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Ismet Inönü

Ismet Inönü.
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Ismet Inönü.

(1884-1973) Turkish politician and prime minister 1923-1924, 1925-1937, 1961-1965, president 1938-1950.
Inönü has been called a pragmatist, an optimist, and a "statesman par excellence." Inönü's main achievement was to lead Turkey from the system of benevolent despotism under Atatürk to a multiparty democracy. Inönü's legacy has today fallen into obscurity, but after Atatürk he is one of the main architects of modern Turkey. Inönü was the man behind the development of democracy, pluralism in politics and a national economy. Inönü will also be remembered for keeping Turkey neutral during World War 2.
Inönü was by the standards of his time a highly educated man, speaking German, French and English.


1884: Born in Izmir in a Kurdish family with roots in Malatya.
1903: Finishes the Military Academy.
1906: Joins the Army as superior captain.
— Joins the Ittihat ve Terakki Party.
Around 1910: Serves on the general staff at Edirne, and later as chief of staff in Yemen.
1914: With the start of World War 1, Ismet works as division manager in the War Ministry.
1915: Is appointed 2nd Army Chief of Staff desk.
December 14: Is promoted to colonel.
1916: Commands the 4th Army in Syria.
1918: Is appointed War Ministry advisor.
1920 April: Is selected as a member of the Army Command.
— Is elected to the parliament.
October: Is appointed commander of the Western Frontier, and stops the Cerkez Ethem riot.
1921 January and April: Lead campaigns against the Greeks during the War of Independence, in the two battles of Inönü near Ankara.
1922: Is appointed foreign minister in the government of the Grand National Assembly in Ankara.
1923: Takes the surname "Inönü" in remembrance of the battles that made him famous.
July 24: The Treaty of Lausanne is signed. Inönü had been central in the negotiations, and had together with Mustafa Kemal succeeded in gaining most of Turkey's demands.
October 30: Is appointed prime minister of the new state of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal.
1924: Steps down as prime minister.
1925: Is reappointed prime minister.
1937: Steps down as prime minister.
1938: Is elected president following the death of Atatürk (Mustafa Kemal).
1946: The multiparty system is introduced. This was to a great degree a fruit of Inönü's presidency.
1950: Steps down as president of Turkey, after Inönü's Republican People's Party (RPP) lost the elections.
— Joins the parliament as a representative of Malatya, and is the leader of the main opposition party.
1961: Is appointed prime minister, and remains prime minister for 5 years through 2 appointments.
1965: Steps down as prime minister, after a major defeat in the elections.
1969: RPP again loses the elections.
1972: Resigns from his party and becomes a member of the Republic's Senate.
1973: Dies. He is honoured with a tomb in the Mausoleum of Atatürk in Ankara.

By Tore Kjeilen