chronological order

Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK, İsmet İNÖNÜ, Celal BAYAR, Cemal GÜRSEL, Cevdet SUNAY

Fahri KORUTÜRK, Kenan EVREN, Turgut ÖZAL, Süleyman DEMİREL, Ahmet Necdet SEZER

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

29 October 1923-10 November 1938

Mustafa Kemal, founder of the Turkish Republic, was born in Saloniki on the l9th May 1881 of humble background. His father started out as a customs officer, later becoming a timber merchant. Following his sudden death he left behind a family having to fend for itself.

As a child Mustafa finished primary school in Saloniki, going on to secondary education at Rucholigè School. Despite opposition from his uncle, who had taken on the responsibility of looking after the widow and her two children following the death of his brother, Mustafa entered military school, completing his military training in Istanbul. He succeeded in entering the Military School (Harbiye) where he completed his studies with flying colours, after which he was accepted into the School of the General Staff. In December 1905 he was commissioned as General Staff Captain.

Throughout his studies Mustafa Kemal consistently proved himself a conscientious, aspiring and diligent student who liked to interest himself with particularly difficult and complex problems. Whilst at military school in Saloniki, he distinguished himself in mathematics and literature. At the same time, and due mainly to his own efforts he started to learn French, in which he made considerable progress. Yet another trait of character which began to show through in his early youth was Mustafa's ability to show initiative and exceptionally his ability to give orders, whilst at the same time maintaining a sense of fraternity with his comrades. In the School of the General Staff he pondered long and hard over the hardship caused by the dictatorial rule of Abdullamid, who from within his famous Yildiz Palace spread fear throughout the whole country. Just like his comrades at the school, Mustafa harboured the same feelings of disgust and rebelliousness towards the political regime of the Sultan. For this reason he did not hesitate for one moment about taking part in the secret underground activities going on at the General Staff School, directed towards the overthrow of the Yildiz Regime.

Between the years 1905 and 1918 Mustafa Kemal was deservedly awarded high ranking posts in the military chain of command. He became Chief of General Staff of the army that was sent out from Saloniki to put down the uprising of the l3th April 1909, a movement designed to return the country to Hamadic Absolutism and which had started with the non recognition of the Constitution that had been declared on the 23rd July 1908. Mustafa proved to have special qualities in the organisation and management of this army of oppression, known as the Army of the Movement. In 1910 he lead the Turkish Forces during military manoeuvres in the Province of Picardy in France. In 1911 he fought in Tripoli against the Italians, and in 1914 whilst serving as Military Attaché in Sofia, he successfully drew the governments attention to the catastrophic results connected with Turkey's entry into the war with Germany and its allies.

During World War I Mustafa fought against the Allied Forces at the Dardanelles, the Russians on the Mus Front, in the east and against the British in Syria and Iraq. During the war he visited Germany as Military Adviser, together with hereditary Prince Vahdettin. At the time of signing the Armistice Declaration on the 30th October 1918 Mustafa Kemal remained at the head of his troops, a command given to him by the German General Liman von Sanders. In the years between 1918 and 1923 Mustafa Kemal was at the forefront of the Turkish War of Independence and involved with the eradication of the antiquated institutions of the Osmanic Empire and in laying the foundations of the new Turkish State. He approached the National Congresses of Erzurum and Sivas to organise and lift the morale of the people in its determined opposition to the Forces of the Entente who were occupying Anatolia.

By the end of these conventions he had managed to convey the message that the idea and the ideals of outdated imperialism ought be dropped so that people within the national boundaries could make decisions in accordance with the principles and general guidelines of an effective national policy. After the occupation of Istanbul by the Forces of the Entente he laid the foundations for the new Turkish State when in 1920 he united the Great National Assembly in Ankara. With the government of the Great National Assembly, of which he was President, Mustafa Kemal fought the Forces of the Entente and the Sultan's army which had remained there in collaboration with the occupying forces. Finally, on the 9th September 1922 he succeeded in driving the Allied Forces back to Izmir, along with the other forces which had managed to penetrate the heartland of Anatolia. By this action he saved the country from invasion by foreign forces.

On the 24th July 1923 the States of the Entente were obliged to recognise the territorial integrity of Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne. So it came to pass that in quite a spectacular fashion Mustafa Kemal had achieved the first step in his reform programme, the creation of a sovereign and independent state.

