From 1923 to the Present
The Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly saved the country from being partitioned and occupied with the National War of Independence. A
few months following the signing of the Lausanne Treaty, in which the Allied powers and the world recognized the independence and sovereignty of
Turkey, the Republican People's Party was established on 9 September 1923 and Mustafa Kemal was elected as its chairman. The administrative staff of
the party was composed of the military staff who directed the national struggle and high-level bureaucrats. The party led by the leader and the hero
of the Turkish War of Independence stood for modernizing and westernizing reforms in the political, judicial and educational fields. These
developments, however, disturbed the conservative elements in the National Assembly. The discussions flared up on such issues as what would happen now
that the sultanate was abolished and how the parliament would now act, with which authorities and on whose behalf. The institutions and the office of
the Caliphate, meanwhile stood in stark contradiction to the new administration. All these developments made a radical transformation compulsory.
AtatĂĽrk and the accompanying delegation in front of
the Turkish Grand National Assembly Building, 29 October 1933.
Thus, the Republic was proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in order to give the state a democratic form in the contemporary sense. Mustafa Kemal, the
successful and great charismatic leader of the national struggle for independence, was elected unanimously as the first President of the Republic of
Turkey. He appointed Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ as the first Prime Minister. Thus, the discussions and doubts about the Presidency were ended. Four months later,
the Caliphate, which was incompatible with the principle of republicanism, was abolished and the members of the Ottoman Dynasty were expatriated on 3
Being aware of the fact that the separation of religious and state affairs and the provision of freedom of religion and conscience for individuals
were among the prerequisites of forming a modern society, Mustafa Kemal initiated in the framework of the "principle of secularity" the most
important changes. After the abolition of the Caliphate, a series of radical reforms were made in the institutions and mentality connected to the
Caliphate. The Ministry of Shariah and Foundations was replaced by the Chairmanship of Religious Affairs and the Directorate of Foundations, both
connected to the Prime Ministry. The religious school order was abolished on 3 March 1924 with the Unification of Education Law and all schools and
educational matters were united under the Ministry of National Education. The Shariah Courts were replaced by secular courts with the Judicial
Organization Law. The wearing of the turban and fez that were symbols of the former order were banned and the "hat" became the official headgear,
following the promulgation of the Hat Law on 25 November 1925. Thus, the traditional symbols in attire, indicating differences of class, rank and
religious order were removed. The international hour and calendar systems were adopted on 26 November 1925. The dervish lodges and tombs and the
titles of tariqahs (sects) were abolished on 25 November 1925. A Turkish Civil Code was accepted on 17 February 1926 to replace the old civil code and
the Shariah Laws which were the foundation stones of Ottoman law. The acceptance of the Turkish Civil Code made it necessary to secularize all
legislation and the Code of Obligations, the Criminal Code and the Commercial Code were also rewritten according to contemporary principles.
Important steps were taken concerning women's rights. Polygamy was forbidden and marriages, to be officially recognized, had to be performed in
accordance with the civil code, not according to religious ceremonies as in the past. Also, a law was promulgated which made it necessary to get a
court decree to get a divorce. Women obtained the right to vote and be elected in the municipal elections in 1930, in elections held for village
councils in 1933 and in 1934, they obtained the right to vote and be elected into the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
One of the most important reforms initiated by AtatĂĽrk was the preparation of a new Turkish alphabet by a board of linguists and academicians and the
law which envisaged the use of Latin letters was adopted by the TGNA on 1 November 1928. The adoption of this new phonetic alphabet was an important
step taken to help increase the literacy rate which had been very low.
The old units of measurement and weight were changed in 1931. Commercial and economic transactions were facilitated with the acceptance of the metric
system and a standard system of measurement was established throughout Turkey.
The Surname Law was adopted on 21 June 1934. Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the new Turkish State and Republic, was given the surname of "AtatĂĽrk"
(Father of the Turks) by the TGNA.
The efforts to create a modern country based on secular foundations was also reflected in the Constitution. An amendment made to the Constitution in
1928 removed the clause which had stated that the religion of the state is Islam. A clause was put in the Constitution in 1937 stating that Turkey is
a secular state. Along with these developments, AtatĂĽrk established the Turkish Historical Society in 1925 and Turkish Linguistic Society in 1932 in
order to strengthen the foundations of the new national state and contribute to the development of a national consciousness among the Turkish
The struggle for independence the Turks waged against the imperialist states and the radical social, political and economic reforms initiated by
AtatĂĽrk, constituted an important example and model for the Third World countries.
