1971 Turkish military memorandum

The 1971 Turkish military memorandum (Turkish: 12 Mart Muhtırası), issued on 12 March that year, was the second military intervention to take place in the Republic of Turkey, coming 11 years after its 1960 predecessor. It is known as the "coup by memorandum", which the military delivered in lieu of sending out tanks, as it had done previously. The event came amid worsening domestic strife, but ultimately did little to halt this phenomenon.


As the 1960s wore on, violence and instability plagued Turkey. An economic recession late that decade sparked a wave of social unrest marked by street demonstrations, labour strikes and political assassinations.[1] Left-wing workers' and students' movements were formed, countered on the right by Islamist and militant nationalist groups.[2] The left carried out bombing attacks, robberies and kidnappings; from the end of 1968, and increasingly during 1969 and 1970, left-wing violence was matched and surpassed by far-right violence, notably from the Grey Wolves.[3] On the political front, Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel's centre-right Justice Party government, re-elected in 1969, also experienced trouble. Various factions within his party defected to form splinter groups of their own, gradually reducing his parliamentary majority and bringing the legislative process to a halt.[1]

By January 1971, Turkey appeared to be in a state of chaos. The universities had ceased to function. Students, emulating Latin American urban guerrillas, robbed banks and kidnapped US servicemen, also attacking American targets. The homes of university professors critical of the government were bombed by neo-fascist militants. Factories were on strike and more workdays were lost between 1 January and 12 March 1971 than during any prior year. The Islamist movement had become more aggressive and its party, the National Order Party, openly rejected Atatürk and Kemalism, infuriating the armed forces.[4] Demirel's government, weakened by defections, seemed paralyzed, powerless to try to curb the campus and street violence and unable to pass any serious legislation on social and financial reform.[3]


It was in this atmosphere that on 12 March, the Chief of the General Staff, Memduh Tağmaç, handed the prime minister a memorandum, really amounting to an ultimatum by the armed forces. It demanded "the formation, within the context of democratic principles, of a strong and credible government, which will neutralise the current anarchical situation and which, inspired by Atatürk's views, will implement the reformist laws envisaged by the constitution", putting an end to the "anarchy, fratricidal strife, and social and economic unrest". If the demands were not met, the army would "exercise its constitutional duty" and take over power itself.[3][5] Demirel resigned after a three-hour meeting with his cabinet;[6] veteran politician and opposition leader İsmet İnönü sharply denounced any military meddling in politics.[3] While the precise reasons for the intervention remain disputed, there were three broad motivations behind the memorandum. First, senior commanders believed Demirel had lost his grip on power and was unable to deal with rising public disorder and political terrorism, so they wished to return order to Turkey. Second, many officers seem to have been unwilling to bear responsibility for the government's violent measures, such as the suppression of Istanbul workers' demonstrations the previous June; more radical members believed coercion alone could not stop popular unrest and Marxist revolutionary movements, and that the social and economic reformism behind the 1960 coup needed to be put into practice. Finally, a minority of senior officers concluded that progress within a liberal democratic system was impossible, and that authoritarianism would result in a more egalitarian, independent and "modern" Turkey; other officers felt they had to intervene, if only to forestall these radical elements.[7]

The coup did not come as a surprise to most Turks, but the direction it would take was uncertain, as its collective nature made it difficult to discern which faction in the armed forces had seized the initiative. The liberal intelligentsia hoped it was the radical-reformist wing led by air force commander Muhsin Batur, who favoured implementing reforms envisaged by the 1961 constitution; they were thus encouraged by the memorandum.[5] Their hopes were dashed when it turned out that the high command had taken power, animated by the spectre of a communist threat, and not a radical group of officers as in 1960. (There were rumours the high command had acted to pre-empt a similar move by junior officers; the notion was seemingly confirmed when a number of officers were retired soon afterwards.)[3] The "restoration of law and order" was given priority; in practice this meant repressing any group viewed as leftist. On the day of the coup, the public prosecutor opened a case against the Workers' Party of Turkey for carrying out communist propaganda and supporting Kurdish separatism. He also sought to close all youth organisations affiliated with Dev-Genç, the Federation of the Revolutionary Youth of Turkey, blamed for the left-wing youth violence and university and urban agitation. Police searches in offices of the teachers' union and university clubs were carried out. Such actions encouraged vigilante action by the "Idealist Hearths", the youth branch of the Nationalist Action Party; provincial teachers and Workers' Party supporters became prime targets. The principal motive for the suppression of the left seems to have been to curb trade union militancy and the demands for higher wages and better working conditions.[8]

