Adnan Menderes

Aydin 1899 - Istanbul 1961

Adnan Menderes was one of the prime ministers of Turkey between 1950-1960, born in Aydin in 1899 and died in Istanbul in 1961.

Adnan MenderesAdnan Menderes came from a wealthy family. He studied at the American College in Izmir until 1916 when he served his military service. He fought against the invading allied army during the War of Independence between 1920-1923, after World War I. After the proclamation of the Republic he entered the politics in the CHP party and was elected a deputy of Aydin province in 1931. During that time, he was graduated from the Law School of the University of Ankara.

In 1946 he formed the Democratic party (DP) together with Mr. Celal Bayar, one of the first legal opposition parties in Turkey, after Atatürk's party CHP. He became the deputy of Kutahya province and served for four years. When his party came to power in 1950 during the first free elections in Turkish history, Menderes became the Premier. In 1955 he also assumed the duties of foreign minister at the same time. Menderes also won the 1954 and 1957 elections, thus serving as prime minister for 10 years. During his terms, he followed liberal economic rules, allowing more private enterprises, and hold good relations with both East and West. Also, he miraculously survived a plane crach in 1959 when he and other government officials were flying from Istanbul to London. He became very popular amongst the public during those years, but at the same time he censored the newspapers and arrested journalists in order to oppress the opposing political parties, therefore we wasn't liked much by the intellectuals.

On 27th of May 1960 an army coup under General Cemal Gürsel toppled the government and Menderes was arrested. He was charged with violating the Constitution and trialed in a prison on Yassiada, a small island in the Princess Islands archipelago off Istanbul. He was found guilty by the military court and sentenced to death by hanging on the Imrali island at the Sea of Marmara on 17th of September 1961, along with two other cabinet members who were Mr. Fatin Rustu Zorlu, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Mr. Hasan Polatkan, Finance Minister.

In 1990, after 29 years of his death, the Parliament cleared of any misconduct of Adnan Menderes and pardoned him. Today, his mausoleum is located next to Turgut Ozal's mausoleum in Istanbul. Also, Adnan Menderes University in Aydin province and Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir are named after him. His son, Mr. Aydin Menderes, served as a deputy in the Turkish Parliament until the elections in 2002.