Domestic and Foreign Policy During the AtatĂĽrk Period
AtatĂĽrk realized the reforms with the leadership of the Republican People's Party (CHP), which had been established not as a party of any class or
group in the society, but as a party of all the people, and these reforms were adopted by the people.
A short time after the CHP was established, the first experiment for a transition to a multiparty system was made. The opponents of the secular and
modernizing policies of the government, and who thought that the reforms were not compatible with the social and political structure of Turkey,
including a group of commanders from the National War of Independence, such as Rauf Orbay, Kazim Karabekir and Ali Fuat Cebesoy, resigned from the CHP
and established the Progressive Republican Party on 17 November 1924. Kazim Karabekir was elected as the chairman of this first opposition party. The
Party was "conservative", not "reactionary" both regarding its program and the mentality of its founders. However, because it was the only
opposition party, those whose interests were harmed by the reforms, supported this party, thus escalating the political passions. In fact, many who
were against the Republic and secular developments joined this party. Meanwhile, the reactionary Sheik Said rebellion broke out in Southeastern
Anatolia and the government closed the Progressive Republican Party on 3 June 1925.
The second experiment with multiparty democracy in the AtatĂĽrk period, started with the establishment of the Free Republican Party on 12 August 1930.
The Free Party was established with the approval of AtatĂĽrk himself. The party was established by Fethi Okyar, the former Prime Minister who was
known for his opposition to Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ. However, the new party grew at an unexpectedly rapid pace. The reactionary powers against the Republic,
which also made use of the problems created by the world economic crisis in 1929, started to use the new party for their own objectives. Especially,
due to the unfortunate events which occurred during Fethi Okyar's trip to Izmir, the party dissolved itself on 17 November 1930.
The Republic administration first of all adopted a model based on private enterprise for developing the backward economy it had inherited, but in time
it was forced to adopt statism to an increasing degree.
During the AtatĂĽrk period, a foreign policy was followed based on the borders of the National Pact of 1920 and on peace. As the result of successful
diplomacy, the Montreux Agreement was signed in 1936, ensuring that the Istanbul and the Dardanelles (Ă‡anakkale) Straits were included in the
national defense system.
King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom during his visit to Istanbul in 1936
Friendship policies to be followed with all the neighboring countries were made widespread with the Balkan Pact in 1934 and the Sadabad Pact in 1937.
The peace policy aimed at Europe and a correct evaluation of the international conditions made it possible to have Hatay rejoined to Turkey. Hatay,
which had previously been given to the French, was first given independence and then it was rejoined to Turkey as the result of a referendum.
Meanwhile, the League of Nations, refusing the Turkish requests, decided that the Mosul and Kirkuk regions should stay under British control.
Hatay was the final foreign policy problem in which AtatĂĽrk took an interest. AtatĂĽrk, with his dynamism, strong intuitions, accurate assessments of
the balances of power and correct evaluations of domestic and foreign conditions, left behind a state which had heartily adopted the reforms and
modernized institutions, which had taken significant steps in the direction of the Western model when he passed away on 10 November 1938.
The Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ Period and the Difficult Years During the War
Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ was elected as the second President of the Republic following AtatĂĽrk's death. He was the President and the party chairman at the
same time. He led Turkey during the most difficult years of both the world and Turkey. He tried to overcome the difficulties stemming from the world
economic crisis with a policy of statism during the period when he was the Prime Minister. He wanted to develop industry by means of the State
Economic Enterprises (SEEs) and took important steps in this direction.
Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ's greatest success was in keeping Turkey out of the Second World War. His policy in this regard was based on establishing various balances
at the same time and insisting adamantly on neutrality. When the Soviet-German Agreement was signed on 23 August 1939, Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ thought that this
agreement could harm Turkey and signed agreements with France and Britain on 13 October 1939 and obtained economic aid. Later he signed a
nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union on 25 March 1941. In June 1941, a few days before Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ signed a
nonaggression pact with Germany. This policy of balances continued throughout the war. When the war was about to end, Turkey sided with the USA,
Britain and the Soviet Union and declared war against Germany and Japan and signed the United Nations communiquĂ© dated 24 January 1945. Turkey, which
was officially invited to the San Francisco Conference on 5 March 1945, was among the founding members of the United Nations.
