An era ended… the story of elections that changed the landscape in Türkiye

An era ended… the story of elections that changed the landscape in Türkiye
An era ended… the story of elections that changed the landscape in Türkiye

A color photograph of Atatürk with his hat in his hand in 1925

Al – Taha Abdel Nasser Ramadan

Published in: May 13, 2023: 12:06 PM GST
Last updated: May 13, 2023: 12:37 PM GST

During the Turkish War of Independence that followed the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his comrades tended to unify a number of political movements, announcing the emergence of a unified movement to defend rights. During the Sivas Conference, which took place in September 1919, Ataturk announced the unification of these political movements to defend rights, confirming the establishment of the National Rights Defense Organization in Anatolia and Rumelia, and at the same time called for elections on Turkish soil.

Ismet Inonu’s photo

In the period that followed the victory of the Turks over France, Greece and Armenia, Ataturk and his comrades established the Ankara government, which they described as an opposition front to the Ottoman authority. Later, Ataturk was able to end the existence of the Ottoman government and at the same time announce the demise of the Ottoman Empire.

A 1932 photo of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Republican People’s Party

In 1924, opposition movements in Turkey resulted in the emergence of the Progressive Republican Party. In response, Atatürk changed the name of his party to the Republican People’s Party.


The presence of the opposition progressive republican party did not last long. After the assassination attempt on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Izmir in the following months, this opposition party was dissolved and its existence banned after numerous charges were brought against it, such as supporting Sheikh Saeed’s revolution and threatening state security.


Celal Bayar’s photo

On the other hand, the early 1930s witnessed the emergence of the Liberal Republican Party, which was soon banned, as its existence lasted only a few weeks.

Faced with this situation, Türkiye has lived for two decades on the impact of one-party politics. Since the elections held in 1923, the Organization for the Defense of National Rights in Anatolia and Rumelia, which later became the Republican People’s Party, has dominated the overwhelming majority in Parliament. Thanks to this, Ataturk took over the rule of the country until his death on November 10, 1938.

Inonu is with Bayar

With his death, Ismet Inonu took over the reins of power until the year 1950, when the presidential term of the latter ended after the victory of the Democratic Party, led by Jalal Bayar, in the 1950 elections.

1950 elections

After World War II, in 1946 Türkiye organized the first elections within the multi-party system. With these elections, which took place on July 21, 1946, the Republican People’s Party achieved a landslide victory after obtaining 395 seats in parliament. On the other hand, the Democratic Party dissolved second, coinciding with obtaining 64 seats.

In addition, the elections held on May 14, 1950 witnessed a change in the political scene in Turkey. With the adoption of the mass election system, the Republican People’s Party lost its position and lost power after nearly 27 years of dominating it. In these elections, the Democratic Party won 416 seats, while the Republican People’s Party won only 69 seats. Because of this, Ismet Inonu’s presidency, which lasted about 12 years, ended.

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