In giving an apparent majority to Turgut Ozal's Motherland Party, Turkey's voters have sent a message to the nation's military regime - and particularly President Kenan Evren: that is, that while the Turkish people do not want a return to the tumultuous period before the generals took control in 1980, they want to set some limitations on the time in which the military remains in power, as well as on the nature of that power.
A number of military officials had last-minute misgivings about Mr. Ozal - enough to lead President Evren to criticize the popular economist personally. But it must also be recalled that the pro-Western Mr. Ozal was one of three candidates picked by the regime for this first parliamentary election since the military took power three years ago. Mr. Ozal is given widespread plaudits for his role as chief architect of the government's economic program before he stepped down.
The relationship between the military and an Ozal government will surely be tenuous. Municipal elections are supposed to take place during the next year. They should offer additional clues as to how far Turkish voters are prepared to chip away at the power of the military.