Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was born in 1895 at Erzurum as the son of a Turkish Ottoman army officer and the grandson of a Pasha (general). After the elementary school in Ordu and the military middle school in Erzincan , he graduated from the Kuleli military high school in İstanbul. He was a popular figure and was therefore nicknamed “Cemal Aga” (big brother Cemal) since his childhood school years and onwards all his life. During the World War I between 1915-1917, he participated in the Battle of the Dardanelles as an artillery lieutentant. He fought at the Palestine and Syria fronts and became prisoner of war by the British in 1917 while suffering malaria during the command of his 41st Battery. He was kept as a POW in Egypt between 19 September 1918 – 06 October 1920. After his release, he returned to Anatolia to re-join Mustafa Kemal and took part in all the western front campaigns in the Turkish War of Independence between 1920-1923.
He was married, in 1927, to Melahat, the daughter of a navy officer who served on Frigate Hamidiye, and they had one child, Muzaffer. Gürsel attended and graduated in 1929 from the military academy as a staff officer. From 1946 on, he served in all general ranks up to four-star general including chief of intelligence and was appointed as the Commander of Land Forces in 1958 when he was in command of the 3rd Army. He had earned the respect and confidence of both the nation and the armed forces with his professional knowledge and demeanour. A patriotic memorandum he sent in April of 1960 to the Minister of Defense in an effort to establish checks and balances on ongoing affairs resulted in his suspension from his post on May 3 forcing early retirement instead of becoming the next chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. He went to İzmir where he presided the Anti-Communism Association of Turkey.
The military overthrew the government without the participation or leadership of Cemal Gursel on May 27, 1960 after continuing civilian and academia unrests throughout the country (*). Because of his immense popularity among the public and military ranks, Gürsel was subsequently chosen and brought in as the leader of the military coup that sent President Celal Bayar, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and some other members of the ruling Demokrat Parti (The Democrat Party) to a military court on Yassıada in the Sea of Marmara, accusing them for violence of constitution. He was declared the commander in chief, Head of state, Prime minister and Minister of Defense of the 24th government on May 30, 1960. His plea for forgiveness and attempts along with several other world leaders for the reversal of the execution sentences and for the release of most of the arrested politicians were rejected by the Junta. Cemal Gürsel resisted pressure to continue military rule, was wounded as a result of a military assassination attempt on his life, thwarted subsequent multiple military coup attempts and played an important role in the preparation of a new constitution and return to the democratic order in Kemalist vision. The constitution, which brought for the first time a full text of civil and political rights under constitutional protection along with an improved system of checks and balances in Turkish history, was approved by a referendum held on October 10, 1961. The Turkish Grand National Assembly was re-opened after the general elections and voted him as the fourth president of Turkey. He took an active role in extensive modernization of Turkish Armed Forces and the staunch defense of the free world and Europe during the cold war, in particular during the Cuban Missiles Crisis. He initiated the new era of planned economy in Turkey, launched the State Planning Organization (DPT) that implemented "The First 5-Years Development Plan" and moved Turkey into the direction of European Union membership with Ankara Agreement, signed with France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Luxemburg in 1963. He added the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the cabinet for the first time. The production of the first domestic Turkish automobile, Devrim (Revolution), took place with his directive. Gursel founded The National Security Council (MGK) as well as the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council (TUBITAK) in 1963, appointing Professor Cahit Arf (Hasse-Arf Theory; The ARF rings) a native of Thessaloniki the same birthplace as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's and Aristotales', as its first director, officially charging TUBITAK primarily with governmental advisory duty by legislation.
Because of a paralysis that started in early 1966 and progressed quickly, Cemal Gürsel was flown February 2 to the Walter Reed military hospital in Washington, D.C on the airplane sent by US President Lyndon B. Johnson. One week later, he fell into a coma there. The government decided he return to Turkey on March 24. With a report of a medical committee by Gulhane military hospital in Ankara, the parliament ruled on March 28, 1966 that his presidency be terminated due to ill health in accordance with the constitution . He died of apoplexy on September 14, 1966 in Ankara. He was laid to rest at the Freedom Martyrs Memorial section of the mosoleum of Ataturk and later transferred to the State Memorial.
He spoke French and Turkish. His portrait as a statesman and soldier remained next to Ataturk's in most homes in Turkey for a long time. The Stadium in Erzurum, some schools and streets were named after him.
