Kenan Evren

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Kenan Evren, born in Alaşehir, Manisa in 1918, was a Turkish general and the 7th president 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. He participated in the Korean War. In 1964 he was made general. Evren served at various posts like as Chief army. He became Chief joint staff in 1978.

He led the coup d'etat against the elected civilian government on September 12, 1980. With the coup, the National Security Council (MGK), which was composed of Kenan Evren, the Chief of the general staff, and the force commanders, dissolved the parliament and the government. According a widely believed story in Turkey, he and his team of force commanders were named "our boys" in the CIA headquarters after the coup.

After the coup, in 1982, he became President of Turkey on November 7 with the approval of the new constitution that was submitted to a public referendum. He is considered to have ruled the country with an iron fist until November 9, 1989. He seemed to have great admiration for the founder of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, but he shut down all institutions founded by Atatürk and deformed the country's legal system against Atatürk's principles. During his military regime, many people were executed because of their political ideas, including a 17 year old boy named Erdal Eren. Kenan Evren is remembered for his comment on these executions: "Shall we feed them rather than executing?"

His reputation as a both military man and a leader has suffered due to the many verbal gaffes he made. This has put him on a list with George W. Bush and Dan Quayle in the history of rulers. However, many Turkish people today believe that he should be remembered as being more similar to rulers such as Augusto Pinochet and his life-long friend Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, although many also believe he did a great service to the country and without him it could be worse than the coup itself.

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


Preceded by:
Fahri Korutürk
President of Turkey
1982–1989
Succeeded by:
Turgut Özal

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