The renaming of a street in the Aegean Turkish town of Fethiye is part of a number of actions that are being taken to put an end to a bitter chapter in the Republic’s history.

The south Aegean Turkish town of Fethiye will have a street name changed in an effort to remove references to the 1980 coup.

Members of Fethiye Council voted 12 to 7 in favour of renaming the Tuzla street last week.

It will now be known as Kenan Evren Avenue will be renamed to Mustafa Karaören Avenue.

The street located down the road from Migros is one of the named and therefore key artery roads around town linking through to the Mugla roundabout near the bus station.

But who is Kenan Evren and what did he do?

He was a general in the Turkish army who had served in Korea and was promoted Chief of Staff 1979.

In the late 70’s Turkey was in a state of political and economic crisis and this resulted in growing violence within the country as rival political factions fought. The coalition government of the time, led by Süleyman Demirel (Fethiye road named after him too – see the end of the article), was unable to stop the violence and the millitary made plans to take power.

The military coup took control of the country on 7 September 1980. This was third such coup in the history of the Turkish Republic.

The coup d’état extended martial law throughout Turkey, abolished parliament and government, suspended the constitution and banned all political parties and unions.

The military set up the National Security Council to govern the republic before democracy was restored in 1982.

The coup resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being detained, tortured and tried.

Some were executed, some were stripped of their citizenship and other just disappeared thousands of whom are still missing to this day.

The leaders of the main political leaders Bülent Ecevit, Süleyman Demirel , Alparslan Türkeş, and Necmettin Erbakan were banned from politics.

Demirel subsequently became president though in the 1990’s.

The military junta changed the constitution, introduced hundreds of new laws and changed the day to day lives of citizens.

An election followed in November 1982 and Kenan Evren became prime minister of Turkey and stayed in power for 7 years until 1989 when he retired to a village near Marmaris.

Coup Trial

In 2011 Kenan Evren, now aged 95, and the only other coup leader who was still alive Tahsin Şahinkaya were indicted for their role in the coup.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for the two.

The trial began on 4 April 2012 and is ongoing as at February 2014.

The Guardian Newspaper reported in April 2012 when when the trial began:

“the [Turkish] authorities were removing the names of key figures in the 1980 and previous military coups from schools, streets, stadiums and military barracks “in a coup house-cleaning”. Ending a bitter chapter in the Republics history.

Fethiye Doing It’s Bit

It seems that Fethiye is now catching up with that ‘coup house-cleaning’ by renaming this road.

The decision has not gone unnoticed by citizens some of whom are unhappy with the name change showing that feelings still run deep for those dark days back in the 1980’s.

The blue street signs should be replaced soon and maps updated thereafter.

Street Naming

Fethiye like many Turkish towns and cities references its streets in two ways. Main roads are named as follows:

  • Main Road – Boulevari
  • Secondary Road – Cadessi
  • Street –Sokak

Many of the main and secondary roads in Fethiye are named after political or other leaders. For example:

  • Süleyman Demirel – Former prime minister
  • Ataturk BLV – Founder of the Republic
  • Adnan Menderes – Prime Minister between 1950-1960 and hung by the military junta in 1961 after the 1960 coup.
  • Celâl Bayar – Third president of Turkey