Celâl Bayar

Mahmud Celâleddin "Celâl" Bayar (16 May 1883 – 22 August 1986)[1][2][3] was a Turkish economist and politician who was the third President of Turkey from 1950 to 1960; previously he was Prime Minister of Turkey from 1937 to 1939.

Celâl Bayar
Mahmut Celalettin Bayar.png
3rd President of Turkey
In office
27 May 1950 – 27 May 1960
Prime MinisterAdnan Menderes
Preceded byİsmet İnönü
Succeeded byCemal Gürsel
3rd Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
1 November 1937 – 25 January 1939
PresidentMustafa Kemal Atatürk
Abdülhalik Renda (Acting)
İsmet İnönü
Preceded byİsmet İnönü
Succeeded byRefik Saydam
Leader of the Democrat Party
In office
7 June 1946 – 9 June 1950
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAdnan Menderes
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
28 June 1923 – 14 May 1950
ConstituencyIzmir (1923, 1927, 1931, 1935, 1939, 1943, 1946)
Istanbul (1950, 1954, 1957)
Personal details
Mahmud Celâleddin[1]

(1883-05-16)16 May 1883
Gemlik, Ottoman Empire
Died22 August 1986(1986-08-22) (aged 103)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political partyDemocrat Party (1946–1961)
Republican People's Party (1923–1945)
Committee of Union and Progress (1908–1922)
Spouse(s)Reşide Bayar (1886–1962)
RelationsAhmet İhsan Gürsoy (son-in-law)
Children3, including Nilüfer

Bayar began his career in the Committee of Union and Progress, establishing its Izmir and Bursa branches. Following the declaration of the Republic, he founded much of Turkey's early financial institutions, including the country's first bank, İş Bankası. An advocate of liberal economic policies, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk appointed Bayar prime minister in 1937 to liberalize the economy, until he resigned in 1939 under Atatürk's successor, İsmet İnönü.

Until 1945, he was a member of Republican People's Party (CHP) which was the sole legal party. On 7 January 1946, he founded the Democrat Party along with Adnan Menderes, Fuat Köprülü and Refik Koraltan beginning Turkey's multiparty period, which still goes on to this day.[4] A peaceful transfer of power from the CHP to DP happened in the 1950 elections, after which Bayar as elected Turkey's third president on 22 May 1950.[5] He was subsequently re-elected in 1954 and 1957, serving for 10 years as president. In that period, Menderes was his prime minister. He was overthrown and incarcerated in the 1960 coup d'etat, after which he advocated for the restoration of rights of former politicians associated with the Democrat Party.

He is considered to be the longest-lived former head of state and was the longest-lived state leader until 8 December 2008 (when he was surpassed by Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum). Celal Bayar died on 22 August 1986 at the age of 103 after a brief illness.

Early yearsEdit

Younger Celaleddin

Bayar was born on 16 May 1883 at Umurbey, a village of Gemlik, Bursa,[6] the third son of Abdullah Fehmi Efendi, religious leader and teacher who migrated from Lom, Ottoman Bulgaria as a muhacir, after the Bulgarians ethnically cleansed the Muslim population there during the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war. His older brothers were Behzat and Asım. After school, he worked as a clerk, first in the court in Gemlik and in Ziraat Bankası. Then, in 1906, he was employed in the Deutsche Orientbank in Bursa.[7]

Political careerEdit

In the CUPEdit

In 1907, Bayar joined an unofficial branch of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) in Bursa.[8] After the Second Constitutional Era was declared following the Young Turk Revolution, he served as the secretary-general of a newly founded local branch of the organization, with instructions to organize Unionist infrastructure in Anatolia.[citation needed] Bayar formed a Unionist militia in Bursa with the intention to join up with Mahmud Şevket Pasha's Action Army during the 31 March Incident. He got as far as Mudanya but by then the revolt was crushed. He then founded the İzmir branch of Union and Progress in 1911. Bayar established an organization and CUP mouthpiece known as Halkın Doğru (True to the People), where he wrote pro-CUP articles under the pseudonym Turgut Alp. He was a participant of the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état, and witnessed the murder of the Minister of War Nazım Pasha.[9]

