Süleyman Demirel

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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
12th Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
20 November 1991 16 May 1993
President Turgut Özal
Deputy Erdal İnönü
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 Turhan Feyzioğlu
In office
21 July 1977 5 January 1978
President Fahri Korutürk
Deputy Necmettin Erbakan
Alparslan Türkeş
Preceded by Bülent Ecevit
Succeeded by Bülent Ecevit
In office
31 March 1975 21 June 1977
President Fahri Korutürk
Deputy Necmettin Erbakan
Turhan Feyzioğlu
Alparslan Türkeş
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
Leader of the True Path Party
In office
24 September 1987 16 May 1993
Preceded by Hüsamettin Cindoruk
Succeeded by Tansu Çiller
Leader of the Justice Party
In office
28 November 1964 16 October 1981
Preceded by Ragıp Gümüşpala
Succeeded by Party abolished
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
29 November 1987 20 November 1993
In office
10 October 1965 12 September 1980
Constituency Isparta (1965, 1969, 1973, 1977, 1987, 1991)
Personal details
Süleyman Gündoğdu Demirel

(1924-11-01)1 November 1924
İslamköy, Atabey, Turkey
Died17 June 2015(2015-06-17) (aged 90)
Ankara, Turkey
Cause of death Respiratory failure
Resting place Atabey, Isparta
Political party Justice Party, True Path Party (now Democratic Party)
Nazmiye Demirel
(m. 1948;died 2013)
Alma mater Istanbul Technical University
ProfessionCivil engineer
Signature Suleyman Demirel signature.png

Sami Süleyman Gündoğdu Demirel (Turkish pronunciation:  [sylejˈman demiˈɾel] ; 1 November 1924 – 17 June 2015) [1] was a Turkish statesman and political leader who served as the 9th President of Turkey from 1993 to 2000. He previously served as the Prime Minister of Turkey seven times between the years 1965 and 1993. He was the leader of the Justice Party (AP) from 1964 to 1980 and the leader of the True Path Party (DYP) from 1987 to 1993.

Turkish people or the Turks, also known as Anatolian Turks, are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group and nation living mainly in Turkey and speaking Turkish, the most widely spoken Turkic language. They are the largest ethnic group in Turkey, as well as by far the largest ethnic group among the speakers of Turkic languages. Ethnic Turkish minorities exist in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, a Turkish diaspora has been established with modern migration, particularly in Western Europe.

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.

The Justice Party was a Turkish political party prominent in the 1960s and 1970s. A descendant of the Democrat Party, the AP was dominated by Süleyman Demirel, who served six times as prime minister, and was in office at the time of the military coup on September 12, 1980. Along with all other political parties in Turkey, the Justice Party was suppressed in the immediate aftermath of the coup. It was subsequently re-established as the True Path Party in 1983.


Having been identified as a potential future Prime Minister by Adnan Menderes, Demirel was elected leader of the Justice Party in 1964 and managed to bring down the government of İsmet İnönü in 1965 despite not being a Member of Parliament. He supported the government of Suat Hayri Ürgüplü until his party won a parliamentary majority in the 1965 general election. Claiming that his grouping was the successor of the banned Democrat Party, he was re-elected as Prime Minister in 1969 by winning a parliamentary majority for a second time. Despite his economic reforms which stabilised inflation, he resigned as Prime Minister after his budget was blocked by parliament, but formed his third government shortly after. His premiership came to an end following the 1971 Turkish coup d'état.

Adnan Menderes Turkish politician and Prime Minister of Turkey

Adnan Menderes was a Turkish politician. He was the Turkish Prime Minister between 1950–1960. He was one of the founders of the Democrat Party (DP) in 1946, the fourth legal opposition party of Turkey. He was hanged by the military junta after the 1960 coup d'état, along with two other cabinet members, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Hasan Polatkan. He was the last Turkish political leader to be executed after a military coup and is also one of the three political leaders of the Turkish Republic to have had a mausoleum built in his honor.

