Turkey History Part V
After the elections of October 1991, a coalition government was established under Demirel , the chairman of the Right Path Party (DYP, successor organization to the Justice Party; 27.03% of the votes), and Erdal İnönü (* 1926, † 2007) , chairman of the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP, 20.75%), and the ANAP (24.01%) were relegated to the opposition. In September 1992 the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which like all previous parties had not been approved since 1983, was re-established under the chairmanship of İnönü. After Özal’s death, Demirel was elected President of the Republic in May 1993 (until 2000). Tansu Çiller became the first woman to become a woman in June 1993 (DYP) the office of the Prime Minister (until 1996). In the parliamentary elections of December 1995, the National Religious Welfare Party (RP) led by N. Erbakan became the strongest political force. In lengthy negotiations, however, ANAP and DYP agreed in March 1996 on a government coalition, with their leaders Yılmaz and Çiller taking turns as prime ministers. The government alliance broke up in June 1996. The following coalition government of RP and DYP under Prime Minister Erbakan resigned in June 1997 under pressure from the military. Prime Minister was again M. Yılmaz (1997-98). In January 1998 the RP, which constituted the largest political group in Parliament, was banned (declared legal by the European Court of Human Rights at the end of July 2001); Their role was taken over by the Virtue Party, which was founded by religious forces shortly before the RP was eliminated in December 1997 (FP; conversion of most of the former RP MPs). After the overthrow of Prime Minister Yılmaz(November 25, 1998), Ecevit succeeded him in 1999 ; he formed a coalition government from the Democratic Left Party (DSP), from the Party of the National Movement (MHP) and ANAP. In May 2000 the constitutional lawyer A. N. Sezer became the new president.
Rise and government of Erdoğan and the AKP (since 2001)
After the Constitutional Court banned the Virtue Party in June 2001, two successor parties emerged; The liberal-oriented Party for Justice and Development (AKP) of the former Istanbul Mayor R. T. Erdoğan became significant. The government crisis broke out in the summer of 2002 in the dispute over the attitude towards the EU and the reform course to resolve the economic difficulties (severe economic and financial crisis since February 2001). After prominent ministers and members of parliament left the DSP and the resulting loss of the absolute majority in the governing coalition in July 2002, new elections were scheduled for November 3, 2002. There was an overwhelming victory for the AKP, which is considered to be moderately religious, under Erdoğan(34.9% of the vote and 363 MPs) and for the complete overturning of the established party structure; the three previous governing parties DSP, MHP and ANAP as well as the DYP failed because of the 10% clause, the role of the opposition in parliament was taken over by the CHP alone (19.1%). The office of Prime Minister of a government that was not dependent on coalition partners and supported solely by the AKP was initially assumed by A. Gül , as Erdoğan was initially unable to become Prime Minister after a 1996 judgment (criminal record for incitement to the people). The AKP and the government announced extensive economic reforms, a new constitution in line with EU standards and the continuation of the European course.
After the constitutional amendment (Articles 67 and 76; December 27, 2002, despite the veto by President A. Sezer) to lift the political ban on Erdoğan and his successor in elections, Erdoğan was elected Prime Minister on March 11, 2003; A. Gültook over the office of Foreign Minister.
In 2004, Parliament launched numerous legislative reforms in order to bring it closer to EU standards. It passed ten constitutional amendments, including the abolition of the notorious State Security Courts, the introduction of parliamentary control of the National Defense Council and equality between men and women. Parliament passed a comprehensive reform of the criminal law on September 26, 2004. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit Petsinclude.
In connection with the election of a new president, there was a serious domestic political crisis in April / May 2007. Mass demonstrations and protests were directed against the occupation of the office by an AKP candidate. The fear of large sections of the population that Turkey would become Islamic as a result of this was nourished by the military leadership. The AKP did not succeed in pushing through the election of its candidate, as the opposition boycotted the votes and thus rendered the parliament incapable of making decisions after a ruling by the Turkish Constitutional Court. New (parliamentary) elections were scheduled for July 22, 2007 as a way out of the crisis.
In the early elections, the ruling AKP was even able to expand its position as the strongest political force with 46.7% of the vote. On August 28, 2007, the parliament finally elected A. Gül as candidate of the AKP for the new president. Proceedings by the AKP, including lifting the headscarf ban at universities, resulted in a motion to ban the AKP. The public prosecutor’s office had justified the request for a ban on the grounds that the AKP was pursuing an Islamization of the country and thus violating the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. The Constitutional Court rejected the application.
With a constitutional revision in 2010, the ruling AKP strengthened democratic rights and weakened the power of the military. The constitutional revision was approved by the population in a referendum on September 12, 2010.
In the parliamentary elections on June 12, 2011, the AKP achieved an absolute majority for the third time in a row. The desired two-thirds majority was, however, not achieved. The long simmering domestic political conflict between the Erdoğan government and the army leadership, who was critical of it, escalated on July 29, 2011, when the chief of staff and the commanders of the armed forces resigned to protest against the ongoing imprisonment of numerous high-ranking officers for alleged plans for a coup. At the end of September 2012, over 300 officers, some of whom were high-ranking, were sentenced to long prison terms.
At the end of May 2013, the security forces used force against environmentalists who had peacefully protested against construction work in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. This triggered nationwide mass demonstrations against Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government. The police treated the demonstrators with excessive harshness, which sparked international criticism. The population increasingly split into Erdoğan supporters and opponents.