Şükrü Kaya

Şükrü Kaya (1883 – January 10, 1959) was a Turkish civil servant and politician, who served as government minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of Foreign affairs in several governments.

Şükrü Kaya
Mehmet Şükrü Kaya.jpg
Minister of Interior
In office
October 25, 1937 – November 11, 1938
Prime MinisterCelal Bayar
Succeeded byRefik Saydam
Minister of Interior
In office
November 1, 1927 – October 25, 1937
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Preceded byMehmet Cemil Uybadın
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
November 21, 1924 – March 3, 1925
Prime MinisterAli Fethi Okyar
Preceded byİsmet İnönü
Succeeded byTevfik Rüştü Aras
Minister of Agriculture
In office
August 31, 1924 – October 21, 1924
Prime MinisterIsmet Inönü
Preceded byZekai Apaydın
Succeeded byHasan Fehmi (Ataç)
Mayor and Governor of Izmir
In office
Personal details
Istanköy, Ottoman Empire
Died(1959-01-10)January 10, 1959
Istanbul, Turkey
Alma materGalatasaray High School, Istanbul University Faculty of Law, University of Paris


Şükrü Kaya in the 1920s

Born in İstanköy (Kos), part of the Dodecanese in the then Ottoman Empire, he finished Galatasaray High School before he graduated from Law School in 1908. He did his graduate work in Paris, France. He worked as inspector of treasury for the Empire.

At the start of World War I, Şükrü was appointed the Director of Settlement of Tribes and Migrants. The Director of Settlement of Tribes and Migrants was mainly tasked with managing the Armenian deportations during the Armenian Genocide. In September 1915, he was transferred to Aleppo, an important location along the deportation route into the Syrian desert.[1]

While the Armenian Genocide was underway, Şükrü was tasked to administrate the concentration camps of Armenian deportees located in Syria. In order to manage the large influx of Armenians into the area, Şükrü started a policy that enforced a certain ratio of Armenians to be left untouched. However, once the Armenians exceeded this ratio, they were evacuated from their camps and subsequently massacred.[2] On 19 December 1915, Şükrü is noted to have said to German engineer Bastendorff the following:[2]

The final solution is the termination of the Armenian race. Clashes that have continued between Armenians and Muslims all along have now reached their final stage. The weaker side will be destroyed.

He was then assigned to Iraq but he resigned and moved to İzmir (also known as Smyrna).

He worked as a teacher in Buca Sultanisi (high school). After the Armistice of Mudros, he worked for the Turkish national movement. Following the occupation of Istanbul by The Entente powers, he was arrested by the British administration and was exiled to Malta. He escaped to the continent from Malta and subsequently went to Anatolia and joined the Turkish War of Independence.

In September 1925 he was a member of the Reform Council for the Reform of the East (Turkish: Şark İslahat Encümeni)[3] which prepared the Report for Reform in the East (Turkish: Şark İslahat Raporu).[4][5] In 1930 he was the author of the outlines of Turkification (Turkish: Türkleştirme Genelgesi). Non-Turkish languages should be suppressed and non-Turkish names of locations changed to Turkish ones.[4]

Şükrü Kaya served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interior Minister in several cabinets between 1924 and 1938.

He died on 10 January 1959, in Istanbul.


  1. ^ Dündar, Fuat (2010). Crime of numbers the role of statistics in the Armenian question (1878-1918). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. pp. 113–4. ISBN 1412843413.
  2. ^ a b Polatel, Mehmet (27 March 2015). "Social engineer: Şükrü Kaya". Agos.
  3. ^ Üngör, Uğur Ümit (2008-09-23). "Geographies of Nationalism and Violence: Rethinking Young Turk 'Social Engineering'". European Journal of Turkish Studies. Social Sciences on Contemporary Turkey (7). doi:10.4000/ejts.2583. ISSN 1773-0546.
  4. ^ a b Goner, Ozlem (14 June 2017). Turkish National Identity and Its Outsiders: Memories of State Violence in Dersim. Taylor & Francis. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-315-46296-7.
  5. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (2018-08-06). Routledge Handbook on the Kurds. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-23798-3.
Political offices
Preceded by
İsmet İnönü
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
November 21, 1924–March 4, 1925
Succeeded by
Tevfik Rüştü Aras
Preceded by
Mehmet Cemil Uybadın
Minister of Interior of Turkey
November 1, 1927–November 11, 1938
Succeeded by
Refik Saydam