Turkey did not enter the Second World War, but was negatively affected by the war. Throughout the war a large army was kept alert and ready, prices
increased rapidly, many of the basic food items were rationed, many items could not be found or were sold on the black market.Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ who was a
farsighted statesman and politician, not only sensed the winds of freedom and democracy which had started to blow throughout the Western World after
the Second World War, but also could not remain as a bystander to the social reactions stemming from the problems of the war. In fact, he first
mentioned the necessity of "liberalizing the regime" in 1945. Subsequently, he started talking about "the need for an opposition party". He
received with democratic tolerance the birth of the Democrat Party from within the CHP, its flourishing in 1946 and its coming to power with the 1950
Transition to the Multiparty Period
The Republican People's Party (CHP), the ruling party, was also influenced by the winds of freedom and democracy that started to blow throughout the
world and especially in Europe towards the end of the war and after the war. A strong opposition movement appeared from within the party which
complained about the oppressive management of the party and wanted more freedom and democracy. The tolerant attitude of President Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ also
encouraged this movement.
Celal Bayar, AtatĂĽrk's last Prime Minister and Refik Koraltan also joined this opposition movement which was led at the beginning by Fuat KĂ¶prĂĽlĂĽ
and Adnan Menderes. These four deputies of Parliament filed a famous motion to the Parliamentary Group of the CHP, which was later referred to as the
"Quartet Motion". They wanted to change the party regulations and some of the laws. Following the refusal of their motion, Bayar resigned from the
CHP and from the Parliament. Menderes, KĂ¶prĂĽlĂĽ, and Koraltan were expelled from the CHP for not conforming to party discipline.
Bayar, Menderes, KĂ¶prĂĽlĂĽ and Koraltan established the Democrat Party (DP) on 7 January 1946. The establishment of a new party was met with
enthusiasm by the people who had become tired of the oppressive policies of a single party rule. The DP which defended a liberal economic approach and
democracy, developed rapidly in a short period of time. It succeeded in entering Parliament in the 1946 elections and came to power as a single power
in the 14 May 1950 elections. Thus, the single party period ended in Turkey and for the first time a change in power was realized with the votes of
The DP increased its votes even more in the 1954 elections and strengthened its power. Although it lost votes in the 1957 elections, it remained in
power until 27 May 1960.
The DP brought a noticeable liveliness to the economy and increased the living standards of people substantially during its 10 years in power. The
economy developed, the earnings of the people increased, many villages were provided with roads, water and electricity. New areas were taken under
cultivation, agricultural mechanization started, trade was accelerated and important steps were taken for industrialization. The period of orienting
foreign capital and commercial capital to industry was started.
Close cooperation with the United States that had been adopted during the Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ period acquired new dimensions in the foreign policy of the DP
period. The visit to Istanbul of the US warship Missouri in 1946, the start of the first military and economic aid from America with the
implementation of the "Truman Doctrine" and the "Marshall Plan" strengthened the Western-oriented foundations of the Turkish foreign policy, which
had been laid by Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ. Turkey participated in the Korean War, became a member of NATO in 1952 and foreign capital investments and petroleum
explorations by foreigners were encouraged during the DP period.
The DP started to lose the support of the people as of 1954. The main reasons for this were the end of favorable cycles in the foreign markets and a
slow down in economic growth. In particular, rapidly increasing inflation upset the financial situation of the fixed income population in urban areas,
the military and civilian bureaucrats. Along with the dissatisfaction of the people, the criticisms of the opposition and the media became stronger.
In response to the criticism, the ruling party took measures which indicated that it had lost control and started to resort to antidemocratic methods.
The obstacles which Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ faced during his tours of the country, increased the censorship of the press and finally, along with the establishment of
an "Investigation Commission" a widespread debate began on the regime in Turkey. The university students started demonstrations. The situation
became even more tense with the declaration of martial law and eventually led to the military intervention of 27 May 1960.