The commanders who seized power were reluctant to exercise it directly, deterred by the problems that faced the Greek junta. They had little choice but to rule through an Assembly dominated by conservative, anti-reformist parties and an "above-party" government which was expected to carry out the reforms. The military chiefs would give directives from behind the scenes. To lead this government, on 19 March they chose Professor Nihat Erim, acceptable to the Justice Party and the more conservative faction of the Republican People's Party. (This included İnönü, who embraced the generals once they picked his close associate, but the party's general secretary Bülent Ecevit was infuriated and resigned from his post. For his part, Demirel cautioned his party to remain calm.[3]) Erim appointed a technocratic cabinet from outside the political establishment to carry out the commanders' socio-economic reform programme.[9] The regime rested on an unstable balance of power between civilian politicians and the military; it was neither a normal elected government, nor an outright military dictatorship which could entirely ignore parliamentary opposition.[10]


In April, politics was eclipsed (and the envisaged reform put off until after 1973) when a new wave of terror began, carried out by the Turkish People's Liberation Army, in the form of kidnappings with ransom demands and bank robberies. Intelligence sources confirmed rumours that dissident junior officers and military cadets were directing this force. On 27 April, martial law was declared in 11 of 67 provinces, including major urban areas and Kurdish regions. Soon, youth organisations were banned, union meetings prohibited, leftist (but not militant neo-fascist) publications proscribed and strikes declared illegal. After the Israeli consul was abducted on 17 May, hundreds of students, young academics, writers, trade unionists and Workers' Party activists—not just leftists but also people with liberal-progressive sympathies—were detained and tortured. The consul was shot four days later after a daytime curfew had been announced.[11]

For the next two years, repression continued, with martial law renewed every two months.[12] Constitutional reforms repealed some of the essential liberal fragments of the 1961 Constitution and allowed the government to withdraw fundamental rights in case of "abuse".[2] The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) used the Ziverbey Villa as a torture center, employing physical and psychological coercion.[13] The Counter-Guerrillas were active in the same building, with interrogations directed by their mainly Central Intelligence Agency-trained specialists, and resulting in hundreds of deaths or permanent injuries. Among their victims was journalist Uğur Mumcu, arrested shortly after the coup, who later wrote that his torturers informed him even the president could not touch them.[14]

Ferit Melen, who made little impression, took over the premiership in April 1972,[12] followed a year later by Naim Talu, whose main task was to lead the country to elections. (An important reassertion of civilian influence took place in March–April 1973, when Demirel and Ecevit, normally at odds, both rejected the generals' choice for president, instead having Fahri Korutürk elected to the post by the Assembly.[15]) By summer 1973, the military-backed regime had achieved most of its political tasks. The constitution was amended so as to strengthen the state against civil society; special courts were in place to deal with all forms of dissent quickly and ruthlessly (these tried over 3,000 people before their abolition in 1976); the universities, their autonomy ended, had been made to curb the radicalism of students and faculty; radio, television, newspapers and the constitutional court were curtailed; the National Security Council was made more powerful; and, once the Workers' Party was dissolved in July 1971, the trade unions were pacified and left in an ideological vacuum.[16][17] That May, Necmettin Erbakan's National Order Party had been shut down, which the government claimed showed its even-handedness in the anti-terror campaign, but he was not tried and allowed to resume his activities in October 1972; the National Action Party and the right-wing terrorists who worked under its aegis were left conspicuously alone.[18]

In October 1973, Ecevit, who had won control of the Republican People's Party from İnönü, won an upset victory. Nevertheless, the very same problems highlighted in the memorandum re-emerged. A fragmented party system and unstable governments held hostage by small right-wing parties contributed to political polarization.[2] The economy deteriorated, the Grey Wolves escalated and intensified political terrorism as the 1970s progressed, and left-wing groups too carried out acts aimed at causing chaos and demoralization.[19] In 1980, seeking once again to restore order, the military carried out yet another coup.


