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Osman Mümtaz Soysal (15 September 1929 – 11 November 2019) was a Turkish professor of constitutional law, political scientist, politician, human rights activist, ex-prisoner of conscience, senior advisor, columnist and author.

Prof. Dr.

Mümtaz Soysal

30th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
27 July 1994 – 28 November 1994
Prime MinisterTansu Çiller
Preceded byHikmet Çetin
Succeeded byMurat Karayalçın
Member of the Constituent Assembly
as a representative of the CHP
In office
6 January 1961 – 25 October 1961
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
20 October 1991 – 22 March 1999 (resign)
ConstituencyAnkara from SHP (1991),
Zonguldak from DSP (1995)
1st Chairman of the Independent Republican Party
In office
24 July 2002 – April 2014
Preceded byInaugural holder
Succeeded byMühibe Müge Gülses
Personal details
Osman Mümtaz Soysal

(1929-09-15)15 September 1929
Zonguldak, Turkey
Died11 November 2019(2019-11-11) (aged 90)
Istanbul, Turkey
Resting placeZincirlikuyu Cemetery
Political partyRepublican People's Party (CHP)
Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP)
Democratic Left Party (DSP)
Independent Republican Party (BCP)
Other political
Yön movement
Socialist Cultural Association
Amnesty International
Sevgi Soysal
(m. 1971; died 1976)

Sevinç Karasapan Soysal
Alma materAnkara University Faculties of Political Sciences and Law
London School of Economics
OccupationConstitution writing, conflict resolution, foreign policy, human rights, statism, anti-privatisation
ProfessionAcademic, jurist, politician, author
AwardsUNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education (1978)

Soysal served as the 30th Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1994. He was a Member of Parliament at Constituent Assembly in 1961 and Grand National Assembly from 1991 to 1999.

He actively contributed to constitutions of Turkey (1961) and the DR Congo (2006). He was constitutional advisor of the President of Northern Cyprus Rauf Denktaş.

He was elected to Amnesty International International Executive Committee in September 1974 as the first Turkish and the first ex-prisoner of conscience member ever. He served as the vice-chairman of Amnesty International from 1976 to 1978. He became the first winner of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education in 1978.

As a hard-line Kemalist statist, Mümtaz Soysal persistently worked against privatisation policies and initiatives of Turkish governments, especially in the 1990s. He founded Center for Development of Public Enterprise in April 1994, and the organisation was converted to a foundation in 1996.

Mümtaz Soysal was member of the Republican People's Party, the Social Democratic Populist Party and the Democratic Left Party. In 2002, he founded the Independent Republican Party with many academics and served as the first chairman of the party from 2002 to 2014.[1]

Early life and careerEdit

He was born on 15 September 1929 in Zonguldak, Turkey to Osman Muhtar, a naval kol aghassi and his wife Samiye. He graduated from Galatasaray High School and went in to the Ankara University where he earned degrees from the Faculty of Political Science, also known as SBF, and the law faculty.[2]

Soysal became a professor of constitutional law at Ankara University. He then entered the Constituent Assembly of Turkey after the 1960 military coup and helped write the Turkish Constitution of 1961.[2]

Soysal became involved in left-wing politics as one of the founders of Yön, a left-wing political magazine founded in 1961.[3] He also became the dean of SBF, which was known at the time for its leftist politics.


The 1971 military coup ended his tenure as dean and later led to his detention. He was arrested and charged with making communist propaganda. For this, he was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison and a lifetime ban from public office. He served just over 14 months of the sentence and later received a pardon.[2] For his detention, he was listed as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.[4] In 1974, he became the first former prisoner of conscience to serve on the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International.[5] He served on the organization’s board until 1976, becoming its vice chairman.

Later careerEdit

In 1991, as a member of the Social Democratic Populist Party and won election to the Grand National Assembly in coalition with Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel’s True Path Party. He was a critic of government policies as a member of the assembly. He was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime minister Tansu Çiller but resigned only four months later.[2]

Soysal wrote columns for the daily Milliyet between 1974 and 1991,[6] for Hürriyet between 1991 and 2001,[7] and for Cumhuriyet after 2001.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Sevgi Soysal (until her death in 1976). Later he married Sevinç Karasapan Soysal. He had two daughters, Defne (1973) and Funda (1975) and two step-sons.

Mümtaz Soysal died at the age of 90 on 11 November 2019 at his home in Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey.[8] He was interred at Zincirlikuyu Cemetery following the religious funeral service at Zincirlikuyu Mosque.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d "Former Turkish FM, constitutional law professor Mümtaz Soysal dies aged 90". Daily Sabah. 2019-11-11.
  3. ^ Özgür Mutlu Ulus (8 December 2010). The Army and the Radical Left in Turkey: Military Coups, Socialist Revolution and Kemalism. I.B.Tauris. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-85771-880-8.
  4. ^ - Biography of Mümtaz Soysal (in Turkish)
  5. ^ "The History of Amnesty International". Amnesty International. 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Mümtaz Hoca yaşama veda etti". Milliyet (in Turkish). 12 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Mümtaz Soysal - Tüm Köşe Yazıları". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Soysal hayatını kaybetti! Mümtaz Soysal kimdir?" (in Turkish). A Haber. 2019-11-11.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Hikmet Çetin
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
Jul 27, 1994–Nov 28, 1994
Succeeded by
Murat Karayalçın
Party political offices
Preceded by
Inaugural holder
Leader of the Independent Republican Party (BCP)
Jul 24, 2002–May 16, 2014
Succeeded by
Mühibe Müge Gülses