Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit resigned his government on Monday (15 October) after his party was beaten by the right-wing opposition in Turkey's mid-term parliamentary elections.
Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit resigned his government on Monday (15 October) after his party was beaten by the right-wing opposition in Turkey's mid-term parliamentary elections. His Republican People's Party lost all five Lower House By-elections to the Justice Party of former Premier Suleyman Demirel, as well as thirty-three of the fifty Senate seats at stake.
SYNOPSIS: Ordinarily, mid-term elections do not lead to a change in power. But in the Turkish Assembly the government approached the election with only a two seat majority over the combined opposition seats.
At a huge rally the Communist party, which is illegal in Turkey, demonstrated for the right to run candidates or express the Communist Manifesto. The strength of the Communist Party's support is considered an important factor.
But the massive support for the right-wing Justice Party of ex-Premier Demeril came as a surprise to most observers ... despite the mounting political violence, the continuing martial law and the serious economic problems.
Although more than two hundred troops were put on special duty, the vote was marred by violence when six people were killed and five wounded at polling stations. Mr. Ecevit blamed the economic crisis on Mr. Demeril, saying the People's party inherited all the debts of the previous government.
The man in the street has felt the effects of the country's lack of hard cash for imports. For months Turks have done without cooking oil, margarine and light bulbs ... have queued for hours for petrol and have had to forego their beloved thick coffee. Turkey had eighteen billion dollars in external debts, including interest when Premier Ecevit took over less than two years ago.
Although Mr. Ecevit's economic policies were said to be starting to show success, with large-scale western cash starting to arrive, the opposition played on the traditional Turkish pride and nationalism ... portraying Mr. Ecevit as a beggar and western finance institutions the culprits who would interfere in Turkish affairs.