In his work to secularize the school system and give it a
western feel, Kemal Atatürk closed all religious schools.
All educational institutions now belong to the Ministry of
Education and are open to both genders.
It is 8 years compulsory and free primary school from the
children is 6 years. There are also free 3- and 4-year high
schools, divided into general, vocational and technical
schools. English is the first foreign language in the
school. There is a shortage of school buildings, and
especially in the cities it is taught in shifts. A state
exam must be passed before you can begin higher education.
In 2002, there were 53 state and 23 private universities.
The oldest, the University of Istanbul, was founded in 1453.
According to UNESCO (2002), it is estimated that approx. 14%
of the adult population being illiterate. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Turkey.
In 1992, the Council of Europe forced the government to
reduce the repression of the Kurdish people. The Turkish
authorities agreed to release 5,000 political prisoners and
allowed the publication of two Kurdish-language newspapers.
In November, the EU set 1996 as the deadline for Turkey's
accession to the customs union, which should be the first
step towards full accession to the Union.
In April 1993, President Turgut Özal died and Prime
Minister Demirel was elected as his successor. Tansu Ciller,
who had been Finance Minister, now took over the leadership
of the DYP and was named the country's first female prime
minister. Her government program was approved by Parliament
in July. It included an accelerated wave of privatization,
judicial reform and a halt to public investment to reduce
the $ 9.4 billion budget deficit. In the same month, public
servants conducted a two-day strike and demonstrations in
Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir in protest of the mass fires set
up by the privatization program. About 700,000 workers took
part in the protests.
The PKK now declared unilateral ceasefire, and offered to
abandon the demand for the formation of an independent
Kurdish state, in return for initiating formal negotiations
with the government. However, the offers did not go
anywhere, and after several excursions by the government,
the PKK declared "total war" against Ankara at the end of
May, initiating a series of actions in European cities.
Especially in Germany which provided considerable military
assistance to Turkey.
The Turkish army expanded its offenses through 1994,
forcing residents of hundreds of Kurdish villages to leave
their homes and bombing Iraqi Kurdistan to destroy the PKK's
The increasing Islamization of Turkey became evident
through 1995 up to the December elections. The movement's
main representative was the Welfare Party, which during the
election campaign promised to form Islamic organizations to
curb the influence of NATO and the EU. The election made it
the country's largest party with 158 of Parliament's 550
The DYP led by Prime Minister Ciller and the Center-Right
Motherland Party (ANAP) overcame their contradictions to
prevent Islamists from coming to power, and unexpectedly
formed a government coalition led by ANAP's Mesut Yilmaz. It
was deployed in March 1996, but the alliance quickly
collapsed and the DYP instead decided to reign with the
Islamists after Necmettin Erbakan was appointed head of
government in June.
In April, the country signed a military agreement with
Israel, worsening its relations with a number of Arab
countries - especially Syria. Tensions increased further on
April 24, when, for "technical reasons," Ankara temporarily
decided to cut off the water through Turkey's controversial
dams over the Euphrates River. It forced the Syrian
authorities to ration the water in Damascus just days before
the Muslim feast, Aïd el Adha.
1997 was marked by still confrontation between the
government of Erbakan and the worldly opposition supported
by the armed forces. The military's leadership presented
evidence linking the Welfare Party with Islamic
organizations declared illegal by the previous government
and working underground. At the same time, the military
claimed that they were more dangerous than the separatist
Kurds in the PKK. The president therefore decided in June to
remove Erbakan from power. Instead, Mesut Yilmaz was
deployed to the post of prime minister. At the same time,
the country's highest court, the Constitutional Court,
accused Erbakan of bringing the country "on the brink of
civil war and conspiring against its secular constitution".
By extension, the Welfare Party was banned.
The Turkish Human Rights Organization - as per Some
observers have relations with separate Kurds - that by 1997
114 detainees in police custody had died, 366 had been
tortured and 66 had disappeared.
Relations with the EU
Turkey was an associate member of the EC from 1964,
suspended from 1980-86, and in 1987 Turkey applied for full
membership. In 1996, a customs union was entered into
between Turkey and the EU. It took more than 30 years to
establish this union, which removes tariffs on most Turkish
However, Turkey was left out of the membership
negotiations in the early 1990s and felt particularly
oblivious when the EU in 1998 opened membership negotiations
with a number of countries, including Cyprus. There were
several reasons for the passing: the country's economic
situation, violation of human rights in Turkey, resistance
from Greece and a general skepticism of the country's size.
At the same time, Turkey has strived to meet the EU's
political requirements, including human rights.
Only in December 2004, after intense negotiations in
Brussels, EU leaders agreed to open membership negotiations
with Turkey in October 2005. The negotiations started with
an emergency scream on schedule, and again after intense
diplomatic activity. The EU demanded that Turkey recognize
Cyprus before membership negotiations began. Turkey rejected
this, pointing out that the decision to open negotiations
did not contain such conditions. In addition, Austria
proposed that the negotiations had to include opportunities
for an outcome other than full membership (so-called
"privileged partnership"), which Turkey also rejected.
Austria eventually had to withdraw the proposal, and the
negotiations started - in principle as planned, but in
reality with great controversy both between Turkey and the
EU and within the EU. The negotiations are expected to take
at least ten years.
The opposition to getting Muslim Turkey (which will be
the EU's largest country) as an EU member is great in the
member states, and many believe that this was the real
reason why France and the Netherlands voted against the EU
Constitution in the 2005 referendums. of the limitations of
the Nice Agreement, which deals with the EU's "absorptive
capacity", Turkey is dependent on a new EU constitution
(which will replace the Nice Treaty) before it can become a
A prerequisite for Turkish membership is also a solution
to the Cyprus conflict. Turkey is the only country that
recognizes the breakaway republic of Northern Cyprus, and
Cyprus - as a new EU country from 2004 - can veto Turkish
membership. The EU also considers the northern part occupied
by Turkey, and Turkey will thus be disqualified for