From 1923 to 1938 Mustafa Kemal's main work lay in leading the Turkish State and its people along the path in the direction of the outside civilised world. The ideal of an independent fatherland within national boundaries had already been achieved before 1922 and therefore the idea of a truly modern state, whose role relied on the sovereignty of its people, could be developed by the most rational means available during this period.

Following their separation, Sultanat was abolished in 1922, whilst Khalifat continued to exist. At the Proclamation of the Republic on the 29th October 1923 this emporia institution proved to be superfluous and it was likewise abolished. This also resulted in the disbandment of other theocratic institutions on which Khalifat was founded. By the same token all similar types of organisations and theological institutions which had regulated the role of the individual and society in general were closed. Finally by amendment to the constitution, the principle of (secularism) - that all so important factor in community life - was introduced as an anchor of the new democratic and republican constitution. As a result of this new direction, all laws, rules and regulations, institutions and methods of a theological nature that had been an influence on the dealings of state and social order were abolished and various political and social reforms introduced along Western lines, suitably adapted to meet national security and interests.

In brief are mentioned here some of the important reforms introduced under Kemal: the international calendar and time were adopted (1923).

in place of the traditional head garment, the fez, introduced under the rule of Sultan Nahmond II, the West's style of hat became obligatory (1925).

Swiss civil law was introduced adapted to the conditions and needs of the country (1926).

the Latin alphabet was adopted (1928).

The Civil Code, Penal Statute Book and the Trade Law Book were introduced.

The legal position of women and their place in society in the new republic was greatly improved (for example the active and passive voting right at national and local elections).

Only due to the efforts of this great man, which he maintained with exceptional strength of character and persistence, helped along by his ability to work methodically, was it possible to introduce all these reforms. Thanks to his great organising talent he led the country to considerable prosperity and down the path of civilisation and peace.

Kemal laid the foundations of a truly modern Turkey, a democratic, republican and independent state based on national sovereignty. Although these ideas originated from him and were paramount in the foundation of the new state they remain today an integral part of the republican government of our country. The foundation stone, or perhaps even the very soul of Ataturk's spiritual and intellectual philosophy, was the thought of universal peace and although the biggest part of his life was taken up by war, he always considered it a crime.

According to Ataturk war can only be just or justified if it is fought out of sheer necessity or for reasons of national defence, or pursued by a people awaiting their sovereignty, their very lives depending on it.

To live freely and be independent is both a holy right of the individual and of the nation, this right being stronger than power itself. Only by his own personal conviction was he able to frame the all inspiring guiding principle of the Republic of Turkey - "Peace in the country, peace in the world." This principle points with absolute clarity and determination the way forward for the country's future home and foreign policy.

From the ideas that Ataturk held the idea of civilisation should not be overlooked as it is no less important. In the course of his short life he never ceased repeating the fact that views which are based broadly on regional perspective's of the West or East, or on religious perspective's, be they Islam or Christian, often weaken the thoughts of civilisation, as they fail to manifest the small or special characteristics. Civilisation is something whole and exclusively human, a universal property. It therefore goes without saying, that the share every nation in the world has in civilisation is considerable.

In the view of this inspired reformer, mankind has a duty to constantly adapt himself to the needs that reason demand. His guide in life should be science. Following on from these basic beliefs Kemal took it upon himself to provide everyone in the country with an education, at the heart of which lay the creation of citizens having special qualities, or in other words, the sense and direction of the education he wanted to give to the people was very clear in that the Republic needed to produce generations of people whose thinking, beliefs and education were totally free. Not to mention his view of egoism being wholly incompatible with the idea of civilisation "Egoism, whether individual or national is to be condemned". He reminds us that all nations of the world form one large family and that whenever a disaster strikes one of its members, then it is felt by the rest - like the pain felt from a needle penetrating a part of the body and felt throughout the whole body.

With the intention of spreading his ideas within the educational sector, and supported by national campaigns, Kemal continued to put forward his form of humanitarian education, with the aim of producing an enlightened people free from prejudice and intolerance. The desired objective being simply to develop citizens of the world, free from desires such as envy, revenge and conspiracy. In a world inhabited by such communities it might be possible to find an instrument, an organisation that stands above individual states, or in other words: "a body of united nations", whose main purpose is to maintain peace.

