Süleyman Demirel, is a Turkish politician who served as prime minister seven times and was the 9th President of Turkey. During the construction of the Seyhan Dam, Demirel worked as a project engineer and in 1954 was appointed Head of Department of Dams. As of 1955, he served as director general of the State Hydraulic Works (DSİ). In this capacity, Demirel was to supervise the construction of a multitude of dams, power plants, and irrigation facilities. Upon completion of his military service, he worked as a free-lance engineer and advisor between 1962-1964. During this period, he worked as a lecturer of hydraulic engineering at ODTÜ Middle East Technical University in Ankara. His political career started with his election to the executive board of Adalet Partisi (AP; the Justice Party) founded by the former General Ragip Gumuspala as directed by the Head of State Cemal Gürsel as the replacement of the Demokrat Parti (the Democrat Party) that was closed after the military coup of May 27, 1960. Journalist Parliamenterian Cihat Baban claims in his recent book, The Gallery of Politics (Politika Galerisi), that Cemal Gürsel told him “We may solve all troubles if Suleyman Demirel can become the head of the Justice Party (Adalet Partisi). I am working very hard for him become the party leader. If I succeed in this, I will be happy ...” Demirel was elected Chairman at the second grand party convention on November 28, 1964. He facilitated the formation of a coalition government that ruled between February and October 1965 under the premiership of Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, in which he served as Deputy Prime Minister. Under his leadership, AP won an unprecedented majority of the votes in the elections of October 10, 1965 and formed a majority government. As deputy from Isparta, Demirel became Turkey’s 12th Prime Minister and ruled the country for four years. In the next elections on October 10, 1969, his party was the sole winner by a landslide once again. He resigned upon the military memorandum of March 12, 1971. Between 1971 and 1980, he served as prime minister for three more times, respectively in 1975-1977, 1977-1978 and 1979-1980. Following the coup d'etat of September 12, 1980, headed by Kenan Evren, he was banned from involvement in active politics for ten years. In 1986 however, Demirel launched a national campaign for the lifting of the bans and initiated a national referendum on the issue. The September 6, 1987 referendum allowed him to return to active politics. Already 18 days later, Demirel was elected chairman at the extraordinary convention of Doğru Yol Partisi (the True Path Party) that replaced the closed Adalet Partisi. He was reelected deputy of Isparta at the elections of November 29, 1987. Following the elections of October 20, 1991, Demirel became prime minister once again in a coalition government with the Social Democratic People's Party. After the sudden death of president Turgut Özal, he became the 9th president on May 16, 1993, elected by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Demirel served until May 16, 2000, for the constitutional term of seven years. After his political career, Demirel has been a frequent visitor of different universities in Turkey, where he participates in debates and other similar activities.


Republic of Turkey


Former President

Areas of Interest

Politics and Government
  • demirel sami

Program Year



Multi-Nation Program

Country of Origin