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".

Suat Hayri Ürgüplü Prime Minister of Turkey

Ali Suat Hayri Ürgüplü was a Turkish politician. He served a brief term as Prime Minister of Turkey in 1965. He was also the last Prime Minister to be born outside the territory of present-day Turkey, being born in Damascus, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

Demirel was the leader of the opposition from 1971 to 1975 before forming a four-party government known as the First Nationalist Front, which collapsed in 1977. With two other parties, he formed the Second Nationalist Front cabinet in 1977, which collapsed in 1978. Demirel's minority government in 1979 was unable to elect a president in 1980, leading to the 1980 Turkish coup d'état which banned Demirel from politics. In the 1987 constitutional referendum, Demirel regained the right to actively participate in politics and assumed the leadership of the True Path Party. He won the 1991 general election and formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP), assuming his fifth and final term as Prime Minister. Following the sudden death of serving President Turgut Özal, Demirel contested the 1993 presidential election and subsequently became the ninth President of Turkey until 2000. With 10 years and 5 months, Demirel's tenure in the prime ministership is the third longest in Turkish history, after İsmet İnönü and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The 1980 Turkish presidential election refers to the unsuccessful elections to choose the country's seventh president, to succeed Fahri Korutürk. The first round of the elections held on 12 March 1980. There were 115 unsuccessful rounds until 12 September 1980. The elections ended with a coup d'état on that date.

The 1980 Turkish coup d'état, headed by Chief of the General Staff General Kenan Evren, was the third coup d'état in the history of the Republic, the previous having been the 1960 coup and the 1971 "Coup by Memorandum". During the Cold War era, 1970s Turkey experienced conflicts between Western-supported nationalist far right elements within the military and militant left-wing groups. To create a pretext for a decisive intervention, the Turkish military allowed these conflicts to escalate; Some say they actively adopted a strategy of tension. The violence abruptly stopped afterwards, and the coup was welcomed by some for restoring order. In total, 50 people were executed, 500,000 were arrested and hundreds died in prison.

1987 Turkish constitutional referendum

A constitutional referendum was held in Turkey on 6 September 1987 to amend the "temporary article" 4 of the constitution, which had forbidden the leaders of banned parties from taking part in politics for 10 years. The governing party ANAP agreed to the referendum after a compromise with the opposition parties regarding constitutional changes. ANAP campaigned for No, while most opposition parties campaigned for Yes vote. The changes were narrowly approved by 50.2% of voters, with a 93.36% turnout.

Background and early career

Demirel was born 1 November 1924, in Isparta, Atabey, a town in Isparta Province. 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. [2]

Isparta Municipality in Turkey

Isparta is a city in western Turkey and the capital of Isparta Province. The city's population was 222,556 in 2010 and its elevation is 1035 m. It is known as the "City of Roses".

Atabey Place in Isparta, Turkey

Atabey is a town and district of Isparta Province in the Mediterranean region of Turkey. The mayor is Ali Bal (MHP). The population is 4,153 as of 2010.

Isparta Province Province of Turkey in Mediterranean

Isparta Province is a province in southwestern Turkey. Its adjacent provinces are Afyon to the northwest, Burdur to the southwest, Antalya to the south, and Konya to the east. It has an area of 8,993 km2 and a population of 448,298 up from 434,771 (1990). The provincial capital is Isparta.

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. Eisenhower Fellowships selected Suleyman Demirel in 1954 to represent Turkey. [3]

Irrigation artificial application of water to the land

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation also has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming.

Dam A barrier that stops or restricts the flow of surface or underground streams

A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability. Hydropower is often used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can also be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. The earliest known dam is the Jawa Dam in Jordan, dating to 3,000 BC.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

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. [4]

The 1960 Turkish coup d'état was the first coup d'état in the Republic of Turkey. The coup was staged by a group of 38 young Turkish military officers, acting outside the Staff Chiefs' chain of command. It was orchestrated by Alparslan Türkeş and ultimately led on May 27, 1960 by General Cemal Gürsel, against the democratically-elected government of the Democrat Party. Alparslan Türkeş was a member of the junta.

