Refik Saydam

İbrahim Refik Saydam (8 September 1881 – 8 July 1942) was a Turkish physician, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Turkey, serving from 25 January 1939 until his death on 8 July 1942.[1]

Refik Saydam
Refik Saydam.jpg
4th Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
25 January 1939 – 8 July 1942
Presidentİsmet İnönü
Preceded byCelâl Bayar
Succeeded byAhmet Fikri Tüzer
Minister of Interior
In office
11 November 1938 – 25 January 1939
Prime MinisterCelâl Bayar
Preceded byMehmet Cemil Uybadın
Succeeded byMehmet Faik Öztrak
Minister of Health
In office
4 March 1925 – 25 October 1937
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Preceded byMazhar Germen
Succeeded byAhmet Hulusi Alataş
In office
30 October 1923 – 21 November 1924
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Preceded byRıza Nur
Succeeded byMazhar Germen
In office
10 March 1921 – 20 December 1921
Prime MinisterFevzi Çakmak
Preceded byAdnan Adıvar
Succeeded byRıza Nur
Minister of National Education
In office
13 August 1933 – 26 October 1933
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Preceded byReşit Galip
Succeeded byYusuf Hikmet Bayur
In office
17 September 1930 – 26 September 1930
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Preceded byCemal Hüsnü Taray
Succeeded byEsat Sagay
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
28 June 1923 – 8 July 1942
ConstituencyIstanbul (1923, 1927, 1931,
1935, 1939)
Personal details
İbrahim Refik

(1881-09-08)8 September 1881
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died8 July 1942(1942-07-08) (aged 60)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political partyRepublican People's Party (CHP)
Alma materGülhane Military Medical Academy


Saydam was born in Istanbul in 1881 as the son of Hacı Ahmet Efendi of Çankırı. After completing primary and secondary education in Fatih Military Junior High School, he entered to Military School of Medicine in 1899. He went on a training course at Gülhane as of graduating with the rank of doctor captain on 4 November 1905. He was assigned as a doctor at Maltepe Military Hospital and Feshane Factory between the years 1907-1910 and improved his expertise in military camps and hospitals by being sent to Germany in 1910.

He was a medic in the Ottoman Army during the dissolution of the empire. He created a medicine to cure typhus, which was used largely by the Central Powers.

Saydam was one of the key people of the Independence War. He landed at Samsun with Mustafa Kemal (later named: Atatürk) in 1919 to start the resistance in Anatolia. He was known as a reformist while he was the Prime Minister. Just three years after his death, the one-party period came to an end in Turkey.

Political lifeEdit

Refik Saydam in the 1920s

Saydam became the vice-president of the Department of Health of the Ministry of War on 1 December 1913 and was promoted to the rank of major on 1 June 1915. Meanwhile, he established the Institute of Bacteriology and his vaccines against epidemics and especially typhus had been effective. After the truce, he assigned to the order of 9th Army Inspectorship and passed to Anatolia along with Mustafa Kemal as the health inspector of the army, soon named as the 3rd Army Inspectorship, on 15 May 1919. He attended to Erzurum and Sivas Congresses, came to Ankara with the delegation committee and joined to the opening ceremony of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey with the elections held for the first term as the deputy of Bayazıt on 23 April 1920. He was elected as the Minister of Health in the Council of Ministers under the presidency of Fevzi Pasha, as the Minister of Health and Social Relief upon the resignation of Adnan, and resigned from ministry suggesting his sickness on 14 December 1921.

Being elected as İstanbul deputy, he officiated as the Minister of Health under the cabinet of İsmet Pasha in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th sessions.

After the death of Atatürk, at the Second Bayar Government formed on 11 November 1938, Saydam performed as the Minister of Interior and was assigned as the general secretary of the Republican People's Party. He was appointed to Prime Ministry of the 11th and 12th government of Turkey by President İsmet İnönü as İstanbul Deputy at the 6th session elections on 25 January 1939.

During this duty, he died in İstanbul on 8 July 1942 and was buried in Ankara.

Endeavoring to extend the health services and establishing health facilities, especially the Hıfzıssıha Foundation which is today known with his name, at the period of his health ministry, he also tried to protect the nation from the negative impacts of World War II during the period of prime ministry. He was never married.

See alsoEdit



  • Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritages and Museums

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Health
10 March 1921 – 20 December 1921
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Health
30 October 1923 – 21 November 1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Health
4 March 1925 – 25 October 1937
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of National Education
17 September 1930 – 26 September 1930
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of National Education
13 August 1933 – 26 October 1933
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
11 November 1938 – 25 January 1939
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Turkey
25 January 1939 – 8 July 1942
Succeeded by