Well connected with financial circles, Bayar played an important role in Unionist Millî İktisat (National Economy) policies. He was a member of the Special Organization and worked alongside Eşref Sencer Kuşçubaşı [tr] in killing and robbing Ottoman Greeks in order to coerce them to emigrate in 1914.[10] He initiated the opening of İzmir Girls' High School [tr], the Şimendifer Vocational School in Basmahane [tr], and a library in Izmir. Bayar also played an important role in the creation of the Izmir based sports club Altay S.K.[11]

War of IndependenceEdit

Following the Armistice of Mudros, which ended World War I for the Ottomans, he was tried and acquitted as a war criminal at the Izmir Martial Law Court. However when the allied powers continued advancing into Ottoman territory despite the armistice, various nationalist organizations known as Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyetleri (Defence of National Rights Associations) started to be founded. Bayar created the İzmir Redd-i İlhak Cemiyeti (Association for the Cancelation of Annexation [tr]) and the İzmir Müdâfaa-i Hukuku Osmaniye Cemiyeti (Association for the Defence of Ottoman Izmir [tr]). Bayar fled into the mountains after hearing rumors of an allied occupation of Izmir and finding out his name was on an arrest list from the Freedom and Accord government in Constantinople. Once İzmir was occupied, he cooperated with the national resistance fighters in the Söke region. On the side of the resistance, he participated in the Battle of Aydın against the Greeks. With the decision of the Balıkesir Congress [tr], he was appointed to the command of the Akhisar front regiment.

Bayar was elected to the Ottoman Parliament as deputy of Saruhan (today Manisa) in the 1919 election, where he gave speeches denouncing the palace's indifference to allied occupation. Following the occupation of Constantinople, he fled to Ankara to join Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the Turkish Independence Movement. While on the road the Anzavur rebellion threatened Bursa, so Mustafa Kemal asked Bayar to stay in Bursa to fend the rebels off. He was briefly a member of the Green Army Organization [tr] and the Turkish Communist Party, a foax communist party set up by Mustafa Kemal to counter the influence of the Communist Party of Turkey.[12]

He became the deputy of Bursa in the newly established Grand National Assembly of Turkey.[13] The same year, he served as Deputy Minister of the Economy and on 27 February 1921 he was appointed as the Minister of the Economy. He led the negotiation commission during Çerkes Ethem's uprising. In 1922, Bayar was a member of the Turkish delegation during the Lausanne Peace Conference as an advisor to İsmet İnönü.

One-party periodEdit

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Bayar on 12 November 1937

Bayar was elected as a member of the Association for the Defence of National Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia (ADNRAR) in the 1923 election, serving as a deputy of İzmir in the Parliament. ADNRAR soon renamed itself Republican People's Party (CHP) and continued a one party state started by the CUP in 1913. On 6 March 1924 Celâl Bayar was appointed Minister of Exchange Construction and Settlement (until 7 July 1924).[14] Bayar was influential in determining the economic policy of the regime as a result of being in Mustafa Kemal's close circle during this period. A policy of a modern and state supported capitalism was pursued. On 26 August 1924, Atatürk commissioned Bayar to found a national bank, which resulted in the foundation of İş Bankası[15] in Ankara by using as capital the gold bullion sent by the Muslims in India to support the Turkish War of Independence. The Aşar tax was abolished, land was distributed, the Teşvik-i Sanayi Kanunu (Incentive Industry Law) was enacted, railway construction was accelerated, and the Central Bank was established. The effects of the 1929 Great Depression caused this more "liberal" policy to be replaced by statism.

During his teneurship as economic minister (between 1932-1937), Bayar became one of the leading advocates of statism. Bayar understood statism as an effective tool in the creation of a nationalist and capitalist economy. Bayar's term as economic minister saw an increase in regulatory interventions in the economy by the state, and high levels of industrialization. For this purpose, the First Five-Year Industry Plan was enacted. Institutions such as Sümerbank and Etibank, were established to finance industrialization. Nationalizations, protectionist economic policies, and many state monopolies were created. However İsmet İnönü was in favor of an even stricter etatism, and could not fully agree with his economic policies.

