367. Editorial Note

A referendum on a new Constitution for the Turkish Republic was held on July 9. The referendum marked a major step toward the return to a system of civilian responsibility for government. However, the process of constitutional restoration was marked by evidence that many military officers opposed a return to party government and by signs of civilian discontent with the role that the military had assigned itself in the new constitutional order. The Embassy reported on these tensions in telegram 1156, March 29 (Department of State, Central Files, 782.00/3–2961) and telegram C–324, June 9 (ibid., 782.5/6–961). The restoration of civilian rule in Turkey began on January 12, when the military government authorized the formation of new political parties. The government permitted the parties to resume activity on April 1. On May 27, the Constituent Assembly approved a draft Constitution and decreed that national elections to approve a new Constitution would be held on July 9.

The elections resulted in the approval of the new Constitution by approximately 62 percent of those voting. On July 21, the Constituent Assembly agreed to hold parliamentary elections on October 15.