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Free «Turkey» Essay Sample
On the whole, Turkey in the 1920s was an agrarian society and economy; today the country is generally urbanized and rapidly industrializing. The social upheavals and economic and political changes such a transformation engenders have placed tremendous strain on the Turkey of its founder's, Ataturk's, vision and the military has intervened four times (1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997). (Hershlag 1998) They see themselves and are viewed as the guardians of Ataturk's principles and, therefore, the state. Since its establishment in 1923, the Republic of Turkey has pursued a foreign policy aimed at international peace based on the principle of 'Peace at home and peace in the world', as laid down by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. (Kopits 1987) Respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the neighboring countries has been the main pillar of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey is located where Europe and Asia meet and is, therefore, often regarded as a bridge between the East and the West. Such a unique geographical position gives the country European, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Caucasian, Mediterranean, and Black Sea identities, explaining the multidimensional foreign policy which Turkey pursues. Central Asia became of particular renewed interest with the collapse of the Soviet Union, since, despite the reality of a sense of common roots, pan-Turkic movements at the beginning of the twentieth century had been short-lived. However, Turkey's relationship with Europe has been long-lasting in terms of diplomacy, military cooperation and trade. The new republic leaned towards the West and became a member of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952. (Chenery et al 1999) The Truman Doctrine of 1947 marked the beginning of a new era in Turkey's relations with the US and close working relations were developed between Turkey and the US in the political, military, economic, technical and cultural fields. Turkey took part in the Korean War and applied to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1959. (Chenery et al 1999) During all these years, she became a genuine military-strategic partner of the Western Alliance. And in the 1980s relations with Europe developed as Turkey's economic liberalization process gained momentum. Since the beginning of the new republic in 1923, Turkey has adopted European legal, social and political norms and participated in most European institutions; she became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, took an active part in the military organization of NATO, and was one of the founding members of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) which later became the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
 
 
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(Kopits 1987) Turkish policy-makers wanted to be included in almost all the institutions of the Western Alliance and her ties with the West were believed to be a key to prosperity and stability. However, it was at the end of the 1950s, when domestic economic and political difficulties began to be experienced, that the Turkish government looked for policy alternatives abroad and applied to the EEC in July 1959. Having already signed a treaty of association with Greece, being careful to balance its relations between the two countries, and not underestimating the role of Turkey for security concerns, the Community welcomed this application. Turkey gained the status of associate membership by signing the Association Treaty, namely the Ankara Agreement, on 12 September 1963. (Chenery et al 1999) The objective of the Ankara Agreement 1 was to promote a constant and well-balanced intensification of trade and economic relations between the contracting parties with the aim of establishing a customs union. Article 28 of the Agreement went even further and foresaw the possibility of eventual full membership for Turkey if and when she was able to meet the necessary obligations. The Ankara Agreement envisaged the economic association developing in three stages, namely the preparatory, the transitional, and the final. The first stage was completed in five years and the second stage, which aimed at setting the timetable towards the establishment of a customs union between the parties, commenced right afterwards. Hence the customs union between the EU and Turkey represents a process that started in 1964 with the signing of the Ankara Agreement and was reaffirmed in 1973 with the entry into force of the Additional Protocol 2 to that Agreement which laid down the conditions and timetables for the progressive setting-up of the customs union over a period of 22 years. (Hershlag 1998) In the trade of manufactures during the transitional stage, the obligations imposed directly by the Additional Protocol included the elimination of all customs duties and quantitative restrictions, alignment by Turkey on the Common Customs Tariff (CCT), elimination of protective measures between the parties, and the treatment of matters such as workers' rights.
 
