Rahşan Ecevit

Rahşan Ecevit (née Aral, 17 December 1923 – 17 January 2020) was a Turkish author, painter and politician.[1] She was the second lady of Turkey four times during her husband Bülent Ecevit's prime ministries.

Rahşan Ecevit
Rahşan Ecevit - 28.2.15.JPG
Ecevit in 2015
Leader of the Democratic Left Party
In office
14 November 1985 – 13 September 1987
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byBülent Ecevit
Leader of the Democratic Left People's Party
In office
17 January 2010 – 12 June 2010
Preceded byHulki Cevizoğlu
Succeeded byParty closed
Personal details
Zekiye Rahşan Aral

(1923-12-17)17 December 1923
Bursa, Turkey
Died17 January 2020(2020-01-17) (aged 96)
Ankara, Turkey
Resting placeTurkish State Cemetery, Ankara
Political partyDemocratic Left Party (1985–2009)
Democratic Left People's Party (2009–2010)
(m. 1946; died 2006)
RelativesNazlı Ecevit (mother-in-law)
Alma materRobert College
ProfessionPolitician, writer, painter

She was born in Bursa, Turkey to a family from Şebinkarahisar, a town in the north-eastern Giresun province. Her father was Namık Zeki Aral and her mother Zahide Aral. Their family came from Thessaloniki after the population exchange agreement in 1920. Rahşan graduated from the American high school Robert College in İstanbul. She married her classmate Bülent Ecevit in 1946.

Following the military coup in 1980 led by General Kenan Evren, her husband was imprisoned and was suspended from active politics for life. Bülent Ecevit's party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), was closed down. On 14 November 1985, Rahşan founded a centre left social democratic party, the Democratic Left Party (DSP), and led it until her husband's ban from politics was lifted in 1987.

Rahşan Ecevit was the vice president of the Democratic Left Party and responsible for the party's organization between 1989 and 2004. She became the leader of the new Democratic Left People's Party (DSHP) on 17 January 2010 when the DSP seemed to no longer have any chance to win seats in elections.[2] After Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had become the leader of the CHP and halted the rightist trend within the party, she disbanded her new party and with many members joined the now rather social democratic CHP.[3]

On 5 November 2006, her husband died following an almost 6-month long medically induced coma.

Rahşan Ecevit died on 17 January 2020 at a hospital in Ankara and was buried next to her husband in the Turkish State Cemetery a few days later.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Benjakob, Omer (31 January 2020). "Wikipedia Beats Erdogan's Censorship – and Turks Are Flocking Back". Haaretz. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  2. ^ "DSHP'de Cevizoğlu gitti, Ecevit geldi" (in Turkish). cnnturk. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Rahşan Ecevit Kurultayda". Archived from the original on 17 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Rahşan Ecevit Hayatını Kaybetti". 17 January 2020. Archived from the original on 17 January 2020.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Party founded
Leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP)
Succeeded by
Bülent Ecevit
Preceded by
Hulki Cevizoğlu
Leader of the Democratic Left People's Party (DSHP)
Succeeded by
Party closed