Turkey under Erdogan: key dates

Ankara: Turkish authorities said they were in control of the country on Saturday, the day after discontented soldiers attempted to seize power from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Here are the key dates and events since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan founded, came to power:

– 2002 -The AKP scores its first electoral victory in November after years of political instability and an unprecedented financial crisis. The victory sets off alarm bells in the secular establishment. Its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes prime minister the following year.

– 2004 -The AKP launches a vast range of democratic reforms, such as allowing Kurdish language broadcasts on public television.

– 2005 -Turkey begins accession talks with the EU in October.

– 2007 -In the spring, a political crisis erupts after the AKP names Abdullah Gul as its candidate for president. The army cites concerns over secularism, triggering early elections.

The AKP wins the July vote. Erdogan remains prime minister and a month later, parliament elects Gul as president. The government progressively brings the army to heel.

– 2008 -The AKP initiates a constitutional amendment to lift the ban on the Islamic headscarf at universities but it is annulled by the constitutional court.

The AKP narrowly escapes a dissolution by court order for anti-secular activities and the headscarf ban is progressively eased from 2010.

– 2011 -In June, the AKP wins its third consecutive election. Erdogan begins a third term as premier, the last mandate according to AKP rules.

– 2012 -In June, Syria shoots down a Turkish fighter jet. Other incidents follow. Ankara broke off relations with Damascus after the start of the conflict in March 2011, supporting the rebels and admitting Syrian refugees — who number some 2.7 million in 2016.

– 2013 -In March, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, announces a ceasefire after secret negotiations with Ankara.

In May, demonstrators stage a rally against government plans to redevelop a park near Istanbul’s Taksim square. The protest quickly grows into wider nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan throughout June, leaving eight dead and thousands injured after a brutal police crackdown.

In November, a feud emerges between Erdogan and exiled influential US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In December, the government becomes engulfed in a corruption scandal with the arrests of key Erdogan allies.

– 2014 -Turkish authorities arrest thousands of police and prosecutors believed to be linked to Gulen and place curbs on the judiciary and the Internet.

The AKP wins local elections in March.

In May, a mine disaster claims 301 lives, sparking new anti-government protests that are violently repressed.

In August, Erdogan wins the presidential election — the first popular vote for the post — with 52 percent.

– 2015 -The AKP wins most votes in a June 7 election, but loses its parliamentary majority, ending almost 13 years of single party rule.

In July, several dozen people are killed in an attack in a mainly Kurdish town on the Syrian border. Turkey launches air strikes on IS targets in Syria and PKK militants in northern Iraq. A wave of violence is unleashed between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. Turkey joins the US-led coalition fighting IS the following month.

In August, Erdogan schedules fresh elections for November 1 to break weeks of political stalemate.

Twin suicide bomb blasts in Ankara on October 10 kill 102 people at pro-Kurdish opposition peace rally.

The AKP recaptures its parliamentary majority in November elections.

– 2016 -In May, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim forms a government loyal to Erdogan, after Ahmet Davutoglu stepped down following a power struggle with the president.

Turkey manoeuvres an end to foreign policy disputes with Israel and Russia.

On June 28, 47 people are killed in a triple suicide bombing at Istanbul airport, which authorities blame on IS jihadists. Attacks over the last year in Istanbul and Ankara have left almost 200 dead and thousands wounded.

On the evening of July 15, a group of soldiers attempt to stage a coup. The putsch bid begins with rebel F-16 jets screaming low over rooftops in Ankara, and with soldiers and tanks taking to the streets there and in Istanbul.

After a night which saw putschist troops fire into crowds of loyalist civilians, the government announces it has foiled the attempt and regained complete control of the country. More than 250 people are reportedly killed in the night of violence and almost 3,000 detained.

Agence France-Presse