Bülent Ecevit

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Bülent Ecevit
Bulent Ecevit-Davos 2000 cropped.jpg
16th Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
11 January 1999 18 November 2002
President Süleyman Demirel
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Deputy Devlet Bahçeli
Hüsamettin Özkan
Şükrü Sina Gürel
Mesut Yılmaz
Hikmet Uluğbay
Preceded by Mesut Yılmaz
Succeeded by Abdullah Gül
In office
5 January 1978 12 November 1979
President Fahri Korutürk
Deputy Orhan Eyüboğlu
Turhan Feyzioğlu
Hikmet Çetin
Faruk Sükan
Preceded by Süleyman Demirel
Succeeded by Süleyman Demirel
In office
21 June 1977 21 July 1977
President Fahri Korutürk
Deputy Orhan Eyüboğlu
Preceded by Süleyman Demirel
Succeeded by Süleyman Demirel
In office
26 January 1974 17 November 1974
President Fahri Korutürk
Deputy Necmettin Erbakan
Preceded by Naim Talu
Succeeded by Sadi Irmak
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
30 June 1997 11 January 1999
Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz
Served with İsmet Sezgin
Preceded by Tansu Çiller
Succeeded by Hikmet Uluğbay
Leader of the Democratic Left Party
In office
15 January 1989 25 July 2004
Preceded byNecdet Karababa (acting)
Succeeded by Zeki Sezer
In office
13 September 1987 7 March 1988
Preceded by Rahşan Ecevit
Succeeded byNecdet Karababa
3rd Leader of the Republican People's Party
In office
14 May 1972 30 October 1980
Preceded by İsmet İnönü
Succeeded by Deniz Baykal (1992)
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
20 October 1991 18 November 2002
Constituency Zonguldak (1991)
Istanbul (1995, 1999)
In office
27 October 1957 12 September 1980
Constituency Ankara (1957, 1961)
Zonguldak (1965, 1969, 1973, 1977)
Personal details
Born(1925-05-28)28 May 1925
Istanbul, Turkey
Died5 November 2006(2006-11-05) (aged 81)
Ankara, Turkey
Political party Republican People's Party
Democratic Left Party
Rahşan Ecevit (m. 1946)
Alma mater Robert College
School of Oriental and African Studies
Signature Bulent Ecevit signature.png

Mustafa Bülent Ecevit (Turkish:  [byˈlænt edʒeˈvit] ; 28 May 1925 – 5 November 2006) was a Turkish politician, poet, writer, scholar, and journalist, who served as the Prime Minister of Turkey four times between 1974 and 2002. He served as prime minister of Turkey in 1974, 1977, 1978–79, and 1999–2002. He was the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) between 1972 and 1980, and in 1989 he became the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP).

Prime Minister of Turkey head of government of Turkey until 9 July 2018

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey was the head of government of the Republic of Turkey from 1920 to 2018. The prime minister was the leader of a political coalition in the Turkish parliament (Meclis) and the leader of the cabinet. The last holder of the position is Binali Yıldırım of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who took office on 24 May 2016.

Republican Peoples Party (Turkey) social-democratic political party in Turkey

The Republican People's Party is a Kemalist, social-democratic political party in Turkey. It is the oldest political party in the country, and is currently the main opposition in the Grand National Assembly. The CHP describes itself as "a modern social democratic party, which is faithful to the founding principles and values of the Republic of Turkey". The party is cited as "the founding party of modern Turkey". Its logo consists of the Six Arrows, which represent the foundational principles of Kemalism: republicanism, nationalism, statism, populism, laicism, and reformism.

Democratic Left Party (Turkey) social-democratic political party in Turkey

The Democratic Left Party is a Turkish political party, founded on 14 November 1985 by Rahşan Ecevit.


Personal life

He was born in Istanbul to a middle-class family. Ecevit's father Fahri Ecevit was a professor in Ankara University. His mother, Fatma Nazlı, was among the first women in Turkey to paint professionally. [1] Ecevit said his mother was of Bosniak ancestry and his paternal grandfather was of Kurdish ancestry. [2] [3]

Istanbul Metropolitan municipality in Marmara, Turkey

Istanbul, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives in suburbs on the Asian side of the Bosporus. With a total population of around 15 million residents in its metropolitan area, Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities, ranking as the world's fourth largest city proper and the largest European city. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Istanbul is a bridge between the East and West.

