Liberalism in Turkey
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This article gives an overview of liberalism in Turkey. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ denotes another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it isn't necessary that parties have labeled themselves a liberal party.
The first liberals in Turkish history appeared when the nations in the control of the empire started to depart due to Nationalist movement. To stop the decomposition of the Ottoman Empire, liberals in the Ottoman Empire proposed the United Kingdom model which is known as Common Wealth. On the other hand, the Committee of Union and Progress emphasized the nationalism over Turks to survive from the obvious end. The Committee of Union and Progress applied this policy after they took control of the government by force in 1908. However, the disintegration of the empire after World War I was accelerated due to this policy and led to the founding of the Republic of Turkey in Anatolia as a nation-state that is primarily populated by Turks.
Although liberalism played a minimal role in the modernization of the Ottoman Empire, the liberal movement was restricted with force by the Committee of Union and Progress and its successor the Republican People's Party after World War I. Attempts to found quasi-liberal parties were for unsuccessful in most areas of the country. Turkey didn't have a traditional liberal current till Turgut Özal took power. Even though he formed a right-wing (Motherland Party) government, he is regarded as a liberal politician. However, Özal did not openly referred to his politics as liberal and indeed they were not. This was due to the perception of (then newly) privatizations which were actually executed against liberalism principles.
Freedom and Unity Party
- 1911: As a reaction to dictatorial tendencies, the liberal Freedom and Unity Party (Hürriyet ve İtilaf Fırkası) is founded.
- 1912: The party is banned.
Ottoman Liberal People's Party / Freedom Party
- 1918: Fethi Okyar founded in 1918 the Ottoman Liberal People's Party (Osmanlı Hürriyet-perver Avam Fırkası)
- 1920: The party disappeared.
- 1930: In an attempt to allow a legal opposition party, Atatürk encouraged Okyar to found the Freedom Party (Hürriyet Fırkası), also rendered as Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası (Liberal Republic Party).
- 1930: The party attracted huge number of dissident people of the Kemalist bureaucracy's harsh policies. The founder of the party, Okyar, dissolved his own party, fearing that it was becoming a rallying ground for counter-reformists against the secular republic.
- 1956: A liberal faction of the Democratic Party founded the Freedom Party (Hürriyet Partisi).
- 1958: The party merged into the Republican People's Party.
New Turkey Party
- 1961: A moderate faction of the former Democratic Party established after the ban of the latter party the New Turkey Party (Yeni Türkiye Partisi).
- 1973: After initial success the party became unsuccessful and is dissolved.
Liberal Democratic Party
- 1994: Founded on July 26 as Liberal Party by former (Demokrat Parti) members and Besim Tibuk, first president
- 1996: The Liberal Party changed its name to Liberal Democratic Party
- 2002: Besim Tibuk resigns as president on November 25.
- 2005: Cem Toker gets elected as president on July 20.