Süleyman Demirel

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His Excellency
Süleyman Demirel
Suleyman Demirel 1998.jpg
9th President of Turkey
In office
16 May 1993 – 16 May 2000
Prime Minister Tansu Çiller
Necmettin Erbakan
Mesut Yılmaz
Bülent Ecevit
Preceded by Turgut Özal
Succeeded by Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
20 November 1991 – 16 May 1993
President Turgut Özal
Preceded by Mesut Yılmaz
Succeeded by Erdal Inönü (acting)
In office
12 November 1979 – 12 September 1980
President Fahri Korutürk
Preceded by Bülent Ecevit
Succeeded by Bülent Ulusu
In office
21 July 1977 – 5 January 1978
President Fahri Korutürk
Preceded by Bülent Ecevit
Succeeded by Bülent Ecevit
In office
31 March 1975 – 21 June 1977
President Fahri Korutürk
Preceded by Sadi Irmak
Succeeded by Bülent Ecevit
In office
21 October 1965 – 16 March 1971
President Cemal Gürsel
Cevdet Sunay
Preceded by Suat Hayri Ürgüplü
Succeeded by Nihat Erim
Personal details
Born (1924-11-01) 1 November 1924 (age 89)
İslamköy, Atabey, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Political party Justice Party, True Path Party (now Democratic Party)
Spouse(s) Nazmiye Demirel (1927–2013)
(m. 1948–2013; her death)
Children none
Alma mater Istanbul Technical University
Religion Sunni Islam
Signature
Nicolae Ceauşescu and Demirel
Amir-Abbas Hoveida and Demirel

Süleyman Gündoğdu Demirel, better known as Süleyman Demirel (Turkish pronunciation: [sylejˈman demiˈɾel]; born 1 November 1924), is a Turkish politician and statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Turkey seven times between the years 1965–1993. He was the ninth President of Turkey from 1993 to 2000.

With 10 years and 5 months, Demirel's tenure of prime ministership is the 3rd longest in Turkish History, after Ismet Inonu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Background and early career[edit]

Demirel was born in İslamköy, Atabey, a town in Isparta Province.[1] Upon completion of his elementary school education in his hometown, he attended middle school and high school in Isparta and Afyon, respectively. He graduated from the school of civil engineering at the Istanbul Technical University in 1949.

Demirel worked in the state department for electrical power planning in 1949. He undertook postgraduate studies on irrigation, electrical technologies and dam construction in the United States, first in 1949–1950, then in 1954–1955. During the construction of the Seyhan Dam, Demirel worked as a project engineer and in 1954 was appointed Head of the Department of Dams. As of 1955, he served as Director General of the State Hydraulic Works (DSİ). In this capacity, Demirel was to supervise the construction of a multitude of dams, power plants, and irrigation facilities.[2] Eisenhower Fellowships selected Suleyman Demirel in 1954 to represent Turkey.

After the 1960 coup d'état, he was drafted to the Turkish Army for compulsory military service. Upon completion of his military service, he worked as a freelance engineer and a representative of Morrison Construction, a U.S. company. During this period, he also worked as a part-time lecturer of hydraulic engineering at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara.

Political career (1960–2000)[edit]

His political career started with his election to the executive board of the Justice Party founded by the former General Ragıp Gümüşpala, as directed by the Head of State Cemal Gürsel as the replacement of the Democrat Party that was closed after the military coup of 27 May 1960. Journalist and MP Cihat Baban claims in The Gallery of Politics (Politika Galerisi), that Cemal Gürsel told him:

We may solve all troubles if Süleyman Demirel can become the head of the Justice Party (Adalet Partisi). I am working very hard for him to become the party leader. If I succeed in this, I will be happy.

1960s and 70s[edit]

On 22 March 1963, the imprisoned former President Celal Bayar was released on parole, causing protests in front of Justice Party headquarters. Demirel, who is on the executive board of Justice Party, then resigned from his position, claiming that "There wouldn't be democracy in this country (Turkey) for another 50 years". He remained inactive until the death of Ragip Gumuspala. In June 1964, after the death of Ragip Gumuspala he re-entered politics pursuing to become the Chairman of the party. However, Demirel faced strong opposition. His biggest rival was Sadettin Bilgic, nicknamed "koca reis" ("big captain" in English). Bilgic supporters accused Demirel of being a freemason, however Demirel averted the crisis with a clever stratagem. Instead of writing to his own lodge, Demirel petitioned a separate freemason's lodge asking whether he was a member or not. As expected, the lodge chairman answered negatively. This turned the tide in Demirel's favor and he received 1679 votes out of 1072 to become the Chairman of the Party.

Demirel was elected Chairman at the second grand party convention on November 28, 1964. He facilitated the formation of a caretaker government that ruled between February and October 1965 under the premiership of Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, in which he served as Deputy Prime Minister. Under his leadership, the AP won an unprecedented majority of the votes in the elections of October 10, 1965 and formed a majority government. Demirel thus became the youngest-ever Prime Minister in Turkish history, and the third democratically-elected Prime Minister.

As deputy from Isparta, Demirel became Turkey’s 12th Prime Minister and ruled the country for four years. In the next elections on 10 October 1969, his party was the sole winner by a landslide once again. He resigned after the military memorandum of 12 March 1971.[3] He was not able to win the elections that were held in 1973 and 1977; however, between 1971 and 1980, he served as Prime Minister for three more times, albeit with coalition partners, during 1975–1977, 1977–1978, and 1979–1980, respectively.

