Turkish History Timeline

Last Updated on April 30, 2019

23,000 BC

A cave at Karain, north of Antalya, is inhabited by humans, the oldest known evidence of habitation in Anatolia. People live in the cave until a few centuries ago, making it one of the longest continuously-inhabited spots on earthMore…

9000 BC

Construction of the first temple/religious site at Göbekli Tepe near Şanlıurfa in southeastern TurkeyMore…

8500 BC

Development of agriculture and pastoralism(domesticated animals) in southeastern Turkey.

7500 BC

Earliest known human community at Çatal Höyük, 50 km (31 miles) southeast of KonyaMore…

5000 BC

Stone and Copper Age. People have already been living in Anatolia for 20,000 years. Settlement at Hacılar.

2600-1900 BC

Old Bronze Age. The Proto-Hittite Empire flourishes in Central Anatolia and the Southeast.

1900-1300 BC

The Hittite Empire flourishes with its capital at Hattuşa, battles Egypt. Patriarch Abraham, who has been dwelling in Harran, near Şanlıurfa, leaves for Canaan (Israel). More…

1250 BC

The Trojan War fought between the armies of Troy and Achaea (Greece) for control of trade passing through the Dardanelles strait. More…

1200-600 BC

The Phrygian kingdom of Mithridates flourishes at Gordion, west of AnkaraMysians invade. The great period of Hellenic civilisation in Greece and Aegean Anatolia follows. King Midas reigns in splendor, and King Croesus of Lydia invents coinage. The kingdoms of Ionia (İzmir), Lycia (Fethiye), Lydia (Sardis), Caria(Marmaris) and Pamphylia (Side) flourish, as does the Empire of Urartu (Van).

547 BC

Cyrus of Persia invades and conquers most of Anatolia.

334 BC

Alexander the Great of Macedon marches through Anatolia on his way to India. More…

279 BC

Celts (or Gauls) invade and establish the kingdom of Galatia near Ankara.

250 BC

Rise of the Kingdom of Pergamum (Bergama) as an Anatolian power.

129 BC

Anatolia becomes the Roman Province of Asia (‘Asia Minor’), with its capital at Ephesus.

47-57 AD

St Paul travels to the Christian and Jewish communities in Anatolia.

330 AD

Emperor Constantine the Great dedicates Constantinople as the ‘New Rome,’ which becomes the empire’s center of government.


Reign of Justinian, greatest Byzantine emperor, builder of Hagia Sophia, largest and most splendid church in the world.


Birth of Muhammed. Revelation of the Kur’an. Muhammed’s ‘flight’ (hijra) from Mecca to Medina.


Turkish Empire of the Great Seljuks in Iran.


Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, an offshoot of the Great Seljuk empire, established in Anatolia with its capital in Konya. Mystic poet and philosopher Jelaleddin Rumi, called Mevlana, takes up residence in Konya, writes his great works, and inspires the founding of the Whirling Dervish Sufi order.


Crusader armies cross Anatolia through the lands of the Seljuk Sultan of Rum, with frequent battles.


Foundation of the Ottoman state by a warrier chieftain named Osman, at Sögüt near Bursa.


Conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by Sultan Mehmet II ‘the Conqueror’.


Reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the great age of the Ottoman Empire. The sultan rules most of North Africa, most of Eastern Europe and all of the Middle East. His navies patrol the Mediterranean and Red seas and the Indian Ocean.


Treaty of Karlowitz, the first time in over 400 years that the Ottomans were decisively defeated and forced to sign a peace treaty as the clear losers. The mighty empire was clearly in decline.


Reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II, a ruthless despot who was the last of the powerful sultans. The European empires ask themselves the ‘Eastern Question’: which European nations will grab Ottoman territory when the sultan’s empire collapses?


The Ottoman Empire enters World War I in alliance with Germany. Australian, British, French and New Zealand troops invade Gallipoli which is successfully defended by Ottoman forces led by Mustafa Kemal. Eventual defeat of the Ottomans, loss of most of the empire’s territory, and occupation of parts of Anatolia by victorious foreign troops.


Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) organizes remaining Ottoman military units into an army of resistance, and establishes a government of resistance at Ankara.


Encouraged by Great Britain, Greece invades Anatoliathrough Izmir and presses eastward, threatening the fledgling government in Ankara.


Defeat and explusion of the invading armies. Abolishment of the last vestiges of the Ottoman Empire andProclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), its founder and first president. Most ethnic Greeks in Turkey, and ethnic Turks in Greece, migrate to the opposite country.


Atatürk’s reforms: equal rights for women, secular government, prohibition of the fez and the veil, substitution of the Latin alphabet for the Arabic, Turkification of city names, everyone adopts a surname, etc.


Death of Atatürk, continuation of one-party rule.


Turkey maintains a precarious neutrality during World War II.


Institution of multi-party democracy.

—by Tom Brosnahan

History of Turkey

Travel Details

Turkey Travel Planner Homepage

Istanbul Love Bus...the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

Visit our Facebook group:

Best Travel Agencies