Bülent Ecevit

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Bülent Ecevit in 2000

Mustafa Bülent Ecevit (28 May 19255 November 2006) was a Turkish politician, statesman, poet, writer, scholar, and journalist, who served as the Prime Minister of Turkey four times between 1974 and 2002. He served as prime minister in 1974, 1977, 1978–79, and 1999–2002. Ecevit was the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) between 1972 and 1980, and in 1989 he became the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP). He is credited with introducing social democratic politics to Turkey by synthesizing Kemalism with social democracy, thus making social democracy a core tenet in modern Kemalist ideology.


  • After the bipolar world ended and the Soviet Union dissipated, many political circles, or political observers, students in North European countries, thought that Turkey's security value for the Western countries had been considerably diminished. But as a world power, the United States saw the facts earlier than most European countries, and realized that, on the contrary, after the ending of the bipolar world, the geopolitical importance of Turkey would have been augmented very much because, with the ending of the Soviet Union, the merger of Europe and Asia had gained pace and Turkey played a key role, a pivotal role in this merger of the two big continents.
However, democracy has survived and will survive in Turkey because the Turkish society is already well beyond the point of return and because the people would not put up with any alternative regime.
  • It is no easy matter to make democracy live and to live by democracy for a country grappling with the tremendous difficulties and handicaps of being at the stage of development. The temptation may often be aroused, in the face of such difficulties, to look for deceptive short cuts that unwittingly may cause the society to drift away from the course of democracy – a course that requires patience, perseverance and tolerance.
  • Turkey has been one of the most rapidly changing societies of this age. Problems and conflicts arising out of change and transition have therefore been rather acute in Turkey. Change in Turkey did not start at the infrastructural level alone. Infrastructural and superstructural change have been taking place simultaneously. In some cases superstructural change has even preceded infrastructural change. The shocks and tremors of such a process of comprehensive and accelerated change were to some extent alleviated by the democratic regime which gave vent to the frustration caused by difficulties of adaptation, while at the same time increasing the difficulties of preserving democracy.
  • The unity of the Turkish nation is based on the fact that ethnic differentiation is alien to the traditional attitudes and social relations of the people of Turkey. Throughout history, ethnic or religious conflicts emerged in Turkey only when there were provocations from outside.
  • In a democratic country at our stage of development, the social feasibility of stabilisation measures is at least as important as their economic feasibility. In such a country a static stability does not work or, even when it seems to work, it backfires at one stage. It has to be a dynamic stability, ensuring a certain momentum in growth and development.
Turkey, through NATO has contributed to the security of Europe and the West as a whole throughout the decades of Cold War. It carried the heavy economic burden of this responsible role with a great sense of duty.

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