"General Gursel may be described as the father of the second Turkish Republic similar to Ataturk being the father of modern Turkey. At a time of deep division, Gursel earned and maintained the respect of the Turkish Nation that regarded him as the symbol of national unity. When he passed away, he had the identity of the trusted father of the nation." Prof. Bernard Lewis, Sept 15, 1966
“I took over the administration of the state to stop the tragic course of events.” (Cemal Gursel, radio address on the evening of May 27, 1960) “The network was ready. I personally did not want the army to intervene and had been stopping the attempts (of takeover) of my younger friends. Things reached to such a state that despite my belief that the army should not interfere I let them free in their duties. Now my only goal is to reinstate an administration built on the principles of justice and ethics.” (Cemal Gursel, An interview. Cumhuriyet, July 16, 1960)
A few days before the coup, it was known that the coup was imminent but General Cemal Gursel was dismissed as a non-political general. No leading role by General Cemal Gursel was determined despite the foreknowledge of the plot. (The CIA; The Inside Story by Andrew Tully, pages 51, 53. Crest books, 1962)
On May27, he (Cemal Gursel) was hurriedly requested to come (from his residence in Izmir) to the capital (Ankara) to assume the leadership of National Unity Committee (The Turkish Revolution, Aspects of Military politics. By Walter Weiker. pages 121, 122. The Brookings Insitution, 1963)
When May 27 revolt occurred, Cemal Gursel was not a participant. He was invited to become the head due to the circumstances and he willingly accepted. (Burhan Felek, Milliyet, Page 2, September 18, 1971)
“General Gursel was brought in to the NUC chairmanship by the revolution team when he was in retirement preparation. In actuality he was in the position of a chairman found in last minute with a hurried search. He never was the responsible leader for a true leader is not to be appointed but is self-appointed.” (By a leading member of the NUC)
One of the core players of the coup, Orhan Erkanli told that they revolted on May 27 without knowing what to do on May 28. No one, including Cemal Gursel knew who and how many would be forming the NUC. In actuality, even Cemal Gursel was brought in later. (Years of Ismet Pasha of our Democracy, 1960-61 by Metin Toker, page 25. Bilgi. 1998)
It is now known that the coup was the result of years of planning on the part of conspirators, a number of radical colonels and ranks below in their early forties. He (Cemal Gursel) was not involved in the details of the organization of the coup d’etat. When the coup had succeeded, he was brought to Ankara (Turkey, A modern History by Erik Zurcher. pages 253,254. Tauris, 2003)
January 9, 1961 Dear General Gursel: It is a great pleasure for me to send greetings to you and to the Turkish people on the occasion of the opening of the Turkish Constituent Assembly. This historic event is a further tangible demonstration of Turkish dedication to democratic ideals and of its determination to build a solid foundation for the future. Please extend my best wishes to the members of this Assembly for the success of the important work on which they are embarking. Sincerely, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
October 29, 1961 Dear Mr. President: I congratulate you on your election as President of the Republic of Turkey. I also wish to congratulate, in the name of the United States Government and its people, the Turkish Government and people for their success in promulgating a new constitution and in establishing a freely-elected Grand National Assembly. As you assume your Presidential responsibilities, let me assure you of my country's dedication to the firm friendship and co-operation which have consistently characterized Turco-American relations. We are united in our aims of preserving the security of our homelands and creating a world where mankind can live in peace and freedom. In these cherished causes, we are proud to work side by side with the Government and people of Turkey. Please accept my warmest greetings and best wishes. Sincerely, JOHN F. KENNEDY
October 25, 1963 Dear Mr President Gursel: I send warm greetings to you and the Turkish people on this fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Republic. The United States is proud of its association with Turkey in an alliance that rests on common aspirations and mutual interests. The American people admire the resolute spirit and manifest courage of the Turkish people. To this end, we welcome Turkey's new five-year development program, and wish it the fullest success. We will continue to hold firmly to this policy of cooperation, which has so greatly advanced our common interests and added so much to the defensive strength of the free world. Sincerely, JOHN F. KENNEDY
November 22, 1963 The Times, London
President Cemal Gursel described President Kennedy on the radio tonight as “a pioneer in the great struggles of humanity, a determined fighter for world peace and a firm friend of the Turkish Nation. Every Turkish family feels a personal grief at this horrible crime” he said.
Message to President Sunay of Turkey Dear Mr. President: I extend to you and to the government and people of Turkey my condolences and those of my fellow Americans on the passing of former President Cemal Gursel. We are all saddened at the loss of this good man, whose ideals and accomplishments we have long respected. He was a wise and valiant leader, dedicated to the preservation of democracy and the safety of his nation and the Free World. The close ties of friendship existing between our two countries make us feel the more deeply Turkey's loss. Our hearts are with you in your sorrow. Sincerely, LYNDON B. JOHNSON
Message to Mrs. Cemal Gursel Dear Mrs. Gursel: Mrs. Johnson and I extend our heartfelt sympathy on the passing of your distinguished husband. The memory of his lifetime as a soldier and statesman in the service of the highest ideals will be a legacy of inspiration to us all. We in America share your bereavement in the loss of this great and good man. You can be assured that our thoughts and prayers were always with him in his illness and that they are now with you in your grief. Sincerely, LYNDON B. JOHNSON
A number of people from those of the old
And a few from those of later times
Brothers facing each other on thrones of dignity
No pettiness will they hear in there
And not even a little of sinful talk
Only the saying “Peace! Peace!” (56:13-26; 15:47)
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
Adnan Menderes | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Prime Minister of Turkey
1960–1961 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
Emin Fahrettin Özdilek
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details