Changing boulevard’s name stirs Marmaris

A recent Marmaris Municipal Council decision to change the name of the town’s main street has caused a reaction in the popular resort town.

Earlier this week, the council in the Aegean town changed the name of Kenan Evren Boulevard to Cumhuriyet (Republic) Boulevard on the strength of the majority votes from Republican People’s Party, or CHP, council members.

The opposition Justice and Development Party, or AKP, did not support the name change.

Kenan Evren was the leader of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and later became the seventh president of Turkey. He settled in Marmaris when he left office in 1989.

Sahir Ökten, a municipal council member from the AKP, told the Doğan news agency that Evren had contributed to the town and it was wrong to change the name of the boulevard.

“Evren solved the infrastructure problems here and built two schools with his own money. If you ask the residents of Marmaris, the majority support Evren living here.”

Ökten said a referendum should have been held before changing the name of the street.

Ahmet Hür, a lawyer, said he did not approve of what Evren did in the 1980s, but questioned the council’s decision. “The name can be changed, but I believe the timing is wrong,” he said.

Local CHP head Yamaç Kaya stood by the decision. “First of all, a major street should be named after a concept, not a person. We have named the boulevard Cumhuriyet at a time when we have to defend the Republic,” he said.

“Besides, Evren has been honored enough in Marmaris. Many more streets and schools have been named after him,” Kaya said

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