  1. ^ a b Cleveland, William L. A history of the modern Middle East. Westview Press (2004), ISBN 0-8133-4048-9, p.283
  2. ^ a b c Nohlen, Dieter, et al. (2001) Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-924958-X, p.235
  3. ^ a b c d e f (Zürcher 2004, p. 258)
  4. ^ (Ahmad 1993, p. 147)
  5. ^ a b (Ahmad 1993, p. 148)
  6. ^ "Turkish Regime Is Ousted By the Military Leaders", The New York Times, 13 March 1971, p.1
  7. ^ (Hale 1994, pp. 185–6)
  8. ^ (Ahmad 1993, pp. 148–9)
  9. ^ (Ahmad 1993, pp. 149–50)
  10. ^ (Hale 1994, p. 195)
  11. ^ (Ahmad 1993, pp. 150–51)
  12. ^ a b (Ahmad 1993, p. 152)
  13. ^ (Ünlü 2008, p. 228)
  14. ^ (Gökay 2006, p. 96)
  15. ^ (Ahmad 1993, p. 155)
  16. ^ (Ahmad 1993, p. 156)
  17. ^ (Zürcher 2004, p. 260)
  18. ^ (Zürcher 2004, pp. 259–60)
  19. ^ (Ahmad 1993, p. 163)


  • Ahmad, Feroz (1993), The Making of Modern Turkey, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-07836-9
  • Gökay, Bülent (2006), Soviet Eastern Policy and Turkey, 1920-1991, Psychology Press, ISBN 0-203-58106-7
  • Hale, William (1994), Turkish Politics and the Military, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-02455-2
  • Ünlü, Ferhat (2008), Democratic Oversight and Reform of the Security Sector in Turkey, LIT Verlag Münster, ISBN 978-3-825-80969-0
  • Zürcher, Erik Jan (2004), Turkey: A Modern History, I. B. Tauris, ISBN 1-85043-399-2

External links

1960 Turkish coup d'état

The 1960 Turkish coup d'état (Turkish: 27 Mayıs Darbesi) was the first coup d'état in the Republic of Turkey. The coup was staged by a group of 38 young Turkish military officers, acting outside the Staff Chiefs' chain of command. It was orchestrated by Alparslan Türkeş and ultimately led on May 27, 1960 by General Cemal Gürsel, against the democratically-elected government of the Democrat Party. Alparslan Türkeş was a member of the junta (National Unity Committee).

ASEAN Declaration

The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.

Asian Relations Conference

The Asian Relations Conference took place in New Delhi in March-April 1947. It was hosted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who then headed a provisional government that was preparing for India's Independence, which came on 15 August 1947. The Asian Relations Conference brought together many leaders of the independence movements in Asia, and represented a first attempt to assert Asian unity. The objectives of the conference were "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding."

In his writings and speeches, Nehru had laid great emphasis on the manner in which post-colonial India would rebuild its Asia connections. At this conference Nehru declared: "... Asia is again finding herself ... one of the notable consequences of the European domination of Asia has been the isolation of the countries of Asia from one another. ... Today this isolation is breaking down because of many reasons, political and otherwise ... This Conference is significant as an expression of that deeper urge of the mind and spirit of Asia which has persisted ... In this Conference and in this work there are no leaders and no followers. All countries of Asia have to meet together in a common task ..."

Doğan Avcıoğlu

Doğan Avcıoğlu (1926, Mustafakemalpaşa – 1983, İstanbul) was a Turkish writer, journalist and politician.

Erdoğan Teziç

Erdoğan Teziç (1936 – 23 April 2017) was a Turkish academic in constitutional law.

Exercise Verity

Exercise Verity was the only major training exercise of the Western Union (WU). Undertaken in July 1949, it involved 60 warships from the British, French, Belgian and Dutch navies. A contemporary newsreel described this exercise as involving "the greatest assembly of warships since the Battle of Jutland."


