Political violence in Turkey (1976–1980) Political violence in Turkey
became a serious problem in the late 1970s
and was even described as a "low-level war".
The death squads of Turkish right-wing ultranationalist
groups, sometimes allied with the state, against the resistance of the left-wing
opposition inflicted some 5,000 casualties. Most of the victims were left-wingers. The level of violence lessened for a while after the 1980 Turkish coup d'état
until the Kurdish-Turkish conflict
erupted in 1984.
In 1975 Süleyman Demirel
, president of the conservative Justice Party
: Adalet Partisi
, AP) succeeded Bülent Ecevit
, president of the social-democratic Republican People's Party
: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
, CHP) as Prime Minister. He formed a coalition, the "Nationalist Front (Turkish
: Milliyetçi Cephe
)", with Necmettin Erbakan
's Islamist National Salvation Party
: Millî Selamet Partisi
, MSP), and Alparslan Türkeş
' far-right Nationalist Movement Party
: Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi
, MHP). The MHP used the opportunity to infiltrate state security services, seriously worsening the low-intensity war that had been waging between rival factions.
The elections of 1977
had no winner. Demirel at first continued the coalition with the Nationalist Front, but in 1978, Ecevit came to power again with the help of some deputies who had changed party. In 1979, Demirel once again became prime minister. At the end of the 1970s, Turkey was in an unstable situation with unsolved economic and social problems and facing large strike actions
and partial paralysis of parliamentary politics (the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
was unable to elect a president during the six months preceding the coup). Since 1969, proportional representation
had made it difficult for one party to achieve a parliamentary majority. The interests of the industrial bourgeoisie
, who were economically dominant, were opposed by other social classes
, such as smaller industrialists, traders, rural notables and landlords, whose interests did not always coincide among themselves. Numerous agricultural and industrial reforms sought by parts of the upper-middle classes
were blocked by others.
The politicians seemed unable to combat the growing violence in the country.
Sequence of events
Unprecedented political violence had erupted in Turkey in the late 1970s. The overall death toll of the 1970s is estimated at 5,000, with nearly ten assassinations per day.
Most were members of left-wing and right-wing political organizations, which were then engaged in bitter fighting. The ultranationalist Grey Wolves
, the youth organisation of the MHP
, claimed they were supporting the security forces.
According to the British Searchlight magazine
, in 1978 there were 3,319 fascist
attacks, in which 831 were killed and 3,121 wounded.
In the central trial against the left-wing organization Devrimci Yol
(Revolutionary Path) at Ankara Military Court, the defendants listed 5,388 political killings before the military coup. Among the victims were 1,296 right-wingers and 2,109 left-wingers. The others could not clearly be related.
The 1978 Bahçelievler massacre
, the 1977 Taksim Square massacre
with 35 victims and the 1978 Maraş massacre
with over 100 victims are some notable incidents. Martial law
was announced following the Maraş massacre
in 14 of (then) 67 provinces in December 1978. At the time of the coup
, martial law had been extended to 20 provinces.
Ecevit was warned about the coming coup in June 1979 by Nuri Gündeş
of the National Intelligence Organization
(MİT). Ecevit then told his interior minister, İrfan Özaydınlı
, who then told Sedat Celasun
, one of the five generals who would lead the coup. The deputy undersecretary of the MİT, Nihat Yıldız, was demoted to the London consulate and replaced by a lieutenant general as a result.
The right-wing groups were opposed to Kurdish separatism
. Disproportionate numbers of Kurds were part of the left-wing groups. Most of the left was also Turkish nationalist
and opposed towards separatism
Before the 1980 coup, little of the violence had been committed by separatists, but that it increased.
- ^ a b c Devrimci Yol Savunması (Defense of the Revolutionary Path).
- ^ Zürcher, Erik J. (2004). Turkey A Modern History, Revised Edition. I.B.Tauris. p. 263. ISBN 978-1-85043-399-6.
- ^ a b c d Gil, Ata. "La Turquie à marche forcée," Le Monde diplomatique, February 1981.
- ^ Turkey. Amnesty International. 1988. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-86210-156-5.
- ^ Searchlight (magazine), No.47 (May 1979), pg. 6. Quoted by (Herman & Brodhead 1986, p. 50)
- ^ Devrimci Yol Savunması (Defense of the Revolutionary Path). Ankara, January 1989, p. 118-119.
- ^ Ünlü, Ferhat (17 July 2007). "Çalınan silahlar falcıya soruldu". Sabah (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
- ^ Romano, David (2006). The Kurdish Nationalist Movement Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity. Cambridge University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-521-68426-2.
Last edited on 2 March 2021, at 01:10
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