The 27 May Movement and the Interim Period
To remove the DP from power appeared to be an essential precondition for the solution of the political and economic problems of Turkey and to save the
country and democracy, especially for many officers who were sympathizers of Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ. These officers, of various ranks, who were organized under the
title of the National Unity Committee (MBK) led the action in an orderly manner on the morning of 27 May 1960. They removed the DP government and
seized power. In the announcement of the revolution, it was stated that the coup was made to save democracy and to prevent fratricidal quarrels, that
it was not against any individual or class, and that elections would be held in the shortest period of time and the government would be transferred to
the civilians. The communiquĂ© also stated that Turkey would remain as a member of NATO and CENTO.
The overthrown President, Prime Minister, ministers, deputies of the ruling party and the leading administrators of the ruling party, were taken into
custody at the War College. General Cemal GĂĽrsel, the leader of the coup d'Ă©tat, assumed the functions of the President, Prime Minister and the
Chief of General Staff. The TGNA was dissolved and the MBK took over its legislative functions. A new cabinet, composed chiefly of civilians, was
formed on 17 June 1960.
There were, however, differences of opinion among the MBK members. Some of the members wanted to hold elections as soon as possible, while others
wanted to hold the election only after radical reforms were made. The members in the second group were taken into custody on 13 November 1960 and were
later appointed to various posts abroad.
The MBK established in December of the same year a "Constituent Assembly" responsible for preparing a new constitution and a new election law. The
Constituent Assembly, which was formed by the representatives of various institutions, began to work on 5 January 1961. The drafts of the new
constitution prepared by academicians, were reviewed in the special commissions of the Assembly and were submitted for discussion. The draft to which
the Constituent Assembly gave its final shape after long deliberations, was adopted with a referendum held on 9 July 1961. The MBK left power to the
civilians following the elections held on 15 October 1961. In accordance with the Constitution, the 22 members of the MBK entered into Parliament as
"Natural Senators" and Cemal GĂĽrsel was elected President.
The administrators of the DP, which had been overthrown on 27 May 1960, were tried in the Supreme Justice Council, a special court established at
Yassiada by the MBK. The court sentenced 15 administrators of the DP to death for "violating the Constitution" and sentenced others to various
imprisonment penalties. A total of 12 of the capital punishments were commuted into life imprisonment by the MBK. However, Adnan Menderes, the Prime
Minister; Fatin RĂĽstĂĽ Zorlu, the Foreign Minister; and Hasan Polatkan, the Minister of Finance, were executed. All of the others who were imprisoned
were later released through various amnesty initiatives until 1964.
The Active 1960s and the AP Period
The first general election which followed the 27 May revolution revealed an interesting picture. The total of the votes of the Justice Party (AP) and
the New Turkey Party (YTP), two parties which claimed to be the continuation of the DP, obtained more than the votes that the DP had obtained in 1957.
As for the votes of the CHP, these decreased from 41 percent to 37 percent. This result was an expression of the fact that the political tendencies of
the people had not changed and that in fact, the people had reacted to the revolution.
The AP, which would thereafter influence the political life in Turkey in the 1960s and the 1970s, was established on 11 February 1961. The first
chairman of the party was Ret. General Ragip GĂĽmĂĽspala.
Following the elections after the revolution, the first government which was formed under the leadership of Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ was a coalition of CHP and
AP. This partnership eased the transformation to a civilian regime, but did not last long due to the lack of harmony between the coalition
SĂĽleyman Demirel, the former Director General of the State Water Works, was elected as the new AP chairman when Ragip GĂĽmĂĽspala passed away in
1964. The AP received 53 percent of the votes in the 1965 elections and by obtaining the majority in the Parliament, came to power. Another
significant characteristic of this election was that the Turkish Labor Party (TIP), a socialist party, participated in the elections for the first
time and obtained 15 seats in the Parliament.
The 1965-1971 period when AP was in power, turned out to be one of the most successful periods in Turkey economically, socially and politically. It
was a period of high development rates and low inflation. The industrialization process accelerated. Priority was given to investments directed to the
rural areas and to energy projects. A more independent foreign policy was followed. Furthermore, 1965-1971 was also the period of the greatest freedom
in Turkey. This was the period when the laws which limited free thought and which were considered to be antidemocratic were applied the least and the
number of people arrested in connection with these laws remained at a minimal level. In this period, the masses took important steps in forming
political organizations. Again pertaining to this period, the press experienced its greatest years of freedom and varying points of views were openly
written and discussed.