In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s. After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.


Hoxhaism is a variant of anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism that developed in the late 1970s due to a split in the Maoist movement, appearing after the ideological dispute between the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978. The ideology is named after Enver Hoxha, a notable Albanian communist leader.

Jamaican political conflict

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.

Le Cercle

Le Cercle is a foreign policy think-tank specialising in international security. Set up after World War II, the group has members from twenty-five countries and meets at least bi-annually, in Washington, D.C., United States.

List of Prime Ministers of Turkey

The following is a complete list of Prime Ministers of Turkey, since the establishment of that position in 1920, during the Turkish War of Independence. The Prime Minister was the head of the executive branch of the government along with the Cabinet. Following the constitutional referendum of 2017, the office of Prime Minister was abolished and Supreme power was handed to the President of Turkey after the general election of 2018.

For a list of Grand Viziers of the predecessor Ottoman Empire, see List of Ottoman Grand Viziers.

Socialist Revolution Party (Turkey)

Socialist Revolution Party (Turkish: Sosyalist Devrim Partisi) was a former political party in Turkey.

The party was founded by Mehmet Ali Aybar, the former chairman of Workers Party of Turkey (TIP). Aybar was a champion of a policy known as "smiling socialism" which was rejected among most of the other the Marxists. So in 1970 he lost his chair to Behice Boran. In 1971 TİP was banned by the 33rd government of Turkey after 1971 Turkish military memorandum. Although TİP was reestablished, Aybar did not participate and he founded another party named Socialist Party on 30th of May, 1975 which later on was renamed Socialist Revolution Party (SDP). Among the 50 carter members some of the notable names were Cenan Bıçakçı, Uğur Cankoçak and Kemal Nebioğlu. In the 3rd art. of the party constitution it reads "People are not for socialismm, but socialism is for people."

The blue collar workers made up 2/3 of the party staff. No person was to be the chairperson of the party for more than one term. So Aybar left his seat to Cenan Bıçakçı, a former unionist. However in 1980 following 1980 Turkish coup, the party was closed by the military rule just like the other political parties. After the military term Turkey returned to democracy and the party was opened for the second time. In the elections however, the party was unable to gain any seat in the parliament or in the local government and in 1995 it dissolved itself.

Turkish coup d'état

Turkish coup d'état may refer to:

1960 Turkish coup d'état

1971 Turkish military memorandum

1980 Turkish coup d'état

1993 alleged Turkish military coup

1997 Turkish military memorandum

2003 Sledgehammer (coup plan)

2004 Sarıkız, Ayışığı, Yakamoz and Eldiven

2007 E-memorandum

2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt

2016 Turkish purges

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

İskender Pasha Mosque, Fatih

İskender Pasha Mosque (Turkish: İskender Paşa Cami), a.k.a. Terkim Masjid (Turkish: Terkim Mescidi) is a historic mosque located in Fatih district in Istanbul, Turkey.Located on Sarıgüzel Street in İskenderpaşa neighborhood of Fatih, it was endowed in 1505–06 by İskender Pasha, who lived at the time of Mehmed the Conqueror (1432–1481) and served as a vizier of Bayezid II (reigned 1481–1512). A native of Çakallı village of Vize, İskender Pasha died in 1507, so it is assumed that the mosque was built at the end of the 15th century or in the beginning of the 16th century. The mosque takes its other name "Terkim Masjid" from the Janissary barracks situated in the vicinity in the past.The mosque was repaired and restored in the years 1756, 1887, 1945 and 1956. In 1989, a two-story annex of 360 m2 (3,900 sq ft) was added to enlarge the prayer room. The 1999 İzmit earthquake, caused the spire of the minaret fell onto the main dome and caused considerable damage. The mosque underwent major repair and restoration works in 2006.

Şirin Cemgil

Sirin Yazıcıoğlu Cemgil (11 May 1945; Buldan, Denizli - 17 April 2009; Duisburg, Germany) was a lawyer who was significant in the 1968 student movement.

Military coups in Turkey
Ottoman Empire
Republic of Turkey
Coup attempts
Other incidents and trials
Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.