Multi-party period of the Republic of Turkey

The multi-party period of the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye'de çok partili dönem) started with the establishment of the opposition Liberal Republican Party (Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası) by Ali Fethi Okyar in 1930 after President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk asked Okyar to establish the party as part of an attempted transition to multi-party democracy in Turkey. It was soon closed by the Republican People's Party government, however, when Atatürk found the party to be too influenced by Islamist-rooted reactionary elements.

In 1945, the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi) was founded by Nuri Demirağ. The next year, the Democrat Party was established, and was elected in 1950. Very popular at first, the government, led by Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, relaxed the restrictions on public Islam and presided over a booming economy thanks to the Marshall Plan. In the later half of the decade, however, the government introduced censorship laws limiting dissent, while it became plagued by high inflation and a massive debt. The government also attempted to use the army to suppress its political rivals. The army revolted in the 1960 coup, ending the Menderes government, and soon thereafter returning rule to civilian administration.

1960 coupEdit

The army balked at the government's instrumentalization of it, and on May 27, 1960, General Cemal Gürsel led a military coup d'état removing President Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Menderes. Menderes was executed with 2 ministers. In October 1961, the military junta returned the power to civilians. The political system that emerged in the wake of the 1960 coup was a fractured one, producing a series of unstable government coalitions in parliament. In 1965, however, the Justice Party of Süleyman Demirel won an absolute majority, which it increased in 1969. But there was increasing polarization between the Justice Party on the right and the Republican People's Party of İsmet İnönü and Bülent Ecevit on the left. In 1969, the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was founded by Alparslan Türkeş, a member of the Counter-Guerrilla, the Turkish branch of NATO's stay-behind army. MHP's youth organizations became known as the Grey Wolves.

1971 coupEdit

A memorandum from the military on March 12, 1971 threatened intervention, forcing the Demirel government to resign. After a period of interim government, Bülent Ecevit became Prime Minister and governed in a coalition with the religious National Salvation Party.

The fractured political scene and poor economy led to mounting violence between ultranationalists and communists in the streets of Turkey's cities. The NATO stay-behind army Counter-Guerrilla, related to the National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı, MIT) engaged itself in domestic terror and killed hundreds. As in Italy, it engaged itself in a strategy of tension[1] The overall death-toll of the terror of the 1970s in estimated at 5,000, with right-wing and terrorism responsible for the most part. According to statistics published by the British Searchlight magazine, in 1978 there were 3,319 fascist attacks, in which 831 were killed and 3,121 wounded.[2]

Invasion of CyprusEdit

In 1974, the Greek military junta supported a coup in Cyprus led by extremist Greek Cypriots who were hostile to President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, for his communist leanings. Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974 to counter the potential Greek coup.

1980 coupEdit

Out of the rubble of the previous political system came a single-party governance under Turgut Özal's Motherland Party (ANAP), which combined a globally oriented economic program with conservative social values. Under Özal, the economy boomed, converting towns like Gaziantep from small provincial capitals into mid-sized economic boomtowns.

Upon the retirement of President Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 coup, Özal was elected President, leaving parliament in the hands of Yıldırım Akbulut, and, in 1991, Mesut Yılmaz. Yılmaz redoubled Turkey's economic profile and renewed its orientation toward Europe. However, political instability followed, as the host of politicians banned from politics during the 1980 coup reentered politics, fracturing the vote, and the Motherland Party became increasingly corrupt. Özal died of a heart attack in 1993, and Süleyman Demirel was elected president.