In this respect Ataturk's ideas date from the time between the World Wars, particularly that before World War II but are nevertheless topical because in a way Ataturk had predicted the concept of the United Nations.

Furthermore, it was at a time when the ideological battle had reached its climax and for this reason such views were of a prophetic nature.

For a man who had set himself the task of building up a country based on the most convincing human achievements and under the banner of reason.

The Inauguration of the Monument to the "Unknown Soldier" held in Dumlupınar on the 30th August 1924

Mustafa Kemal was again dressed very well, his eyes sparkling and radiant with happiness over the "Great Victory" and accompanied by his wife Latife Hanim and wartime comrades. He talked to the crowd, his beloved people, saying; "A country may be conquered forcibly, but that in itself is not enough to govern its people. As long as its soul has not been conquered, its determination and resolution cannot be destroyed and it is a nation impossible to rule" …. "Undoubtable, the foundation laid will give to the new Turkish Republic and state its stability. The eternal life of the Turkish Republic has been crowned here. The Turkish blood shed on the battlefields and the souls of the martyrs in heaven will be the immortal guardians of our state and republic" …. "Gentlemen, the most important effect of this great victory is that the Turkish Nation has gained absolute control of its independence. If we remember the years of suffering under the reign of khans, monarchs, sultans and caliphs, we can now understand the importance of gaining independence." In connection with the nations independence Mustafa Kemal stated; "Gentlemen, the nation's independence is a power that breaks chains and burns crowns and thrones. Unions which were based on the slavery of nations, will always be condemned to decline."

On the Cal Plain, Ataturk expressed his opinion about the sultans and caliphs saying: "My friends, expelling from Turkey those who sat in their palaces relying on nothing other than (Turkishness), and who marched with our enemies against Anatolia and against (Turkishness) has proved an even greater mission than that of removing the enemy from our country. (!) Absolute control of the Turkish Nation, our country and ancestral heritage, could only be achieved following the closure of these superfluous and harmful offices.

Ataturk in expressing his opinion about technology and science stated; "Our country not only needs cultural development and wealth but also science, technology, civilisation, freedom of thought and a free ideology. Our honour, independence and existence must support us in the basic and important work necessary to achieve the interests of the nation.

The people who ruled Turkey for centuries thought of everything except Turkey itself! Our nation is unselfish in its desire for independence and land and this has been proven. Our nation is the guardian of reform. A nation encompassing such high values cannot therefore be led astray by others."

At midnight on Thursday the 3rd September 1936, during the Balkan Festival at the Beylerbeyi Palace, Ataturk honoured the gala with a visit. Yugoslavian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish delegations and folk groups took part. When Ataturk arrived all the groups sang together; "Welcome, Mustafa Kemal Pasa". General Kazim Dirik read out Ataturk's speech to the guests; "The fortunes of mankind must be realised by moving closer together, by loving each other and by meeting each other with pure feelings and thoughts. A symbol of this high human ideal is our being here together this night. For this reason, I express my great appreciation to our important guests."

Later, a Turkish child communicated Ataturk's notes to the guests. "A nation is able to carry out reforms in many ways and to succeed in them. The reformation of music however reflects the exceptional development of a nation.


"There are two Mustafa Kemals. One is the flesh-and-bone Mustafa Kemal who now stands before you and who will pass away. The other is you, all of you here who will go to the far corners of our land to spread the ideals which must be defended with your lives if necessary. I stand for the nation's dreams, and my life's work is to make them come true."

Atatürk stands as one of the world's few historic figures who dedicated their lives totally to their nations.

He was born in 1881 (probably in the Spring) in Selanik, then an Ottoman city, now in Greece. His father, Ali Riza, a customs official turned timber merchant, died when Mustafa was still a boy. His mother, Zubeyde, a devout and strong-willed woman, raised him and his sister. First enrolled in a traditional religious school, he soon switched to a modern school. In 1893, he entered a military high school where his mathematics teacher gave him the second name Kemal (meaning "perfection") in recognition of young Mustafa's superior achievement. He was thereafter known as Mustafa Kemal.