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By 1973, the European Community (EC) 3 had abolished all customs duties and quotas for Turkish manufactured products, with the exception of certain sensitive products such as cotton yarns and textiles, and machine-woven carpets. (Hershlag 1998) Petroleum products were subject to tariff reductions within quota limits. Contrary to the stipulations of the Additional Protocol, textiles and ready-made garments were later treated under the so-called voluntary export restraint agreements concluded between the EC authorities and Turkish private-sector textile exporters. The Association Council was the governing body to oversee the timely implementation of the other complementary measures too. Turkey was given a longer period of adjustment to make reductions to the customs tariff for manufactured imports from the EC within the framework of two separate lists with different time-spans, a 12-year list and a 22-year list, taking into consideration the competitiveness of the industries concerned. As for agricultural imports from Turkey, they were subject to the Common Customs Tariff, although the Community granted tariff concessions from the beginning since it protects its agricultural sector with the sophisticated non-tariff barriers of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). (Chenery et al 1999) The gradual elimination of duties by January 1987 on primary agricultural products having a regulated market in the EC was granted, while for processed products, there are variable levies and additional duties. Today's Turkey often appears to be juggling a mixed bag of agenda issues: radical Islam, terror, separatism, enemies without, enemies within, corruption, inflation, mafia–government links, natural disasters, and so on, with other consistent factors in the country's recent history being military interventions of varying degrees and short-lived wobbly coalition governments. Turkey since 1970 covers roughly the last thirty years and is designed as a kind of 'starter kit' for anyone interested in Turkey. (Hershlag 1998) It was the 1970s that witnessed lawful social expression through workers' unions, syndicates, and professional chambers for example giving way to mass social discontent and violence. This was the decade which also saw rural–urban migration gather pace and the private sector start to take its place in the national make-up. The 1970s in particular were the years during which the state was particularly anxious about the threat of communism as the Cold War was still very much part of the world order. Political Islam at that time was seen as less of a threat than communism although the Islamic Revolution in neighbouring Iran in 1978 cast doubts on that. The 1980 coup (known simply as '12 September') is pointed to as the biggest life-changer with people looking back to the previous couple of decades as the years of freedom. (Chenery et al 1999) It is also the most memorable coup for the loss of life incurred, particularly among intellectuals and those of a left-wing persuasion, and for its effect on the country until now. Meanwhile, the 1982 constitution is still in place; it is accused of being over-restrictive and some say it halted the democratization process. At the end of the 1990s a previously undemanding populace gradually started to develop its own expectations and stir at the grassroots level. Money is power, the state is very much the policy- and decision-maker, and while the politician may not fulfil his/her role as constituency representative, there are organizations (and some political parties) bringing the demands of the little guy to the attention of the centre. Television plays a key role in this, particularly through phone-ins and discussion programmes, and increasingly too the internet, not least because they bring new terminology, and, therefore, new concepts, into the language. The internet also allows access to a wider array of information, viewpoints, and ideas than before, with many users being active on discussion sites and chat programmes. The impact of the fundamental social, economic and political changes the nation is continuing to experience can be hard to determine. Perhaps Turkey can represent the evolution of an urban society, a social re-engineering away from dependence on the immediate and wider family and local community network towards attachment to or membership of organizations such as trade unions, football teams, professional associations.
(Chenery et al 1999) The country can also be seen as typical of a developing (industrializing) country: it is pockmarked with grandiose projects either underway or left unfinished; there is an immensely complicated bureaucratic system; intense poverty sits opposite phenomenal wealth with a gradually expanding middle-income-earning bracket starting to emerge somewhere in between without closing the income divide; expectations are low, disappointments high; and the majority of the population is under 21. (Chenery et al 1999) The social and economic changes have outstripped the political during the 20th century. Television arrived in the 1970s, but it was the economic liberalization of the 1980s (the 1983–89 Ozal period) that really ushered in new trends—in particular, buying patterns and materialistic expectations. (Hershlag 1998) As the eighties became the nineties these changes had become the norm and the centre was once again strained as demands grew for political liberalization to match that on the economic front. Civil organizations stepped into the frame tentatively at first, but with greater confidence as the new millennium approached. Although their emergence has perhaps been overshadowed by the presumed threat to democracy represented by the success of political Islam in the form of the now-banned Welfare Party (RP) and its successor, the Virtue Party (FP), they indicate a grassroots dynamism and are recognized as a vital part of any thriving democracy. (Hershlag 1998) When they are critical they are criticized, and when they are supportive they are supported. Turkey's democratic tradition is still very immature. While the pace of economic change is sometimes seen as an underlying cause of much of the social and political tension and unrest, it is worth noting that mass marginalization from the decision-making process should also shoulder some of the responsibility for this. Cultural dislocation resulting from rapid urbanization has also not been without its consequences. This rural–urban migration has separated hundreds of thousands of people from their geographical, cultural and family bases and thrust them into a new environment with different traditions and lifestyle.
   

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