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By Sabri Sayari

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Extra info for Politics, Parties, and Elections in Turkey

Example text

2 percent of the votes. 9 percent of the votes. The political system was thus more severely fragmented than ever. Not only did no single party stand out, but no group of parties any longer commanded either an electoral or parliamentary majority. The political spectrum was divided into three roughly equal groupings: the center-right, the center-left, and the extreme Islamist and nationalist right. This did not bode well for political stability or effective government. Nevertheless, in the year following the election, Turkey experienced a number of significant successes, including a dramatic improvement in relations with Europe, a major de-escalation of the Kurdish insurgency, and a significant détente in relations with Greece.

Although the military gave up overt control of government fairly quickly after each of its last three interventions (1960, 1971, and 1980), residues of military involvement in politics and government remain. Most prominently, the National Security Council (NSC), consisting of top civilian and military leaders, provides opportunities for the latter to express opinions on current political issues and exerts pressure on the civilian leadership to adopt policies favored by the military. The scholarly literature reflects uncertainty concerning the stability of democratic politics in Turkey based on other factors as well.

Finally, the ruling NSC imposed special conditions to govern the 1983 election, the first under the new order. Every newly organized party had to undergo careful review by the NSC, including its formal organization as well as its slate of candidates. The junta reserved the right to reject parts or all of both, and it exercised this power freely, with the result that only three parties were able to compete in the election. The regime obviously had a preferred scenario: The Milliyetçi Demokrasi Partisi (Nationalist Democracy Party, MDP), openly endorsed by General Kenan Evren, the leader of the NSC, was favored to win; the Halkçª Parti (Populist Party, HaP) was intended to be the loyal opposition; and the Anavatan Partisi (Motherland Party, ANAP), led by Turgut Özal, architect of the economic reform of 1980 who resigned in 1982, was not supposed to be there at all.

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