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Turgut Özal

Turgut Özal

Turgut Özal.

Turgut Özal

Photo: World Economic Forum.

(1927-1993) Turkish politician, deputy prime minister 1980-1982, prime minister 1983-1989, president 1989-1993.
Özal's entry into Turkish politics came much by chance. He met Demirel during his years as student, and Demirel made him his advisor when he formed government.
Özal was active in opening up Turkish economy, orienting it towards Western patterns. He worked for Turkish membership in the European Union in th 1980's, but didn't succeed. Özal also worked for increased rights for the Kurdish population. Özal is also accredited for smoothing the military's disengagement from day-to-day politics.
But his politics didn't lead to the expected results, as Turkey was struck hard by high inflation and increasing unemployment. His regime also allowed continued breaches to human rights.
During his presidency, Özal tried to increase the power of the president — which to a large degree was a non-political position. This lead to clashes between him and prime minister Demirel.


1927 October 13: Is born in Malatya, as son of a teacher in Islam.
1940's: Starts studying electrical engineering, where he met future prime minister Süleyman Demirel.
1967: Becomes an undersecretary at the Turkish State Planning Organization, and works close to prime minister Demirel.
1971: Starts working as an economist for the World Bank.
1979: Becomes advisor to Demirel's government.
1980 September: The military overthrows Demirel's government, and Özal is appointed deputy prime minister.
1982 July: Özal has to resign as deputy prime minister after a banking scandal.
1983: Özal's new party, the Motherland Party (ANAP) wins a majority in the parliament, and Özal can form a proper government.
1987: ANAP wins a majority in the parliament for a second time, but now with a smaller margin.
1989: Özal uses the parliament majority to appoint himself president.
1993 April 17: Dies from a heart attack in Ankara.

By Tore Kjeilen