Turkey commemorates ex-President Suleyman Demirel

Turkey on Monday remembered its ninth president Suleyman Demirel who passed away four years ago.

Suleyman Demirel, the ninth president of the Republic of Turkey, has made valuable contributions to our country's development and improvement and had a special place in our people's heart as a statesman and politician, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a message issued by his office.

Demirel was ousted twice in military coups and survived an assassination attempt before dying of heart failure at the age of 91.

He was one of Turkey's most prominent center-right political figures serving as prime minister seven times and as president from 1993 to 2000.

He was born in 1924 into a family of peasant farmers in Turkey's Isparta province, but this did not stop him from aiming high. He studied at some of the top educational institutes of the country including, a 121-year-old high school which is known for producing a number of famous politicians and writers. He went on to study civil engineering at the Istanbul Technical University.

His formal entry in politics began in 1962 when he was elected to the executive board of the center-right Justice Party, which he later headed from 1964 to 1980.

In Turkey's 1965 general election, Demirel's party won an unprecedented 53 percent of the vote, catapulting him into the role of prime minister.

The Justice Party government led by him between 1965 and 1969 was one of the country's four periods of single-party-rule.

In the 1969 contest his party was the sole winner by a landslide once again.

However, in the late 1960s there was an increasing social and economic unrest in Turkey � a period marked by strikes and street demonstrations, mostly led by left-wing workers and students.

There were also opposition voices and factions within Demirel's Justice Party. Following these, the military forced him to resign.

Later in 1975, 1977, and 1979 respectively, he formed governments as prime minister.

During these years, he became famous for a statement of pragmatism: "Yesterday is yesterday, today is today," -- showing his ability to maneuver politically.

Source: Anadolu Agency