Kenan Evren

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Kenan Evren
Kenan Evren.png
Kenan Evren during the state visit to the United States in June 1988
7th President of Turkey
In office
12 September 1980 9 November 1989
Prime Minister Bülend Ulusu
Turgut Özal
Preceded by Fahri Korutürk
Succeeded by Turgut Özal
Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
In office
7 March 1978 1 July 1983
Preceded by Semih Sancar
Succeeded by Nurettin Ersin
Commander of the Turkish Army
In office
5 September 1977 6 March 1978
Preceded by Semih Sancar
Succeeded by Nurettin Ersin
Personal details
Born(1917-07-17)17 July 1917
Alaşehir, Ottoman Empire
Died9 May 2015(2015-05-09) (aged 97)
Ankara, Turkey
Cause of death Gastrointestinal bleeding induced by bradycardia and proctocolectomy
Resting place Turkish State Cemetery
Sekine Evren (m. 19441982)
Signature Kenan Evren imzasi.png
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Branch/serviceFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkish Land Forces
Years of service1938–1983
Rank General

Ahmet Kenan Evren (Turkish:  [ˈce.nan ˈev.ɾen] ; 17 July 1917 – 9 May 2015) was a Turkish politician and military officer, who served as the seventh President of Turkey from 1980 to 1989. He assumed the post by leading the 1980 military coup.

Turkish people or the Turks, also known as Anatolian Turks, are a Turkic ethnic group and nation living mainly in Turkey and speaking Turkish, the most widely spoken Turkic language. They are the largest ethnic group in Turkey, as well as by far the largest ethnic group among the speakers of Turkic languages. Ethnic Turkish minorities exist in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, a Turkish diaspora has been established with modern migration, particularly in Western Europe.

The 1980 Turkish coup d'état, headed by Chief of the General Staff General Kenan Evren, was the third coup d'état in the history of the Republic, the previous having been the 1960 coup and the 1971 "Coup by Memorandum". During the Cold War era, 1970s Turkey experienced conflicts between Western-supported nationalist far right elements within the military and militant left-wing groups. To create a pretext for a decisive intervention, the Turkish military allowed these conflicts to escalate; Some say they actively adopted a strategy of tension. The violence abruptly stopped afterwards, and the coup was welcomed by some for restoring order. In total, 50 people were executed, 500,000 were arrested and hundreds died in prison.


On 18 June 2014, a Turkish court sentenced him to life imprisonment and demotion of his military rank down to private, from army general, for leading the military coup in 1980, obstructing democracy by deposing the prime minister Süleyman Demirel, abolishing the parliament and the senate and abolishing the constitution. This sentence was on appeal at the time of his death. [1]

Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted persons are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural life or until paroled. Crimes for which, in some countries, a person could receive this sentence include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, blasphemy, apostasy, terrorism, severe child abuse, rape, child rape, espionage, treason, high treason, drug dealing, drug trafficking, drug possession, human trafficking, severe cases of fraud, severe cases of financial crimes, aggravated criminal damage in English law, and aggravated cases of arson, kidnapping, burglary, or robbery which result in death or grievous bodily harm, piracy, aircraft hijacking, and in certain cases genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, certain war crimes or any three felonies in case of three strikes law. Life imprisonment can also be imposed, in certain countries, for traffic offenses causing death. The life sentence does not exist in all countries: Portugal was the first to abolish life imprisonment, in 1884.

A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank.

Prime Minister of Turkey head of government of Turkey until 9 July 2018

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey was the head of government of the Republic of Turkey from 1920 to 2018. The prime minister was the leader of a political coalition in the Turkish parliament (Meclis) and the leader of the cabinet. The last holder of the position is Binali Yıldırım of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who took office on 24 May 2016.

