Turkey in the 1980’s and 1990’s

By | January 15, 2022

According to localcollegeexplorer, the military junta, chaired by General Kenar Evren, set up a National Security Council in September 1980 (Mïllî Güvenlik Konseyi), promulgated a provisional Constitution of 7 articles and proceeded to bring order to the country. A transitional government was established under Bulend Ulusu. In October 1981 a constituent assembly prepared the new constitution in collaboration with the National Security Council. The benefits of national pacification and the end of terrorism were felt with the fall in inflation from 120 to 30% and with a sharp increase in exports to the Middle East. The emergency situation and the limitation of individual rights caused the deterioration of the relationship with the European Economic Community and put into question the agreement of 1963 (January 1982). On November 7, 1982, the text of the new Constitution was approved in a referendum (91.37% of the votes), which affirmed loyalty to nationalism in the form defined by Atatürk, guaranteed the fundamental freedoms and rights of citizens, attributed various powers to the President of the Republic, elected every seven years and not re-eligible. Thanks to a transitional rule, Evren was elected president.

In May 1983 the political parties were organized: the Party of Nationalist Democracy (Milliyetçi Demokrasi Partisi), or party of the military; the Party of the Motherland (Anavatan Partisi) of Turgut Özal, of liberal tendencies; the Populist Party (Halkçı Parti), close to the junta, which presented itself as a center-left party. The elections of November 6, 1983 saw the victory of the Motherland Party, which obtained 45.15% of the votes and, thanks to the majority prize, 211 deputies in Parliament, against 117 (30.46%) of the Populist Party and 71 (23.27%) of the Nationalist Democracy Party. At the head of the government he was called Özal who had held government posts in 1979 with Süleyman Demirel and then had been deputy prime minister of Ulusu. He carried out an economic program of extreme liberalism. Among the first acts were the establishment of free zones open to free initiative, which enjoyed extraterritorial rights, and support for the formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with President Rauf Denktaçs. Sosyal Demokrasi Partisi) of M. Erdal Inönü (23.40%), the Right Way Party (Doğru Yol Partisi), heir to Demirel’s party (12.25%), and the Prosperity Party (Refah Partisi), of moderate Islamic tendencies, inspired by the party of Necmettin Erbakan (4.40%).

The political struggle centered on constitutional changes: on September 6, 1987 with a popular referendum the rule was repealed which required the leaders of the old parties, including Ecevit, Demirel, Türkes̨, Erbakan, to remain away from politics for ten years (the repeal passed with 50.16% of the votes). Özal anticipated his opponents’ moves by calling new elections for November 29, 1987. The Motherland Party won 36.31% of the votes and an absolute majority in Parliament with 292 seats. Only the party of Inönü (24.74% and 99 seats) and that of the right way of Demirel (19.14% and 59 seats) exceeded the 10% barrier. Among the defeated Ecevit, who announced his withdrawal from politics, Erbakan and Türkes̨.

In addition to the serious economic crisis, faced with the free market, the Özal era was characterized by many international problems: first of all the request to become a member by right of the European Economic Community. The accusation of violating human rights and using torture and the Armenian issue prompted the Parliament and the Council of Europe to suspend the practice. Özal then undertook a series of visits to Europe and the Near East. In October 1988 he was also in Italy. But on February 6, 1990 the request was again rejected, albeit “temporarily”. With the United States, albeit in conditions of great difficulty, economic and military agreements were renewed in 1987, while relations with Greece were often on the verge of collapse. However, in January 1988 there was a summit meeting in Davos in Switzerland, and then in June Özal went to Athens on an official visit. At the same time, the Turkey in 1987-88 intensified relations with the Soviet Union, with Yugoslavia and the Balkan countries. The problem was the treatment of Turkish minorities. Especially Bulgaria was accused of wanting to assimilate and annihilate minorities. Internally, the Kurdish question continued to cause concern in the areas of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt and Hakkâri, where martial law was often in force. In the meantime, Turkey opened to the Islamic world, of which it considered itself an indivisible part; supported the rights of the Palestinians and recognized the Palestinian state proclaimed in November 1988. of which it was considered an indivisible part; supported the rights of the Palestinians and recognized the Palestinian state proclaimed in November 1988. of which it was considered an indivisible part; supported the rights of the Palestinians and recognized the Palestinian state proclaimed in November 1988.

At the end of the mandate of General Evren, Özal was elected president, while the leadership of the government was entrusted to Yildïrïm Akbulut, former president of the Parliament (November 1989). Following the elections of 20 October 1991 won by the Right Way Party, Demirel, leader of the party, formed a coalition government with the populist Social Democratic Party (Halkçılık Sosyaldemokrat Partisi) of Inönü. After Özal’s death on April 17, 1993, Demirel was elected president on May 16, 1993 and Ms. Tansu ÇCiller of the Right Way Party formed a coalition government with the Populist Social Democratic Party, led by Murat Karayalçın.

While the Turkish economy showed clear signs of improvement, internal problems always remained dominated by the Kurdish question: the aspirations for independence of the Turkish Kurds (about 12,000,000, partly adherents to the PKK, Kurdish Workers’ Party), in the regions Oriental were strongly opposed by the Turkish authorities. The Kurdish attempts to raise the attention of international public opinion on the problem, shared by ᾽Irāq, Iran and Syria, also with sensational actions against foreign citizens, was matched by government policy aimed at dealing with the issue in sphere of internal affairs and to resolve it with large-scale war operations. In March 1995, the Turkish army began a wide-ranging operation with the use of numerous armored units, airplanes and artillery, with the aim of destroying the supply bases of the Kurdish guerrillas in Iraqi territory up to a depth of 40 km. The action was revived, on a smaller scale, in July 1995, raising strong protests in Baghdād for the “flagrant violation of the sovereignty of Irāq”.

The municipal elections in the spring of 1994, with the victory of the Prosperity Party in numerous cities and especially in Ankara and Istanbul, brought to the fore the problem of the difficult relationship between Islamism and secularism, which had already given rise to phenomena of intolerance and also to real lynchings, such as that of Sivas in July 1993 in which thirty-seven people died, including many secular writers. The affirmation of the party of Muslims was accompanied by the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and this caused, in a “secular” country by Constitution, a crack in relations between Shiites, Sunnis and laity.

The profound changes that occurred in the international scenario with the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and with the new institutional structure of the Balkans and the Near and Middle East have had a direct effect on Turkey, which has seen itself with a leap at the center of politics. international in sectors of primary importance. Already in the so-called Gulf War waged against Ṣaddām Ḥusayn’s Irāq, Turkey played a leading role by providing logistical assistance, but not limited to, to NATO troops and welcoming the populations fleeing the Irāq. Subsequently its foreign policy was directed towards the Republics of Central Asia with a Turkish linguistic majority (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, etc.

Turkey in the 1980's