Democratic Left Party

Turkey Table of Contents

The Democratic Left Party, known by the Turkish acronym DSP (for Demokratik Sol Partisi), was the smallest parliamentary party in January 1995. Because the party received almost 11 percent of the vote in the 1991 elections, DSP leader Bülent Ecevit and six other party officials took seats in the National Assembly. Ecevit considered the DSP the legitimate successor to the CHP, which he headed prior to the 1980 coup. When the DSP was founded in November 1985--with Ecevit's wife serving as chair because he remained barred from political activity--Ecevit made known his low opinion of the SHP, which also presented itself as the heir to the CHP, and its leader, Erdal Inönü. Ecevit's personal animosity toward Inönü prevented DSP-SHP cooperation, even though the parties had similar programs and appealed to the same constituency. In both 1987 and 1991, Ecevit spurned efforts by Inönü and other SHP leaders to persuade him to join an electoral alliance. Ecevit condemned the SHP's participation in the Demirel and Çiller governments as evidence that the party had abandoned social-democratic principles and betrayed the working class.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress