Turkey

Bethany Wright

Republic of Turkey: Politics

Head of State: President Abdullah Gul, in power since August 28, 2007
(CIA)

Government Type: Republican Parliamentary Democracy
(CIA)

Middle Eastern Allies: Egypt, recently Syria
(Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

World Allies: NATO members, especially the US and UK
(Consulate General)

Membership in International Organizations: EU applicant, G-20, Interpol, NATO, temporary on UN Security Council, WTO, ICC
(CIA)

Three Major Political Issues: Cyprus, headscarves in universities and gov’t, Kurdish Terrorism
(Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Major Political Parties: AKP (Justice and Development Party) and CHP (Republican People’s Party)       
(Turkish Consulate General)

Suffrage: 18 years old, both genders
    (CIA)

Military: 598,000 (2nd largest in NATO)
(Consulate General)

Recent Conflicts: Occupation of Cyprus, Conflict with the PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party), which was outlawed as a terrorist organization
    (CIA)

Independence Day: 29 October, 1923
    (CIA)

Most Recent Constitution: 7 November 1982, last amended 21 October 2007
    (CIA)

Enemies: Israel, Greece

The State and Religion:  Turkey maintains a rigorous separation of religion and the state.  This has created such controversial issues such as the headscarf problem.  Historically, when Turkey becomes too religious, the military has stepped in to reinforce the secularism of the country.

Basic Freedoms: Turkey does have pretty good maintenance of personal freedom, although it is not on the same scale as US individual freedoms.  For example, you cannot show you are in support of Islam by wearing a headscarf in school or government.  You can speak our against most issues the country is dealing with, but not really against the headscarf ban or for Kurdish freedom.  This will earn you a beating, jail time, or possibly even exile.

Sources:
    CIA –The World Factbook
    Consulate General www.turkishconsulategeneral.us
    Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.gov.tr

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