Ali Çetinkaya

Ali Çetinkaya, also known as "Kel" Ali Bey (1878 – 21 February 1949) was an Ottoman-born Turkish army officer and politician, who served eight terms in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, including a period in 1939–40 as his country's first Minister of Transport.

Ali Çetinkaya
Kel Ali Bey Çetinkaya.jpg
1st Minister of Transport
In office
3 April 1939 – 20 November 1940
Presidentİsmet İnönü
Prime MinisterCelâl Bayar
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byCevdet Kerim İncedayı
10th Minister of Public Works
In office
16 February 1934 – 3 April 1939
PresidentMustafa Kemal Atatürk
İsmet İnönü
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Celâl Bayar
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
23 April 1920 – 5 August 1946
ConstituencyAfyonkarahisar (1920, 1923, 1927, 1931, 1935, 1939, 1943)
Personal details
Born1878 (1878)
Karahisar-ı Sahib, Hüdavendigâr Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died21 February 1949(1949-02-21) (aged 70–71)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political partyRepublican People's Party
Alma materTurkish Military Academy
Military service
Allegiance Ottoman Empire (1898–1919)
 Turkey (1919–1926)
Branch/service Ottoman Army
Turkish Army
Commands172nd Regiment


He was born in Kara Hisâr-i Sâhib (present day Afyonkarahisar) in Hüdavendigâr Vilayet as the son of Ahmed Efendi. He studied in the Bursa Military High School (Bursa Askerî İdadisi ). After graduating from military highschool, he entered the Ottoman Military Academy (Mekteb-i Füsûn-u Harbiyye-i Şâhâne ) In 1898 he graduated academy and joined the Ottoman military as a Second Lieutenant (Mülâzım-ı Sani ). During World War I, he served for the army in the Caucasus and Galicia fronts.

When the Greek forces were landing at Smyrna on May 15, 1919, he was a lieutenant colonel and the commander of 172nd Infantry Regiment stationed in the Aegean coastal town of Ayvalık. His regiment was under the command of the 56th Division of Hürrem Bey. Ali played a key role in the first stage of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, starting with the opening battle.

He was briefly able to hold back the advance into the city of Greek occupation forces. His action is considered to mark the first shots fired by regular forces in the 1919–22 Greco-Turkish War, although there were earlier confrontations in which irregular militias participated, including the battle involving Hasan Tahsin in İzmir, as well as actions in Urla and Ödemiş. The hill in Ayvalık from where the first shots were fired is now called İlk Kurşun Tepesi (First Bullet Hill). Today there is a military rehabilitation center on that hill.

After the war, Ali Çetinkaya was elected to Turkish Grand National Assembly for eight successive terms and served until 1942, holding ministerial posts in six different governments, including, with the formation of a Ministry of Transport, becoming Turkey's first Minister of Transport.

Ali Çetinkaya died in Istanbul in the year of his 71st birthday.

Ali Çetinkaya is considered a hero in Turkey. Cunda Island of Ayvalık was renamed Alibey Adası (Ali Bey Island) after him, although the old name remains in common use.


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