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He was born in 1883 at Umurbey, a village of Gemlik, Bursa as the son of a religious leader and teacher who immigrated from Bulgaria. After the school, he worked as a clerk first in the court in Gemlik and then in Ziraat Bankası and later in the Deutsche Orientbank in Bursa.
In 1908, he joined the volunteer’s troop of "İttihad Terakki Cemiyeti" (Committee of Union and Progress), a political organization of Young Turks and became an important member. He served as the secretary-general of the newly founded İzmir branch of this party. He contributed to the foundation of a girl’s college and a railway school.
In 1919, Bayar was elected to the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul as deputy of Saruhan (today Manisa). Because he did not agree with the new form of constitution determined by the sultan, he went in 1920 to Ankara to join Mustafa Kemal by the Turkish Independence Movement. He became an active member of the "Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti" (Association for Defense of Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia), another political organization formed after the World War I. He became deputy of Bursa in the newly established Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The same year, he served as deputy Minister of Economy and on February 27, 1921 he was appointed as Minister of Economy. He led the negotiation commission during the Çerkez Ethem uprising . In 1922, Bayar took part in the Turkish delegation during the Lausanne Peace Conference as an advisor to İsmet İnönü. After the elections in 1923, he served as deputy of İzmir in the parliament. On August 26, 1924, he founded Türkiye İş Bankası in Ankara and was its Managing Director until 1932.
On October 25, 1937 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk appointed him as prime minister of the 9th government after İsmet İnönü left the government. He continued to serve as prime minister when Atatürk died and İnönü became president in 1938. Differences of opinion with Inönü led him to lay down his office on January 25, 1939.
Until 1945, he was a member of Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (the Republican People's Party), a social-democratic, republican, Turkish nationalist party. Then on January 7, 1946, he founded Demokrat Parti (the Democratic Party), a conservative, moderate Islamic party, along with Adnan Menderes, Fuat Köprülü and Refik Koraltan. The DP won, with 408 of 487 seats, a majority at the general elections on May 14, 1950. The parliament elected Bayar, the chairman of the DP, as president of Turkey. He was subsequently reelected in 1954 and 1957, serving 10 years long as president. In that period, Adnan Menderes was his prime minister.
On May 27, 1960 the armed forces under the command of Cemal Gürsel staged a coup d’etat and sent Celal Bayar along with Adnan Menderes and some other government and party members to a military court on the tiny island Yassiada in the Sea of Marmara on June 10 of the same year. He and 15 other party members were tried for violating the constitution and sentenced to death by the High Court of Justice on September 15, 1961. The ruling military committee approved the death sentence for Menderes, Zorlu and Polatkan, but the fine for Bayar and other 12 party members was commuted to life imprisonment. Bayar was sent to jail in Kayseri, but he was released on November 7, 1964 due to ill health and pardoned in 1966. He died on August 22, 1986 in Istanbul at the age of 103. He was father of three children.
- Kayseri Cezaevi Günlüğü (Kayseri Prison Diary), Yapı Kredi yayınları/Tarih dizisi.
- Ben De Yazdım - Milli Mücadeleye Gidiş (I Wrote Also - Going to the War of National Independence) 8 volumes., Sabah kitapları/Türkiyeden dizisi, 1965-1972.
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