Rahşan Ecevit (née Aral; 1923 – 17 January 2020) was the wife of Turkish politician and Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit.
She was born in Bursa, Turkey to a family from Şebinkarahisar, a town in the north-eastern Giresun Province. Her father was Namık Zeki Aral, and her mother Zahide Aral. Their family came from Thessaloniki after the population exchange agreement in 1920. Rahşan graduated from the American high school Robert College in İstanbul. She married her classmate Bülent Ecevit in 1946.
Following the military coup in 1980 led by General Kenan Evren, her husband was imprisoned and was suspended from active politics for life. Bülent Ecevit's party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), was closed down. On 14 November 1985, Rahşan founded a centre-left social democratic party, the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and led it until her husband's ban from politics was lifted in 1987.
Rahşan Ecevit was the vice president of the Democratic Left Party and responsible for the party's organization between 1989 and 2004. She became the leader of the new Democratic Left People's Party (DSHP) on 17 January 2010, when the DSP seemed to no longer have any chance to win seats in elections. After Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had become the leader of the CHP and halted the rightist trend within the party she disbanded her new party and with many members joined the now rather social democratic CHP.
On November 5 2006, she lost her husband following an almost 6-month long medically induced coma.
Rahşan Ecevit died on 17 January 2020 at a hospital in Ankara.
Women in Turkish politics
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