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İsmet İnönü

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İsmet İnönü

ring the Turkish War of Independence he was also a member of the GNA in Ankara.

İnönü was replaced by Mustafa Fevzi Pasha, who was also the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense at the time, as the Chief of Staff of the Army of the GNA after the Turkish forces lost major battles against the advancing Greek Army in July 1921, as a result of which the cities Afyonkarahisar, Kütahya and Eskişehir were temporarily lost. He participated as a staff officer (with the rank Brigadier General) to the later battles, until the final Turkish victory in September 1922.

Chief negotiator in Mudanya and Lausanne

After the War of Independence was won, İsmet Pasha was appointed as the chief negotiator of the Turkish delegation, both for the Armistice of Mudanya and for the Treaty of Lausanne.

The Lausanne conference convened in late 1922 to settle the terms of a new treaty that would take the place of the Treaty of Sèvres. Inönü became famous for his stubborn resolve in determining Ankara's position as the legitimate, sovereign government of Turkey. After delivering his position, Inönü turned off his hearing aid during the speeches of British foreign secretary Lord Cruzon. When the secretary had finished, Inönü reiterated his position as if Lord Cruzon had never said a word.[10]

Single-party period

Prime Minister

İnönü later served as the Prime Minister of Turkey for several terms, maintaining the system that Mustafa Kemal had put in place. He acted after every major crisis (such as the rebellion of Sheikh Said or the attempted assassination in Izmir against Mustafa Kemal) to restore peace in the country.

Statism in economy

He tried to manage the economy with heavy-handed government intervention, especially after the 1929 economic crisis, by implementing an economic plan inspired by the Five Year Plan of the Soviet Union. In doing so, he took much private property under government control. Due to his efforts, to this day, more than 70% of land in Turkey is still owned by the state.

Desiring a more liberal economic system, Atatürk dissolved the government of İnönü[11] and appointed Celâl Bayar, the founder of the first Turkish commercial bank Türkiye İş Bankası, as Prime Minister.

"National Chief" period


Roosevelt, İnönü and Churchill at the Second Cairo Conference on 4–6 December 1943.

After the death of Atatürk on 10 November 1938,[12] İnönü was viewed as the most appropriate candidate to succeed him, and was elected the second President of the Republic of Turkey and enjoyed the official title of "Milli Şef", i.e. "National Chief".

World War II broke out in the first year of his presidency, and both the Allies and the Axis pressured İnönü to bring Turkey into the war on their side.[13] The Germans sent Franz von Papen to Ankara in February 1942,[14] while the British sent Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen and the French René Massigli. On 23 April 1939, Turkish Foreign Minister Şükrü Saracoğlu told Knatchbull-Hugessen of his nation's fears of Italian claims of the Mediterranean as Mare Nostrum and German control of the Balkans, and suggested an Anglo-Soviet-Turkish alliance as the best way of countering the Axis.[15] In May 1939, during the visit of Maxime Weygand to Turkey, İnönü told the French Ambassador René Massigli that he believed that the best way of stopping Germany was an alliance of Turkey, the Soviet Union, France and Britain; that if such an alliance came into being, the Turks would allow Soviet ground and air forces onto their soil; and that he wanted a major programme of French military aid to modernize the Turkish armed forces.[16] British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, himself, travelled to Ankara on 30 January 1943 for a conference with President İnönu, to urge Turkey's entry into the war on the allied side.[17] The signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August 1939 led Turkey away from the Allies as the Turks always believed that it was essential to have the Soviet Union as an ally to counter Germany, and the signing of the German-Soviet pact undercut completely the assumptions behind Turkish security policy.[18]

When Winston Churchill met with İnönü in January 1943, they had met secretly inside a train wagon at the Yenice Station near Adana. However, by 4–6 December 1943, İnönü felt confident enough about the outcome of the war, that he met with openly with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the Second Cairo Conference. Until 1941, both Roosevelt and Churchill thought that Turkey's continuing neutrality would serve the interests of the Allies by blocking the Axis from reaching the strategic oil reserves of the Middle East. But the early victories of the Axis up to the end of 1942 caused Roosevelt and Churchill to re-evaluate a possible Turkish participation in the war on the side of the Allies. Turkey had maintained a decently-sized Army and Air Force throughout the war, and Churchill wanted the Turks to open a new front in the Balkans. Roosevelt, on the other hand, still believed that a Turkish attack would be too risky, and an eventual Turkish failure would have disastrous effects for the Allies.

İnönü knew very well the hardships which his country had suffered during decades of incessant war between 1908 and 1922 and was determined to keep Turkey out of another war as long as he could. The young Turkish Republic was still re-building, recovering from the losses due to earlier wars, and lacked any modern weapons and the infrastructure to enter a war to be fought along and possibly within its borders. İnönü based his neutrality policy during the Second World War on the premise that Western Allies and the Soviet Union would sooner or later have a falling out after the war.[19] Thus, İnönu wanted assurances on financial and military aid for Turkey, as well as a guarantee that the United States and the United Kingdom would stand beside Turkey in the event of a Soviet invasion of the Turkish Straits after the war. The post-war tensions and arguments surrounding the Turkish Straits would come to be known as the Turkish Straits crisis. The fear of Soviet invasion and Joseph Stalin's unconcealed desire for Soviet military bases in the Turkish Straits[19] eventually caused Turkey to give up its principle of neutrality in foreign relations and join NATO in February 1952.[20]

Multi-party period

İnönü's tomb at Anıtkabir

Under international pressure to transform the country to a democratic state, İnönü presided over the infamous 1946 elections, in which votes were cast in the open with onlookers able to observe to which party the voters had cast their votes, yet counting of the votes were not open for the public to observe.