Ankara University Public university in Ankara, Turkey

Ankara University is a public university in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. It was the first higher education institution founded in Turkey after the formation of the republic.

In 1944, Ecevit graduated from Robert College in Istanbul and started working as a translator at the General Directorate for Press and Publication (Turkish: Basın Yayın Genel Müdürlüğü). In 1946, shortly after marrying his classmate Rahşan Aral in 1946, he moved to London to work for Turkey's press attaché. During his stay in London, he studied Bengali, Sanskrit and Art History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, but did not graduate. [4] He later went to the United States in the mid–1950s on a State Department fellowship, and worked at two newspapers in North Carolina. [5] [6]

Robert College Private high school in Istanbul, Turkey

Robert College of Istanbul is an independent private high school in Turkey. Robert College is a co-educational, boarding school with a 65-acre (26 ha) wooded campus on the European side of Istanbul in the Beşiktaş district between the two bridges on the Bosphorus, with the Arnavutköy neighbourhood to the east, and the upscale Ulus neighbourhood to the west.

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish,, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

Rahşan Ecevit Turkish politician

Rahşan Ecevit is the widow of Turkish politician and former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit.

Early political life

Ecevit was elected into the Turkish parliament for the first time in 1957. He was a Member of the Parliament between 1960 and 1961 during the 26th, 27th and 28th governments. Ecevit served as the Minister of Labour between 1961 and 1965, contributing to the acceptance of the right to strike and collective agreement. In 1966 he became the secretary general of the Republican People's Party (Turkish : Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP). In 1971 he resigned from the post as a protest to the party decision to support the transitional government established by a military intervention.

26th government of Turkey Turkish government in 1961-1962

The 26th government of Turkey, also known as the first coalition government of Turkey and the eight government of İsmet İnönü, was the first civilian government following the 1960 Turkish coup d'état. The prime minister, İsmet İnönü, was the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and a former president of Turkey. The CHP was joined in coalition by the Justice Party (AP).

27th government of Turkey second coalition government in the history of Turkey

The 27th government of Turkey is the second coalition government in the history of Turkey. The prime minister, İsmet İnönü, was the leader of Republican People's Party (CHP) and a former president.

28th government of Turkey third coalition government of Turkey

The 28th government of Turkey is the third coalition government of Turkey. The prime minister, İsmet İnönü, was the leader of Republican People's Party (CHP) and a former president.

Leader of CHP

President Jimmy Carter with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit at the White House, 31 May 1978. Carter ecevit.jpg
President Jimmy Carter with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit at the White House, 31 May 1978.

In 1972, he succeeded İsmet İnönü as the leader of the party and became Prime Minister in a coalition with the National Salvation Party of Necmettin Erbakan (the 37th government of Turkey). [7] This government is known for ordering the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July 1974. [8] So he was nicknamed "Conqueror of Cyprus" ( Turkish: "Kıbrıs Fatihi") by Turkish people after that successful operation.

İsmet İnönü Turkish general and statesman

Mustafa İsmet İnönü was a Turkish general and statesman, who served as the second President of Turkey from 10 November 1938 to 27 May 1950, when his Republican People's Party was defeated in Turkey's second free elections. He also served as the first Chief of the General Staff from 1922 to 1924, and as the first Prime Minister after the declaration of the Republic, serving three terms: from 1923 to 1924, 1925 to 1937, and 1961 to 1965. As President, he was granted the official title of "Millî Şef".

Necmettin Erbakan Turkish politician

Necmettin Erbakan was a Turkish politician, engineer, and academic who was the Prime Minister of Turkey from 1996 to 1997. He was pressured by the military to step down as prime minister and was later banned from politics by the Constitutional Court of Turkey for violating the separation of religion and state as mandated by the constitution.

37th government of Turkey

The 37th government of Turkey was a coalition government of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the National Salvation Party (MSP) in 1974. The prime minister was Bülent Ecevit of the CHP, and the deputy prime minister was Necmettin Erbakan of the MSP.