Evren died at a military hospital in Ankara on 9 May 2015, aged 97. [2] [3]


Kenan Evren was born in Alaşehir, Manisa Province. [4] Evren was of Albanian descent [5] [6] on his father's side that originated from Preševo, while his mother was from a Bulgarian Turkish background. [7] After going to elementary school and middle school in Manisa, Balıkesir and Istanbul, he attended military high school in Maltepe, Ankara. In 1938, he graduated from army school and in 1949 from military academy as a staff officer. [4]

Alaşehir Town in Aegean, Turkey

Alaşehir, in Antiquity and the Middle Ages known as Philadelphia, is a town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. It is situated in the valley of the Kuzuçay, at the foot of the Bozdağ Mountain. The town is connected to İzmir by a 105 km (65 mi) railway. The longtime mayor is Gökhan Karaçoban.

Manisa Province Province of Turkey in Aegean

Manisa Province is a province in western Turkey. Its neighboring provinces are İzmir to the west, Aydın to the south, Denizli to the southeast, Uşak to the east, Kütahya to the northeast, and Balıkesir to the north. The city of Manisa is the seat and capital of the province. The traffic code is 45.

Albanians in Turkey ethnic group

Albanians in Turkey are ethnic Albanian citizens and denizens of Turkey. They consist of Albanians who arrived during the Ottoman period, Kosovar/Macedonian and Tosk Cham Albanians fleeing from Serbian and Greek persecution after the beginning of the Balkan Wars, alongside some Albanians from Montenegro and Albania proper. A 2008 report from the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) estimated that approximately 1.3 million people of Albanian ancestry live in Turkey, and more than 500,000 recognizing their ancestry, language and culture. There are other estimates however that place the number of people in Turkey with Albanian ancestry and or background upward to 5 million.

From 1958 to 1959, he served in the Turkish Brigade in Korea. In 1964, he was promoted to general. Evren served at various posts as Army Chief. He was the commander of Operation Gladio's Turkish branch; the Counter-Guerrilla. The Counter-Guerrilla was an anti-communist "stay-behind" guerrilla force set up with the support of NATO. [8] He became Chief of General Staff in March 1978. [4]

Turkish Brigade

The Turkish Brigade was a Turkish Army Infantry Brigade that served with the United Nations Command during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. Attached to the U.S. 25th Infantry Division, the Turkish Brigade fought in several actions and was awarded Unit Citations from Korea and the United States after fighting in the Kunuri Battle. The Turkish Brigade developed a reputation for its fighting ability, stubborn defense, commitment to mission, and bravery.

Korea region in East Asia

Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948 it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states, North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by Russia to the northeast, China to the northwest, and neighbours Japan to the east via the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.

Operation Gladio is the codename for clandestine "stay-behind" operations of armed resistance that was planned by the Western Union (WU), and subsequently by NATO, for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest in Europe. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them. Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, and some neutral countries.

1980 Military coup d'état

The years leading to the coup were characterized as a fierce struggle between the rightists and leftists. Hoping to see a communist revolution, the left wingers rioted in the streets; on the other hand, the nationalist rightists fought back the left wingers and provoked religious arousal. Universities had taken sides and each became headquarters for either the leftists or rightists.

With the coup came the National Security Council as the ruling body. The council of 1980 was composed of the commanders Kenan Evren, the Chief of Staff and President of the State. The parliament was dissolved. The Central Intelligence Agency's Ankara bureau chief at the time, Paul B. Henze, received a call from the White House Situation Room saying "Paul, your guys have done it", while President Jimmy Carter was watching Fiddler on the Roof at the Kennedy Center. [9] [10]

National Security Council (Turkey) security council in Turkey

The National Security Council comprises the Chief of Staff, select members of the Council of Ministers, and the President of the Republic. Like the national security councils of other countries, the MGK develops the national security policy.

Central Intelligence Agency National intelligence agency of the United States

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.

Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a Georgia State Senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. After his presidency, Carter has remained active in the private sector; in 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.

After the coup, Kenan Evren was elected as President of Turkey on 7 November 1982 with the 90% approval of the new constitution that was submitted to a controversial referendum, replacing the older constitution which, according to him, had liberties too "luxurious" for Turkey. [11]

Evren suspended many forms of civil liberties and human rights on the grounds that it was necessary to establish stability. He professed great admiration for the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; however, he shut down many institutions founded by Atatürk and is often accused of deforming the country's legal system against Atatürk's principles. During his military regime, many people were tortured and executed due to their political beliefs.