On 1 November 1937 Atatürk appointed Bayar as Prime Minister of the 9th Government of Turkey after İnönü left the government. During the Bayar government, the Denizbank Law, which continued the statist approach, was enacted and several nationalizations were made. However there was no significant change in the composition of the government nor a significant change in economic policy. He continued to serve as prime minister when Atatürk died and İnönü became president in 1938 (10th government of Turkey). Differences of opinion with Inönü led him to resign from the premiership on 25 January 1939. The rivalry between Inönü and Bayar became one of the most significant rivalries in Turkish history.

Creation of the Democrat PartyEdit

İsmet İnönü and Bayar in 1938

During the Second World War, Bayar's political activity was limited; though he was re-elected as a member of parliament, he shunned from the cabinet. After 1943, he took a moderate opposition to the government.

The end of World War II brought about a global wave of democracy, which resumed the power struggle in the single-party regime between the two versions of statism espoused by İnönü Bayar. Opposition to the CHP administration surfaced during the voting of the 1945 Budget Law; Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Fuat Köprülü, Refik Koraltan, and Emin Sazak voted against the budget in the voting held for the seven-month budget of the Şükrü Saracoğlu Government. The division within the party became more evident on June 7, 1945, when Bayar, Menderes, Koraltan and Köprülü submitted a motion to the chairmanship of the CHP Parliamentary Group asking for "amendments to the Party's statute and some laws", known as the Motion with four signatures. This motion, which demanded political liberalization in the country and in the party, other than the signatories, this was unanimously rejected by the members of the CHP Central Council. On September 21, 1945, the CHP Council unanimously expelled Köprülü and Menderes from the party, and after a short time Koraltan. Bayar resigned from his parliamentary position in September 1945 and from the CHP in December 1945. On January 7, 1946, the four founded the Democrat Party (DP) and Bayar was elected as the leader of the party.[4] The party program of the DP featured Bayar style approaches to economic policy, political democratization, decreasing the power of the bureaucracy, and encouraging private initiative while maintaining the principle of statism.

DP achieved relative success against CHP in 1946 elections and elected 62 deputies. Bayar was also elected as a deputy from Istanbul. Between 1946 and 1950, as the leader of the opposition, he led a sometimes hardened opposition to his former party. At the first congress of the DP in January 1947, Bayar demanded that the Election Law be amended, so that the same person cannot be both president and party chairman, and that other antidemocratic laws should be abolished. Although the DP was supported by religious circles who were dissatisfied with the effective secularism policy of the single-party period, Bayar's Kemalist background was seen as an assurance of this party's commitment to secularism.[16] But he was among the moderates in the DP regarding the opposition to the CHP. The "extremists" later left the party and founded the Nation Party (which would be closed in 1953).


President Bayar receives a standing ovation after his speech before a joint session of Congress. Behind him are Vice-President Nixon and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (1954).

In the first free elections in Turkish history, the Democrats won the 1950 general election with a 53% popular mandate.[17] Though Bayar didn't aspire to become president, parliament elected him as president of Turkey on 22 May 1950.[5] He subsequently resigned from the DP leadership, though regularly discussed policy with his prime minister and DP leader successor, Menderes. He was the first president of the Republic without a military background. He was also the first to do away with a non-partisan appearance, participating in election rallies and walking with a cane with an engraving of the DP logo. He was re-elected in 1954 and 1957, serving for 10 years as president.

During the Bayar's presidency, relations with the Western bloc were improved; after the Turkish Straits Crisis, Turkey joined the Korean War and then NATO in 1952. Bayar, who also made many foreign trips on this basis, became the first President of Turkey to make an official visit to the USA in 1954. In a speech at a DP rally in Istanbul before the 1957 elections, he announced that "Turkey will become a "Little America" in 30 years.

During ten-years of Democrat rule, Turkish society went through deep transformations. An inflationary economic policy encouraging private enterprise was followed, though the role of the state was not reduced. The political participation increased, leading to a large cadre of Anatolians entering politics and business. Although secularism was not abandoned, the explicitly secularist policy of the one-party regime was abandoned. In the second half of the 1950s, with the impact of the economic depression, the DP pursued increasingly authoritarian policies and put heavy pressure on the opposition. It was under his presidency that the Istanbul Pogrom took place on 6–7 September 1955. Bayar also had a decisive influence in encouraging authoritarianism by the Democrats.

