Free Republican Party

views updated


Turkish political party, 1930.

This short-lived party was founded in August 1930 by associates of Turkey's president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, at his behest, possibly to siphon off discontent spawned by economic problems and the government's radical reform program. Fethi Okyar, former prime minister and close associate of Kemal, returned from his post of ambassador to France to assume the leadership of the party. It opposed the government's dirigiste (paternalistic, state directed) economic policy and emphasized individual rights and freedoms, including freedom of (religious) conscience. It rapidly gained enthusiastic support, especially in the Aegean region. Among its adherents was Adnan Menderes, leader of the Democrat Party of the 1950s, indicating that the Free Republican Party was a harbinger of things to come. Contrary to Kemal's image of gentlemanly debates between parties, relations between the new party and the governing People's Party were bitter. The latter feared that it might in fact lose power in a free election and accused the Free Republican Party of stirring up reaction against Kemal's nationalist reform program. Consequently, the Free Republican Party voluntarily dissolved itself after only ninety-nine days, in November 1930.

See also Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal; Menderes, Adnan.


Frey, Frederick W. The Turkish Political Elite. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965.

Karpat, Kemal H. Turkey's Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Party System. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1959.

Weiker, Walter F. Political Tutelage and Democracy in Turkey: The Free Party and Its Aftermath. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1975.

Frank Tachau

About this article

Free Republican Party

Updated About content Print Article