Death of a dictator

On May 9, 2015, Kenan Evren, the leader of the military junta that oversaw the Sept. 12, 1980 coup in Turkey, died at the age of 98. He had been sick for a long time, and was really only being kept alive through the skill of doctors and medicine. His death, as it happens, occurred on the eve of Mothers’ Day. The symbolism of this is deep, when one considers all the mothers who lost children because of him.

Aside from his close friends and family, no one was much saddened by Evren’s death. This, of course, is directly connected to the turmoil and pain caused to Turkey by the Sept. 12 coup. Let me explain this through the use of figures:

Those arrested: 650,000 people. Citizens about whom secret files were opened: 1,683,000. Number of court cases started: 210,000. Those tried in courts of martial law: 230,000. Those tried on charges of being “members of illegal organizations”: 98,404. Those condemned to heavy prison sentences on charges of being members of illegal organizations: 21,764. Those whose citizenship was revoked: 14,000. Those denied passports: 388,000. Organizations forbidden from functioning: 23,700. The total number of those placed in some 644 prisons throughout the country: 52,000 (this number reflects those still in prison in 1990). Those who lost their lives in prison due to disease: 229. Those who lost their lives in prison under “suspicious circumstances”: 144. Those who lost their lives due to hunger strikes: 14. Those who lost their lives when “shot while escaping,” as described by police: 16. Those who lost their lives “during clashes”: 74. Those who died due to “natural causes” in prison: 73. Those who were said to have committed suicide in prison: 43. Those who died for reasons still unclear: 2. Those who were tortured to death in prison: 17. The number of court cases and investigations begun in connection with incidences of torture at this time: 9,962 (this was between 1982-1988). The number of security personnel tried in connection with torture: 544. The number of security personnel rewarded for their performance between April and May of 1981: 1,002. The number of martial law-related acts and implementations carried out: 18,525. The number of government clerks punished due to martial law: 7,245. Teachers punished due to martial law: 3,854. Security forces punished due to martial law: 988. Religious officials punished due to martial law: 266. University staff punished due to martial law: 120. Administrative heads punished due to martial law: 35. Judges and prosecutors punished due to martial law: 47. Those forced into exile: 7,233. Those fired from their jobs: 4,891. The total number years in prison journalists at the time were condemned to: 3,315 years, three months. The total number of daily newspapers in Istanbul that were forbidden from publishing: 300. The number of journalists sent to prison: 31. Journalists killed in armed conflicts: 3.

In the year 1989 alone, the number of cases taken out against 16 newspapers: 394. The number of compensation cases taken out: 211. The amount pressed for in these cases: TL 12,848,000,000. The amount of newspapers, magazines, and destroyed through burning: 39 tons. The amount put into depots to be burned later: 40 tons. The number of laws put into place to restrict publications: 151.The number of publications actually banned: 927.The number of films banned: 927. The number of people who faced death sentence charges: 7,000. The number executed: 517. The number of executions approved by the Military Supreme Court of Appeals: 124. The number of executions carried out: 50. The number of leftists executed: 18. Those on the right who were executed: 8. The number of foreigners executed (Armenian): 1. Between the years of 1980-1985: A total of 22,912 people were given prison sentences ranging between zero and one years. A total of 10,784 people were given prison sentences of between one to five years. 6,186 people were given prison sentences of between five to 10 years. A total of 2,396 people were given prison sentences of between 10-20 years. And 939 people were given prison sentences longer than 20 years. A total of 630 people were sentenced to life in prison. And 420 people were sentenced to death.

These are the official statistics as held by the Justice Ministry they are in the archives of the Turkish Parliament. I personally believe the real statistics are probably much more horrifying. But these alone give us an accurate idea of the fascism that reigned during the Sept. 12 era. Yes, the death of Evren has not saddened anyone, outside those in his close circles. But his death ought to make us all — especially any politicians with ambitions to become dictators — stop and think.