1960 coup and imprisonmentEdit

On 27 May 1960 the armed forces staged a coup d'etat. Bayar first tried to resist the officers who came to take him over at the Çankaya Mansion on the morning of the coup, then he tried to commit suicide by holding the pistol in his jacket pocket to his temple. However the soldiers, who were more agile than the 77-year-old Bayar, managed to take the gun from him. Bayar was arrested along with other Democrats, and was tried at the High Court of Justice in Yassıada on charges of "treason" and "violating the constitution". While he was imprisoned in Yassıada, on September 25, 1960, he tried again to commit suicide with a waist belt but failed. He was sentenced to death on September 15, 1961. The National Unity 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 transferred from Yassıada to Kayseri Prison but he was released on 7 November 1964 due to ill health.

Upon the progression of his disease, he was brought to Ankara for treatment on February 14, 1962 and was taken back to prison in Kayseri 5 days later. In the first months of 1963, Celal Bayar's amnesty by the President Cemal Gürsel for health reasons came to the fore. Bayar's sentence was suspended by the government for a period of 6 months due to his ill health and he was released on 22 March 1963. Bayar came to Ankara the next day, and was greeted by a large convoy and crowd. This enthusiastic welcome caused reactions, and the protests went as far as vandalizing the headquarters of the successor of the DP, the Justice Party , Bayar's house, and the newspaper headquarters Yeni Istanbul. Concerns arose that the Justice Party would be shut down. After these developments, the decision to postpone Bayar's sentence was lifted on 28 March. After being under surveillance in Ankara Hospital for 6 months, he was sent back to Kayseri Prison (October 5, 1963), although there was no change in his health status.[18]

He remained in Kayseri Prison until 8 November 1964, when he was released due to health reasons. He was pardoned by the President Cevdet Sunay, based on the protocol stated in Article 97 of the Constitution, with the forensic medicine report given on him on July 8, 1966.[19] With a new amnesty law enacted by the Justice Party government on 8 August 1966, all former DP members, including those sentenced to life imprisonment, were freed.[20]

Later years and personal lifeEdit

Bayar during a state visit to West Germany in 1958

Restoring ex-Democrats full political rights was a divisive issue in Turkey during the 60s. After being pardoned, he worked to restore the political rights of former DP members. In 1968, he founded a club called Bizim Ev (Our Home), which aimed to bring together ex-Democrats who lost their political rights. He held a historic meeting with his political rival İnönü on May 14, 1969, and provided the support of the CHP for the constitutional amendment required to reclaim the political rights of former DP members. With the help of İnönü, the constitutional amendment was approved in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. This amendment offended Sunay and the army, and also divided the Justice Party, resulting in the birth of the Democratic Party in 1970 (which Bayar supported).

Full political rights were restored to Bayar 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.[21] When a large group of Democratic Party members returned to the Justice Party after the amnesty was granted, Bayar also supported the Justice Party in the 1975 Senate partial elections; He took to the podium together with Süleyman Demirel and spoke at the Justice Party rally held in Bursa. He supported the 1980 military junta and the 1982 Constitution.

He died on 22 August 1986 in Istanbul at the age of 103 after a brief illness.[22] There was debate over burying Bayar in Anıtkabir like his old rival İsmet İnönü was, this was advocated by Motherland (ANAP) party leader Türgüt Özal and SHP leader Erdal İnönü, İsmet's son. However president Kenan Evren objected and Bayar was buried in his hometown of Umurbey after a state ceremony in Ankara, in which Evren did appear.[23] From 24 April 1978, when former Paraguay President Federico Chávez died, until his own death Bayar was the world's oldest living former head of state.

Awards and legacyEdit

In 1954, Bayar was awarded the Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Sonderstufe des Großkreuzes des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland). 27 January 1954 Bayar received the Legion of Merit Award from the President of the United States, as a result of Turkey's participation in the Korean War. He also received the Order of the Yugoslav Star.[24] In 1954, Bayar was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Belgrade. In 1958, the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University Berlin) awarded him an honorary doctorate.[25] The Celal Bayar University, which was established in 1992 in Manisa, is named after him.


