Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Chronology of military coups in Turkey

Al-Ahram Weekly

27 May 1960
The first military coup in Turkey took place due to increased tension between the Turkish government and the opposition. The ruling Democratic Party headed by president Celal Bayar and prime minister Adnan Menderes began to slacken some of the toughest Ataturk-era rules dealing with religion, imposed restrictive press laws and occasionally barred critical newspapers from publishing.
The army stepped in and deposed the government on 27 May 1960. The president, prime minister and a few cabinet members were tried for treason. Menderes was executed and the commander of land forces, General Cemal Gursel, was named president and prime minister. The period of military-domination was to last until 1965. 


12 March 1971
An economic recession in Turkey caused widespread unrest as workers demonstrated and violence broke out between leftists and nationalists. Memduh Tagmac, chief of the general staff, interfered to restore order and sent a memorandum to the prime minister, Suleiman Demirel.
Following a meeting with his cabinet, Demirel resigned. Consequently, the military asked for a caretaker government from members of the right-wing Republican People’s Party. Nihat Erim served as prime minister until 1973 when Fahri Koruturk, a retired naval officer, was made president of the parliament.



12 September 1980
The economy continued to stagnate, with violent street clashes ongoing resulting in the deaths of thousands. On top of that, the Turkish prime minister changed 11 times in the 1970s. Hence, the military discussed a possible coup in late 1979, but delayed until September 1980 when officers headed by chief of general staff General Kenan Evren announced on national television the imposition of martial law and the termination of the government.
Hundreds of thousands of people were arrested, dozens were executed and many were tortured or simply disappeared. Evren became president and a naval officer, Bulent Ulusu, was given the post of prime minister. Furthermore, a new constitution was drafted and put before a public referendum in 1982.


28 February 1997
The elections in 1995 led to great gains for the Islamist Welfare Party, which a year later took power as the head of a coalition government. Opponents of prime minister Necmettin Erbakan viewed him as a danger to the country’s secular order while army generals felt responsible for defending the secular state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Hence, the Turkish military issued several recommendations to the government and the latter’s only choice was to accept. Erbakan agreed to some measures, including a compulsory eight-year education programme and banning headscarves in universities. Later, Erbakan resigned and was banned from politics for five years.

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