Former President Demirel, ‘Father’ of Turkish Politics, Passes Away Aged 91
In this phot0: Süleymen Demirel, Nazmiye Demirel, Hülya Uğur
Demirel died early on Wednesday of heart failure and a respiratory tract infection at Guven Hospital in the capital, Ankara, doctors at the hospital said.
“Our respected president who has left indelible traces from the water we drink, to the electricity we use, from the schools we study at, to these hospitals, the dams and the airports, has passed away,” said Demirel’s personal doctor Aylin Cesur.
One of the leading figures in Turkey’s politics in the past half century, Demirel served as president from 1993 to 2000 and was prime minister seven times from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Demirel, twice overthrown by military coups in 1971 and 1980, was one of Turkey’s great political leaders who survived his dismissals in the coups to become president.
He was born on November 1, 1924 in Islamkoy in southwestern Turkey, and came to power for the first time with a landslide win in 1965.
Demirel’s populist style and his rural background caused him to be known as “Sulu the shepherd.”
Critics often accused him of U-turns and inconsistencies in politics in various periods of time. His well-known response was “Yesterday was yesterday — and today is today.”
In this photo: Süleyman Demirel, Batuhan Kafar, Şule Zeybek, Nazmiye Demirel
Known as “Baba,” or “Father,” to his supporters in Turkey’s farming heartland during his years in power, he served during a period of unstable coalitions in NATO-member Turkey.
In this photo: Süleyman Demirel and Bill Clinton
Demirel and his wife Nazmiye, who died in May 2013, had no children.