In 1905, Mustafa Kemal graduated from the Military Academy in Istanbul with the rank of Staff Captain. Posted in Damascus, he started, with several colleagues, a clandestine society called "Homeland and Freedom" to fight against the Sultan's despotism. Mustafa Kemal's career flourished as he won fame and promotions because of his heroism in the farflung corners of the Ottoman Empire, including Albania and Tripoli. He also briefly served as a staff officer in Selanik and Istanbul and as a military attache in Sofia.

When the Dardanelles campaign was launched in 1915, Colonel Mustafa Kemal became a national hero by winning successive vistories and finally repelling the invaders. Promoted to general in 1916, at age 35, he liberated two major provinces in eastern Antalia that year. In the next two years, he served as commander of several Ottoman armies in Palestine and Aleppo, achieving anotherr major victory by stopping the enemy advance at Aleppo.

On May 19, 1919, Mustafa Kemal landed in the Black Sea port of Samsun to start the War of Independence. In defiance of the Sultan's government, he rallied a liberation army in Anatolia and convened the Congresses of Erzurum and Sivas which established the basis for the new national effort under his leadership. On April 23, 1920, the Grand National Assembly was inaugurated. Mustafa Kemal was elected to its Presidency.

Fighting on many fronts, he led his forces to victory against rebels and invading armies. Following the Turkish triumph at the two major battles at Inonu in Western Turkey, the Grand National Assembly conferred on Mustafa Kemal the title of Commander-in-Chief with the rank of Marshal. At the end of August 1922, the Turkish armies won their ultimate victory. Within a few weeks, the Turkish mainland was completely liberated, the armistice signed, and the rule of the Ottoman dynasty abolished.

In July 1923, the national government signed the Lausanne Treaty with Great Britain, France, Greece, Italy and others. In mid-October, Ankara became the capital of the new Turkish State. On October 29, the Republic was proclaimed and Mustafa Kemal Pasha was unanimously elected President of the Republic.

The account of Atatürk's fifteen-year presidency is a saga of dramatic modernization. With indefatigable determination, he created a new political and legal system, abolished the Caliphate and made both government and education secular, gave equal rights to women, changed the alphabet and advanced the arts, sciences, agriculture and industry.

In 1934, when the surname law was adopted, the national parliament gave him the name "Atatürk" (Father of Turks).

On November 10, 1938, following an illness of a few months, the national liberator and the Father of modern Turkey died. His legacy to his people and to the world endures.



Atatürk´s Address to the Youth

Oh Turkish Youth!

Your first duty is to preserve and defend forever Turkish independence and the Turkish Republic.

This is the only foundation of your existence and of your future. This foundation is your most precious treasure.

In the future, too, there will be malevolent people at home and abroad who will wish to deprive you of this treasure. If one day you have to defend your independence and your Republic, you will not tarry to weigh the circumstances before taking up your duty. These possibilities and circumstances may be extremely unfavorable. The enemies nursing designs against your independence and your republic, may have behind them a victory unprecedented in the annals of the world. It may come to pass that, by violence and ruse, all the fortresses of your beloved fatherland will be occupied, all its shipyards captured, all its armies dispersed, and every part of the country invaded. And what is sadder and graver than all these circumstances is that the people in power inside the country may be blind, misguided. They may even be traitors. The men in power may join their personal interest to the political designs of the invaders. The country may be impoverished, ruined and exhausted.

Oh, Child of Turkey's future, even in these circumstances it is your duty to save Turkey's independence and the Turkish Republic.

You will find the power you need in the noble blood in your veins. 




İsmet İnönü


İsmet İnönü




(Second President of the Republic of Turkey: 1938-1950)

İsmet İnönü was a man of duty and hard work, an outstanding soldier and a distinguished statesman who performed an uniquely important role in the making of modern Turkey. His role was particularly decisive in leading the western front during the War of Independence and the Turkish interests in peace negotiations, in laying down the foundations for Turkish modernity, in making the political system a genuine multi-party democracy and in keeping Turkey out of the Second World War. He tenaciously preserved his admirable sense of responsibility, self-restraint and personal ethics, as an example to the coming generations.

