Adnan Kahveci

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Adnan Kahveci
Turkish President of Finance and Customs
In office
29 March 1990 – 20 November 1991
Preceded by Ekrem Pakdemirli
Succeeded by Sümer Oral
Personal details
Born (1949-02-20)February 20, 1949
Sürmene, Trabzon, Turkey
Died February 5, 1993(1993-02-05) (aged 43)
Gerede, Bolu, Turkey

Adnan Kahveci (20 February 1949 in Sürmene, Trabzon Province – 5 February 1993 in Gerede) was a noted Turkish politician who served as a key advisor to Prime Minister Turgut Özal throughout the 1980s. He was one of the founders in 1983 of the Motherland Party (ANAP) led by Turgut Özal, and later a minister in Özal's government. He died in a car accident in 1993 which some considered suspicious, shortly before Özal himself died of an apparent heart attack, a death which some also considered suspicious.

Prior to his political career in Turkey, Kahveci had led a successful career as an electrical engineer and academic in the United States, having done his studies in Purdue University and having risen to become a professor at the University of Missouri.


He was born in Sürmene, Trabzon Province in 1949. Adnan Kahveci was recognized very early as a child prodigy, having come first in a nationwide exam organized by the newspaper Milliyet among primary school students in 1961, in the entry exams for the select Kabataş High School in 1966, in another nationwide exam organized this time by the newspaper Hürriyet and among high school students, in the nationwide university entry exams in 1966 and in Istanbul University scholarship exams. He pursued his studies in electrical engineering in Purdue University in the United States and obtained his doctorate from University of Missouri where he went on to become a professor.

After his return to Turkey, he was, for a time in the academic staff of Boğaziçi University.

Political career[edit]

In the early 1980s Kahveci was "chef de cabinet" (chief of staff) to Prime Minister Turgut Özal, becoming, in the words of The Independent, "the main link between Ozal and the outside world, including local politicians and civil servants, the military, as well as Western journalists and foreign investors."[1] When Özal broke with the military in 1982, Kahveci supported his creation of the ANAP (Motherland Party), and would have stood in the 1983 elections if he had not been banned by the military. He became Özal's chief advisor, and entered Parliament in the 1987 elections.[1]

He then served for three terms, and was Minister of State responsible, notably, for the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) as well as Minister of Finance (1990 - 1991). Under his tenure, TRT slowly and through equivocal means ceased to be the single TV network in Turkey's media, as private networks were increasingly tolerated and then legalised. As minister and previously advisor to Özal, Kahveci played a catalytic role in many of the key steps taken by ANAP in the eighties, including shaping Turkey's first privatisations.[1] He also followed up allegations of corruption, arranging for a minister who had accepted a pay-off for contracting a shipment of oil to be taped during the conversation on the transaction, and bringing the recording to Özal.[2] Both in office and during the short subsequent period he spent as a member of the opposition after the 1991 elections, he was widely recognized as a maverick deputy, who spoke his mind irrespective of the party line.[3]

Prior to his death, Kahveci was working with Özal on the Kurdish question, and wrote a report urging a peaceful solution, including recognition of the Kurdish language.[4] According to the autobiography of Sakıp Sabancı, Özal had also entrusted Kahveci with the issue of potentially reserving seats in Parliament for minorities (an idea Sabancı had urged Özal to take up).[5]


Kahveci died in a car accident on 5 February 1993, together with his wife and another family member.[1][6] In 2012 prosecutors sought to investigate the death of Kahveci and other leading figures of politics and journalism of the time who had supported a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.[7][8] Some have alleged that the deaths of Kahveci and others were organised as part of the 1993 alleged Turkish military coup.


  1. ^ a b c d The Independent, 9 February 1993, Obituary: Adnan Kahveci
  2. ^ Nicole Pope, Hugh Pope (2000). Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey ISBN 1-58567-096-0. The Overlook Press. p. 173. 
  3. ^ Çiğdem Balım-Harding (1995). Turkey: Political, Social and Economic Challenges in the 1990s. Brill Publishers. ISBN 90-04-10283-3. 
  4. ^ Today's Zaman, 13 December 2011, Interrogations continue on ’90s extrajudicial killings
  5. ^ Rıfat N. Bali (2012), Model Citizens of the State: The Jews of Turkey During the Multi-Party Period, Lexington Books. p445
  6. ^ Today's Zaman, 19 June 2011, Son hopeful about probe into Kahveci car crash Archived November 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Reuters, 12 December 2012, Turkey deepens probe of suspected "deep state" deaths
  8. ^ Today's Zaman, 11 April 2012, Prosecutors look into links between suspicious army deaths



Political offices
Preceded by
Ekrem Pakdemirli
Minister of Finance of Turkey
March 29, 1990–November 20, 1991
Succeeded by
Sümer Oral