Constitutional order. – The general order of the state was established with the constitution of April 20, 1924: Turkey is a republican state; the National Assembly (Büyük Millet Meclisi, called Kamutay since 1935) exercises the legislative power and the executive power directly by a president of the republic elected by it and a council of ministers (called Vekil, from 1935 bakan); the territory is divided into provinces (called vilâyet, since 1935 ilbaylïk); the freedoms of citizens, the independence and immovability of judges, etc. are ensured. The provisions of the 1924 constitution were modified with the law of 9 April 1928, eliminating the declaration “the religion of Turkey is Islam”. In 1934, women were also given the right of election and eligibility in the Grand Assembly. Other adjustments were introduced with the law of February 5, 1937.
Religion. – As mentioned, since April 1928 Islam is no longer the religion of the state, although it remains professed by the great majority of the population: even the oath of allegiance to the republic has no religious character, while the cult is spreading use of Turkish, instead of Arabic. For Turkey religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
This secularization of the Turkish state, together with the political events, has radically transformed the situation of non-Islamic cults: which in the Ottoman Empire were numerous and were largely national in character, organized in millet whose leaders also had civil functions, sometimes very important (especially the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), which the Treaty of Lausanne abolished. And a law of December 1934 prohibits Turks and foreigners from wearing ecclesiastical robes outside of ceremonies, except for a representative of each religious community.
By now the non-Islamic communities are very small and as regards the number and as regards the adherents, they constitute only 2.64% of the total population, as shown by the census of 28 October 1927.
Catholics, who are of the Latin rite, do not depend on the Latin patriarch of Constantinople (titular only), but on the archbishop of Smyrna (metropolitan see of the Latin rite, 1322; re-established, 1818); Chaldeans (v. Chaldea, church), with the bishoprics of Amida or Diyarbekir, of Gezira (Gazīreh; 1852) and Mardin; Armenians united with the patriarchate of Cilicia, the archbishoprics of Mardin and Sebaste (re-established, 1858; archbishopric, 1858; united with the diocese of Tokat) and the bishoprics of Adana (re-established, 1774), Amida, Ancira (Angora; re-established, 1850), Artvin (1850), Caesarea of Cappadocia (1850), Erzerum (1850), Karput (1865), MaraŞ (1842), Melitene (Malatya, 1861), MuŞ (1884), Prusa (Brussa, 1850), Trebizond (1850), but the majority still (1936) vacant, while the faithful are very small in number (see Armena, Chiesa); and Syrians united, with the bishoprics of Gezira (1863) and of Mardin and Amida, united see (1888) and patriarchal diocese of the patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, and also the missions of Mardin (1842), Syria and Cilicia (1628; residence in Beirut, in Syria under French mandate) and Trebizond (1895 and 1931), entrusted to the Capuchin Friars Minor. For the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and in general for the Greek Orthodox, see Orthodox, church and the other items to which it refers; for Gregorian Armenians, v. Armenian, church.
Finance. – Budgets and public debt. – The revenues of the Turkish budget derive mainly from indirect taxation (duties, consumption taxes, etc.) and from monopolies (tobacco, alcohol, matches, explosives, cartridges, salt, etc.), but also from land tax and those on income and profits. The main expenses are those disbursed for the service of the public debt and for national defense.
At 31 May 1936 the total public debt amounted to 483.9 million of which 226.2 of external debt (partly residual of the foreign debt of the Ottoman Empire), 178.2 of consolidated internal debt, 79.4 of floating internal debt.
Money and credit. – The unifying law of the Turkish monetary system, of March 26, 1916, introduced the gold standard, replacing the bimetallism in force since 1844, and adopted as the monetary unit the gold plate, of 40 para (100 piastres = 1 Turkish lira, coin containing 6.6147 grams of gold). During the World War, however, it was necessary to resort to fiat and tickets were issued for a total amount of 161 million Turkish lira (guaranteed for 6.5 million by a gold deposit with the German government and for the rest by German notes); and paper lira lost 8 / 9of its value against gold. However, there was not a financial collapse in Turkey of the type of those of the Central Empires.
At the beginning of 1929 the government was able to curb the devaluation of the currency which in fact stabilized around the ratio: 1030 piastres for 1 pound sterling. Devalued this, in 1931 the Turkish lira was anchored to the French franc, on the basis of 12.06 francs per one lira and after the devaluation of the franc, at the end of 1936, it returned to be negotiated directly.
In October 1931, the Central Bank of the Republic began operating and has the privilege of issuing. As of December 26, 1936, the notes issued amounted to 179.2 million Turkish lira (of which 171.4 actually in circulation) and the reserve in gold and currencies was, at the same date, 32.1 million.
In addition to the Central Bank, Turkey has four other important state banks: for agriculture (Türkiye Ziraat bankasi), for industry (Sümer bank), for mines (Eti bank), for land credit (Eml ā k ve Eytam bankasi). Among the private banks the most important is the I Ş bankasi or investment bank, and among the foreign ones the Ottoman Bank (founded in 1863).
Public school. – Elementary education is compulsory for both sexes, free, state. The government of Kemal Atatürk had to carry out a considerable work of reorganization of teaching (Article 87 of the constitution) from the coming to power onwards (the law of March 3, 1924 abolished traditional Muslim religious schools in mosques). There are more than 6,600 primary schools (compared to less than 6,000 in 1925), while middle schools have decreased (from 164 in 1925 to 140); on the other hand, higher education institutions and a dozen professional ones increased by two. State schools are for both Muslims and non-Muslims and are compulsory for all Turkish citizens. Foreign schools of religious congregations are now strictly controlled by the state for political reasons and are regarded as private schools. In them the teaching of Turkish by Turkish citizens is compulsory, and most of their population, which was given by non-Muslim Turkish subjects, is now absorbed by the state schools. There are three Italian schools, in Adrianople, Istanbul, Smyrna. Higher education matters: the University of Istanbul, where the School of Political Science and the Academy of Fine Arts are also. The University of Ankara is being planned, where for now there is only the legal faculty, organized in 1925 by a Swiss jurist on the European model.