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Tansu Penbe Çiller

In office
June 25, 1993 – March 6, 1996
Preceded by Erdal İnönü
Succeeded by Mesut Yılmaz

Born May 24, 1946 (1946-05-24) (age 63)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political party DYP
Spouse(s) Özer Uçuran Çiller
Alma mater Robert College
Religion Muslim

Tansu Penbe Çiller (pronounced [tanˈsu tʃilˈler] in Turkish; born in May 24, 1946, Istanbul) is an economist and politician in Turkey. She was Turkey's first female Prime Minister.


Early career

She is the daughter of a Turkish governor of Bilecik province during the 1950s. She graduated from the School of Economics at Robert College after finishing the American College for Girls in Istanbul. She received her M.S. from the University of New Hampshire and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She later completed her postdoctoral studies at Yale University. After teaching economics at Franklin and Marshall College, In 1978, she became a lecturer at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and in 1983 she was appointed as professor by the same institution. She also worked in the now-defunct Istanbul Bank as president of the company.


After teaching at several universities as a professor, Çiller entered politics in November 1990, joining the conservative True Path Party (DYP). She was first elected to the parliament in 1991 as deputy of Istanbul and served as Minister of State in charge of economics in the coalition government of Süleyman Demirel. On June 13, 1993, she became the party's leader and later in the same year, the Prime Minister of a coalition government. She served as prime minister from 1993 to 1996. After the withdrawal of the Republican People's Party (CHP) from the coalition in 1995 she attempted to form a minority government, which failed. After that she agreed to form another cabinet with the CHP and went for general elections.

Çiller also served as Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister and the vice prime minister between 1996 and 1997. After the Susurluk scandal, she praised Abdullah Catli, a leader of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves killed during the Susurluk car-crash, saying that: "Those who fire bullets or suffer their wounds in the name of this country, this nation, and this state will always be respectfully remembered by us."[1][2]

In 1997, before she could form her fourth cabinet as the prime minister, she was removed from power in a post-modern military coup.

The EU-Turkey Customs Union agreement was signed in 1995 and came into effect in 1996 during Çiller's government. Çiller was also prime minister during the Imia/Kardak crisis with neighbouring Greece in 1996.

One of her major achievements was to the Turkish Army from an organization using vintage equipment from the US Army to a modern fighting force capable of defeating the PKK, using hit-and-run tactics. She also convinced the U.S. government to list the PKK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which was later followed by the acceptance of the same by the European Union.

She was investigated by the Turkish Parliament on serious corruption charges following her period in government. Along with another former Prime Minister, Mesut Yılmaz, she was later cleared of all the charges mainly due to technicalities such as the statute of limitations and the political immunity of parliamentarians. End of 1998, the corruption files about Yılmaz and Çiller were covered up at the commissions of the Parliament in a common action staged by DYP, ANAP and DSP MPs.[3]

Tansu Çiller is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

After her November 2002 election defeat, she retired from political life.

She is married to Özer Uçuran Çiller and they have two sons.

See also


  1. ^ Lucy Komisar, Turkey's terrorists: a CIA legacy lives on, The Progressive, April 1997.
  2. ^ 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.39-86 (see note p.39)
  3. ^ 1998 Report from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, p.11

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Leader of the True Path Party
Jun 14, 1993–Dec 14, 2002
Succeeded by
Mehmet Ağar
Political offices
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
Prime Minister of Turkey
Jun 25, 1993–Mar 6, 1996
Succeeded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Preceded by
Emre Gönensay
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
Jun 28, 1996–Jun 20, 1997
Succeeded by
İsmail Cem
Preceded by
Nahit Menteşe
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
Jun 28, 1996–Jun 20, 1997
Succeeded by
Bülent Ecevit
İsmet Sezgin


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