Atıfet Sunay

Atıfet Sunay (1903 – 21 October 2002) was the First Lady of Turkey from 28 March 1966 until 28 March 1973 during the presidency of her husband Cevdet Sunay.[1]

Atıfet Sunay
First Lady of Turkey
In role
28 March 1966 – 28 March 1973
PresidentCevdet Sunay
Preceded byMelahat Gürsel
Succeeded byEmel Korutürk
Personal details
Üsküdar, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died21 October 2002(2002-10-21) (aged 98–99)
Istanbul, Turkey
Resting placeZincirlikuyu Cemetery, Istanbul
Cevdet Sunay (m. 1929)

Atıfet was born in Üsküdar, Istanbul, then Ottoman Empire in 1908. The family moved to Adapazarı when her father retired. She completed the middle school. Through her older brother, she learned her future husband Cevdet Bey, the son of a regiment mufti. Her engagement resulted in breach of promise because her father did not want her daughter marry an military officer, who would taje her to far places due to his duty. Only two years later, in 1929,[2] he accepted the situation, and the couple married.[1]

Her husband, a retired four-star general and former Chief of the General Staff, was elected president right after Cemal Gürsel's presidency was ended on 28 March 1966 by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey due to his illness. Atıfet Sunay residedat as First Lady at Çankaya Mansion seven years long until his husband resigned from presidency due to ill health condition.[3]

She told in a book that "she saved the lives of four Military Academy cadets from execution, who tried to raid the presidential residence during the 1971 military coup. She denied to know them at all". She added that "she did so because she is a mother of three, and the young military students looked at herin the court as she was their mother".[3]

On 21 October 2002, Atıfet Sunay died at the age of 99 in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Istanbul, where she was delivered one week before. She was interred at the Zincirlikuyu Cemetery following the religious funeral service held at the Şişli Mosque.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Çankaya'nın First Lady'leri". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 15 April 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Sunay'ın eşi vefat etti". Radikal (in Turkish). 22 October 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Türkiye'nin First Lady'leri". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 15 February 2019.