1980[edit]

Following the coup d'état of 12 September 1980, headed by Kenan Evren, he was banned from involvement in active politics for ten years. In 1986, however, Demirel launched a national campaign for the lifting of the bans and initiated a national referendum on the issue.

The 6 September 1987 referendum allowed him to return to active politics. Only 18 days later, Demirel was elected Chairman at the extraordinary convention of the True Path Party (DYP) that replaced the Adalet Partisi. He was re-elected Deputy of Isparta at the elections of 29 November 1987.

1990s[edit]

Following the elections of 20 October 1991, Demirel became Prime Minister once again in a coalition government with the Social Democratic Populist Party. (49th government of Turkey)

After the sudden death of President Turgut Özal, he became the ninth President on 16 May 1993, elected by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

On 10 March 1995, he became aware of a coup attempt against President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan (prepared by his predecessor Ebulfeyz Elçibey) with the assistance of the Turkish intelligence and security agencies, and warned Aliyev.[4]

He served as President until 16 May 2000 for the constitutional term of seven years.

During his service for the development and industrialization of the country as a director general at the age of 30, and a political party chairman and the youngest Turkish prime minister at the age of 40, his overall tenure was shorter than only Ismet Inönü's and Tayyip Erdogan's.

Following retirement from politics, Demirel has frequently been a panelist and speaker at several universities in Turkey.

Personal life[edit]

Süleyman Demirel was married to Nazmiye Demirel on 12 March 1948.[5] They had no children. She died on 27 May 2013.[5][6]

Legacy[edit]

The Süleyman Demirel Airport and Süleyman Demirel University, both of which are in Isparta are named after him. So are the Süleyman Demirel Stadium in Antalya and the Süleyman Demirel Medical Centre of the Atatürk University in Erzurum. There are also two important main streets named after him: one in Istanbul and the other in Muğla.

Awards[edit]

Demirel was awarded with Istiglal Order for his contributions to development of Azerbaijan–Turkey relations and constructive position on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, creation of unity among Turkic states by President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on 12 June 1999.[7] He is also a Collar of the Estonian Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, a recipient of the Polish Order of the White Eagle (1993) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Croatian Grand Order of King Tomislav.

In popular culture[edit]

Demirel is often nicknamed Baba (The Father) or Çoban Sülü (The Shepherd Sülü (Süleyman)) and humorously Spartacus, after his native city of Isparta. His fedora hat is a famous part of his image.

Although Demirel is retired, whenever there is political distress, Turkish media or his followers (humorously or otherwise) call on him with the words "Kurtar bizi baba" ("Father, save us"). He is well known for uttering phrases such as "Dün dündür, bugün bugündür" ("Yesterday is yesterday, today is today"), usually said when he has changed his stand on a subject. Another example is "Benzin vardı da biz mi içtik?" ("Did we drink the gasoline, as if there were any?"), said when defending his actions during the 1970s energy crisis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kahraman, A., Islamkoylu Suleyman, Ankara 1998, ISBN No: 9755840141
  2. ^ Mercan, Faruk (12 February 2007). "Karadayı ikili oynamadı muhtemel darbeyi önledi". Aksiyon (in Turkish) (Feza Gazetecilik A.Ş.) 636. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "FACTBOX: Coups in Turkey over last 50 years". Reuters. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  4. ^ 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", pp. 39–86 (see pp. 47–49)
  5. ^ a b "Nazmiye Demirel hayatını kaybetti". Hürriyet. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Süleyman Demirel Biyografi". Bilgiozetim.com. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 july 2014. 
  7. ^ "Türkiyə Cümhuriyyətinin Prezidenti Süleyman Dəmirəlin "İstiqlal" ordeni ilə təltif edilməsi haqqında haqqında AZƏRBAYCAN RESPUBLİKASI PREZİDENTİNİN FƏRMANI" [Order of the President of Azerbaijan Republic on awarding President of Turkey Suleyman Demiral with Istiglal Order]. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ragıp Gümüşpala
Leader of the Justice Party
1964 – 12 September 1980
Succeeded by
Ahmet Nusret Tuna
of True Path Party
and
Turgut Özal
of Anavatan Partisi
Preceded by
Hüsamettin Cindoruk
Leader of the True Path Party
1983–1993
Succeeded by
Tansu Çiller
Political offices
Preceded by
Kemal Satır
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
20 February 1965 – 27 October 1965
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Suad Hayri Ürgüplü
Prime Minister of Turkey
27 October 1965 – 26 March 1971
Succeeded by
Nihat Erim
Preceded by
Sadi Irmak
Prime Minister of Turkey
31 March 1975 – 21 June 1977
Succeeded by
Bülent Ecevit
Preceded by
Bülent Ecevit
Prime Minister of Turkey
21 July 1977 – 5 January 1978
Succeeded by
Bülent Ecevit
Preceded by
Bülent Ecevit
Prime Minister of Turkey
12 November 1979 – 12 September 1980
Succeeded by
Bülend Ulusu
Preceded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Prime Minister of Turkey
23 June 1991 – 25 June 1993
Succeeded by
Tansu Çiller
Preceded by
Turgut Özal
President of Turkey
1993–2000
Succeeded by
Ahmet Necdet Sezer