The Early Years

İsmet was born in İzmir in 1884. His father Hacı Reşit, a conservative man from an established family in Malatya, was a civil servant in the public prosecutor's office. His mother Cevriye was a descendant of a well-educated family which immigrated from Bulgaria. İsmet's family moved to Sivas due to his father's appointment, where he completed the military intermediary and the first year of a regular high school. As his father wanted him to have a military career, he took İsmet in 1901 to the Artillery School in Istanbul, from where he graduated with distinction in 1903 as an artillery lieutenant. İsmet was accepted to the Staff College the same year where he passed out with the first rank as a staff captain in 1906. During his military education, he learnt and read extensively in French, and acquired a working knowledge of German.

Military career in Ottoman Army

Upon graduation, he was first posted as a company commander with the Second Army in Edirne. There, like many other young officers including Mustafa Kemal who served in Balkan provinces, he joined clandestine opposition groups aiming to restore constitutional order against the repressive absolutist regime under Sultan Abdulhamid II. İsmet became a senior captain in 1908, the year when the constitution was restored, and served in putting down a reactionary fundamentalist uprising in Istanbul. From 1910 to 1913, he served as a major in Assir and Yemen. He was sent in 1914 to Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Paris and Lucerne, much of which was for treatment of his hearing loss he inherited from his childhood. On his return, he was assigned to the general staff and promoted colonel. In 1916, he married Mevhibe, daughter of an immigrant family from Bulgaria, who gave him three children in the years to come. Shortly after his marriage, İsmet was posted as the 20th corps commander on the eastern front and then in 1917 as the commander of the 3rd corps in Aleppo to serve under Mustafa Kemal as the commander of the 7th army on the Arabian front.

The War of Independence

After the armistice in 1918, he stayed on in Istanbul at the request of Mustafa Kemal. He visited Ankara secretly in January 1920 and took active part in drafting the National Pact adopted by the last Ottoman parliament in March that year. When Allied troops occupied Istanbul and dissolved the parliament, he left the capital to join Mustafa Kemal in Ankara.

İsmet sat as a deputy from Edirne in the opening session of the Grand National Assembly in 23 April 1920. Having been appointed as the chief of staff, who served as a member of cabinet in the nationalist government in Ankara, his first task was to build an army from irregular nationalist resistance forces and remaining army units scattered all around Anatolia. Within months, he was able to organize a national army under his disciplined command. In January and April his troops inflicted a first battle defeat to the advancing Greek troops at İnönü, which earned him the rank of lieutenant general in the nationalist army and years later in 1934, at Atatürk's suggestion, his surname. He was now also the commander of the western front.

The peace and the republic: Nation and state-building

Following the defeat of the invasion troops in 1922, he represented the Grand National Assembly at Mudanya armistice talks. Having seen the impressive success and superb negotiation skills he displayed in Mudanya, Mustafa Kemal asked the Assembly to appoint him as the foreign minister and head of the Turkish delegation to attend Lausanne Peace Conference in 1923. Steering the Turkish interests with great skill, he signed the Treaty of Lausanne on 24 July 1923, and became the first prime minister of the Republic, the day it was proclaimed on 29 October 1923.

İnönü served seven consecutive terms as prime minister between 1923 and 1937 with a short interval in 1924-1925. He also assumed the post of foreign minister in his first three cabinets. He retired from the army in 1927. During his service as the prime minister, the young Republic performed its radical political and economic modernization reforms, paid all war debts, effectively ensured public order and safety, undertook a rigorous state-led industrialization despite the global crisis of 1929, re-constructed the war-torn country and built an extensive railways network of nearly ten thousand kilometres, without any foreign aid.

The Second World War and transition to multi-party Democracy

İsmet İnönü was elected as the second president of the republic, a day after Atatürk passed away, on 11 November 1938. He also assumed the chairmanship of the Republican People's Party (RPP). When the war broke out, İnönü was quick to declare Turkey as a non-belligerent ally of Britain and France, therefore evading an immediate invasion by the Germans, with whom he managed to conclude a non-aggression agreement in 1941. He met Churchill in Adana in January 1943, and Roosevelt and Churchill in Cairo in December the same year. He remained firm against pressures from both sides to join the fighting. In February 1945, when the war was coming to an end, Turkey declared war against Germany and became a founding member of the United Nations. Once the war was over, Turkey came under threat from the Stalinist expansion by the Soviet Union who abolished unilaterally the friendship agreement with Turkey signed in 1921, and demanded control over the Turkish Straits, as well as Kars and Ardahan provinces. In a rapidly polarizing world, Turkey now had to take sides with a family of free nations and strengthen its democracy with a functioning multi-party system based on free elections. The RPP under İnönü's chairmanship lost its 27 years of majority in the Turkish parliament to the Democrat Party (DP) led by a former RPP prime minister, Celal Bayar. In his memoirs, he would describe the disastrous electoral defeat in 1950 as a "new kind of life for which we had been longing for a hundred years". He would concede to the fact that his electoral defeat was his greatest achievement. İnönü stepped down from presidency, taken over by Celal Bayar, voted as the third president of the republic on 22 May 1950.

