The Turkish Republic was established in 1923, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. The Empire had been in a state of decline for several centuries. Inability to keep up with industrial and scientific developments, social and political unrest, and wars had sapped its strength. The First World War, in which the Ottoman Empire took part on the losing side, signaled its end. As the Empire crumbled, its Turkish nucleus rose up in a War of Liberation against the invading powers and the Sultan's government. It was successful and resulted in the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 24 July 1923, which established the international status and boundaries of the new state.
The Republic was declared on 29 October 1923. The Treaty provided the basis for the creation of the climate of peace and stability needed by the country. The success of Turkey set an example to many nations struggling for independence in Asia and Africa. Turkey immediately embarked on a course of modernization and reform in all walks of life. Despite the fact that the liberation struggle had been waged against major European powers, she proceeded to establish good relations and cooperation with the West, and based her political and legal systems on modern, secular models. The goal as expressed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the nationalist movement and first President of the Republic, was “to reach the level of contemporary civilization.” And to achieve this aim, a doctrine for foreign relations was formulated that has held true to this day; in the words of Atatürk, “Peace at home, Peace in the world.”
This has not been an easy task given the history and geographical location of Turkey. She lies at a strategic “crossroads" where two continents, Europe and Asia meet, and also where cultures and civilizations come together. This unique position gives her European, Balkan, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Caucasian and Asian identities all at the same time. It has exerted a strong influence on her foreign policy choices and has necessitated a multidimensional foreign policy. In this context, the primary objectives of Turkish foreign policy are to establish and to develop friendly relations with all countries, in particular with neighboring ones; to promote and to take part in regional and international cooperation; and to resolve disputes through peaceful means and to contribute to regional peace, stability, security and prosperity.
The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; and loyalty to the nationalism of Ataturk. The Turkish State, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. The official language of the Turkish State is Turkish and its capital is Ankara.
Sovereignty is vested in the nation without reservation or condition and the nation exercises its sovereignty through the authorized organs as prescribed by the principles laid down in the Constitution. The right to exercise sovereignty cannot be delegated to any individual, group or class. Everyone possesses inherent fundamental rights and freedoms which are inviolable and inalienable.
The fundamental aims and duties of the State are to safeguard the independence and the integrity of the Turkish Nation, the Republic and democracy; to ensure the welfare, peace and happiness of the individual and society; to strive for the removal of political, social and economic obstacles which restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual in a manner incompatible with the principles of justice and of the social State governed by the rule of law; and to provide the conditions required for the development of the individual's material and spiritual existence.
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