Turkey - Background

Governments of Turkey, 1946-present
Year Prime Minister Party composition
1946 Recep Peker  
1947 Hasan Saka  
1948 Hasan Saka  
1949 Şemsettin Günaltay  
1950 Adnan Menderes  
1951 Adnan Menderes  
1954 Adnan Menderes  
1955 Adnan Menderes  
1957 Adnan Menderes  
1960 Cemal Gürsel  
1961 Emin Fahrettin Özdilek  
1961 İsmet İnönü  
1962 İsmet İnönü  
1963 İsmet İnönü  
1965 Suad Hayri Ürgüplü  
1965 Süleyman Demirel  
1969 Süleyman Demirel  
1970 Süleyman Demirel  
1971 Nihat Erim  
1971 Nihat Erim  
1972 İlhan Öztrak  
1973 Mehmet Naim Talu  
1974 Mustafa Bülent Ecevit  
1974 Sadi Irmak  
1975 Süleyman Demirel  
1977 Mustafa Bülent Ecevit  
1977 Süleyman Demirel  
1978 Mustafa Bülent Ecevit  
1979 Süleyman Demirel  
1980 Bülent Ulusu  
1983 Turgut Özal  
1987 Turgut Özal  
1989 Yıldırım Akbulut  
1991 Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz  
1991 Süleyman Demirel  
1993 Tansu Çiller  
1995 Tansu Çiller  
1995 Tansu Çiller  
1996 Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz  
1996 Necmettin Erbakan  
1997 Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz  
1999 Mustafa Bülent Ecevit  
1999 Mustafa Bülent Ecevit  
2002 Abdullah Gül  
2003 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  
2007 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  

 

Missing information on party affiliation.

Turkish history at a glance

Turkey was formerly a monarchy, ruled by a Sultan, with his capital in Constantinople (now İstanbul). At its zenith, the Turkish Empire, under the Osmanlı (Ottoman) dynasty, extended from the Persian (Arabian) Gulf to Morocco, including most Arab regions and south-eastern Europe. Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, political control of Turkey itself passed to the nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal, a distinguished army officer. On 23 April 1920, in defiance of the Sultan, a newly elected assembly established a provisional Government, led by Kemal, in Ankara, then a minor provincial town. Kemal’s forces waged war against the Greek army in 1920–22, forcing the Greeks to evacuate Smyrna (İzmir) and eastern Thrace (the European portion of Turkey). The new regime abolished the sultanate in November 1922 and declared Turkey a republic, with Ankara as its capital and Kemal as its first President, on 29 October 1923. The Ottoman caliphate (the former monarch’s position as Islamic religious leader) was abolished in March 1924.

Kemal remained President of Turkey, with extensive dictatorial powers, until his death in 1938. He pursued a radical programme of far-reaching reform and modernization, including: secularization of the state (in 1928); abolition of Islamic courts and religious instruction in schools; emancipation of women (enfranchised in 1934); banning of polygamy; development of industry; introduction of a Latin alphabet; adoption of the Gregorian (in place of the Islamic) calendar; and encouragement of European culture and technology. Another Westernizing reform was the introduction of surnames in 1934: Kemal assumed the name Atatürk (‘Father of the Turks’). His autocratic regime attempted, with considerable success, to replace the country’s Islamic traditions by the principles of republicanism, nationalism, populism and state control.

Following Atatürk’s death, his Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP—Republican People’s Party), the only authorized political grouping, remained in power under his close associate, İsmet İnönü, who had been Prime Minister in 1923–24 and 1925–37. İnönü was President from 1938 to 1950, and maintained Turkey’s neutrality during most of the Second World War (Turkey declared war on Germany in February 1945). After the war İnönü introduced some liberalization of the regime. The one-party system was ended in 1946, when opposition leaders, including Celâl Bayar and Adnan Menderes, registered the Demokratik Parti (DP—Democratic Party); numerous other parties were subsequently formed. The DP won Turkey’s first free election in 1950, and ruled for the next decade. Bayar became President, with Menderes as Prime Minister.

In May 1960 the Government was overthrown by a military coup, led by Gen. Cemal Gürsel, who assumed the presidency, claiming that the DP regime had betrayed Atatürk’s principle of secularism. A series of coalition governments, mostly led by İnönü, held office from November 1961 until October 1965, when an election was won by the conservative Adalet Partisi (Justice Party), led by Süleyman Demirel, which appealed to supporters of the former DP. The Demirel Government remained in power until March 1971, when escalating student and labour unrest caused the armed forces to demand its resignation. ‘Guided democracy’, under military supervision, continued until October 1973, with a succession of right-wing ‘non-party’ administrations, martial law and the rigorous suppression of all left-wing activities.

Sources:

http://www.turkishelections.com/governments, retrieved 30 May, 2011

Historical Context (Turkey), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 30 May 2011 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/EE002018

Inter-Parliamentary Union: PARLINE database on national parliaments