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Turkey: Other Parties
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Political Dynamics > Political Parties > Other Parties


Several small parties existed in early 1995. Two post-1991 splinters from parliamentary parties included Unity and Peace (Birlik ve Baris), whose members left the Welfare Party in 1992, and the Freedom and Labor Party (OZEP), formed from a breakaway faction of the SHP in 1992. The Nationalist Labor Party (Milliyetçi Çalisma Partisi -- MÇP), founded in 1985 by the controversial nationalist of the 1970s, Alparslan Türkes, espoused pan-Turkism in foreign policy and cooperated with the Welfare Party in domestic politics. Deniz Baykel, a politician disillusioned by the partisan sniping between the SHP and the True Path Party, announced the reactivation of the CHP in September 1992 and called on its former members to rejoin. Thirteen SHP deputies joined the new CHP, providing it with an immediate base in the National Assembly. The former Democrat Party, banned following the 1960 coup, also was reactivated in 1992. It consisted of politicians who supported the economic policies of the Motherland Party and the True Path Party but distrusted both Özal and Demirel.

In addition to the legal parties, several illegal political organizations operated clandestinely in Turkey in 1995. These parties were considered illegal either because they never had registered as required by law or because they had been proscribed by judicial authorities. Many of these parties advocated armed struggle, although some were nonviolent. The illegal parties fell into three categories, which reflected the intertwined security and ideological concerns of the Turkish military since 1980: separatist parties, a term used to describe all Kurdish groups; communist parties, a term used to describe all organizations espousing various versions of Marxism; and irtica (religious reaction) parties, a term used to describe all groups pushing for the establishment of an Islamic government in Turkey. The most important of the illegal parties was the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkere Kurdistan -- PKK), which in 1984 had initiated a steadily escalating armed struggle against the government. By mid-1994 at least 12,000 persons were estimated to have been killed in southeastern Turkey, where the government maintained at least 160,000 troops in combat readiness against as many as 15,000 guerrillas. With the exception of the Revolutionary Left Party (Devrimçi Sol -- Dev Sol), the illegal communist and Islamic groups were not well organized; they functioned in small cells that carried out mainly isolated but sensational acts of terrorism in various cities. One of the more notorious actions was the January 1993 car bomb assassination of the nationally prominent journalist Ugur Memçu, for which an extreme Islamist group claimed responsibility.

Last Updated: January 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Turkey was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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