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17th September 1961 Adnan Menderes was hanged for changing the azan back to Arabic


17th September 1961 Adnan Menderes was hanged for changing the azan back to Arabic

Adnan Menderes was born in Aydin in 1899, the kahraman Islamic hero served as prime minister of Turkey between 1950 and 60. He was persecuted on 17 September 1961 with a fabricated court order established by the coup d'état of May 27, 1960.

In Turkey, the adhan reverberated from the mosques in Turkish language for 18 years from 1932 to 1950 and those who insisted in Arabic were prosecuted until Menderes finally put an end to it and Adnan also opened up 1000's of mosques which were closed.

Adnan Menderes came from a wealthy family. He studied at the American College in Izmir until 1916 when he served his military service. He fought against the invading allied army during the War of Independence between 1920-1923, after World War I. After the proclamation of the Republic he entered the politics in the CHP party and was elected a deputy of Aydin province in 1931. During that time, he was graduated from the Law School of Ankara University.

In 1946 he formed the Democratic party (DP) together with Mr. Celal Bayar, one of the first legal opposition parties in Turkey, after Atatürk's party CHP. He became the deputy of Kutahya province and served for four years. When his party came to power in 1950 during the first free elections in Turkish history, Menderes became the Premier. In 1955 he also assumed the duties of foreign minister at the same time. Menderes also won the 1954 and 1957 elections, thus serving as prime minister for 10 years.

Turkey's first military coup was carried out on 27 May 1960 under General Cemal Gürsel. The coup plotters formed a “National Unity Committee 37 consisting of 37 officers. Menderes was charged with violating the Constitution and the coup leaders tried those arrested in a special court in Yassiada -a small island in the Princess Islands archipelago off Istanbul.

Yassiada cases started on October 14, 1960, lasted 11 months and 1 day. The cases were viewed in 203 days and 872 sessions were held. 19 cases were examined, 1068 witnesses were heard and the trials ended on 15 September 1961, when the verdict was announced.

On 17th of September 1961, Menderes was found guilty by the military court and sentenced to death by hanging on the Imrali Island at the Sea of Marmara. along with two other cabinet members who were Mr. Fatin Rustu Zorlu, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Mr. Hasan Polatkan, Finance Minister.

The decision of this phony court was evident from the very beginning. Adnan Menderes was also not given the right to defend himself, and the defense of those tried on death row was limited to a few minutes.

In His own words 59 years ago, here is a compilation of some of Menderes' words.

On Turks
"The Turkish nation is Muslim and will remain so forever. It is off limits to trespass freedom of religion in this country," Menderes said of Turks.

He fought hard throughout his tenure to provide practicing Muslims with equal opportunities in the staunchly secular state mechanism.

On democracy and his opposition
"Our country has finally managed to get out of the unfree climate of the old days [referring to decades-long one-party system] and reached an era of multi-party rule," said jubilant Menderes after winning the first free elections in Turkey’s history in 1950.

We call it free because it was the fist election held by secret ballot and open counting.

It was the opposite until 1950.

"May God protect even my enemies from such an opposition," he said in the face of constant lies and accusations his opponents surfaced in the pro-establishment and state-controlled media.

"Don't we know as a nation how they have been struggling for years and years to demonstrate every success as a catastrophe and every beautiful and magnificent work as a loss!" said Menderes, blaming the anti-democratic deep state of taking a stance against elected governments and the people of Turkey.

"There was neither a dictatorship nor a dictator around from 1950 to 1960," said Menderes in his defense at Yassiada denying allegations of authoritarian rule.  

On Cyprus island and Greeks
Menderes governments always showed extreme caution and good intention in maintaining neighborly relations with Greece.

However, when the Greek governments did not care much about the olive branch Turkey extended, the message from Menderes, especially after the tension about Cyprus island started to escalate in the 1950s, was clear enough.

"Cyprus island will never belong to the Greeks."

His last words
When the military junta read the hanging sentence to his face, he was calm and strong.

He only said "May Allah protect our nation."

Only to humiliate an elected prime minister, the junta ordered a prostate examination on Menderes hours before his execution.

Then they told him to say his last words.
"At this very moment when I am departing from life, tell my family and children that I remember them with compassion. May Allah bless our homeland and nation with eternal welfare."

The last words of the 62-year-old father and statesman right before his martyrdom Sept. 17, 1961, were heart-wrenching to millions of Turks who were living in an age of political and social repression.

In 1990, after 29 years of his death, the Parliament cleared of any misconduct of Adnan Menderes and pardoned him.  

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