Hydraulic engineering sub-discipline of civil engineering concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage

Hydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive use of gravity as the motive force to cause the movement of the fluids. This area of civil engineering is intimately related to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, and levees, and to both sanitary and environmental engineering.

Middle East Technical University university

Middle East Technical University is a public technical university located in Ankara, Turkey. The university puts special emphasis on research and education in engineering and natural sciences, offering about 40 undergraduate programs within 5 faculties, and 97 masters and 62 doctorate programs within 5 graduate schools. The main campus of METU spans an area of 11,100 acres (4,500 ha), comprising, in addition to academic and auxiliary facilities, a forest area of 7,500 acres (3,000 ha), and the natural lake Eymir. METU has more than 120,000 alumni worldwide. The official language of instruction at METU is English.

Political career

His political career started with his election to the executive board of the Justice Party, [4] founded by the former General Ragıp Gümüşpala under directions from Head of State Cemal Gürsel, as a replacement of the Democrat Party that folded 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. [5] [ page needed ]

1960s and 70s

U.S. Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Suleyman Demirel at a ceremony honoring the United States Agency for International Development (August 28, 1962). Lyndon Johnson and Suleyman Demirel in 1962.jpg
U.S. Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Süleyman Demirel at a ceremony honoring the United States Agency for International Development (August 28, 1962).

On 22 March 1963, the imprisoned former President Celal Bayar was released on parole, causing protests in front of Justice Party headquarters. Demirel, who was 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".[ citation needed ] He remained inactive until the death of Ragıp Gümüşpala, when, in June 1964, he re-entered politics as a candidate for chairman of the Party. However, Demirel faced strong opposition. His biggest rival was Sadettin Bilgiç, nicknamed "koca reis" ("big captain" in English). Bilgiç 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 enough votes to become the Chairman of the Party. [2]

Demirel was elected chairman at the second grand party convention on 28 November 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 1965 general election and formed a majority government. Demirel thus became the youngest-ever Prime Minister in Turkish history at the age of 40. [6]

Prime Minister of Iran Amir-Abbas Hoveida and Demirel, c. 1970 Hoveida and Demirel.jpg
Prime Minister of Iran Amir-Abbas Hoveida and Demirel, c. 1970

As deputy from Isparta, Demirel became Turkey's 14th Prime Minister. In the next elections on 10 October 1969, his party was the sole winner by a landslide once again. Demirel presided over the laying the foundations of the Keban Dam, the Bosphorus Bridge and an oil pipeline between Batman and İskenderun. Despite his economic reforms which stabilised inflation, he resigned as Prime Minister after his budget was blocked by parliament, but formed his third government shortly after. He resigned after the military memorandum of 12 March 1971, which had been caused by a disagreement between the government and military over the Cyprus dispute, an escalation of tensions with Greece and growing political violence. He was also accused of deviating from the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which he denied.[ citation needed ]

Demirel was the leader of the opposition from 1971 to March 1975 before forming a four-party government known as the first nationalist front, which collapsed in June 1977. He formed the second nationalist front cabinet in July 1977 with two other parties (MSP and MHP), which collapsed in January 1978. A rise in global petrol prices contributed to a surge in inflation and an economic crisis and Demirel's government responded with economic liberalisation, though these reforms were rejected by other parties. This led to a spate of political violence and strikes, during which 42 people were killed in the 1977 Taksim Square massacre. Demirel's minority government in 1979 was unable to elect a president in 1980, leading to the coup d'état in September 1980 which banned Demirel from politics. [7]


Nicolae Ceausescu and Demirel, 1976 Vizita oficiala a presedintelui Nicolae Ceausescu in Turcia. Intrevederea cu primul ministru Suleyman Demirel..jpg
Nicolae Ceauşescu and Demirel, 1976