In 1950, his party lost the first free elections in the republic's history. The Democrat Party used a slogan: "Geldi İsmet, kesildi kısmet" ("Since Ismet came, fortune was cut" ) for their election campaigns. İnönü presided over the peaceful transfer of power to the Democratic Party of Celâl Bayar and Adnan Menderes. İnönü served for ten years as the leader of the opposition before returning to power as Prime Minister after the 1961 election, held after the military coup-d'etat in 1960.

Although the opposition was imprisoned during the 1961 elections, he still did not win a majority and had to form coalition governments until the 1965 elections. He lost both the 1965 and 1969 general elections to Süleyman Demirel and then in 1972 he lost his party's leadership race to Bülent Ecevit.

İsmet İnönü was, by the standards of his time, a highly educated man; speaking Arabic, English, French and German in addition to his native Turkish.

İnönü died in 1973. He was interred opposite to Atatürk's mausoleum at Anıtkabir in Ankara and a massive tomb was constructed there.


İnönü University and Malatya İnönü Stadium in Malatya are named after him, as is the İnönü Stadium in Istanbul, home of the Beşiktaş football club.


See also


  1. ^ TSK Genel Kurmay Baskanlari
  2. ^ Howard, Douglas Arthur (2001). The History of Turkey. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 109. ISBN 0-313-30708-3.
  3. ^ N. Pope, H. Pope, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey, Overlook Press, 1998, ISBN 1-58567-096-0, ISBN 978-1-58567-096-3, p.254 (... president of republic, including Ismet Inönü and Turgut Özal, had Kurdish blood. Several cabinet ministers in 1980s and 1990s had been Kurdish...) – reference found in Turkish WorldHeritage article
  4. ^ Romano, David, The Kurdish nationalist movement: opportunity, mobilization, and identity, (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 118; Despite his own Kurdish ancestry, Inonu had apparently embraced Ziya Gokalp's notions of Turkism, which allowed him to advance to the highest post of the new republic.
  5. ^ Erik Jan Zürcher, "The Young Turks – Children of the Borderlands?" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 12, 2008) (October 2002)
  6. ^ "Demek İsmet Kürttür. Hem de koyu Kürt! Biz bu heyetin başından Abaza diye Rauf’u attırdık. Türk diye bir halis Kürt getirmişiz, vah yazık!", Rıza Nur, Hayat ve Hatıratım: Rıza Nur-İnönü kavgası, Lozan ve ötesi, İşaret Yayınları, 1992, p. 235.
  7. ^ "Even Ismet Inonu, Ataturk's long time ally and successor, was discouraged from revealing his Kurdish heritage.", Nader Entessar, "The Kurdish Mosaic of Discord", Third World Foundation, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 4, Ethnicity in World Politics (Oct. 1989), Carfax Publishing Co., 1989, p. 93.
  8. ^ a b c T.C. Genelkurmay Harp Tarihi Başkanlığı Yayınları, Türk İstiklâl Harbine Katılan Tümen ve Daha Üst Kademlerdeki Komutanların Biyografileri, Genkurmay Başkanlığı Basımevi, Ankara, 1972. (Turkish)
  9. ^ Günvar Otmanbölük, İsmet Paşa Dosyası, Cilt 1, Yaylacık Matbaası, 1969, p. 6. (Turkish)
  10. ^ Cleveland, William L., and Martin P. Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder: Westview, 2013. Print.
  11. ^ Lord Kinross, Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kermal, Father of Modern Turkey (New York: William Morrow & Company, 1965) p. 449.
  12. ^ Nicole Pope and Hugh Pope, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey (New York: The Overlook Press, 2004) p. 68.
  13. ^ Nicole Pope and Hugh Pope, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey, p. 75.
  14. ^ Nicole Pope and Hugh Pope, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey, p. 78.
  15. ^ Watt, D.C. How War Came : The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938–1939 ,London: Heinemann, 1989 page 278
  16. ^ Watt, D.C. How War Came : The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938–1939, London: Heinemann, 1989 page 282
  17. ^ Andrew Mango, The Turks Today, (New York: The Overlook Press, 2004) p. 36.
  18. ^ Watt, D.C. How War Came : The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938–1939, London: Heinemann, 1989 page 310.
  19. ^ a b Andrew Mango, The Turks Today, p. 37.
  20. ^ Andrew Mango, The Turks Today, p. 47.

Further reading

  • Kinross, Lord, Ataturk: A Biography of Mustafa Kermal, Father of Modern Turkey (New York: William Morrow & Company, 1965).
  • Liebmann, George W. Diplomacy between the Wars: Five Diplomats and the Shaping of the Modern World (London I. B. Tauris, 2008)
  • Mango, Andrew, The Turks Today (New York: The Overlook Press, 2004). ISBN 1-58567-615-2.
  • Pope, Nicole and Pope, Hugh, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey (New York: The Overlook Press, 2004). ISBN 1-58567-581-4.

External links

Military offices
New title
Office established
Chief of Turkish General Staff
Succeeded by
Fevzi Çakmak
Political offices
Preceded by
Yusuf Kemal Tengirşenk
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
Succeeded by
Şükrü Kaya
Preceded by
Ali Fethi Okyar
Prime Minister of Turkey
Succeeded by
Ali Fethi Okyar
Preceded by
Ali Fethi Okyar
Prime Minister of Turkey
Succeeded by
Celal Bayar
Preceded by
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
President of Turkey
Succeeded by
Celal Bayar
Preceded by
Emin Fahrettin Özdilek
Prime Minister of Turkey
Succeeded by
Suat Hayri Ürgüplü
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP)
Succeeded by
Bülent Ecevit
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