The democratic experience

The Democrat Party won the following elections in 1954 and 1957, but proved to be increasingly strict against the RPP opposition in the parliament, while some DP deputies were suggesting its closure. The political polarization within the society was fostered by this political strife within the parliament. The Turkish armed forces took over the administration on 27 May 1960, closing down the DP and arresting several members of its parliamentary group and ministers as well as the president. İnönü became a member of the Constituent Assembly. A new constitution was drafted and elections were held in 1961. None of the parties succeeded in securing a majority in the parliament. İsmet İnönü was called into duty in November 1961 as prime minister, at the age of 77, by the newly elected president Gürsel to form his eighth cabinet, which would be the first coalition government in the Republican history. İnönü had to establish two more coalition governments until 1965 elections. İnönü served as the opposition leader in the parliament from 1965 to 1972. Faced with disagreements and divisions within his party, he resigned from both the RPP chairmanship and membership of the parliament that year and opted to become a senator by taking his constitutional seat for former presidents in the Republican Senate. He passed away in 1973 and was buried in Anıtkabir, facing Atatürk, his eternal friend. ______________________________



Celal Bayar


22 May 1950 - 27 May 1960

Celal Bayar was born in Bursa Gemlik in 1883. After his elementary and secondary education he worked as public servant in several posts. Bayar joined the Union and Progress Party after the Young Turk revolution and became Secretary General of the Izmir branch of the Party.

He was elected to the last Ottoman Parliament as Deputy of Saruhan. With the beginning of the War of Independence he moved to Ankara and joined the resistance movement.

He actively worked in Western Anatolia during the War and at the same time he was elected as Deputy of Bursa at the First Grand National Assembly. In 1921, he became Minister of Economy.

He took part in the Lausanne Peace Conference as Advisor. He was elected as Deputy of Izmir to the Second Grand National Assembly in 1923.

He actively worked at the establishment of the İşbank in 1924. He served as Minister of Finance.  Between 1937-1939 he served as Prime Minister. Between 1939-1943, he continued his political life as Deputy of Izmir.

In 1946, with Adnan Menderes and others he founded the Democratic Party, which came to power in 1950. He then became president of the Republic and was reelected in 1954 and 1957.

Ousted in 1960 by the Military Intervention of 27 May, he was tried for violating the constitution and sentenced to death by the Court of Yassıada. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1961. Bayar was released because of ill health in 1964 and pardoned in 1966.

Celal Bayar passed away on August 22, 1986.



Cemal Gürsel


27 May 1960 - 28 March 1966

Cemal Gürsel was born in Erzurum in 1895. He  graduated from the War College as an Artillery Third Lieutenant in 1915.

He fought in the Battle of Çanakkale (Dardanelles) from 1915 to 1917 with the First Battery of the 12th Artillery Regiment and from 1917 to 1918 in almost all the battles on the Syrian Front with the 41st Regiment as the Commander of the Fifth Battery.

He took part in the War of Independence with the First Division excelling in the battles of Second Inönü, Eskişehir and Sakarya.

Gürsel entered the War Academy in 1926 and Graduated as a staff officer in 1929.
In his 45 years of military career he worked successfully in various echelons of the Turkish Army. Gürsel was promoted to Brigadier General in August 30, 1946 and undertook commands of Division, Corps and the Army. On August 30, 1957 he was promoted to the rank of  General and became the Commander of the Land Forces.

After leading the May 27, 1960 Revolution, he assumed the duties of the Head of State and the Government, Chairman of the National Unity Committee and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Following the general elections in 1961, Gürsel was elected as the 4th President of the Republic of Turkey for a term of 7 years in accordance with the Turkish Constitution. His health conditions did not permit him to conclude his Presidency and he left his post in 1966. He passed away on September 14, 1966.



