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Republican People's Party (Turkey)
No: 38 Cankaya
|Political ideology:||social-democratic and nationalist|
|Website:||Republican People's Party of Turkey|
The Republican People's Party is the largest opposition party in Turkey, with 178 out of 550 seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. It opposes the conservative yet moderate Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, which controls the Parliament. The CHP is a left-wing and social-democratic party in Turkey - but it is also a Turkish nationalist party based on the fundamentals of Kemalism. Its symbol is the Six Arrows, which represents the six principles of Atatürk.
The Kemalist movement which was responsible for the founding of the CHP as a political party in Turkey first arose in 1920, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's first President and Prime Minister, created a political party - the social-democratic, republican, and Turkish nationalist Association of the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia (or AOTDOTROAAR) - which won a majority in the first elected Turkish parliament of 1920. After the end of the War of Independence with a Turkish victory against the invading Greeks, Kemal re-styled the AOTDOTROAAR into the People's Party (in Turkish - Halk Partisi, PP), a party with the same ideology. In 1924, President Kemal for the last time changed his Kemalist political party into the Republican People's Party (in Turkish Cumhuriyeti Halk Partisi, or RPP/CHP).
The Republican People's Party was founded in 9th September 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as noted. President Mustafa Kemal, who ended up becoming Turkey's first president and prime minister, radically reformed all of Turkey's life - making it into a secular state. But Turkey was certainly not democratic - as the CHP became the only legal party from 1924 through Atatürk's death in 1938 and finally after the end of World War II, Turkey became a multi-party democracy in 1950.
The CHP's main electoral rival was the Democratic Party of Turkey - a conservative, moderate Islamist party. This DP was the ruling party in Turkey from 1950 to 1957, but even when rule under prime minister Adnan Menderes becomes increasingly authoritarian - the CHP keeps up its role as opposition party. In 1960 - the army staged a coup, and the CHP was restored to power the following year under President Ismet Inonu - who resigned in 1965 following desertion by the CHP, which lost confidence in him. Suleyman Demirel became prime minister in the late 1960's, and because he was a member of the DP, he defied secular traditions in much of his policies.
In 1971, the CHP-backed army brought down the Democrat government of Suleyman Demirel, and, in 1973, following some interim governments, the CHP was restored to power under Bulent Ecevit. In 1975, the CHP was again defeate by the Democrat Party, where Demirel became prime minister again. From 1977 to 1979, the CHP was back in power with Ecevit, but in 1980, the DP returned with Demirel. The political switching between the CHP and the DP came to an end when the military preformed a coup and banned the Democratic Party.
The CHP never recovered from the 1980 military coup. Until 1998, Turkey was ruled by secular conservative governments, namely by the Motherland Party and the True Path Party, unofficial successor of the Democrat Party. In 1998, Islamic parties such as the Welfare Party step into Parliament, and the left-wing seems deserted by the Turkish people. But the Welfare Party was banned in 1998, and the Democratic Left Party , a more extreme socialist party, enters politics. It now seemed as if the CHP had been replaced as the main left-wing party. In the elections of 1999, the CHP won no seats in Parliament - and things didn't look good for it after the creation of the moderate Islamic conservative Justice and Development Party in 2001.
But in the 2002 Parliamentary elections, the CHP won 178 seats in Parliament, and only it and the AKP (Justice and Development Party) went to Parliament. The CHP became the main opposition party again and Turkey's second largest party. It had began the long road to recovery.
Despite this recovery, since the dramatic General Election of 2002, the CHP has been racked by internal power struggles, and has been outclassed by the AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the local elections of 2004, its overall share of the vote held, largely through mopping up anti-Erdogan votes among former supporters of smaller left-wing and secular right-wing parties, but was badly beaten by the AKP across the country, losing strongholds such as the staunchly secular holiday city of Antalya.
It is currently led by Deniz Baykal .
The CHP have their strongest levels of support among secular Turks, particularly in the strongly secular regions in Thrace, and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, among the business, civil service and military élites and among certain religious minorities such as the Alevi, Christians and Jews. The latter two groups and business have moved to the CHP more in recent years, with the rise of the democratic Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) and weakening of the secular right-wing. The party is also hampered by tensions between its internationalist social-democratic and nationalist étatist wings.
The party's logo is the party's text on a grayish background.
- Politics of Turkey
- List of political parties in Turkey
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
- İsmet İnönü
- Deniz Baykal
- Justice and Development Party (Turkey)
The above link is the official website of the Republican People's Party of Turkey. The site does not have an English section, but is quite easy to navigate. There is no e-mail address available.
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