Though it was the Democrat Party that governed Turkey from 1950 to 1960, and whose successes and excesses shaped the conditions of democratization, the previously ruling Republican People's Party played a crucial role as well. Drawing on newspapers, memoirs, and parliamentary debates, this article considers how the party's leaders and its young cohort of future leaders reacted to defeat, redefined themselves as members of the opposition, and contributed to a polarized political culture that persists today.