The student demonstrations which started in France in 1968 and spread all over the world, also affected Turkey towards the end of the 1960s. These
demonstrations, which started as a reaction to the educational methods and examination system in the universities, later obtained a political and
The 12 March Period and the Transformation in the CHP
The atmosphere of freedom that had characterized the 1965-1971 period ended with a communiquĂ© on 12 March 1971. The joint memorandum of the Chief of
General Staff and four Force Commanders, called for the formation of a nonpartisan government of national consensus in which all the political parties
would participate so that the necessary reforms with a Kemalist perception could be implemented and so
that terrorism and anarchy could be prevented and the future of the regime could be secured. Otherwise, the army warned that it would undertake the
administration directly. Under these circumstances, Prime Minister Demirel handed in his resignation to President Cevdet Sunay the same day.
The first government of the 12 March period was established by Nihat Erim who had resigned from the CHP. Significant number of his cabinet ministers
were technicians who were called the "brain team". The first move of Erim's government, which was supposed to make reforms, was to declare martial
law and take tough measures. Some important articles of the Constitution were changed. The first Erim government, however, could not cope with the
dissonance within the cabinet and was replaced by the second Erim government. Because of the various pressures he had been facing, Prime Minister Erim
resigned once again and he was replaced by Ferit Melen, the Minister of National Defense in Erim's former cabinet. The Ferit Melen government in turn
was replaced by the Naim Talu government which started a kind of transition process to democracy. In the presidential elections of 1973, Fahri
KorutĂĽrk, the joint candidate of the AP and CHP became President whereas Faruk GĂĽrler, the candidate of the 12 March period, lost.
Meanwhile, interesting developments had been occurring within the CHP since 1969. The Secretary General BĂĽlent Ecevit, and his colleagues resigned
from membership in the Central Executive Board, ostensibly because they disagreed with Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ, the Chairman, concerning the party policy to
be followed against the 12 March regime. This team carried out a fundamental struggle within the party during the 12 March period. In the general
congress of the party, which was held in 1972, Ecevit and his colleagues attained the absolute majority of the seats on the Central Executive Board,
whereupon, Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ resigned from the Chairmanship, from the Parliament and from the party membership. In the special party congress which was held
immediately, Ecevit was elected as the party chairman. A new period started for the CHP.
The Ecevit Administrations and the Nationalist Front Periods
In the 1973 general elections, which legally put an end to the 12 March period, no party could obtain an absolute majority at the Parliament and so a
new period of coalitions commenced. Dissonances, votes of no confidence and deputy transfers followed one after another.
BĂĽlent Ecevit, the Chairman of the Republican People's Party and
his wife Rahsan Ecevit at an election campaign meeting.
The CHP attained the majority of the votes in the 1973 elections. Ecevit, the chairman of the CHP, established a coalition government with the
National Salvation Party (MSP) which reflected Islamic trends. Although this interesting reconciliation created some positive outcomes, the shock
waves of the global oil crisis had adverse effects on Turkey. Meanwhile, a coup carried out by the supporters of ENOSIS (Union with Greece) against
the Makarios administration on Cyprus during June 1974 forced Turkey to intervene militarily by exerting her rights as a guarantor state accorded to
her by the Cyprus Constitution of 1960. The Cyprus problem had important economic and political repercussions. The negative attitude of the West
towards Turkey, an economic embargo applied on Turkey by the US and the expenses of the Cyprus Operation created significant problems in Turkey. When
the CHP and MSP disagreed on foreign policy following the Cyprus Peace Operation, the coalition came to an end. Sadi Irmak, a senator, was assigned by
President KorutĂĽrk to form a new government; but he could not obtain a vote of confidence.
In the meantime, the Democratic Party which was established by the party members who had left, or were expelled from the AP, started to disintegrate
in 1971. The AP which increased its number of deputies, obtained the majority bringing together the MSP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the
Party (CGP). Demirel who was assigned to form the new government, managed to form a coalition which was called the "Nationalist Front" (MC). It
would remain in power until the general elections in 1977.