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 ban and initiated a national referendum on the issue. [8]

The 1987 constitutional 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), a replacement for the Justice Party. He was re-elected Deputy of Isparta at the elections of 29 November 1987. [8]

1990s and 2000s

Bill Clinton and Demirel, 1999 Suleyman Demirel with Bill Clinton.jpg
Bill Clinton and Demirel, 1999

Following the 1991 general election, Demirel became Prime Minister once again in a coalition government with the Social Democratic Populist Party. 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. He served as President until 16 May 2000 for the constitutional term of seven years. His overall tenure as Prime Minister was shorter than only Ismet Inönü's and Recep Tayyip Erdogan's.[ citation needed ]


Demirel's funeral Suleyman Demirel Funeral 4.jpg
Demirel's funeral

Following retirement from politics, Demirel was frequently a panelist and speaker at several universities in Turkey.[ citation needed ] He died on 17 June 2015 at the Guven hospital in Ankara where he had been undergoing treatment for a respiratory tract infection. [9]


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, the Süleyman Demirel Medical Centre of the Atatürk University in Erzurum and Suleyman Demirel University in Kazakhstan. There are also two important main streets named after him: one in Istanbul and the other in Muğla. On 26 October 2014 Süleyman Demirel Democracy and Development Museum was opened in Isparta. [10]


Demirel was awarded with the Istiglal Order for his contributions to development of Azerbaijan–Turkey relations, his constructive position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and his support for unity among Turkic states by President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on 12 June 1999. [11] 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. [12]

Demirel was often nicknamed Baba (The Father) or Çoban Sülü (The Shepherd Sülü (Süleyman)) and humorously Spartacus, after his native city of Isparta. His fedora hat was a famous part of his image. [13] [14]

Although Demirel had retired, whenever there was political distress, Turkish media or his followers (humorously or otherwise) called 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.[ citation needed ]

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  1. Sarı, Eren (25 December 2016). "Çoban Sülü: Türk siyasetinin son 50 yılına fötr şapkası ve renkli kişiliğinin yanı sıra, hiç çocuğu olmadığı halde 'Baba' lakabıyla damga vuran 9. Cumhurbaşkanı Süleyman Demirel, "Akşam olunca kapısını kilitlemeden yatabilen, sabaha karşı kapıyı çalanların polis olmadığını düşünen bir Türkiye" hayaliyle aramızdan ayrıldı". Noktaekitap. Retrieved 6 December 2018 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 Arslanbenzer, Hakan (19 June 2015). "Süleyman Demirel: Dream for a 'Great Turkey'". Daily Sabah . Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  3. Kinzer, Stephen (16 June 2015). "Suleyman Demirel, Seven Times Turkey's Prime Minister, Dies at 90". The New York Times . Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Süleyman DEMİREL". Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. Baban, Cihad (2009). Politika galerisi (in Turkish). Istanbul: Timaş. ISBN   9752639666.
  6. Akkoc, Raziye (17 June 2015). "Suleyman Demirel, former Turkish president, dies at 90". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  7. Barchard, David (17 June 2015). "Süleyman Demirel obituary". theguardian.com . Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Turkey's ninth president Suleyman Demirel passes away". Anadolu Agency. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  10. "Sleyman Demirel Demokrasi ve Kalknma Mzesi ald". Radikal (in Turkish).
  11. "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] (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. "Untitled Document". Royalcroatia.tripod.com. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  13. Anadolu Agency. "Turkey's 9th President Suleyman Demirel dies at 91". Getty Images.
  14. "HATS: A POLITICAL SYMBOL OF TURKISH HISTORY". Ekrembugraekinci.com. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
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
Turgut Özal
of Anavatan Partisi
Preceded by
Hüsamettin Cindoruk
Leader of the True Path Party
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
Succeeded by
Ahmet Necdet Sezer