Soldier, statesman, 5th president of Turkey (B. February 10th, 1899, Erzurum –D. May 22nd, 1982, Istanbul). He completed his primary and secondary education in Erzurum, Kerkük, Edirne and in Kuleli Askeri Lisesi (T. N. Military High School) in Istanbul. During the First World War while he was a student in Military High School he participated in training camp (1917) as a cadet and he served in the Palestine Front in the same year. He was wounded in the Battle of Jerusalem during which he drew attention with his achievements and he was captured by the English in 1918. He spent his captivity period in Egypt with his father. After having returned from captivity he joined the War of Independence and served in the Southern and Western fronts. After he fought against the French in Gaziantep and Maraş, he participated in the Battle of Eskişehir, the Battle of Sakarya and the Battle of Dumlupınar.
Sunay completed his Military School education as an artillery captain in 1927 during the years he served his field duty and he entered the War Academy to pursue his academic education. He married Atıfet Hanım in 1929 and he had three children from this marriage. He became a staff officer after having graduated from War Academy in 1930. He was promoted to colonel in 1943. He became the brigadier general in 1949, major general in 1952, lieutenant general in 1955 and general in 1958. He served as the Commander of 3rd Armored Brigade and the Head of General Staff Staff Operations as brigadier general. After having served in the same position while he was major general he served as the Commander of 33rd Division, while he was lieutenant general he served as the Commander of 9th Army Corps, the Head of General Staff Operations Division and the Vice President of General Staff. When he was the Vice President of General as a general he was appointed as the Commander of Army Forces on June 3rd, 1960 and as the Chief of General Staff on August 2nd, 1960.
With his coolheaded personality he played an important role as Chief of General Staff in safely circumventing the events during the period of riots after May 27th, 1960. His term of office as Chief of General Staff expired in 1965. However, the necessary amendment was made in the Law due to reasons required by the political atmosphere and his term of office was extended to March 1966. In the days when he was preparing for his retirement, Turkey was on the verge of a new crisis. President Cemal Gürsel’s health status made it impossible for him to remain in the office. Political circles were unable to find a candidate for the presidency, which was about to become empty. On the other hand, the possibility for various parties to agree on a candidate of military service was highly likely. Hence, Sunay was brought to the membership of Senate of the Republic from the quota of Presidency the day he retired from the Presidency of General Staff because he seemed moderate to almost all the parties. He was elected as the fifth President of the Republic of Turkey in the end of the election made on March 28th, 1966. During his seven years of presidency, he was criticized by the leaders of political parties because of the statements he made on enforcement and interpretation of the laws although he tried to be an element of balance in terms of the relations between the parties in the crises that emerged from time to time. After having completed his seven years of term of office he retired from presidency in 1973. Afterwards, he continued his political life as a Native Senator.
Cevdet Sunay, whose name was given to a primary school in Kayseri and to a hotel in Istanbul, lost his life in Istanbul and was buried to Ankara State Cemetary.