Turkey’s Domestic Politics in the American Archives: Ecevit and Demirel Governments (1974-1980)

Turkey’s Domestic Politics in the American Archives: Ecevit and Demirel Governments (1974-1980)

Murat KASAPSARAÇOĞLU

Abstract

The period between 1973 general elections and 12 September (1980) military coup witnessed a political rivalry between the leader of the Republican People’s Party (RPP) Bülent Ecevit, who as the forerunner of the Left of the Center ideology was unable to form a single party government due to the lack of parliamentary majority after the elections, and the leader of right-wing Justice Party (JP) Süleyman Demirel. In this period, the power pendulum oscillated between the two leaders who formed successive, but short-lived goverments. Their unstable governments were not able to solve Turkey’s political, economic and social problems, that ended up with the military intervention in 1980. Despite the existing literature on opium issue and Cyprus crisis and their reflections on Turkish-American relations, studies on the American approach to Turkey’s domestic problems do not exist, so this study aims to fill this gap in the literature. The findings in this study are important to understand the policy of the USA toward Turkey’s domestic politics. First of all, the USA approached the two leaders rationally and in the light of its national interests. More importantly, the USA was expecting a military intervention in Turkey especially after the Khoumeini Revolution in Iran in 1979 that jeopardized its interests in the Gulf because there was no room for the USA to lose Turkey similar to Iran. In this context, American officials followed the military leaders closely in order to develop their relations in case of a military intervention

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ISSN: 1307-9778 E-ISSN: 1309-5137

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