97. Editorial Note

On July 3, 1977, the Turkish National Assembly voted 229–217 against Bülent Ecevit’s Republican People’s Party, a move which immediately prompted Ecevit’s resignation. Two days later, Süleyman Demirel (who voted against Ecevit) met with Turkish President Fahri Korutürk to begin the process of forming a new coalition government with Demirel as Prime Minister-designate. Demirel rejected forming a coalition with Ecevit at the latter’s suggestion. On July 21, Demirel became Prime Minister once again, sitting atop a coalition government with a similar makeup to the government he led for over two years prior to the election. President Carter sent Demirel a congratulatory note eight days later, assuring Demirel that “Turkey can count on the ties of friendship and alliance which have served our countries and our shared ideals so well these past thirty years.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special, Box 1, Chron File: 8–9/77)

At year’s end, after months of political violence, worsening economic conditions, and widespread frustration over the Aegean and Cyprus disputes, the political fortunes of Demirel and Ecevit were flipped; on December 31, Demirel’s government received a 228–218 no confidence vote in the National Assembly, at which point Demirel quickly resigned and Korutürk named Ecevit Prime Minister. Telegram [Page 309]412 from Ankara, January 17, 1978, reported that Ecevit won a vote of confidence in the National Assembly by 229–218. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780024–1164)