Mesut Yılmaz

Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz (Turkish pronunciation: [meˈsut jɯɫˈmaz]) (6 November 1947 – 30 October 2020[1]) was a Turkish politician. He was the leader of the Motherland Party (Turkish: Anavatan Partisi, ANAP) from 1991 to 2002, and served three times as Prime Minister of Turkey. His first two prime-ministerial terms lasted just months (in 1991 and 1996), while the third ran from June 1997 to January 1999. The first was brought to an end by defeat in the 1991 elections, the latter two by the breakdown of Yılmaz' coalition governments.

Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz
Mesut Yilmaz as Turkish Prime Minister.jpg
Mesut Yilmaz as Turkish Prime Minister
21st Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
30 June 1997 – 11 January 1999
PresidentSüleyman Demirel
Preceded byNecmettin Erbakan
Succeeded byBülent Ecevit
In office
6 March 1996 – 28 June 1996
PresidentSüleyman Demirel
Preceded byTansu Çiller
Succeeded byNecmettin Erbakan
In office
23 June 1991 – 20 November 1991
PresidentTurgut Özal
Preceded byYıldırım Akbulut
Succeeded bySüleyman Demirel
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
13 July 2000 – 18 November 2002
Prime MinisterBülent Ecevit
Served withDevlet Bahçeli
Hüsamettin Özkan
Şükrü Sina Gürel
Preceded byCumhur Ersümer
Succeeded byMehmet Ali Şahin
Leader of the Motherland Party
In office
15 June 1991 – 4 November 2002
Preceded byYıldırım Akbulut
Succeeded byAli Talip Özdemir
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
22 December 1987 – 20 February 1990
Prime MinisterTurgut Özal
Yıldırım Akbulut
Preceded byVahit Melih Halefoğlu
Succeeded byAli Bozer
Minister of Culture and Tourism
In office
17 October 1986 – 21 December 1987
Prime MinisterTurgut Özal
Preceded byMükerrem Taşçıoğlu
Succeeded byTınaz Titiz
Minister of State
In office
28 May 1999 – 18 November 2002
Prime MinisterBülent Ecevit
In office
13 December 1983 – 17 October 1986
Prime MinisterTurgut Özal
Succeeded byHasan Celal Güzel
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
22 July 2007 – 12 June 2011
ConstituencyRize (2007)
In office
24 November 1983 – 3 November 2002
ConstituencyRize (1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999)
Personal details
Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz

(1947-11-06)6 November 1947
Istanbul, Turkey
Died30 October 2020(2020-10-30) (aged 72)
Istanbul, Turkey
Resting placeKanlıca Cemetery
Political partyMotherland Party
SpouseBerna Yılmaz
Alma mater


Foreign Minister Mesut Yılmaz behind Prime Minster Turgut Özal and President of the European Commission Jacques Delors

Of Hemshin origin,[2][3] Mesut Yılmaz was a rising star in the Motherland Party of Turgut Özal, representing the Black Sea province of Rize in the parliament and serving in Özal's cabinet. He was State Minister for Information (December 1983), then Minister of Culture and Tourism (1986), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (December 1987 to February 1990). Upon Özal's election to the presidency in 1989, Yılmaz became the leader of an intraparty opposition to the new Prime Minister, Yıldırım Akbulut.

Prime MinisterEdit

In June 1991 Yılmaz managed to discharge Yıldırım Akbulut from the party leadership and from all executive functions during the biennial party congress. Because ANAP had the majority in the parliament he subsequently became Prime Minister of Turkey in the 48th government of Turkey. However, in October ANAP came in second in the 1991 general election to Süleyman Demirel's True Path Party (DYP), and the DYP formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Populist Party (49th government of Turkey).

The following years saw a decline in the popularity of the Motherland Party and an acrimonious relationship with Tansu Çiller, leader of the center-right True Path Party (DYP). Yılmaz also made the Motherland Party more business-friendly and Europe-oriented, causing the more conservative, religious wing to switch to the Welfare Party (RP) of Necmettin Erbakan. In the December 1995 general election ANAP again came second, this time to the Welfare Party. After lengthy coalition negotiations Yılmaz formed a coalition with the DYP in March 1996 (53rd government of Turkey), but this lasted less than four months, falling to a censure motion led by the Welfare Party. President Demirel invited Erbakan to form a government, which he did, in coalition with the DYP.

