Kenan Evren

Orgeneral, Cumhurbaşkanı, Asker, Devlet Adamı

17 Temmuz, 1918
09 Mayıs, 2015
Military Academy

Military officer, statesman, president (b. 17 July 1918, Alaşehir / Manisa - d. 9 May 2015, Ankara). He completed primary school in Alaşehir, secondary school in Manisa, high school in Istanbul/Maltepe Military School. Later he entered the Military Academy and graduated from there in 1938. He became an artillery third-lieutenant and began to serve in Turkish Armed Forces. In February 1939 he became a lieutenant. In 1940 he graduated from Artillery Service School and was assigned to various military units. In August 1942 he promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. He entered the Military Academy in 1946 and graduated from there on the 30th of August 1949 with the rank of staff captain.

Evren served as Section Chief in General Staff Education Branch, Vice Commander of 1st Army Operation and teacher in Military Academy. He also served as Commander of Operations and Education Branch and Chief of Staff in the 9th Turkish Brigade in Korea which stayed in Korea during the years 1958-59. Upon returning to home from Korea he served as Chief of Staff in Ordnance School and Commander of Operation Education of 2nd Army between the years 1959-61. Later he became Commander of 227th Infantry Regiment, Chief of Staff of 9th Army Corps and Chief of Military Academy Schools Office.

Kenan Evren was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 1964 and major general in 1967.  He was assigned to the Command of 58th Infantry Education Division and to the 2nd Army Command as Chief of Staff. On the 30th of August 1970 he became a lieutenant general and served as Commander of 2nd Army, Chief of Inspection of Land Forces Command and Chief of Staff of Land Forces Command. In 1974 Evren became full general and was appointed 2nd Commander of General Staff. During the years 1976-77 he served as Commander of Aegean Army and Commander of Land Forces in 1977-78. On the 6th of March 1978 he was assigned to the Command of General Staff.

Full General Evren, as the Commander of General Staff, publically declared on the 12th of September 1980 that armed forces and National Security Council (MGK), which consisted of National Security Council Commanders of Land, Naval and Air Forces and Gendarmerie, took control of legislation and execution authorities after the military coup realized within chain of command. During this process political parties were closed and their leaders were taken into custody.

MGK under the leadership of Kenan Evren assigned Ex-Commander of Naval Forces, Full Admiral Bülent Ulusu to establish the government on the 21st of September 1980. The cabinet consisting of five retired generals and civilians began to serve on the 21st of September. Turgut Özal who was a Counselor of State Planning Organization and Prime Ministry before the 12th of September and who prepared the program of “Transition to Free Economic System” known as “24 January Decisions” by the public was assigned to State Ministry of Economic Affairs during Ulusu government. He continued to apply “24 January Decisions” also in this period.

While cooperation was done with USA in foreign policy, relations with European Council and European Economic Community (later became EU) continued to be tense. Turkish parliamentarians did not participate to the Assembly of European Council on the 11th of May 1981 for the first time after thirty years. During this period it was attempted to develop economic cooperation with Middle Eastern countries.

MGK which had the rule of the country at its hands decided on the 29th of June 1981 to establish a founding assembly which would consist of MGK members and members of Advisory Council which would be assigned, in order to pass to constitutional system. 40 out of 160 Members of Advisory Council which was closed to former politicians were chosen directly by MGK and 120 of them among candidates recommended by prefects. On the 16th of October 1981 all political parties were closed and Advisory Council started to function on the 23rd of October 1981. The Commission of Constitution connected to the Advisory Council started its works on the 24th of November 1981 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Orhan Aldıkaçtı. The 1982 Constitution which was prepared and made subject to a referendum on the 7th of November 1982 was accepted with a majority. According to its temporary first article Kenan Evren was elected as the 7th President of Turkish Republic.

The new constitution extended duties and authorities of the President to a large extent in comparison with the former constitution. According to this new constitution the President obtained the authority to inspect all public institutes and institutions except for Armed Forces and judicial organ, through State Supervisory Council. Besides, he could choose members of Higher Education Council, Constitutional Court, Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors, Military Court of Appeals and Military High Administrative Court, one fourth of State Council Members, Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor and his Vicegerent and chancellors of universities. He was granted authorities such as presenting laws on constitutional amendments to people’s approval, decide to renew elections, introduce statutory decrees and declare martial law or emergency situation with a Cabinet Decree he would preside.

Kenan Evren made his first trip abroad as President to Far Eastern countries on the 22nd of December 1982. On the 1st of July 1983 he delegated his duty of Chief of General Staff to Full General Nurettin Ersin, Commander of Land Forces. He retired from the military and continued his duty of Presidency as a civilian. The existence of National Security Council ended on the 7th of December when TBMM Presidency Council came into being after the general elections of 6th November 1983. According to the temporary 2nd article of 1982 constitution, members of MGK undertook consultancy of Kenan Evren as members of Presidency Council for a period of six years. Evren who served as President between the dates 9th November 1982 – 9th November 1989 continued his life in Muğla/Marmaris to where he settled after he resigned from this duty.

Prosecutor of Adana, Sacit Kayasu, prepared a bill of indictment about Kenan Evren in the year 2000 but it was not accepted by the court. Besides, this attempt of the prosecutor caused that he was dismissed from his profession. Eşitlik ve Demokrasi Party (EDP) Izmir Administration filed a criminal complaint about Kenan Evren on the 13th of September 2010 accusing him of “Staging a coup, changing the constitution, subversion of government, murder with systematic planning and on purpose, willful injury, torture, maltreating, taking away one’s freedom and sexual assault”. With the partial constitutional amendment of 2010 the temporary 15th article of 1982 Constitution which presupposed that MGK members could not put on trial was legislated away. With criminal complaints in various cities of Turkey such as Ankara, Istanbul and Bursa, the way for trials of the perpetrators of the military coup on the 12th of September 1980 was opened. Upon this, the bill of indictment prepared by the Ankara Public Prosecutor was accepted by the court. A charge was placed about Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya who were still alive subjects of the military coup of 12th September 1980.

After his retirement he settled to Marmaris and was engaged in painting. Kenan Evren, whose memories and speeches were published as a book, and his wife Sekine Hanım, with whom he married in 1944, have three children.


Kenan Evren’in Anıları (6 volumes, 1991; extended new edition:  Zorlu Yıllarım 1-2 (1994), 12 Eylül’den Önce ve Sonra Ne Demişlerdi? Ne Dediler? Ne Diyorlar? (1997), Seçme Konuşmalar 12 Eylül 1980 - 6 Kasım 1989 (2000).


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