Freedom Party

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Turkish political party, 19551958.

Established late in 1955 by a group of dissident members of the ruling Democrat Party, the Freedom Party signified rising opposition to the undisciplined economic policies and authoritarian tendencies of the regime of Adnan Menderes. Prime Minister Menderes reacted to intensifying criticism in the aftermath of destructive riots in Istanbul and other cities in September 1955 by forcing the resignation of the entire government while retaining office himself, thus violating the cardinal principle of collective cabinet responsibility. Composed of some of the most cosmopolitan and intellectual elements of the dominant party, the Freedom Party called for effective constitutional guarantees against arbitrary government and greater freedom of association and expression. Ironically, the departure of the dissidents from the Democrat Party strengthened Menderes and paved the way for even more dictatorial policies. The Freedom Party garnered only 4 out of a total of 610 seats in the election of 1957, while the main opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) polled 40 percent of the vote and gained 178 seats. Consequently, the Freedom Party merged with the RPP in November 1958.

See also Menderes, Adnan; Republican People's Party (RPP).


Ahmad, Feroz. The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 19501975. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1977.

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

Frank Tachau

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Freedom Party

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