Turks are a nation that has established 17 countries throughout history. They migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia. Famous Turkish States in history are Göktürks, Seljuks, Ottomans.

Ottoman Era in Turkish History

The Ottomans ruled for 600 years, and the country greatly expanded its territory during this time. The Ottomans did not force people to assimilate anywhere they conquered but treated them with respect for local cultures. They saw multiculturalism as wealth. When Yavuz Sultan Selim, one of the Ottoman rulers, conquered Egypt, the caliphate passed to the Ottomans. All rulers after Yavuz Sultan Selim also became caliphs. With the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, the Byzantine Empire came to an end, and an era was closed. During this period, many famous mosques and palaces were built, which you can still see today: Mimar Sinan Mosque, Selimiye Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Topkapi Palace.

Towards the last years of the Ottoman Empire, World War I began, and the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany. This process of war and defeat made the Ottoman Empire very vulnerable in terms of material and spiritual.

Foundation of the Turkish Republic

Reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

The history of the Turkish Republic founded by Atatürk and his comrades in arms on the foundations of the Ottoman Empire dates back to the War of Independence. As a result of the occupation by the Entente States of the Ottoman Empire, which succumbed to World War I, “misak-i milli” is a multi-front political and military struggle between 1919 and 1922, protecting the integrity of the country within the national borders. That is the new regime. A popular resistance called Kuvayi Milliye, consisting of The Last army and militia forces of the Ottoman State, which succumbed after World War I and shared territory, was organized by Atatürk and founded against the Occupying States. One of the Muslim peoples of South Asia who provided material and spiritual assistance to our Independence War is the Bengals.[1] The Turkish people will always be grateful for this help. Also, the support of the Pakistani people for our Independence War occupies a special place in the minds. Turkey’s struggle for independence and its success in establishing a modern state have also inspired the people of Pakistan.[2]

The Grand National Assembly convened in Ankara on April 23, 1920, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. Since then, the influence of the Istanbul government has been weaker on the city of Istanbul and its surroundings. Meanwhile, the Parliament and government created in Ankara have taken over the administration of Turkey.

On October 29, 1923, Atatürk, after meeting with the deputies, presented the draft “Republic” motion to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Parliament passed the motion. Thus, the governmental form of the Turkish state was determined  as “Republic” and its name as “Republic of Turkey.” Atatürk became the first “Reis-i Cumhur”(President) of the established Turkish Republic. After the Republic of Turkey was founded, reforms originated from Western countries were made, and even before European countries, women have given the right to choose and be elected.

At the same time, Turkey was the first country with a Muslim majority to adopt secularism, keeping Eastern culture within its body.[3]

Reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Foundation of the Turkish Republic

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk did lots of reforms such as; switching the alphabet to Latin letters, obtaining citizenship laws from the West, closing madrasas and tekkes, and also implemented the revolutions of the Republic, the abolition of the caliphate, adoption of secularism, and the recognition of political rights for women. Some revolutions carried out under the guidance of Atatürk were criticized by conservative and Islamist circles in Muslim societies and accused of being anti-religious acts. Pakistan’s first foreign minister, Mohammad Zafirullah Khan, paid an official visit to Turkey in 1951 on the instruction of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He describes post-Atatürk Turkey in his memoirs as follows: “After Atatürk’s revolution, the general opinion of Islamic countries was that religious values are desecrated in Turkey. But what I saw was the opposite of that, and I saw that the rumors were just an accusation.”[4]

[1] https://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkiye-banglades-siyasi_iliskileri.tr.mfa

[2] https://www.mfa.gov.tr/sub.tr.mfa?1ace17fc-d608-40f0-bdce-529f73ef4382

[3] Özcan, İ., 2021. Kabulünün 83. yılında Türk laikliği. [online] Milliyet. Available at: <https://www.milliyet.com.tr/yazarlar/dusunenlerin-dusuncesi/kabulunun-83-yilinda-turk-laikligi-6143723>

[4] Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Han, Tahdis-i Ni’met, Tahir Composing Centre, Gaba Bilding, Railpark, Lahore, 1994. s. 594