Mahmut Celalettin Bayar
Celâl Bayar

In office
May 22, 1950 – May 27, 1960
Preceded by İsmet İnönü
Succeeded by Cemal Gürsel

Born May 16, 1883(1883-05-16)
Bursa, Ottoman Empire
Died August 22, 1986 (aged 103)
Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Political party Democratic Party
Religion Muslim [1]

Mahmut Celalettin Bayar (May 16, 1883 – August 22, 1986) was a Turkish politician, statesman and the third President of Turkey. At the time of his death, he was the longest lived former head of state, living over 103 years (he was surpassed in 2008 by Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum).

Early years

He was born in 1883 at Umurbey, a village of Gemlik, Bursa as the son of a religious leader and teacher who migrated from Lom, Bulgaria. After the school, he worked as a clerk first in the court in Gemlik and then in Ziraat Bankası and later in the Deutsche Orientbank in Bursa.

Political career

In 1908, he joined the volunteer’s troop of "İttihad Terakki Cemiyeti" (Committee of Union and Progress), a political organization of Young Turks. He served as the secretary-general of the newly founded Bursa branch and later of the İzmir branch of this party. At the same time Celâl Bayar was member of the Special Organisatzion (Teşkilât-ı Mahsûsa).[1] He contributed to the foundation of a girls' college and a railway school.

In 1914 he participated in the planning and organisation of the ethnic cleansing of Greeks in the Aegian region.[2]

In 1919, Bayar was elected to the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul as deputy of Saruhan (today Manisa). In April 1919 he strongly condemned Cemal Paschas acknowledgmen of the Armenian massacres in the Turkish press.[3] Under the assumed name Galip Hoca he continued the ethnic cleansing of Greeks in the region of Izmir and the campaign of Turkification of property and businesses.[4]

As he disagreed with the new constitution determined by the sultan, he went in 1920 to Ankara to join Mustafa Kemal by the Turkish Independence Movement. He became an active member of the "Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti" (Association for Defense of Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia), another political organization formed after the World War I. He became deputy of Bursa in the newly established Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The same year, he served as deputy Minister of Economy and on February 27, 1921 he was appointed as Minister of Economy. He led the negotiation commission during the Çerkes Ethem uprising. In 1922, Bayar took part in the Turkish delegation during the Lausanne Peace Conference as an advisor to İsmet İnönü. After the elections in 1923, he served as deputy of İzmir in the parliament. On 6 March 1924 Celâl Bayar was appointed minister population exchange, development and resettlement (until 7 July 1924).[5] On August 26, 1924, he founded Türkiye İş Bankası in Ankara by using as capital the gold bullions sent by the moslems of India to support the Turkish War of Independence. He was the Managing Director of this largest Turkish commercial Bank until 1932.

On October 25, 1937 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk appointed him as prime minister of the 9th government after İsmet İnönü left the government. He continued to serve as prime minister when Atatürk died and İnönü became president in 1938. Differences of opinion with Inönü led him to lay down his office on January 25, 1939.

Until 1945, he was a member of Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (the Republican People's Party), a republican party. Then on January 7, 1946, he founded Demokrat Parti (the Democratic Party), a socially conservative economically liberal party, along with Adnan Menderes, Fuat Köprülü and Refik Koraltan. The DP won, with 408 of 487 seats, a majority in the first free general elections in Turkish history on May 14, 1950. The parliament elected Bayar, the chairman of the DP, as president of Turkey. He was subsequently re-elected in 1954 and 1957, serving for 10 years as president. In that period, Adnan Menderes was his prime minister. It was under his presidency that the anti-Greek Istanbul Pogrom (6.-7. 1955) took place.

Coup d’etat

On May 27, 1960 the armed forces staged a coup d’etat and sent Celal Bayar along with Adnan Menderes and some other government and party members to a military court on the tiny island Yassiada in the Sea of Marmara on June 10 of the same year. He and 15 other party members were tried for violating the constitution and sentenced to death by a kangaroo court appointed by the junta on September 15, 1961. The ruling military committee approved the death sentence for Menderes, Zorlu and Polatkan, but the punishment for Bayar and other 12 party members was commuted to life imprisonment. Bayar was sent to jail in Kayseri, but he was released on November 7, 1964 due to ill health.

Bayar was "pardoned" in 1966 [2]. Full political rights were restored to him in 1974, but he declined an invitation to become a life member of the Senate, on the grounds that one can represent the people only if elected [3]. He died on August 22, 1986 in Istanbul at the age of 103. He is the longest lived head of state or head of government of any country in history. He was father of three children. Their names were Refii (1904-1941), Turgut (1911-1983) and Nilufer (1921-). Refii Bayar was a journalist and published "Halk" newspaper between 1939-1941 with Cemal Kutay. Dr. Nilüfer Gürsoy married Ahmet İhsan Gürsoy (1913-2008), who was Kütahya deputy for Democratic Party between 1946-1960 and was Bursa deputy of Justice Party between 1965-1969 and İstanbul deputy for Democratic Party between 1973-1975 and for again Justice Party between 1975-1980.

In 1958, the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University Berlin) awarded him an honorary doctorate. Celal Bayar University, which was established in 1992 in Manisa, is named after him.

External links


  • Kayseri Cezaevi Günlüğü (Kayseri Prison Diary), Yapı Kredi yayınları/Tarih dizisi.
  • Ben De Yazdım - Milli Mücadeleye Gidiş (And so I wrote - Going to the War of National Independence) 8 volumes., Sabah kitapları/Türkiyeden dizisi, 1965-1972.


  1. Vartkes Yeghiayan: Malta Belgeleri. İngiltere Dışişleri Bakanlığı "Türk Savaş Suçluları" Dosyası, Belge Yayınları, Türkiye İncelemeleri Dizisi, Istanbul 2007, p. 407
  2. Taner Akçam: From Empire to Republic. Turkish Nationalism & The Armenian Genocide, Zed Books, London & New York 2004 , pp. 144-149
  3. Alemdar, Constantinople, Vakit, Constantinople, Le courrier de Turquie, Constantinople, all editions of 8 April 1919, cited in: Yves Ternon: Enquête sur la négation d'un génocide, éditions parenthèses, Marseille 1989 ISBN 2-86364-052-6, p. 214
  4. Vartkes Yeghiayan: Malta Belgeleri. İngiltere Dışişleri Bakanlığı "Türk Savaş Suçluları" Dosyası, Belge Yayınları, Türkiye İncelemeleri Dizisi, Istanbul 2007, p. 412
  5. Erhard Franz: "Biographien führender Persönlichkeiten des öffentlichen Lebens. Bayar, Mahmut Celâl", in: Klaus-Detlev Grothusen (Hrg.): "Türkei. Südosteuropa-Handbuch. Band IV", Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1985 ISBN 3-525-36204-8, p. 760.

Political offices
Preceded by
İsmet İnönü
Prime Minister of Turkey
Oct 25, 1937–Jan 25, 1939
Succeeded by
Refik Saydam
Preceded by
İsmet İnönü
President of Turkey
May 22, 1950–May 27, 1960
Succeeded by
Cemal Gürsel
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Democratic Party
Jun 7, 1946–Jun 9, 1950
Succeeded by
Adnan Menderes

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