmet ("Service") movement.

Police and protesters clash in more than 30 towns and cities over death of Berkin Elvan, a teenager who died of injuries sustained when he was hit by a tear gas canister in the 2013 protests.

2014 May - Trade unions hold one-day strike in protest at country's worst ever mine disaster in Soma, which claimed at least 282 lives. Unions allege lax safety regulations, accuse Prime Minister Erdogan of complacent response.

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

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