Celal Bayar married Reşide in 1904 when he was 21 and she 18 years old.[7] They had three children: Refii (1904-1940), Turgut (1911-1983), and Nilüfer Gürsoy (1921-).[26] Refii Bayar was the General Manager of "Milli Reasurans," a reinsurance company, from 1929 to 1939, was the founder of "Halk Evleri", an educational government entity in Istanbul, and was a journalist and published the Halk newspaper between 1939 and 1941 with Cemal Kutay.

Nilüfer Gürsoy married Ahmet İhsan Gürsoy (1913–2008), who was the Kütahya deputy for the Democratic Party between 1946 and 1960, the Bursa deputy for the Justice Party between 1965 and 1969 and İstanbul deputy for the Democratic Party between 1973 and 1975 and then for the Justice Party between 1975 and 1980.

External linksEdit


  • 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.


Bayar, Celâl (1967), Ben de Yazdım, 4, Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi


  1. ^ a b Gerçek Nüfus tezkiresinde kayıtlı adı Mahmud Celaleddin'dir. Daha sonra Mahmud adını da nadiren kullanan Bayar'a sonraları sadece Celal olarak hitap edilecektir; Cemal Kutay, Üç Devirden Hakikatler, Alağaoğlu Yayıncılık, İstanbul 1982, s. 38
  2. ^ Kutay, C. (1980). Etniki Eterya'dan günümüze Ege'nin Türk kalma savaşı. Boğaziçi Yayınları. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  3. ^ Göktürk, H.İ.; Kuntay, M.C. (1987). Mithat Cemâl Kuntay. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı. ISBN 9789751700902. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b Giritli, Dr. Ismet. Fifty Years of Turkish Political development 1919-1969. Istanbul: Fakültler Matbaasi. p. 68.
  5. ^ a b Giritli, Dr. Ismet. Fifty Years of Turkish Political development 1919-1969. Istanbul: Fakültler Matbaasi. p. 81.
  6. ^ Frank W. Thackeray; John E. Findling; et al. (2001). The History of Turkey. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b Dawletschin-Linder, Camilla (2003). Diener seines Staates: Celal Bayar (1883-1986) und die Entwicklung der modernen Türkei (in German). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 18. ISBN 9783447047401.
  8. ^ "Cumhurbaşkanlarımız". www.tccb.gov.tr. TC Cumhurbaşkanlığı. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  9. ^ Bayar 1967.
  10. ^ Göçek, Fatma Müge (2015). Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present and Collective Violence Against the Armenians, 1789–2009. Oxford University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-19-933420-9. The SO member—and later Turkish president—Celal Bayar was appointed the local CUP responsible clerk; he collaborated with Kuşçubaşı in plunder, arson, and murder to scare the Greek Rum into fleeing from the region.
  11. ^ "Altay SK Kuruluşu". www.altay.org.tr. Altay SK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  12. ^ "TBMM Siyasi Partiler". www.tbmm.gov.tr. TBMM. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  13. ^ Celal Bayar, Kayseri Cezaevi Günlüğü, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 1999. ISBN 975-363-952-X.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Atasoy, Yildiz (29 July 2005). Turkey, Islamists and Democracy: Transition and Globalization in a Muslim State. I.B.Tauris. p. 53. ISBN 9780857718334.
  16. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Fifteenth Edition
  17. ^ Giritli, Dr. Ismet. Fifty Years of Turkish Political development 1919-1969. Istanbul: Fakültler Matbaasi. p. 77.
  18. ^ "Celal Bayar ve Eski Demokrat Partililerin Türk Siyasi Hayatına Etkileri" (PDF). www.turkishstudies.net. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Sunay Bayar'ı dün affetti". Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  20. ^ Celâl Bayar Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Celal Bayar". celalbayar.org. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Celal Bayar Dies at Age 104; a Father of Turkish Republic". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Kenan Evren'in Anıları 2". Archived from the original on 7 February 2021.
  24. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 638.
  25. ^ "Kleine Chronik der FU Berlin: Ehrendoktorwürde für Celal Bayar". userpage.fu-berlin.de. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Presidency Of The Republic Of Turkey : Celal BAYAR". www.tccb.gov.tr. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Turkey
Succeeded by
President of Turkey
Succeeded by
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Oldest living state leader
Succeeded by