Celal Bayar

Bursa 1883 - Istanbul 1986

Celal BayarMahmut Celal Bayar was a Turkish statesman who became the third President of Turkey. He was born in Umurbey - Gemlik, nearby Bursa, on 16th of May 1883. After completing his higher education in Umurbey, he worked at the Gemlik judicial courts and Administration departments as a clerk, then in a bank in Bursa becoming a high executive. In 1903 he married Reside Hanim and they had a son a year later. At the age of 25 he joined as a volunteer to the "Ittihad Terakki Cemiyeti" (Party of Union and Progress), a political organization of Young Turks. During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) he was assigned to his party's Izmir branch to stop the Greek expansion on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. In 1918, during the World War I, he founded the Society for the Protection of Ottoman's Rights to favor an armed resistance against the allied occupation. For this, the Ottoman cabinet of the sultan who co-operated with the Allies have seen him as a rebel and tried to capture him, but he managed to escape, changed his name, and continued his struggle against the allied occupation becoming the leader of the resistance movement.

In 1919 he was elected to the last Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul as a deputy of Manisa. With the occupation of Istanbul by the Allies in 1920, the sultan dissolved the Ottoman Parliament and ordered the arrest of all nationalist members of parliament including Celal Bayar. So, Bayar left Istanbul and went to Ankara to join the First Parliament of modern Turkey together with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In 1921 Celal Bayar became the deputy of Bursa of this new Parliament and the Minister of Economy, planning the economic recovery of Turkey and founding the first pension fund for workers. After the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, in 1923 he was elected as the deputy of Izmir and in 1924 he was appointed as the Minister of Public Works and Housing, being responsible of the population exchange and resettlement.

In 1924 Ataturk assigned Mahmut Celal Bayar the responsibility for establishing the first Turkish national bank. He resigned from the Ministry and became the director of the Turkiye Is Bankasi until 1932. Between 1932-1937 he served again as the Minister of Economy at Ataturk's request. In 1937 Mustafa Kemal appointed him as prime minister of the 9th government after Ismet Inonu. After Ataturk's death on 10th of October 1938, Bayar remained prime minister until resigning in 1939, but holding his seat in Parliament as a deputy of Izmir until 1945 with CHP (the Republican People's Party), which was the only political party rappresented in the National Assembly (TBMM) during those years.

In 1946 he founded a new political party, DP or Demokrat Parti (the Democratic Party), together with Adnan Menderes and two other friends. This was the beginning of a multi-party system in Turkey. During the general elections in 1950 the Democrat Party won the majority of the seats of the Parliament. The parliament elected Bayar as the President of Turkey. He was re-elected in 1954 and 1957, serving for 10 years as the president. At that time, Adnan Menderes was his prime minister.

The military coup on 27th of May 1960 dissolved the National Assembly. Celal Bayar, Adnan Menderes and some other government and party members were arrested and trialed in a military court on Yassiada island in the Sea of Marmara. He was sent to jail, but he was released in 1964 due to his health problems. His political rights were restored in 1974, but he never entered the politics again.

He died on 22nd of August 1986, at the age of 103. He was father of three children. The Celal Bayar university in Manisa was established in 1992 and named after him.