Tansu Çiller


Tansu Çiller
Tansu Çiller
Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
25 June 1993 – 6 March 1996
President Süleyman Demirel
Preceded by Süleyman Demirel
Succeeded by Mesut Yılmaz
Personal details
Born October 23, 1944 (1944-10-23) (age 67)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political party True Path Party
Spouse(s) Özer Uçuran Çiller
Alma mater Robert College
University of New Hampshire
University of Connecticut

Tansu Penbe Çiller (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈtansu tʃiˈleɾ]; b. October 23, 1944, Istanbul) is a Turkish economist and politician. She was Turkey's first and only female Prime Minister.

Contents

Early career

She is the daughter of a Turkish governor of Bilecik province during the 1950s. She graduated from the School of Economics at Robert College after finishing the American College for Girls in Istanbul. She received her M.S. from the University of New Hampshire and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She later completed her postdoctoral studies at Yale University. Çiller taught economics at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1978, she became a lecturer at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and in 1983 she was appointed as professor by the same institution. She also worked in the now-defunct Istanbul Bank as president of the company.

Politics

After teaching at several universities as a professor, Çiller entered politics in November 1990, joining the conservative True Path Party (DYP). She was first elected to the parliament in 1991 as deputy of Istanbul and served as Minister of State in charge of economics in the coalition government of Süleyman Demirel. On June 13, 1993, she became the party's leader and later in the same year, the Prime Minister of a coalition government. She served as prime minister from 1993 to 1996. After the withdrawal of the Republican People's Party (CHP) from the coalition in 1995 she attempted to form a minority government, which failed. After that she agreed to form another cabinet with the CHP and went for general elections.

Çiller also served as Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister and the vice prime minister between 1996 and 1997.

The EU-Turkey Customs Union agreement was signed in 1995 and came into effect in 1996 during Çiller's government. Çiller was also prime minister during the Imia/Kardak crisis with neighbouring Greece in 1996.

Tansu Çiller is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

As Prime Minister, Çiller declared that if Greece tried to separate Albania, it would have the Turkish Army in Athens 24 hours later.[1][2]

After her November 2002 election defeat, she retired from political life.

Fight against PKK and Controversy

One of Çiller's major achievements was to transform the Turkish Army from an organization using vintage equipment from the US Army into a modern fighting force capable of defeating the PKK, using hit-and-run tactics. She also convinced the U.S. government to list the PKK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which was later followed by the acceptance of the same by the European Union.

Çiller declared on 4 October 1993: "We know the list of businessmen and artists subjected to racketeering by the PKK and we shall be bringing their members to account." Beginning on 14 January 1994, almost a hundred people were kidnapped by commandos wearing uniforms and travelling in police vehicles and then killed somewhere along the road from Ankara to Istanbul. Abdullah Catli, a leader of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves and an organized crime figure, demanded money from people who were on "Çiller’s list", promising to get their names removed. One of his victims, Behçet Canturk, was to pay ten million dollars, to which Casino King Omer Luftu Topal added a further seventeen million. However, after receiving the money, he then went on to have them kidnapped and killed, and sometimes tortured beforehand.[3]

After the Susurluk scandal, she praised Catli who was killed during the Susurluk car crash, saying that: "Those who fire bullets or suffer their wounds in the name of this country, this nation, and this state will always be respectfully remembered by us."[4][5]

She was also investigated by the Turkish Parliament on serious corruption charges following her period in government. Along with another former Prime Minister, Mesut Yılmaz, she was later cleared of all the charges mainly due to technicalities such as the statute of limitations and the political immunity of parliamentarians. At the end of 1998, the corruption files about Yılmaz and Çiller were covered up at the commissions of the Parliament in a common action staged by DYP, ANAP and DSP MPs.[6]

Personal life

Tansu Çiller is married to Özer Uçuran Çiller and they have two sons, Mert and Berk.

See also

References

  1. ^ "PANGALOS/GR-TURK.RELATIONS". hri.org. http://www.hri.org/news/greek/ant1en/1997/97-06-04.ant1en.html. 
  2. ^ ""TURKEY WILL NOT STAY SPECTATOR TOWARDS EFFORTS TO DIVIDE ALBANIA" - declares Tansu Çiller". hri.org. http://www.hri.org/news/balkans/ata/1997/97-03-21.ata.html#11. 
  3. ^ Nezan, Kendal (5 July 1998). "Turkey's pivotal role in the international drug trade". Le Monde diplomatique. http://mondediplo.com/1998/07/05turkey. 
  4. ^ Lucy Komisar, Turkey's terrorists: a CIA legacy lives on, The Progressive, April 1997.
  5. ^ 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.39-86 (see note p.39)
  6. ^ 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, p.11

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Leader of the True Path Party
1993–2002
Succeeded by
Mehmet Ağar
Political offices
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Prime Minister of Turkey
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Preceded by
Nahit Menteşe
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
1996–1997
Succeeded by
İsmet Sezgin
Preceded by
Emre Gönensay
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1996–1997
Succeeded by
İsmail Cem

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