Politics

Presidents Of Turkey Since 1923

The President of Turkey serves as the head of state of the Republic. The role is more of a ceremonial one, but the president still plays an important part in the country. He represents the state and the Turkish nation union and ensures the implementation of the country’s constitution. The office of the President of the Republic of Turkey was established on October 29, 1923. Before the constitution amendment of 2007, the members of the Turkish Parliament elected the President. Today, the people choose the head state through a public vote. The incumbent president of the country is Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was elected to office in 2014.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938) was a soldier, statesman, and the first president of the Republic of Turkey from 1923 to 1938. He was born in Salonika, in present-day Thessaloniki. His father, Ali Riza, sent him on the path of modernization by sending him to modern and secular schools and following military service. He went to the army school in Monastir in Macedonia and proceeded to the war college in Istanbul. He rescued the remnants of a defeated Ottoman Empire after WWI. In the early years of his term, he galvanized his country from the invading Greece. As president of a new country, he modernized the social, economic, and legal systems of Turkey and encouraged adoption of the European way of life. He restored the pride of the Turks. Ataturk ruled the country on six symbols Republicanism, Nationalism, Populism, Statism, Secularism, and Revolution. He developed foreign policies by making peace with the Great Britain and Greece. Under his leadership, Turkey steered towards a modern Islamic State with minimum repression. He is one of the greatest President of Turkey.

Ismet Inonu

Born in 1884, Inonu succeeded Ataturk as president of Turkey. He served in the military of the Ottoman Empire before joining Mustafa’s movement in the resistance against the allied occupation of Anatolia. After much collaboration with Kemal, he became the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923, and remained in power until 1937 when he succeeded the president. Under his leadership, Turkey took a neutral position in World War I. His most remarkable legacy is as the father of democracy of what was once a single-party country. He encouraged the formation of the DP (Democrat Party) in 1946, the party which he lost his seat to in 1950. For ten years he assumed the role of democracy defender.

Abdullah Gul

Born in 1950, Gul has served as both the prime minister (2002–2003) and the President of Turkey (2007–2014). In his early years, Gul studied economics at the University of Istanbul, and his postgraduate studies in Exeter, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Istanbul in 1983. He worked at the Islamic Development Bank of Saudi Arabia as an Economist, before launching head-on into the Turkish politics in 1991. Becoming the International Spokesman of the Welfare Party, he went on to break away from Erbakan and joined in the formation of the Justice and Development Party. He served in the governments that followed until he became president on August 28, 2007. Gul became the first President of Turkey to set foot in Armenia during his September 2008 visit. One year later the two countries became friends, and together they forged to normalizing their political and economic relations. For the first time in history, President Gul refused to vie for a second term in office and opted to correct the formal ties the office of President when one assumes the office. His most notable work was his assenting to controversial laws termed by critics as unconstitutional, he signed the bill restricting alcohol consumption in 2013, legislation that increased political power over Judiciary, and the use of peaceful mediation as an approach to cooling the political tension during anti-government protests and corruption scandals.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan is the current president of Turkey. He first served as the prime minister before becoming the first people-elected president in August 2014. Born on February 26, 1954, Erdogan grew up as a fiery orator in political Islam. Throughout his life, he engaged in religion-based Islamist politics. Erdogan and Erbakan formed the Justice and Development Party through which he became the prime minister on May 14, 2003. After four terms in office, the APK rules banned him from seeking a fourth term in the Prime Minister office. He instead opted to run for the presidency which he won easily. He called for a new constitution, and people believed that he sought to increase his presidential powers. In June 2015, and for the first time in the history of APK, the party failed to win the majority of the parliamentary seats when it received 41% of the votes. The setback was however reset in November that year after failure to form a governing coalition following the June Election. To his supporters, he has developed the economy of the country, while his critics see him as an autocratic leader who is intolerant of dissent and silences those opposing him. Among his dissenters is a prisoner jailed for 16 years for insulting him and a former Miss Turkey after sharing a poem criticizing the President.

Presidents of TurkeyTerm(s) in Office
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
1923-1938
Ismet Inonu
1938-1950
Celal Bayar
1950-1960
Cemal Gursel
1961-1966
Cevdet Sunay
1966-1973
Fahri Koruturk
1973-1980
Military Rule1980-1982
Kenan Evren
1982-1989
Turgut Ozal
1989-1993
Suleyman Demirel
1993-2000
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
2000-2007
Abdullah Gul
2007-2014
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Incumbent)
2014-Present

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