1995 electionsEdit

The 1995 elections brought a short-lived coalition between Yılmaz's Motherland Party and the True Path Party, now with Tansu Çiller at the helm. Çiller then turned to the Welfare Party (RP), headed by Necmettin Erbakan, the former leader of the National Salvation Party, allowing Erbakan to enter the Prime Ministry. In 1997, the military, citing his government's support for religious policies deemed dangerous to Turkey's secular nature, sent a memorandum to Erbakan requesting that he resign, which he did. Shortly thereafter, the RP was banned and reborn as the Virtue Party (FP). A new government was formed by ANAP and Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) supported from the outside by the center-left Republican People's Party (CHP), led by Deniz Baykal. Under this government, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish organisation Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was captured in 1999 in Kenya. Imprisoned in the prison-island of İmralı in the Marmara Sea, Öcalan was tried for treason and sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

1999 electionsEdit

The DSP won big in the 1999 elections on the strength of the Öcalan abduction. Second place went, surprisingly, to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). These two parties, alongside Yılmaz's ANAP formed a government. The popular perception was that it would fail; these were, after all, the inheritors of the two groups that were fighting so violently in the streets during the 1970s. However, the government was somewhat effective, if not harmonious, bringing about much-needed economic reform, instituting human rights legislation, and bringing Turkey ever closer to the European Union (EU).

Erdoğan government (2002 - today)Edit

MP Şafak Pavey on the Islamisation of Turkey during the AKP government.

2002 electionsEdit

A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the religiously conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) of former mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[3] The Erdoğan government started negotiations with the EU on October 3, 2005.[4]

2007 electionsEdit

The AKP again won the 2007 elections, [5] which followed the controversial August 2007 presidential election, during which AKP member Abdullah Gül was elected President at the third round.[6] Recent developments in Iraq (explained under positions on terrorism and security), secular and religious concerns, the intervention of the military in political issues, relations with the EU, the United States, and the Muslim world were the main issues. The outcome of this election, which brought the Turkish and Kurdish ethnic/nationalist parties (MHP and DTP) into the parliament, will affect Turkey's bid for European Union membership, as Turkish perceptions of the current process (or lack thereof) affected the results and will continue to affect policy making in coming years.


Alleged members of a clandestine group called Ergenekon were detained in 2008 as part of a long and complex trial. Members are accused of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the civilian government.

"Sledgehammer" plotEdit

On 22 February 2010 more than 40 officers arrested and then were formally charged with attempting to overthrow the government with respect to so-called "Sledgehammer" plot. They include four admirals, a general and two colonels, some of them retired, including former commanders of the Turkish navy and air force (three days later, the former commanders of the navy and air force were released).

Since 2013Edit

Although the 2013 protests in Turkey started as a response against the removal of Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul, they have sparked riots across the country in cities such as Izmir and Ankara as well.[7] Three and a half million people are estimated to have taken an active part in almost 5,000 demonstrations across Turkey connected with the original Gezi Park protest.[8] Twenty-two people were killed and more than 8,000 were injured, many critically.[8]

In August 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey's first direct presidential election.[9]

In the Turkish parliamentary elections of 1 November 2015, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won back the absolute majority in parliament: 317 of the 550 seats. CHP won 134 seats, HDP 59 seats, MHP 40 seats.[10]

Since 2013, in the conflict between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Turkish government, 304 civilians were killed by ISIL attacks across Turkey,[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] excluding 2015 Ankara bombings allegedly perperated by ISIL in which 109 civilians died.[19][20] 2015 Ankara bombings was the deadliest terror attack in modern Turkish history.[21]

On 15 July 2016, factions within the Turkish Military attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, citing growing non-secularism and censorship as motivation for the attempted coup. The coup was blamed on the influence of the vast network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.[22] [23] In the aftermath of the failed coup, major purges have occurred, including that of military officials, police officers, judges, governors and civil servants.[24] There has also been significant media purge in the aftermath of the failed coup.[25] There has been allegations of torture in connection with these purges.[26]

In December 2016, an off duty cop Mevlut Altintas shoots dead the Russian Ambassador inside an Art Gallery. He refuses to surrender and is then shot dead by special police.[27]

On 16 April 2017, the Turkey constitutional referendum was voted in, although narrowly and divided. The referendum creates a Presidential Republic. Many observers and European states view the referendum as an "enabling act" and see it as "democratically backsliding".[28]

