Government, Political Parties
Refah, Welfare Party, ANAP, Development Party, Justice Party
All political parties were dissolved after the 1980 coup, and leaders of the Republican People’s Party (Turkish acronym, CHP) and the Justice Party (AP) were subsequently barred from taking part in national politics for at least ten years. In elections since the restoration of civilian rule, the Motherland Party (ANAP) won parliamentary majorities in both 1983 and 1987. The True Path Party (DYP) won the largest number of seats in the 1991 parliamentary elections. Other parties holding seats after the 1991 elections included the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP), the Welfare Party (Refah), and the Democratic Left Party (DSP).
In September 1995 the DYP-led government collapsed, and early elections were called. For the next several years, Turkey was led by a series of unstable coalitions, marked by personal rivalries and fragmentation on both the left and right. In the December 1995 elections, the Welfare Party, an Islamic party, won a plurality with only 21 percent of the vote. The DYP and ANAP each received about 19 percent of the vote. Other parties that won seats in the 1995 elections were the CHP (reactivated in 1992), the Democratic Left Party (DSP), and the Grand Unity Party (BBP). The DYP and ANAP, longtime rivals, formed a coalition in March 1996 to block the Welfare Party from power, but this coalition collapsed in June. The DYP was then forced to form a coalition with the Welfare Party, which collapsed one year later. In June 1997 ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz was appointed prime minister. He formed a new coalition government with the DSP and the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP), a new center-right party.
In January 1998 the constitutional court outlawed the Welfare Party on the grounds that it threatened the secular nature of the Turkish state. Former members of the party joined a newly formed Islamic party called Virtue, making it the largest party in parliament. In November the Yilmaz government fell, and former prime minister and DSP leader Bulent Ecevit formed an interim government. In April 1999 elections the DSP secured the most parliamentary seats, followed by the rightist Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and Virtue. No party won an outright majority. Ecevit, again excluding the Islamists, formed a coalition government consisting of the DSP, the MHP, and ANAP (which had placed fourth in the elections). In November 2002 elections the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party with Islamist roots formed in 2001, secured an outright majority in the parliament.
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