The 1977 General Elections in Turkey

This is a short analysis of the 1977 General Elections in Turkey. Have a good read.

1977 General Elections in Turkey was an election in which mainly four major parties (AP, CHP, MSP, and MHP) competed with each other. These parties used polarization politics against each other as propaganda. Therefore, we can say that polarization among society and parties had very high standings (Gülen 2019). Before the elections, Turkey didn’t have good conditions in terms of economic, political, and also socio-economic. One of the reasons for such a situation was the period that started with a military intervention that took place in 1970. After this intervention, Turkey started to be governed by coalition governments. Thus, Turkish politics faced several issues because of the lack of central power. Moreover, the USA which wanted to decrease using of drugs in its territories tried to interfere in Turkey’s production of hash. When Turkey didn’t accept that she put an economic embargo on Turkey. Also, she put such an embargo during the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974. Furthermore, because of some incidents like the 15-16 June incidents, Turkey didn’t have both social and economic stability. As a result, we can say that Turkey was a country of unsustainability before and during the 1977 General Elections (Acar, 2021).

 Before the elections, Turkey was governed by a Coalition government which was established by CHP and MSP. However, after Cyprus Operation, Ecevit, who was the prime minister of government, dissolved the government since he thought that he could take the majority of the assembly when an early election take place. However, he didn’t take the majority of the decision for an early election and therefore, Turkey didn’t go to any early election until 1977. Because of that, the First Nationalist Front Government which was established after the dissolution of the CHP-MSP government and under the leadership of Süleyman Demirel (leader of AP) was the governing power of the country during the elections (Gülen 2019). It is seen that during this period, CHP wanted to early election because of events that have been mentioned above. Also, because of economic and social unsustainability in the country, AP wanted an early election too even though they were the head of a coalition government. However, MSP which was part of the coalition government was against the decision of early election and tried to prevent that.

We can see that by looking caricature at above, Erbakan (leader of MSP) tried to change the idea of Demirel and prevent early elections. However, with CHP's support the majority of the assembly was sustained and the decision of early election took. Therefore, Turkey went to the general election on 5 June 1977 (Sevdi 2018).

  During the propaganda process, CHP pledged generally, for workers and Ecevit said that there is a “broken order” in Turkey and we will sustain a “justice order“ and therefore solve all the problems. Also, he claimed that secure conditions in Turkey had been ruined and the CHP was the only key for secure Turkey. We can see this idea by looking picture at below.

In this picture, re are pistols and white pigeons. And the logo of CHP is between the pigeons. Also “Guns will go away, peace will come” was written on the picture. So, when we sum of all up, this picture says that there are war conditions in Turkey and CHP is the white pigeon (symbol of peace) that will bring peace (Gülen 2019).

  AP, which is another important party in elections blamed CHP for communism and they tried to demonstrate CHP as a threat to the future of the country. Also, they blamed other right-wing party MSPs for bringing CHP to the government (in 1973). They tried to get the support all of right-wing voters and win the election with the capability of establishing a single-party government (Gülen 2019). However, in the elections which have a 72,41% participation rate AP took 36,87% of all votes while CHP took 41,38%. Also, other major parties MSP and MHP got a total of 14.97% of all votes. Therefore, any party couldn’t get the capability of establishing a single-party government and the period of coalition governments continued until the 1980 military intervention (Sevdi 2018).  

  To sum up, we can say that the 1977 General Elections were an election of polarized Turkey. It means that, during the pre-election period Turkey was a society which polarized into right and left wings as a result of the discourse of politics. Because of that, even though there were unsustained socio-economic conditions in the country, people didn’t vote for politicians who would rescue them, they voted for their political wing’s charismatic leader. Thus, even though all major party leaders (Ecevit and Demirel) claim that they would get the majority of the assembly to establish a single-party government, they couldn’t do that and unsustainable situations went on.



Gülen, Ahmet. "SİYASÎ PARTİLERİN PROPAGANDALARI EKSENİNDE 1977 GENEL SEÇİMİ." Ankara Üniversitesi Türk İnkılâp Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk Yolu Dergisi, 2019: 119-157.
Acar, Oğuzcan. 2021. Propaganda Teorileri Bağlamında Türkiye’de 1977 Seçimlerinin Analizi. (Yüksek Lisans Tezi).