The Turkish Republic, Army Coup of 1980 and Aftermath
Mesut Yilmaz, Suleyman Demirel, Communist bloc, political assassinations, Parliamentary elections
The government (1979-1980) of Suleyman Demirel chose to retain Turkey’s close alliance with the West in the hope of developing the private sector of the economy with foreign assistance. The CHP reacted by advocating socialist control of the basic means of production and the establishment of new alliances with developing nations and the Communist bloc. Extremists on both the left and the right turned to political assassinations and other forms of violent acts. On September 12, 1980, the army took over the government and suspended the constitution. The new rulers imposed martial law, banned political activity, restricted the press, and jailed thousands of suspected terrorists.
The military governed through the National Security Council; the council’s head, General Kenan Evren, was chief of state, and Admiral Bulent Ulusu became prime minister. A major step toward civilian rule was taken in 1982, when a new constitution was enacted, under which Evren became president of the republic. Parliamentary elections in November 1983 resulted in an upset victory for the conservative Motherland Party (the military had favored a more right-wing group), and party leader Turgut Ozal became prime minister. In 1989 Ozal was chosen as Turkey’s first civilian head of state since 1960, and Yildirim Akbulut replaced him as prime minister. Mesut Yilmaz replaced Akbulat in June 1991. In elections in October, Yilmaz’s Motherland Party fell to second place behind Suleyman Demirel’s True Path Party, and Demirel became prime minister.
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