Evren took strong measures to ensure that the division between the political left and right would not turn into violence again; the new constitution limited the rights and depoliticized the youth.

According to a report on the Susurluk scandal of 1996, prepared by Prime Ministry Inspection Board deputy chairman Kutlu Savaş, quoted by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, "Fascists had been released from prison in return for 'finishing some jobs' under Evren's rule after 12 September 1980". [12]

Responding to a journalist's question regarding the execution of 17-year-old Erdal Eren, he responded "Should we feed him rather than hang him?" [13]


After his retirement, he moved to the Turkish Mediterranean resort town of Armutalan, Marmaris, and took up painting. [14]

On 2 August 2006, a reported plan for assassinating Evren was thwarted when two men were apprehended and arrested in Muğla. [15]

A previous attempt in 1996 had already been tracked down when two members of the assassination team spoke on a cellphone eavesdropped by the police, and the Islamic call to prayer ( adhan ) could be heard during their conversation. Since the timing of the adhan was 4–5 minutes after Istanbul, a point slightly more to the west by that time margin was sought and the team members were caught in Marmaris itself. [16]

In 2004, he revealed that his daughter, Şenay Gürvit, and son-in-law, Erkan Gürvit, are members of the National Intelligence Organization. His daughter presided over the reprisal operations against the militant Armenian organization ASALA. [17]

After Bülent Ecevit's death, he expressed remorse over the arrest of political leaders after the 1980 coup, [14] but defended the coup itself and the 35 executions. [18]

Civilian resentment exists, and there were demands for his being called to account following the Ergenekon investigation. [19] [20]

Trial and conviction

On 10 January 2012, Turkish courts decided to press charges against General Kenan Evren and General Tahsin Şahinkaya, former Commander of the Turkish Air Force, for their role in the 1980 coup. Prosecutors sought life sentences against them. [21] The first court hearing of the case was scheduled for 4 April 2012. [22] Both were sentenced to life imprisonment on 18 June 2014 by a court in Ankara. [23] In accordance with Article 30 of the Military Penal Code, Evren and Şahinkaya were demoted to the lowest rank of private.

Personal life

Funeral of Kenan Evren held on 12 May 2015 Kenan Evren cenaze (9).jpg
Funeral of Kenan Evren held on 12 May 2015

Evren married Sekine Evren in 1944 and they had three daughters, Şenay, Gülay and Miray. Sekine died in 1982. [24]

Evren was hospitalized for massive gastrointestinal bleeding on 3 August 2009, in Yalıkavak, Bodrum, where his summer house is located. [25] A temporary artificial pacemaker was applied to Evren while in intensive care due to bradycardia. [26] His large intestine was removed a week later at GATA in Istanbul (Gülhane Military Medicine Academy) where he was transferred. [27] He was discharged on 24 September 2009.

Evren died at a military hospital in Ankara on 9 May 2015, aged 97. [2] On 12 May, he was buried in the Turkish State Cemetery in Ankara following the funeral service held at Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque. The funeral was attended by his close relatives and military personnel. In protest, political parties sent no representatives to the former president's funeral. A number of people protested during the religious service in the mosque's courtyard. [28]

