Nihat Erim
Ismail Nihat Erim was a Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

. Nihat Erim was born in Kandıra to Raif Erim and Macide Erim. He served as the prime minister of Turkey
Prime Minister of Turkey
The Prime Minister of the Turkey is the head of government in Turkish politics. The prime minister is the leader of a political coalition in the Turkish parliament and the leader of the cabinet....

 from 1971 until 1972, for almost 14 months. He was assassinated
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 in Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 in 1980.


After graduating from Istanbul University
Istanbul University
Istanbul University is a Turkish university located in Istanbul. The main campus is adjacent to Beyazıt Square.- Synopsis :A madrasa, a religious school, was established sometime in the 15th century after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. An institution of higher education named the...

Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 School in 1936, he studied further to earn his doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 degree in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 Law School in 1939. He returned to Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to become an assistant professor in 1939 and professor in 1942 at the Ankara University
Ankara University
Ankara University is a public university in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. It was the first higher education institution founded in the Turkish Republic....

 School of Law.

He was appointed as legal advisor to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1943 while he was still in the university. He also served as an advisor in the Turkish committee at the conference on the foundation of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 at San Francisco, USA in 1945. The same year, he was elected and served as the Kocaeli Province
Kocaeli Province
Kocaeli Province is a province of Turkey. Its capital is İzmit, which is sometimes referred to as Kocaeli itself. The largest town in the province is now Gebze. The traffic code is 41. The province is located at the easternmost end of the Marmara Sea, especially on the Gulf of İzmit. Because of...

 representative at the Turkish Parliament
Grand National Assembly of Turkey
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey , usually referred to simply as the Meclis , is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the Turkish War of Independence...

 to join "Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi" CHP ("Republican People's Party
Republican People's Party (Turkey)
The Republican People's Party is a centre-left Kemalist political party in Turkey. It is the oldest political party of Turkey and is currently Main Opposition in the Grand National Assembly. The Republican People's Party describes itself as "a modern social-democratic party, which is faithful to...

") group at the parliament. In 1949, he served as the minister of public works and later as Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...


Erim was married to Kamile(Okutman)Erim and has two children Isik Erim and Isil(Erim)Onalp. He has 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Political career

In 1950, when CHP lost the majority in the parliament after the elections, he lost his seat and became the chief politics editor and leading writer of the newspaper "Ulus" . When it was closed down, he went on to publish his own newspaper, "Yeni Ulus–Halkçı" ("New Nation–Populist") in 1953. In 1956, he participated at the negotiations on Cyprus
History of Cyprus
-Prehistory:Cyprus was settled by humans in the Paleolithic period who coexisted with various dwarf animal species, such as dwarf elephants and pygmy hippos well into the Holocene...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, UK. The same year, he was selected as the Turkish member of the European Commission on Human Rights to serve in this position until 1962. He led the Turkish committee on the preparation of the Cyprus constitution in 1959, following Zurich and London Agreements. He continued legally advising the Turkish committees at further negotiations on Cyprus at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...


After the military coup of 1960, once again he was elected and served as Kocaeli representative in the parliament, and this time as head of the CHP group. He was one the focal points of internal conflicts of CHP, opposing the leader Ismet Inönü
Ismet Inönü
Mustafa İsmet İnönü was a Turkish Army General, Prime Minister and the second President of Turkey. In 1938, the Republican People's Party gave him the title of "Milli Şef" .-Family and early life:...

. The conflict resulted in him being ousted from the party in 1962. He was re-elected to the party's ruling committee taking second highest votes, thus joining the party again.

He served as the Turkish representative at the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 between 1961 and 1970, and was elected as deputy secretary general in 1961. In 1969, he was appointed as a member of the UN International Law Commission
International Law Commission
The International Law Commission was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 for the "promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification."It holds an annual session at the United Nations Office at Geneva....

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...