Cevdet Sunay

Cevdet SUNAY

28 March 1966 - 28 March 1973

Cevdet Sunay was born in 1899 in Trabzon. He concluded his elementary and secondary education in Erzurum, Kerkük, Edirne and Kuleli Was College.

During the First World War, in 1917 he fought at Palestine front. In 1918 in Egypt, he was taken as a war prisoner by the English forces. After his release, he joined resistance forces in War of Independence and served in Southern and Western fronts.

He concluded his education in War Academy in 1930. He assumed several posts in Turkish Army and became General in 1949. He was appointed as Chief of General Staff in 1960.

In 1966, he was elected as a Senate member. He was elected as the 5th President of the Turkish Republic on 28 March 1966. He concluded his 7 year term of office in 1973. He died on 22 May 1982.



Fahri Korutürk


6 April 1973 – 6 April 1980

Fahri Korutürk was born in Istanbul in 1903. After completing his studies in the Royal School of Naval Sciences, he graduated from the Naval School in 1923. He served as a teacher in different naval institutions for several years, and later as Military Attaché in Berlin and Rome in 1935 and 1936 respectively and in Stockholm and Berlin in 1942-43. Korutürk also took part in the Straits Conference held in Montreux in 1936 as a military expert.

He served as Commander of the Naval War Academy during 1945-46 and then as Fleet Commander up to his promotion to Vice-Admiralship in 1953. Following his service as Naval Commander of the Marmara and the Straits region in charge of the naval defense of the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, together with  the Sea of Marmara, during the years of 1956 and 1957, he was promoted to admiralship in 1957 and was later appointed to the post of Commander of Naval Forces.

Upon his retirement after 1960, he joined  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was appointed Ambassador to Moscow and Madrid.

Fahri Korutürk was appointed as a Senator  on June 10, 1968. He was elected as the President of the Republic of Turkey on April 6, 1973 and concluded his post in 1980. He died on October 12, 1987.



Kenan Evren


9 November 1982 - 9 November 1989

Kenan Evren was born in Manisa Alaşehir in 1918. He started his military career in 1936 as a cadet of the War Academy and graduated as an artillery officer in 1938. After attending the Staff College, he became a staff officer in 1949. From 1950 onwards Evren has served on several posts in the Turkish Armed Forces.

In 1958, he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the Turkish Brigade in Korea. Following his return from Korea, Evren served in several commanding high rank posts. He served as Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff between the years 1975 - 1976. His next assignments were the Command of the Aegean Army and the Command of the Turkish Land Forces until 1978. On 7 March 1978 he was appointed as the Chief of the Turkish General Staff.

After 12 September 1980 Evren assumed the Chairmanship of the National Security Council and also functioned as the Head of State.

He became the 7th President of the Republic of Turkey as a result of the referendum held on November 7, 1982. On November 9, 1989, he left the Presidency after concluding his Constitutional term.



Turgut Özal

Turgut Ozal

9 November 1989 - 17 April 1993





(Eighth President of the Republic of Turkey: 1989-1993)


Turgut Özal was born in 1927 in Malatya. Following his graduation as an electrical engineer from Istanbul Technical University he studied economics in the United States in 1952. On his return to Turkey, he was appointed deputy director general of the Electrical Works Administration.

He completed his military service in 1961-1962 as a member of the Scientific Consultancy Board in the Ministry of Defence. Later, he took part in the establishment of the State Planning Organisation. Meanwhile, he was also a lecturer at the Middle East Technical University.

He worked as a member of the Board of Technical Experts in the Prime Ministry before he was appointed as the undersecretary of the State Planning Organisation for the period between 1967 and 1971. He chaired the Board of Economic Coordination, the Monetary and Credits Board, the coordination boards for the Organization for Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) and the European Economic Community (EEC).

From 1971 to 1973, he worked as a consultant in the World Bank . On his return to Turkey, he worked in several industrial organisations before he was appointed as the Undersecretary of the Prime Minister in 1979. Meanwhile, he was also the acting undersecretary of the State Planning Organisation.

He was appointed as deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs in the government formed after the military takeover in 1980. In 1982, he resigned from government and founded the Motherland Party in 1983. Turgut Özal became Turkey's 19th prime minister when his party won the elections the same year. The Motherland Party won also the 1987 elections and Özal served as prime minister for another term.

