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1971 - Communique Coup

Turkey experienced its next military coup in 1971, the Communique Coup. Extremist groups banded together and adopted Marxist ideologies while also using Stalinist tactics. They participated in a wave of violence and guerrilla warfare with which Suleyman Demirel, the Justice Party Prime Minister, was unable to cope. The continued refusal of the Republican People's Party to participate in a coalition government and its vitriolic criticism of the Justice Party's failures further encouraged the extremist groups to increase their terror tactics.

On 12 March 1971 the military chiefs issued a warning threatening military intervention if the Turkish government proved unable to quell the domestic uprising. Specific demands were made for bipartisan leadership and cooperation, coupled with a crackdown on urban terrorists. This memorandum or coup by communiqué was delivered to Demirel by the President, Cevdat Sunay, and resulted in the ouster of the Justice Party.

On 12 March 1971, the army forced the elected government to tender its resignation, but kept the Parliament open. Several months later, it was revealed that the "soft" coup of March 12, was in fact a counter-coup organized to counterbalance another one planned for three days earlier (March 9) by leftist officers.

A new coalition government was appointed under Professor Nihat Erim, and martial law was declared in Ankara and Istanbul and in the 11 major provinces of the country, remaining in effect for 31 months. Free elections were held in October of 1973, and martial law was lifted. When the election results failed to bring in a majority vote for any party, the military was forced to pressure the Republican People's Party into a coalition rule with the National Salvation Party. However, from 1961 onward, internal social, economic, and political stability became more and more elusive. The armed forces had to exercise closer vigilance over political developments in what seemed to be an expansion or redefinition of their perceived role as guardians of the nation of Turkey.

One representative of business interests, the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (Türk Sanayiçileri ve Is Adamlari Dernegi--TÜSIAD), was founded by the leaders of some of Turkey's largest business and industrial enterprises soon after the March 1971 military coup. Its aim was to improve the image of business and to stress its concern with social issues. At the same time, TÜSIAD favored granting greater control of investment capital to the large industrialists at the expense of the smaller merchant and banking interests usually supported by TOB. TÜSIAD's leaders also were concerned with the widening economic inequalities between regions and social classes and opposed TISK's extreme antilabor policies, which they perceived as jeopardizing Turkey's chances of entering the European Union.

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Page last modified: 30-07-2013 13:27:20 ZULU