Erbakan's term was marked by the Susurluk scandal, during the investigation of which Yılmaz admitted the existence of the JİTEM counter-terrorist Gendarmerie unit.[4] The scandal led to the resignation of Erbakan's Interior Minister, Mehmet Ağar (a leader of the True Path Party, DYP), following revelations that Abdullah Çatlı, leader of the far-right Grey Wolves organisation, worked for the state.[4] Yılmaz' concerns over his own safety, owing to his support of the Susurluk investigation, led to him briefly carrying a gun in self-defense.[5]

Yılmaz formed a government for the third time in June 1997,[6] after the Welfare Party had resigned from government following the February 1997 military memorandum. DYP and others expected to form a government under Tansu Çiller, but President Süleyman Demirel asked Yılmaz to form the new government. Yılmaz created an ANAP-Democratic Left Party-Democrat Turkey Party coalition which lasted until January 1999. Yılmaz' final term was marked by fallout from the investigations into the Susurluk scandal, and further revelations of connections between politicians, police and mafia. When the attempt to privatize the Türk Ticaret Bankası to Korkmaz Yiğit blew up in October 1998 over allegations of the involvement of mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı, Yılmaz' coalition did not last much longer.[7]

In October 1998, Yılmaz set off a furor in the Arab world by threatening to "poke out the eyes" of Syria over Hafez al-Assad's alleged support of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party.[8]

Later careerEdit

Yılmaz continued as a politician, however, serving as a deputy prime minister in a coalition led by Bülent Ecevit from 1999 to 2002. After his failure to win entry into the Grand National Assembly in 2002 elections, Yılmaz retired from politics to pursue a teaching career.

He was charged by the state public prosecutor with corruption during his tenure as prime minister relating to the privatization of Turkish Trade Bank. In 2006 the Supreme Court suspended the case for five years, so that the charges would be dropped if no similar charges arose in that period. Yılmaz announced that he would return to politics.[9]

In the 2007 general election he was elected as independent member of parliament from Rize. He died from complications of lung cancer in 30 October 2020 and was buried at Kanlıca Cemetery two days later.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Berna Yılmaz. The couple became parents to two sons, Hasan Yılmaz and Yavuz Yılmaz, the latter of which was found shot dead in his apartment in Istanbul in December 2017.[6]


  1. ^ "Former Turkish PM and veteran politician Mesut Yilmaz dies - ABC News". ABC News.
  2. ^ "Mesut Yılmaz Kimdir ? - Mesut Yılmaz Hayatı ve Biyografisi". Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  3. ^ "Mesut Yılmaz kimdir, neden öldü, hastalığı neydi? İşte Mesut Yılmaz'ın biyografisi". Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  4. ^ a b 1998 Report Archived 2008-10-03 at the Wayback Machine from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), chapter II, "SUSURLUK SCANDAL: Counter-guerilla Affairs", p.39-86 (see p.46)
  5. ^ Özkok, Ertuğrul (1998-01-18). "Tabancanın altındaki mavi dosya". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-12-23. En üstte bir tabanca duruyordu.'Güneş hediye etti' dedikten sonra tabancayı uzattı.Avusturya malı, Glock marka bir tabanca.Özelliği çok hafif oluşu. Mesut Bey'in çantasında ilk defa silah taşıdığını görüyorum. Demek ki Susurluk olayı bazı şeyleri değiştirmiş.
  6. ^ a b "Former Turkish PM Mesut Yılmaz's son laid to rest in Istanbul - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  7. ^ ""Resmen" hortumlanan banka". Aksiyon (in Turkish). 2001-12-22. Archived from the original on 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  8. ^ "Hopes for Turkey-Syria settlement". Middle East. BBC News. 1998-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  9. ^ BBC, 23 June 2006, Former Turkish PM avoids verdict
  10. ^ "Mesut Yılmaz son yolculuğuna uğurlandı". (in Turkish). 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
22 December 1987–20 February 1990
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Turkey
23 June 1991–20 November 1991
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Turkey
6 March 1996–28 June 1996
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Turkey
30 June 1997–11 January 1999
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
13 July 2000–19 November 2002
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP)
15 June 1991–4 November 2002
Succeeded by