In November 1979 there was a new Demirel government: political instability led the country towards anarchy while terrorism claimed dozens of victims every month. In this climate, on 12 September 1980, General Kenan Evren assumed full powers. Martial law was proclaimed throughout Turkey, political and trade union formations were dissolved, men of the old regime banned all activities and thousands of suspects were arrested. In just over a year, terrorism was crushed and the disastrous economic situation also improved: inflation dropped from 100% to 30% between 1980 and 1982. In this last year, Evren decided that the time was ripe for a return. to democracy, he approved a new democratic constitution and at the same time he was elected president of the republic for a period of seven years. In November 1983, elections were held with new political parties, as the old ones had been excluded: Turgut Özalemerged from the polls as the winner, leader of the Party of the Motherland, reconfirmed at the helm of the government in 1987. Following the persistence of economic difficulties, the administrative elections of 1987 resulted in a defeat for the ruling party, giving reason for the opposition to increase its combativeness in the confrontation political, with the demand for new political elections. In spite of this, when Evren’s mandate came to an end, Özal ran for the presidency of the republic, and in November 1989 he was elected head of state. Yildirim Akbulut, former Minister of the Interior, was appointed to lead the government, who was then replaced by Mesut Yilmaz in June 1991. Subsequently, in October 1991, the political elections were won by the Demirel’s Right Way Party. who presided over a coalition government with the People’s Social Democratic Party. Champion of a reformist policy of modernization extended both to the economy and to the protection of civil rights, Demirel was however forced to proceed with caution on the path of progress, finding himself facing a strong resumption of the action of the Kurdish guerrillas who, after having suffered a violent repression in the previous year, had come to invest all the south-eastern provinces (March 1992). Still weighing in the second half of the Eighties were the difficult relations with Greece, which had gone through different phases: from the danger of armed confrontation in March 1987, we had moved on to the start of direct negotiations in 1988, to acceptance by the Greek side. of the Turkish status as a country associated with the European Community and, finally, a new deterioration in 1990. Even before the intervention of the international coalition, in which Turkey had participated, in the so-called Gulf War (January-February 1991), a significant increase in tensions characterized relations with Iraq, aggravated by the construction of the Atatürk dam on the Euphrates.
In the early nineties, the dissolution of the USSR and Yugoslavia, the downsizing of the political weight of Iraq and the tensions that erupted in the Caucasus area made Turkey acquire new strategic value. According to usprivateschoolsfinder, the country therefore sought to consolidate ties with the Turkic-speaking populations and more generally with those of Central Asia; significant was his participation in the establishment of a zone of economic cooperation of the Black Sea (CEN, established in June 1992), but even more so that of the Organization of Economic Cooperation (with Iran and Pakistan). The sudden death of President Ozal (April 1993) took place precisely at a delicate moment, while the country was busy carving out the important role of regional power between the European and Asian shores. Demirel, called to succeed Ozal as president of the republic, left Tansu Ciller, former Minister of Economy, the responsibilities of the government which, for the first time, was therefore led by a woman. But the resurgence of the Kurdish problem and the growing weight assumed by Islamic fundamentalists led to the early elections of 1996, in which Refah, the Islamic party of Necmettin Erbakan, who was entrusted with the office of prime minister. The clash with the military, traditionally defenders of the secularity of the country, was inevitable. Erbakan was forced to resign and was replaced by the leader of the Party of the motherland Mesut Yilmaz, who formed a coalition government whose main objective was to block the way to the fundamentalists of Refah, the majority party dissolved by the Constitutional Court in January 1998. The decision, taken in the name of defending the secular principles on which the state is founded, underlined even more the serious problems of a country apparently incapable of making a choice between Western development models on the one hand and fundamentalist temptations on the other. These problems, in fact, they negatively conditioned international relations and prevented Turkey from playing the role that its strategic position would have allowed it. These problems were aggravated by the unresolved question of the Kurdish minorities, who fled the country en masse between 1997 and 1998, the Cyprus question and the resignation of Mesut Yilmaz at the end of 1998. away from his last term, Bülent Ecevit. In November of the same year, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Oçalan, wanted by the Turkish authorities on charges of treason and terrorism, was arrested in Italy. The refusal of the Italian government to grant his extradition caused a cooling of relations with Italy and the EU and heavy commercial retaliation. In February 1999, Oçalan, removed from Italy, was arrested by the Turkish special services in Kenya. The result was a resumption of terrorist activity by the PKK and an escalation of military repression. The trial (June 1999) against the leader of the PKK ended with a death sentence, which was not carried out. The legislative elections of May 1999 saw the victory of the Left Democratic Party and the Nationalist Action Party, both opposed to negotiating on the Kurdish question and the country’s entry into the EU. In the following December, the European heads of government proposed Turkey to join the EU, but under certain conditions.