Upon assuming the leadership of the CHP, Ecevit played a major role in redefining the party's political position in the centre-left (Turkish: Ortanın solu), which proved controversial. In the 1973 general election, the CHP won a plurality of the votes and seats in parliament. Despite the party's secular credentials, Ecevit formed a coalition with the Islamist National Salvation Party (MSP) headed by Necmettin Erbakan. Despite lasting only ten months, Ecevit's first government was responsible for the successful Turkish invasion of Cyprus, for which he is nicknamed the 'conqueror of Cyprus' (Turkish: Kıbrıs Fatihi). Despite winning an increased share of the votes and seats in the 1977 general election, Ecevit was unable to form a coalition and instead formed a minority government which lasted just one month. Justice Party leader Süleyman Demirel subsequently took over as Prime Minister and formed a three-party nationalist coalition. Ecevit's CHP was able to bring down Demirel's government by 1978, after which he became Prime Minister for a third time by forming a government supported by some independent MPs. Ecevit resigned as Prime Minister in 1979 following an election defeat in the 1979 senate elections.

Secularism, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the "indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations." In different contexts the word can refer to anticlericalism, atheism, desire to exclude religion from social activities or civic affairs, banishment of religious symbols from the public sphere, state neutrality toward religion, the separation of religion from state, or disestablishment.

The National Salvation Party was an Islamist political party in Turkey founded on 11 October 1972 as the successor of the banned National Order Party. The party was led by Necmettin Erbakan. The party grew more popular, in 1973 elections it gained 11.8% of votes and was granted 48 seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, in 1977 elections it gained 8.56% of votes and won 24 seats. In 1974 it formed the coalition government with the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) of Bülent Ecevit. MSP was closed down after the 1980 military coup.

Turkish invasion of Cyprus 1974 military conflict in Cyprus

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, code-named by Turkey as Operation Attila, was a Turkish military invasion of the island country of Cyprus. It was launched on 20 July 1974, following the Cypriot coup d'état on 15 July 1974.

Bülent Ecevit recalled that he learned for the first time of the existence of Operation Gladio, a secret "stay-behind" NATO army, in 1974. He has also said he suspected "Counter-Guerrilla", the Turkish branch of Gladio, of responsibility for the 1 May 1977 Taksim Square massacre in Istanbul, during which snipers fired on a protest rally of 500,000 citizens, killing 38 and injuring hundreds. CHP defeated AP in the 1977 general elections by gathering 41% of the votes (the election came just after the events of 1 May). But with 213 seats out of 450 Ecevit could not receive a vote of confidence (see 40th government of Turkey). In 1978 Ecevit formed his third government (42nd government of Turkey). However, after a defeat in by-elections in 1979, he resigned.

Leader of DSP

Following the 1980 coup led by General Kenan Evren, Ecevit was incarcerated and suspended from active politics for life along with the other political leaders of the time. A referendum in 1987 lifted his ban from politics, and he became the chairman of the Democratic Left Party (Turkish : Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP), inheriting the position from his wife, Rahşan Ecevit. His party failed to enter the National Assembly at the 1987 national elections, and in spite of passing the electoral barrier in 1991 managed to win only 7 seats in parliament. DSP's fortunes changed after the 1995 elections, when the party won 75 seats (out of 550). After two short-lived governments (formed by Mesut Yılmaz and Necmettin Erbakan, respectively), Ecevit became a deputy prime minister in the last government of Mesut Yılmaz. In 1998–99 he was briefly the caretaker Prime Minister in the run-up to the 1999 general elections (56th government of Turkey). In those elections – also helped by the fact that Abdullah Öcalan, head of the separatist (PKK) was apprehended in Kenya and flown to Turkey during this period – Ecevit's party gained the largest number of seats, leading to Ecevit's final term as Prime Minister in a coalition with the Motherland Party (Turkish : Anavatan Partisi, ANAP) of Mesut Yılmaz and the Nationalist Movement Party (Turkish : Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) of Devlet Bahçeli.

Ecevit's government undertook a number of reforms aimed at stabilizing the Turkish economy in preparation for accession negotiations with the European Union. Despite initial attempts to bring about economic reforms, an argument between Ecevit and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in 2001 led to a financial crash due to the instability of both the government and the economic situation. The downfall of the government was also speculated to bring an end to an existing bailout package funded by the International Monetary Fund. Despite this, the government made swift progress in bringing about an economic recovery, spearheaded by the new Minister of Economic Affairs Kemal Derviş. Nevertheless, almost half of the DSP group in the parliament defected from the DSP to form İsmail Cem İpekçi's New Turkey Party (YTP). On the other hand, allegations of corruption, the economic crisis, as well as Ecevit's poor health made early elections unavoidable and the DSP faced an electoral wipeout in the 2002 general election, losing all of its MPs. Ecevit resigned as DSP leader in 2004. [7]

As a poet and writer

Bülent Ecevit was not only a politician but also a poet and a writer. He translated works by Rabindranath Tagore, T. S. Eliot, and into Turkish. [7] Ecevit, who also studied at the American Robert College, one of the most prestigious high schools in Istanbul, was successful in these literary endeavors despite never having graduated from a university, a fact that also prevented him from ever running for the Presidency of the Turkish Republic.

Ecevit's tomb at the State Cemetery in Ankara, Turkey. Ecevitmezari.jpg
Ecevit's tomb at the State Cemetery in Ankara, Turkey.


Ecevit was hospitalized in Ankara and placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage on 18 May 2006, which struck him after he attended a friend's funeral. He died there from respiratory failure on 5 November 2006 at 20:40 (UTC), aged 81. He was buried in the Turkish State Cemetery (Turkish : Devlet Mezarlığı) in Ankara in a state funeral on 11 November 2006. The funeral was attended by approximately a million people from all 81 provinces as well as politicians from Ukraine. [9]




See also

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  1. Kinzer, Stephen (6 November 2006). "Bülent Ecevit, a Political Survivor Who Turned Turkey Toward the West, Is Dead at 81". The New York Times . p. 2. Retrieved 6 November 2006.
  2. Ercan Yavuz, ""Kürt kökenli olabilirim"". Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-22.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), Akşam , 4 August 2004. ‹See Tfd› (in Turkish)
  3. Mahmut Çetin, Çinli Hoca'nın torunu Ecevit, Emre Yayınları, 2006, p. 18.
  4. "Siyasetin Şairi Karaoğlan". Hürriyet. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  5. Aras Erdoğan, Umut Ecevit, Kesit, 2006, p. 19.
  6. Altan Tan, Kürt Sorunu, Timaş, 2009, p. 493.
  7. 1 2 3 "Ecevit quits Politics".
  8. Smith, Colin (5 July 2014). "Cyprus divided: 40 years on, a family recalls how the island was torn apart". The Observer. ISSN   0029-7712 . Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  9. Cevizoğlu, Hulki (11 November 2006), Kanaltürk Evening News.[ verification needed ]
Party political offices
Preceded by
İsmet İnönü
Leader of the Republican's People Party (CHP)
14 May 1972 – 29 Oct 1980
Succeeded by
1980 Military coup and later Deniz Baykal
Preceded by
Rahşan Ecevit
Leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP)
13 Sep 1987–1988
Succeeded by
Necdet Karababa
Preceded by
Necdet Karababa
Leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP)
1989–25 Jul 2004
Succeeded by
Zeki Sezer
Political offices
Preceded by
Naim Talu
Prime Minister of Turkey
26 Jan 1974 – 17 Nov 1974
Succeeded by
Sadi Irmak
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Prime Minister of Turkey
21 Jun 1977 – 21 Jul 1977
Succeeded by
Süleyman Demirel
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Prime Minister of Turkey
5 Jan 1978 – 12 Nov 1979
Succeeded by
Süleyman Demirel
Preceded by
Tansu Çiller
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
30 Jun 1997 – 11 Jan 1999
Succeeded by
Hüsamettin Özkan
Hikmet Uluğbay
Preceded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Prime Minister of Turkey
11 Jan 1999 – 19 Nov 2002
Succeeded by
Abdullah Gül
Preceded by
Kemal Satır
Secretary-General of the Republican People's Party
Succeeded by
Şeref Bakşık