Kenan Evren

Kenan Evren

Infobox_President | name = Kenan Evren

nationality = Turkish
small| order = 7th President of the Republic of Turkey
term_start = 12 September 1980
term_end = 9 November 1989
vicepresident =
predecessor = Fahri Korutürk
successor = Turgut Özal
birth_date = birth date and age|1918|7|17
birth_place = Alaşehir, Manisa
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Sakine Evren
party =

Ahmet Kenan Evren (born July 17, 1918) was the seventh president of Turkey; a post he assumed by leading the 1980 military coup.

Early life

Kenan Evren was born in Alaşehir, Manisa. [ Biography] , Presidency of the Republic of Turkey] After going to elementary school and middle school in Manisa, Balıkesir and İstanbul, 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. From 1958 to 1959, he served in the Turkish Brigade in Korea. In 1964 he was made general. Evren served at various posts as Army Chief. He was Counter-Guerrilla commander in Gladio's Turkish branch of NATO's "stay-behind" secret armies. [cite web
work=Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP)
title=NATO's Secret Armies: Chronology
publisher=ETH Zurich
] He became Chief of General Staff in March, 1978.

Military coup

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. The political leaders Suleyman Demirel and Bülent Ecevit were incapable of controlling the violence.

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. [cite news
title=Never miss an opportunity to show your sympathy
authorlink=Fehmi Koru
quote=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!'
] [cite journal
title = Turkey and U.S. Strategy in the Age of Glasnost
first = Ömer
last = Karasapan
journal = Middle East Report
volume = 160
pages = 4–10
year = 1989
month = Sep/Oct
publisher = Middle East Research and Information Project
url =

After the coup, in 1982, Kenan Evren was elected the President of Republic of Turkey on November 7 with the 90% approval of the new constitution that was submitted to a referendum, replacing the older constitution which, according to him, had liberties "luxurious" for Turkey. [cite news
title=61 Anayasası Türkiye'ye büyük geldi
] He 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 Turkey, 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". [ 1998 Report] from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.39-86 (see p.47)]

Responding to a journalist's question regarding the execution of 17-year-old Erdal Eren, he memorably responded "Should we feed him rather than hang him?" [cite book
author=Oran, Baskın
coauthors=Evren, Kenan
title=Kenan Evren'in yazılmamış anıları
publisher=Bilgi Yayınevi
quote=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?
(October 3 1984 speech at Muş)


After his retirement, he moved to the Turkish Mediterranean resort town of Armutalan, Marmaris and took up painting.On 2 August 2006, a reported plan for assassinating Evren was thwarted when two men were apprehended and arrested in Muğla. [cite news
title=Kenan Evren'e Suikast Yapacaklardı
work=Aktif Haber
] 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 adhan could be heard during their conversation. Since the timing of the adhan was 4-5 minutes after İstanbul, a point slightly more to the west by that time margin was sought and the team members were caught in Marmaris itself. [cite news
title=Kenan Evren'i Olumden Ezan Kurtardi
work=Haber Vitrini

After Bülent Ecevit's death, he expressed remorse over the arrest of political leaders after the September 12 coup,cite news
title=Evren: Tutukladığım için üzgünüm
] but defended the coup itself and the 35 executions. [cite news|url=
title=Evren: Pişman değilim
agency=Anadolu Agency, Dogan News Agency
] Civilian resentment exists, and there have been demands for his being called to account, following the Ergenekon investigation. [cite news|url=
title=Evren de yargılansın netekim!
] [cite news|url=
title=Debating justice for coup generals
work=Turkish Daily News


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