Süleiman Demirel

(b. 1924)

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(b. 6 Oct. 1924).

Prime Minister of Turkey 1965–71, 1975–7, 1979–80, 1991–3; President 1993–2000 Born in Islamköi, he studied civil engineering at Istanbul Technical University and became a civil servant. He joined the right‐wing Justice Party, whose chairman he became in 1964. As Prime Minister, he supported his agricultural constituencies, e.g. through major state investment in infrastructure. At the same time, he fostered good relations with the business community through his encouragement of private investment and free trade. He resigned in 1971 when the military demanded a number of policies under threat of intervention. Demirel remained the leader of his party and, together with Ecevit, dominated Turkish politics throughout the 1970s. He was deposed by the military in 1980 and temporarily imprisoned. He was released in 1983, but was forbidden to take part in any political activity for ten years. He nevertheless instigated the Grand Turkey Party in 1983, but the party was not allowed to contest elections since it was seen as a direct successor to the now outlawed Justice Party. Demirel tried once more with the formation of the True Path Party (DYP), which he came to lead officially after the ban on political activity was lifted in 1987. He won the 1991 elections, and in 1993 was elected President by parliament. He became so popular that the Prime Minister, Ecevit, tried to have the consitution changed to allow him a second term of office. This failed to get the necessary parliamentary majority, and he was succeeded by Ahmed Necdet Sezer.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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