On 24 June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the presidential election in Turkey again.[7] He was Turkey's first directly elected president.[29] Erdogan's party AKP won a majority in the parliament with its ally MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) in the election. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) considered the election unfair.[30]

In October 2018, Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia sends a group of government agents to murder prominent critic, Jamal Khashoggi. His death is just a few days before his sixtieth birthday.[31]

Between 9 October and 25 November 2019, Turkey conducted a military offensive into north-eastern Syria.[32][33][34]


  1. ^ Ganser, Daniele. NATO's Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe Archived 2006-04-25 at the Wayback Machine, Frank Cass, London, 2005.[page needed]
  2. ^ Searchlight n°47, May 1979, p.6. Cited in Ganser, Daniele.[page needed]
  3. ^ agencies, Staff and (4 November 2002). "Islamic party wins Turkish general election". the Guardian.
  4. ^ "Press corner". European Commission - European Commission.
  5. ^ "Ruling Party Wins – DW – 07/23/2007".
  6. ^ "Gul elected as Turkish president". the Guardian. 28 August 2007.
  7. ^ a b Cagaptay, The new sultan: Erdogan and the crisis of modern Turkey (2020).
  8. ^ a b de Bellaigue, Christopher (19 December 2013). "Turkey: 'Surreal, Menacing…Pompous'". New York Review of Books. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins Turkish presidential election". BBC News. 10 August 2014.
  10. ^ Weaver, Matthew; Letsch, Constanze; Shaheen, Kareem (1 November 2015). "Turkey election: Erdoğan's AKP wins outright majority – as it happened". The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Ten German dead in Istanbul terror attack". The Local. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Suicide bombing hits Istanbul shopping area popular with tourists". The Independent. 19 March 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  13. ^ hermesauto (2 July 2016). "Istanbul airport attack toll rises to 45 as child dies". Straits Times. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Death toll rises to 57 in ISIL Gaziantep attack". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Death toll from bomb blasts at HDP rally rises to 4". Archived from the original on 23 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Suruç'ta ölenlerin sayısı 32'ye yükseldi". 21 July 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Does Turkey have to learn to live with terror? - SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ". Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  18. ^ Weise, Zia; Graham, Chris; Squires, Nick (9 January 2017). "Istanbul nightclub attack: Search continues for unidentified terrorist gunman who killed 39 at New Year's Eve party". The Telegraph – via
  19. ^ NRC Handelsblad, 29 June 2016.
  20. ^ "BAŞBAKANLIK KOORDİNASYON MERKEZİ AÇIKLAMASI 11 EKİM – 12:24". Prime Minister of Turkey. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  21. ^ "BBC: Ankara explosions leave more than 80 dead – officials". BBC News. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  22. ^ Filkins, Dexter (17 October 2016). "Turkey's Thirty-Year Coup". The New Yorker. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  23. ^ "Turkey's coup attempt: What you need to know". BBC News. 16 July 2016.
  24. ^ Morris, Loveday (19 July 2016). "Turkey suspends more than 15,000 education workers in widening purge". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 24 - Committee to Protect Journalists". 25 July 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Detainees beaten, tortured and raped after failed Turkey coup, Amnesty says". independent.
  27. ^ "Who was the Ankara assassin?". ABC News. 20 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Erdoğan clinches victory in Turkish constitutional referendum". the Guardian. 16 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Recep Erdogan, Turkey's first directly elected president and 'Sultan'". Hindustan Times. 16 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Turkey election: Erdogan wins re-election as president". BBC News. 24 June 2018.
  31. ^ "MBS approved operation to capture or kill Khashoggi: US report".
  32. ^ "Pence heads to Turkey as Erdogan rejects calls for ceasefire in Syria". Deutsche Welle. 16 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Full Text: Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Russia on northern Syria". The Defense Post. 22 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Turkey not resuming military operation in northeast Syria: security source". Reuters. 25 November 2019 – via