In Turkey though, after a spree of political violence, and the coup by memorandum, the army forced the resignation of the prime minister Süleyman Demirel
Süleyman Demirel
Sami Süleyman Gündoğdu Demirel, better known as Süleyman Demirel , is a Turkish politician who served as Prime Minister seven times and was the ninth President of Turkey.-Life:Demirel was born in İslamköy, a town in Isparta Province...

 on March 12, 1971. Nihat Erim, while still at the university, was advised to withdraw from his post in the Republican People's Party (CHP) by the National Security Council
National Security Council (Turkey)
The National Security Council comprises the Chief of Staff, select members of the Council of Ministers, and the President of the Republic...

, which was heavily influenced by the military then. He was appointed a neutral prime minister on March 26, 1971 to form a "national unity" coalition government, the first of a series of weak governments until the elections in 1973.

Erim had to resign when 11 technocrat ministers of his cabinet resigned on December 3, 1971. However, he was appointed once more by the President Cevdet Sunay
Cevdet Sunay
Cevdet Sunay was a Turkish army officer, political leader and the fifth President of Turkey.He was born in 1899 in Çaykara, Trabzon Province, in the Ottoman Empire. After attending elementary school and middle school in Erzurum and Edirne, he graduated from Kuleli Military High School in Istanbul...

, and he formed his second cabinet on December 11, 1971. He resigned on April 17, 1972 on health grounds, when his decision to promulgate decree laws was not backed by the parliament. His resignation was approved on May 22, 1972, and Ferit Melen
Ferit Melen
Ferit Sadi Melen was a Turkish civil servant, politician and Prime Minister of Turkey.-Biography:After finishing the high school in Bursa, he obtained a degree in finance from the School of Political Science at Ankara University in 1931...

, representative of the Van Province
Van Province
Van Province is a province in eastern Turkey, between Lake Van and the Iranian border. It is 19,069 km2 in area and had a population of 1,035,418 at the end of 2010....

 and minister of national defense in his cabinet, was appointed as the new prime minister.

During his term of prime ministry, a significant contribution he made to Turkish politics was to form a ministry of culture, which was until then a mere department within the ministry of education. He appointed Talat Halman, journalist-writer, as the minister to this newly formed post. His government's prohibition of opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 poppy harvesting in June 1971 under US pressure fired controversy. A change in the constitution brought together a witch hunt for the leftists, reaching its peak after the abduction and killing of the Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 Efraim Elrom in May 1971. One of the boldest actions taken during Erim's prime ministry was the closing down of the "Türkiye İşçi Partisi" TİP ("Turkish Workers' Party").

He was shot to death by two gunmen on July 19, 1980. Radical leftist Turkish militant group Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) claimed responsibility for the attack. The assassination might have accelerated the military coup on September 12 of that year led by chief of staff
Chief of the Turkish General Staff
The General Staff of the Republic of Turkey presides over the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force...

 Kenan Evren
Kenan Evren
Ahmet Kenan Evren was the seventh President of Turkey; a post he assumed by leading the 1980 military coup. He was also the last president to be born in the Ottoman Empire.- Biography :...

. The motive behind the assassination can be related to the approval by the parliament of the execution of three leftist militants, one being Deniz Gezmiş
Deniz Gezmis
Deniz Gezmiş was a Turkish Marxist-Leninist revolutionary and political activist in the Turkey in the late 1960s...

, during his service as prime minister.


  • Le Positivisme Juridique et le Droit International (Judicial Positivism and International Law), 1939.
  • XVII. Yüzyıldan Zamanımııza Kadar Tabii Hukuk Nazariyeleri (Natural Theories of Law from 17th Century Until Today), translation from Le Fur, 1940.
  • Amme Hukuku Dersleri (Public Law Lessons), 1941.
  • Devletlerarası Amme Hukuku (International Public Law), translation from Le Fur, 1944.
  • Siyasi Tarih ve Devletlerararası Hukuk Metinleri (Political History and International Law Texts), 1953.
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