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Demirel, Süleyman (1924–)

Süleyman Demirel has been a leading political figure in Turkey since he joined the center-right Justice Party, or JP, in 1962. He served as deputy prime minister (1965), prime minister (1965–1971; 1975; 1977–1978; 1979– 1980; 1991–1993), and the ninth president of the republic (1993–2000). Leader of seven governments, deposed twice by the military (first in 1971 and again in 1980), and the nation's patriarch, often referred to simply as “Baba” or “Father,” Demirel had a political life that spanned virtually the whole postwar period.

A self-made man, born in a village in the province of Isparta, a hydraulic engineer with a successful career of dam-building before 1960 and in an American firm after 1960, Demirel was elected the JP's chairman in November 1964. Under his leadership, ...

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