The MC period continued after the general elections in 1977. Demirel established the Second MC government due to the fact that no party could obtain
an absolute majority. "The Second MC", which remained in power until January 1978, could cope neither with the economic, nor with the foreign policy
problems and its political profile deteriorated because of escalating terrorism. Turkey had a foreign currency problem, no imports could be made. The
government tried to escape from this problem by means of short term credits with high interests.
The crisis in Turkey gained a new dimension when 11 AP deputies resigned from the party in December 1977. The second MC government led by Demirel was
overthrown. Ecevit, the CHP leader, formed the new government with the supports of the DP and CGP and the eleven deputies who had resigned from the
AP. In this period the economic situation, however, deteriorated even more. Shortages of some basic food items, oil and LPG appeared and black markets
emerged. Prime Minister Ecevit resigned when the CHP suffered a heavy defeat in the elections to renew one third of the Senate in 1979. This time,
Demirel formed an AP minority government with the external support of the MSP and MHP on 25 November 1979. In late December 1979, the Chief of General
Staff and Force Commanders sent a letter to President KorutĂĽrk warning about the adverse effects of political instability. However, both the AP and
the opposition parties announced that they were not a party to the warnings in the letter. The 24 January Decrees of the Demirel government to improve
the economy, yielded positive results in the short-term, but the government could not cope with anarchy and terrorism, and martial law was declared in
many provinces. No matter what, a new president could not be elected after KorutĂĽrkâ€™s term of office had expired in the first months of 1980.
The 12 September Regime (1980-1983)
Military intervention occurred when the army seized the power on 12 September 1980 through the chain of order and command. The National Security
Council (MGK), which was composed of Kenan Evren, the Chief of the General Staff, and the Force Commanders, dissolved the Parliament and the
Government. Martial law was declared all over the country. The chairmen of the AP, CHP, MHP and MSP were taken into custody. The MGK which vested
itself with the legislative and executive powers, appointed Kenan Evren, the Chairman of the Council, as the Head of State. A new government was
formed by Admiral BĂĽlend Ulusu. Turgut Ă–zal, the Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry of the final AP government and the architect of the 24 January
decisions, was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for the Economy.
The economic stability policies which had been started by the Demirel government were continued in this period. The most significant development in
foreign policy was the approval by the MGK of "the Rogers Plan", named after the NATO Supreme Commander, permitting Greece to return to the military
wing of NATO, that was contrary to the policy that had been followed by Turkey for a long period of time.
It was decided in June 1981 to form a new "Constituent Assembly" which would include the MGK members and the Advisory Assembly (DM) to prepare a new
constitution. On the day that the members of the Advisory Assembly were announced, all the political parties which had earlier been banned, were
closed by the MGK and their properties were confiscated. The new constitution prepared by the Constitutional Commission of the DM was submitted to a
public referendum on 7 November 1982 and was approved by a majority vote of 91.2 percent. After the approval of the new Constitution, Kenan Evren
acquired the title of "President". The Political Parties Law went into effect on 24 April 1983 and political activities were gradually permitted for
the establishment of new political parties.
At the central right wing, the Nationalist Democracy Party (MDP), led by Ret. General Turgut Sunalp was established. The MDP defined itself as the
continuation of the spirit and philosophy of 12 September. The second initiative, which was not quite welcomed by the MGK, came from Turgut Ă–zal who
had resigned from the Ulusu government in 1982. He established the Motherland Party (ANAP) which promised to make economic reforms, liberalize the
economy and implement free market policies. The third was the Populist Party (HP), which was aimed to be a left of center party. Its chairman was
Necdet Calp, a former Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry in the BĂĽlend Ulusu government. Along with these parties, the True Path Party (DYP), which
was known to be a continuation of the AP, and the Social Democracy Party (SODEP), led by Erdal Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ, the son of Ä°smet Ä°nĂ¶nĂĽ, were established.
However, the MGK investigated the founding members of the new parties and vetoed a significant number of them. The lists of the SODEP and DYP were
vetoed the most. In fact, they were practically vetoed out of the general election so that only ANAP, MDP and HP could participate in the elections on
6 November 1983. Turgut Ă–zal's ANAP won the election getting 45.1 percent of the votes and 53 percent of the seats in the Parliament. The function
of the MGK ended and the four members of the MGK became members of the Presidential Council when the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) convened
on 24 November 1983. The first ANAP Government was formed on 13 December 1983 under the chairmanship of Turgut Ă–zal.
