Demirel, Süleyman (sülāmänˈ dĕmĭrĕlˈ) [key], 1924–, Turkish political leader, president of Turkey (1993–2000). A successful engineer, he became leader of the Justice party in 1964, deputy prime minister in Feb., 1965, and prime minister in Oct., 1965. His failure to halt civil anarchy in the form of student riots, leftist agitation, and political terrorism forced the resignation of his centrist government in 1971. He again served as prime minister (1975–80) of a coalition government, but in 1980 civil turmoil led to an army coup. Demirel was ousted, detained (1980, 1983), and banned from politics until 1987. From 1991 to 1993 (now as leader of the conservative True Path party) he was again prime minister, after which he became president. Although the presidency was largely a ceremonial office, a series of short-lived and unstable governments enabled Demirel to acquire considerable power.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.