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  1. "Kenan Evren ve Tahsin Şahinkaya hakkındaki dosya 6 aydır Yargıtay'a gönderilmedi". Hürriyet. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Former Turkish president Evren dies aged 97", Reuters, 9 May 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 Biography, Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  5. Balkan Türkleri Sempozyumu, 7 Haziran 1992: tebliğler. Erciyes Üniversitesi. 1992. p. 21. "Başta Atatürk olmak üzere, Kenan Evren'e kadar, Türkiye'yi yöneten devlet adamlarının çoğu, pek çok ünlü devlet ve fikir adamları Arnavut asıllıdırlar!"
  6. Behmoaras, Lizi (1993). Türkiye'de aydınların gözüyle Yahudiler. Gözlem Gazetecilik Basın ve Yayın. p. 37. ISBN   9789757304005. "Cumhurbaşkanı Kenan Evren Arnavut kökenli."
  7. Misyon, Balkan göçmenleri ve Kenan Evren, Üç kuşak önce Rumeli denilirdi, şimdi Balkanlar yer adlandırmasını tercih ediyoruz. 26 Mart 2017.
  8. "NATO's Secret Armies: Chronology". Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP). ETH Zurich. Archived from the original on 12 December 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  9. Koru, Fehmi (10 January 2008). "Never miss an opportunity to show your sympathy". Today's Zaman . Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2008. Jimmy Carter was in a concert at the Kennedy Center when Evren and his co-conspirators stepped in to take the reins of Turkey. President Carter was notified during the intermission about the coup by a night-duty CIA officer who happened to be an old-Turkish hand with the jubilant news: 'Our boys have done it!'
  10. Karasapan, Ömer (September – October 1989). "Turkey and U.S. Strategy in the Age of Glasnost". Middle East Report. Middle East Research and Information Project. 160 (160): 4–10. doi:10.2307/3013440. JSTOR   3013440.
  11. Güçlü, Abbas (25 September 2003). "61 Anayasası Türkiye'ye büyük geldi". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  12. 1998 Report Archived 3 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.39-86 (see p.47)
  13. Oran, Baskın; Evren, Kenan (1989). Kenan Evren'in yazılmamış anıları (in Turkish). Bilgi Yayınevi. p. 189. ISBN   975-494-095-9 . Retrieved 5 July 2008. Şimdi ben, bunu yakaladıktan sonra mahkemeye vereceğim ve ondan sonra da idam etmeyeceğim, ömür boyu ona bakacağım. Bu vatan için kanını akıtan, bu Mehmetçiklere silah çeken o haini ben senelerce besleyeceğim. Buna siz razı olur musunuz? (3 October 1984 speech at Muş)
  14. 1 2 Sarıipek, Mustafa (6 November 2006). "Evren: Tutukladığım için üzgünüm". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  15. "Kenan Evren'e Suikast Yapacaklardı". Aktif Haber (in Turkish). 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  16. "Kenan Evren'i Olumden Ezan Kurtardi". Haber Vitrini (in Turkish). 25 May 2004. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  17. "Evren: Kızım MİT'te çalışıyordu". Sabah (in Turkish). 8 September 2004. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  18. "Evren: Pişman değilim". Radikal (in Turkish). Anadolu Agency, Dogan News Agency. 3 March 2006. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  19. "Evren de yargılansın netekim!". Taraf (in Turkish). 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  20. Timur, Şafak (12 September 2008). "Debating justice for coup generals". Turkish Daily News . Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  21. BBC News Turkish ex-president Kenan Evren faces coup charge, 10 January 2012.
  22. Habib Güler (2 April 2012). "Turkish gov't, parties becoming co-plaintiffs in Sept. 12 coup case". Today's Zaman . Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  23. Suzan Fraser (18 June 2014). "1980 Coup Leaders Given Life Sentences in Turkey". ABC news . Associated Press. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  24. "Kenan Evren dies at 97; Turkish general led 1980 coup and became president". Washington Post. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  25. "Kenan Evren Hastaneye Kaldırıldı (Kenan Evren Hospitalized)". quoting Ankara Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 3 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  26. "Kenan Evren'e Geçici Kalp Pili Takıldı". quoting Cihan Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). 3 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  27. "Kalınbağırsağı Alındı, Durumu İyi". (in Turkish). 14 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  28. "No blessing' to Kenan Evren at funeral". Doğan News Agency . 12 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Semih Sancar
Commander of the Turkish Army
5 September 1977 – 6 March 1978
Succeeded by
Nurettin Ersin
Preceded by
Semih Sancar
Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
7 March 1978 – 1 July 1983
Succeeded by
Nurettin Ersin
Political offices
Preceded by
Fahri Korutürk
President of Turkey
12 September 1980 – 9 November 1989
Succeeded by
Turgut Özal