The First and Second Ă–zal Governments
ANAP, which attained the majority in the Parliament and came to power in 1983 under the leadership of Turgut Ă–zal, also succeeded in remaining in
power after the 1987 elections.
The most significant characteristics of the Ă–zal period were the structural changes in the economy realized by a series of decisive and courageous
reforms. These liberal structural reforms were referred to by Ă–zal, as the "Great Transformation". The milestones during Ă–zal's tenure were
fundamental changes in the Law for the Protection of the Value of Turkish Currency and the Foreign Currency Exchange system, imports and exports were
liberalized and a transition to a "Free Exchange Rate" in the foreign currency system. The "import substitution" economic model was replaced by an
economic policy that gave "priority to exports". State subsidies were decreased and production was oriented at exports. Value Added Tax was put into
effect to increase state revenues. Revenue Sharing Bonds were issued for sale, the Mass Housing and Privatization Administrations were established and
free trade zones were formed. Thus, economic growth accelerated and the chronic foreign currency deficit problem was solved.
The Council of Ministers of the 57th Government is in session.
The most important development in foreign policy was the relative improvement observed in Turkey's relations with the European countries. As a matter
of fact, the Advisory Assembly of the Council of Europe which had suspended its relations with Turkey, accepted the participation of Turkish
parliamentarians in this Assembly in May 1984. On the other hand, Turkey, which followed a policy of neutrality during the Iran-Iraq War that lasted
for years, positively developed her trade with both countries. Improvements continued in US relations, which had been revived after permission was
given to Greece to return to the military wing of NATO. In this period, Turkey obtained great increases in exports and tourism revenues due to the
intensive trade relations established especially with the Middle Eastern and European countries.
Important developments also occurred in domestic politics during the First Ă–zal Government. HP and SODEP were united under the name of the Social
Democratic Populist Party (SHP). The team of BĂĽlent Ecevit, the former Chairman of the CHP, who had been banned from politics, established the
Democratic Left Party (DSP). Political bans were removed in a referendum held on 6 September 1986. Thereafter, BĂĽlent Ecevit became the Chairman of
the DSP, SĂĽleyman Demirel became the Chairman of the DYP, Alparslan TĂĽrkes became the Chairman of the Nationalist Working Party (MĂ‡P) and Necmettin
Erbakan became the Chairman of the Welfare Party (RP).
In the early general elections held in 1987, ANAP came to power with 36 percent of the votes and 65 percent of the seats in the Parliament. The SHP
ranked second with 24.75 percent of the votes and the DYP obtained 19.15 percent of the votes. The other parties could not win seats in the Parliament
because they could not pass the 10 percent vote barrier. When Kenan Evren's term in office expired, Turgut Ă–zal was elected President on 9 November
1989. He appointed Yildirim Akbulut as the Prime Minister. Akbulut was later elected the new chairman of the ANAP in the party's Special General
Congress that convened in November 1989.
The Gulf Crisis
President Turgut Ă–zal provided for Turkey's emergence in the forefront in the international arena and an active role with the Western allies through
his personal diplomatic initiatives during the Gulf Crisis that started with the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990. Turkey was one of the
first countries which implemented the economic embargo imposed on Iraq by the UN Security Council.
The Transformation in the ANAP and the Period of Coalitions
A new government was formed after Mesut Yilmaz was elected as the ANAP party chairman replacing Yildirim Akbulut in June 1991. The government formed
by Yilmaz decided to hold early elections which were held on 21 October 1991. The DYP, which focused on democratization and lowering the rate of
inflation in its election campaign, emerged as the leading party with 27.03 percent of the votes. The DYP was followed by ANAP, SHP, RP and DSP.
However, no party could obtain a majority of the seats at the TGNA. A DYP-SHP coalition was formed by SĂĽleyman Demirel on 20 November 1991. This
government succeeded to a certain extent in reviving economic growth and increasing the real income of the wage earners.
