The Turkish Republic celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. Indeed, Turkey is an ancient country, and we cherish the memories of the past. However, we embarked on a new journey one hundred years ago when we became a completely modern nation. Many achievements have been made during this period, but perhaps the world still does not completely recognise how far the country has come. Needless to say, there still remains a distance between Turkey and Europe, but this is getting less every day.
After one hundred years, Turkey is in far better shape than when the Republic was first established. Turkey remained a highly impoverished and underdeveloped agricultural nation in 1923, with minimal industry, scant infrastructure, and a high death rate. Nevertheless, Atatürk, the Republic’s creator, was determined to rebuild Turkey from the ruins he inherited into a powerful, independent, affluent, and modern nation.
In 2023, Turkey has an estimated population of 85 million, which is seven times larger than it was at the start of the Republic. Almost half the population resides in urban areas. The society is largely industrialised, and with universities located in every province, it is becoming increasingly high-tech. Moreover, Turkey is a democracy, and is the only secular state in the Islamic world, as well as the only democracy with a strong foundation in the region. However, it could be said that Turkey may not have always received the recognition it merits for this. Some even argue that it ought to be more Islamic and Middle Eastern. But in my opinion, one of the most significant developments for the global system has been the rise of a sizable, powerful industrial nation with a pluralist government on the outskirts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In the coming century, Turkey’s significance will only increase.