Turkey's general election on Sunday (October 14) is more than a party battle for power.?
Turkey's general election on Sunday (October 14) is more than a party battle for power. It will decide the country's whole political future. The army has ruled for the last two-and-a-half-years and martial law has only just been lifted in Istanbul and Ankara.
Army Chief's General Faruk Gurler and three other top Generals demanded reforms when they toppled Mr. Soleyman Demirel's Justice Party government in March 1971. Parliament passed the reforms but last April they managed to stop the army making General Gurler Head of State.
Two years ago the Constitutional Court closed down the Marxist Labour Party and martial law courts sent the party leaders to jail. Recently military courts sentenced about 2,000 left wingers for political offences, but the left of centre Social Democratic Republican People's party is expected to offer the strongest challenge to the Justice Party on Sunday.
Mr. Ecevit, the Social Democrat leader, opposes the military. He also has plans to try and halt the inflation Turkey is suffering from.
A hundred thousand people attended his rally in istanbul's Taksim Square. Opinion polls say his vote should increase from 27 to 30-37 per-cent but Justice Party leader mr. Demirel is expected to gain 40 per-cent of the total vote and he is confident of winning again.
Turkey celebrates its 50th anniversary as a republic at the end of the month but the country has only had a democrat system since the end of the last world war.