History of the Prime Minister of Turkey
Throughout much of the history of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 until 1922, the Ottoman Sultan who ruled the country had a Grand Vizier who acted in a role that most would consider similar to that of a Prime Minister. Following the the Tanzimat period (1839-1876) of the Ottoman Empire, in which the empire underwent many reformations, the position of grand vizier became more similar to the role that prime ministers had in the contemporary Western European monarchies of the era. It was also at the end of the Tanzimat period, with the Ottoman constitution of 1876, that a parliament was put in place to watch over the prime minister's activities. The Ottoman constitution of 1876 was only kept in place for two years, but following the 1908 Young Turk Revolution the Second Constitutional Era reestablished the 1876 constitution which made it so the prime minister must answer to the parliament rather the the Ottoman Sultan. In 1923 when the Ottoman Empire was declared to be a republic, the prime minister would be appointed by the president of Turkey, instead of the Sultan, who was has his position abolished when the Ottoman caliphate was officially ended in 1924. After the prime minister is appointed they must be approved by getting a majority of the votes of confidence from the Grand National Assembly.
Duties of the Prime Minister of Turkey
The Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of the government of Turkey. The prime minister is also part of the executive branch of the Turkish government, along with the cabinet of Turkey and the President of Turkey. The prime minister is the leader of the cabinet and the also the leader of the main political party or coalition in the Turkish parliament. The prime minister can suggest to the president which ministers to dismiss from office and is also the person in charge of supervising the implementation of government policy, along with the Council of Ministers.
Notable Turkish Prime Ministers
İsmet İnönü (1884-1973) was the longest serving prime minister in the history of Turkey, and the first person to serve as prime minister upon Turkey being officially declared a republic. He also served as the country's second president from 1938 until 1950 and as a general of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Repulbic. İnönü served as prime minister of Turkey on three separate occasions from November 1923 to November 1924, March 1925 to October 1937 and finally from November 1961 until February 1965. He was prime minister for a grand total of 16 years and 318 days, has the longest stretch as prime minister in Turkey's history at 12 years and 205 days and also formed 10 different cabinets in his time as prime minister. During his first short term as prime minister İnönü worked to keep in place the system for the new government that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) had put in place and to maintain peace. During his second 12 year term as prime minister he sent much of his time attempting to manage the economy by using a lot of government intervention following the 1929 economic crisis that caused the worldwide Great Depression. His plan resulted in the government taking control of much of the country's private property and the effects of this still linger as the majority of the land in Turkey is owned by the state. His last stint as prime minister was winning the 1961 election that was held after the 1960 military coup-d'etat and he had to form coalition governments until the 1965 election, which he lost.
Adnan Menderes (1899-1961) was the second longest serving prime minister in the history of Turkey. He was one of the founders of the Democrat Party, which broke through in the second free elections in Turkey in 1950 defeating the ruling Republican people's Party, which had been in power since the Republic of Turkey was founded. This was the first time in Turkey that there was a peaceful transfer of power in a free election between parties and Menderes became Prime Minister. Menderes served his time as prime minister in one 11 year, 167 day stretch in which he formed three different cabinets. During his time as prime minister the country experienced unprecedented economic growth, was admitted to NATO and experienced progress and growth in several key areas, such as education, health care, and education. His government was also blamed for arranging the 1955 Istanbul Pogrom in which thousands of properties belonging to Greeks in the Istanbul were destroyed and some Greeks were killed in order to punish them due to false rumors that the Greeks had attacked Mustafa Kemal's house in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. On May 27th, 1960, a military coup deposed the government and Menderes and other leading party members of the Democrat Party were arrested. They were charged with violating the Turkish constitution, ordering the Istanbul Pogrom and embezzling money. He and the other leaders were put on trail by a military court and Menderes was sentenced to death for his alleged crimes. Despite international outcry, Menderes was executed on September 17th, 1961.
Süleyman Demirel (1924-2015) was the third longest serving prime minister in the history of Turkey. Demirel served his time as prime minister in five different stretches. He also served as the ninth president of Turkey from 1993 until 2000. He was prime minister from October 1965 to March 1971, March 1975 to June 1977, July 1977 to January 1978, November 1979 to September 1980 and finally from November 1991 until May 1993. He formed seven different cabinets in his time as prime minister. During his first stint as prime minister Demirel led economic reforms to established inflation but the 1971 coup d'état ended his first run as prime minister. During his second and third stints as prime minister he formed a four party coalition government and a three party coalition government, but both of these ended up collapsing. The fourth time he was prime minister his minority government could not elect a president, which lead to the 1980 coup d'état and Demirel be banned from politics. During the 1987 constitutional referendum Demirel retained the right to participate in politics and by 1991 he became prime minister again in a coalition government and following the sudden death of President Turgut Öza (1927-93) he became President of Turkey, while leaving his job as prime minister.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the fourth longest serving prime minister in the history of Turkey, and has been the President of the country since August 28th, 2014. Erdoğan became prime minister in 2003 and held the office for 11 years and 167 days in a row, the second longest uninterruppted term as prime minister in the history of Turkey. During his time as prime minister he formed three different cabinets. During his time as prime minister Erdoğan worked to farther negotiations for Turkey's membership to the European Union, helped the country recover from the 2001 economic crash, oversaw the constitutional referendums and invested in the country's infrastructure. His time as prime minister was also controversial for his supposed Neo-Ottoman foreign policy, his ability to curb the military's political power, reforms that allegedly threatened judicial independence and his police crackdown in 2013 on protesters that argue that his is a dictator and an authoritarian.
|Prime Ministers of the Republic of Turkey||Term(s) in Office|
|İsmet İnönü||1923-1924; 1925-1937; 1961-1965|
|Suat Hayri Ürgüplü||1965|
|Süleyman Demirel||1965-1971; 1975-1977; 1977-1978; 1979-1980; 1991-1993|
|Bülent Ecevit||1974; 1977; 1978-1979; 1999-2002|
|Mesut Yılmaz||1991; 1996; 1997-1999|
|Recep Tayyip Erdoğan||2003-2014|
|Binali Yıldırım (Incumbent)||2016-Present|