He was elected as the eighth president by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 31 October 1989 and assumed his duties on 9 November 1989. President Turgut Özal passed away on 17 April 1993.

He married Semra in 1954 and had three children.



Süleyman Demirel

Süleyman DEMİREL

16 May 1993 - 16 May 2000

 President Demirel was born on November 1, 1924, in İslamköy, a remote village in the province of Isparta.

Upon completion of his elementary school education in his native village, he attended junior high school and high school in Isparta and Afyon respectively. He graduated from the Engineering Faculty of Istanbul Technical University in 1949.

He joined Turkey’s Electrical Studies and Research Administration in 1949.

He undertook postgraduate studies on irrigation, electrical technologies and dam construction in the United States first in 1949-50, then in 1954-55.

During the construction of the Seyhan Dam, Demirel worked as a project engineer and in 1954 was appointed Head of Turkey’s Department of Dams.

As of 1955, he served as Director General of the State Hydraulic Works Department. In this capacity, Demirel was to supervise the construction of a multitude of dams, power plants, and irrigation facilities.

Upon completion of his military service, he worked as a free-lance engineer and adviser between 1962-64. During this period, he worked as a lecturer of Hydraulic Engineering at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University.

His political career started with his election to the Justice Party (JP) General Executive Board.

Demirel was elected Party Chairman at the second JP Grand Convention on November 28, 1964. He facilitated the formation of a coalition government that ruled between February and October 1965 under the premiership of Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, in which he served as Depity Prime Minister.

Under the leardership of Demirel, the JP won an unprecedented 53 percent of the votes in the General Elections of October 10, 1965 and formed a majority government.

As deputy from Isparta, Demirel became Turkey’s 12th Prime Minister and ruled the country for four years.

In the next general elections on Octobed 10, 1969, Demirel’s JP was the sole winner by a landslide once again.

Subsequently, Demirel formed Turkey’s 31st government.

Later on, however, due to an intra-party crisis, he formed a new government.

He resigned upon the Military Memorandum of March 12, 1971.

Between 1971-80, he served as Prime Minister for three more times, respectively in 1975-1977, and 1979.

Following the military coup of September 12, 1980, Demirel was banned from involvement in active politics for ten years.

In 1986, Demirel launched a national campaign for the lifting of the bans and initiated a national referandum on the issue.

The September 6, 1987 referandum returned Demirel to active politics.

Demirel was elected Chairman of the True Path (TPP) at the party’s extraordinary convention on September 24, 1987.

He was re-elected Isparta Deputy in the General Elections of November 29, 1987.

Following the General Elections of October 20, 1991, Demirel became Prime Minister once again in a coalition government with Social Democrat People’s Party.

He was elected the ninth President of the Republic of Turkey on May 16, 1993.

A Director-General when only 30, a Party Chairman and Prime Minister at 40, Demirel has done his utmost for the development and industrialization of the country.

He still holds the record for Turkey's youngest prime minister ever. Only İsmet İnönü’s tenure as prime minister was longer than his.

Between 1964-93, Demirel was elected Isparta Deputy for six terms.

During the 17 years between November 28, 1964 and October 15, 1981, Demirel was elected Party Chairman at all the Grand Conventions of the JP.

Despite being banned from active politics for seven years, Demirel managed to form seven governments during his political career that spans three decades.

He speaks English and is the author of a number of books, articles, and essays on politics.

He is married to Nazmiye Demirel.




Ahmet Necdet Sezer

Ahmet Necdet SEZER

16 May 2000 - ...

Born in Afyon on September 13, 1941.

Graduated from the Afyon High School in 1958.

Attended the Faculty of Law at the University of Ankara and received a B.A. degree in 1962.

Started his career as judge in Ankara same year.

Following the completion of his military service in the Land Forces Academy, served as Judge in the town of Dicle and later took up assignment as a supervisory judge at the High Court of Appeals in Ankara.

Attended postgraduate classes at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ankara and acquired an M.A. degree on the subject of civil law in 1978.

Elected to the High Court of Appeals on March 7, 1983.

Appointed by the President to serve at the Constitutional Court on September, 27, 1988.

Elected Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court on January 6, 1998.

Named as the 10th President of the Republic of Turkey by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on May 5, 2000.

Married and has three children.