Multi-dimensional relations were established with various initiatives of both President Turgut Ă–zal and the government, with the Central Asian
Republics which had gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Thus, new horizons were opened for Turkey to become a
"regional state". The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), including the entire Black Sea region, envisages economic, commercial and eventually
political cooperation among the countries of the Black Sea region. It was established in June 1992 and has increased the importance of Turkey in this
region. Furthermore, Turkey has also played an active role in the peace operations in Bosnia Herzegovina and Somalia.
SĂĽleyman Demirel was elected President when President Turgut Ă–zal passed away on 17 April 1993. Tansu Ă‡iller replaced Demirel as the Chairman of
the DYP in the special general assembly held on 13 June 1993. The new DYP-SHP Coalition Government formed by Tansu Ă‡iller, Turkey's first female
Prime Minister, stayed in power from 25 June 1993 until the elections on 25 December 1995.
The Welfare Party became the leading party with 21 percent of the votes in the December 1995 elections. An ANAP-DYP Coalition Government was formed on
5 March 1996, with Mesut Yilmaz as the Prime Minister and this coalition was called the "Anayol" (Main Path). This government lasted for four
months. When the DYP announced that it would support a motion filed by the RP against the government, Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz submitted his
resignation to President SĂĽleyman Demirel on 6 June 1996. Demirel appointed Necmettin Erbakan, the RP Chairman, to form the new government. Erbakan
formed the RP-DYP coalition which was called the "Refahyol" (Welfare-Path). Tansu Ă‡iller, the DYP Chairperson, participated in this government as
the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Deputy Prime Minister. The intensified debates on fundamentalism in this period, caused social and political
tension. A new process commenced when the National Security Council issued a warning in its meeting on 28 February 1997 that the danger of
fundamentalism was increasing. During this tense period, Prime Minister Erbakan resigned on 18 June 1997 in order to transfer the prime ministry to
Tansu Ă‡iller, his coalition partner. However, President SĂĽleyman Demirel charged Mesut Yilmaz, the ANAP Chairman, rather than Tansu Ă‡iller, with
forming the new government on 19 June 1997. President Demirel approved the ANAP-DSP-DTP Coalition Government formed by Yilmaz, which is called the
"Anasol-D" by the public. During the period of Anasol-D which obtained a vote of confidence on 12 July 1997, an early election decision was taken
with the overwhelming majority at the TGNA and a decision was taken for the general and local elections to be held together on 18 April 1999. The
government which ruled for 17 months was removed from power by an interpellation on 25 November 1998. As the initiatives of BĂĽlent Ecevit charged
with forming the government were of no avail, the duty was taken over by Yalim Erez, independent deputy from the Province of Mugla and minister of
Industry. While Erez's initiatives were still going on, the DYP Chairperson Tansu Ă‡iller's announcement that she will support a minority government
under the chairmanship of BĂĽlent Ecevit, made possible a formula to win a vote of confidence. Likewise, BĂĽlent Ecevit's minority government wining
a vote of confidence on 17 January 1999, worked until the election on April the 18th. As the result of election while DSP, MHP, FP, DYP and ANAP had a
right to be represented in the Parliament, CHP could not exceed the general barrage of 10 percent and could not enter the Parliament. While DSP
increased its votes at a high rate, MHP was the second party to get the greatest number of votes. The center-right parties such as ANAP and DYP
suffered great loses of votes. Also FP (Virtue Party), founded with the inclusion of majority of the independent deputies of RP after it was
abolished, could not maintain its percentage of votes.
The DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition government was formed on 28 May 1999, under the chairmanship of BĂĽlent Ecevit, the chairman of the leading party from the
election. The 57th Government, formed as government of reconciliation and advance, handling, as soon as it took office, such important issues as the
civilianization of the State Security Courts, the Act of Banking, the Constitutional amendment envisaging "International Arbitration" and the Social
Security Reform, has adopted new laws. The government which has achieved a noteworthy success in both application of the economic stability program
and curbing inflation within the context of the harmonization process with EU that was initiated with the Helsinki Summit of 1999, has also concluded
the presidential elections with a remarkable conciliatory understanding. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the President of the Constitutional Court, who was
unanimously nominated by leaders of the five political parties represented in the parliament, took over the presidency from SĂĽleyman Demirel whose
term in office expired on 16 May 2000. He was elected the 10th president of the Republic of Turkey with 330 votes in the third round ballot.