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Süleyman Demirel

Süleyman Demirel.
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Süleyman Demirel. Photo: Mitsotakis.

(1924- ) Turkish politician and prime minister 7 times; 1965-1971, 1975-1977, 1979-1980, 1991-1993, a total of 10 and a half years in office; president 1993-2000.
In his politics, Demirel was active in forging closer ties with NATO, and he instituted development programs for the peasantry. He was much concerned with aiding economic growth, but faced huge problems with inflation and trade deficit, as well civil violence and terrorism.
During his time as president, Demirel opposed a plan for customs cooperation with the European Union.
He had to find a balance between his politics and the interests of the military, but was removed from power twice. Another problem he had was that some of the governments he formed were too weak to allow proper implementation of his politics.


1924: Born in Islamsköy into a peasant family.
1948: Graduates from the Technical University of Istanbul as engineer.
1961: Is elected to the National Assembly as a member of the Justice Party (JP).
1964: Becomes leader of JP.
1965 October 27: Following the general elections, Demirel becomes the youngest prime minister in Turkey's history, 41 years old.
1969: Demirel wins the elections, and continue as prime minister.
1971 March: Demirel is forced to resign by the military commanders, who were dissatisfied with his low profile in combatting terrorist actions around the country.
1975 March: JP and a coalition of small parties called Nationalist Front wins the general elections. Demirel returns to the position as prime minister.
1977 June: Demirel's government falls.
July: Demirel forms a new government.
December: The government falls after just half a year in power.
1979 November: Demirel forms his 6th government.
1980 September: Demirel's 6th government is dissolved by the military.
1982: With a new Turkish constitution, Demirel is banned from politics for 10 years.
1991 November: Following the defeat of the Motherland Party in the general elections, and the success of Demirel's True Path Party, he returns to politics and forms his 7th government.
1993 May: President Turgut Özal dies, and Demirel steps down from his position as prime minister in order to become the new president.
1996 January: Demirel asks the Islamist politician Necmettin Erbakan to form a new government.
May: Demirel escapes assassination by a militant Islamist.
1999 December: Demirel appeals to the parliament to suspend the death sentence passed on the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.
2000 May: As his constitutionally-allowed period as president comes to an end, Demirel steps down. He is succeeded by Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
December: Is appointed to the Mitchell Committee to investigate the wave of violence in the Middle East.

By Tore Kjeilen