Necmettin Cevheri, a prominent figure in Turkish politics, passed away on September 5, 2023, at the age of 93. Over the course of his life, Cevheri wore many hats, excelling as a farmer, lawyer, and politician. His contributions spanned across various political parties, leaving a lasting mark on Turkey’s political landscape.
Early Life and Education
Cevheri’s journey began in 1930 when he was born in Şanlıurfa, Turkey. He belonged to the Şeyhanlı tribe, a Kurdish-origin community. His educational path led him to graduate from the prestigious Galatasaray High School, and later, he earned a law degree from Ankara University.
Career in Politics
After completing his education, Cevheri returned to his hometown and engaged in agricultural activities while practicing law. His entry into the world of politics started when he joined the Democrat Party and became active in its provincial branch.
However, the closure of the Democrat Party in 1960 prompted Cevheri to switch his allegiance to the Justice Party in 1965. He successfully ran for a seat in the Turkish Parliament, representing Şanlıurfa, in both the 1965 and 1969 general elections. During this time, he also served as the Minister of Tourism in the cabinets led by Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel until 1971.
In 1980, following the dissolution of the Justice Party, Cevheri joined the True Path Party. He continued his political career by winning seats in the Turkish Parliament in the 1990 and 1995 general elections, again representing Şanlıurfa. His dedication to public service led to his appointments as the Minister of Justice and later as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel’s cabinets.
Cevheri’s influence within the True Path Party grew to the extent that he was considered a candidate for party leadership in 1993, albeit ultimately withdrawing from the race. He further solidified his role within the party by becoming Deputy Prime Minister in Tansu Çiller’s cabinet in October 1995, followed by an appointment as Minister of State in her subsequent cabinet.
However, the late 1990s saw political upheaval, with Cevheri and other True Path Party deputies resigning in May 1997. This event ultimately led to the collapse of the coalition cabinet formed by the True Path Party and the Islamist Welfare Party, headed by Necmettin Erbakan.
Despite facing political challenges, Cevheri continued to make his mark. He even contested the 1999 general election, where he won the preliminary election in Şanlıurfa. Although Çiller decided to personally determine the candidate list, Cevheri managed to secure a seat. Following this election, Cevheri became an opposition leader alongside Esat Kıratlıoğlu and Nahit Menteşe, openly opposing Çiller’s policies.
Cevheri remained active within the True Path Party and served on the General Administrative Council until his retirement from politics in 2002.
Personal Life and Legacy
In his personal life, Cevheri faced the loss of his wife, Yüksel, who passed away in August 2021 and was laid to rest in Ankara. He was survived by his two children, including his son, Cevher, who also ventured into politics as a member of parliament for the Justice and Development Party, representing Adana.
Necmettin Cevheri’s legacy in Turkish politics spans decades, characterized by his dedication to public service, numerous cabinet posts, and his role in shaping the True Path Party during pivotal moments in Turkish history. His passing marks the end of an era in Turkish politics, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.