Ismet Inönü


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(b. 14 Sept. 1884, d. 25 Dec. 1973).

Prime Minister of Turkey 1923–4, 1925–37, 1961–5; President of Turkey 1938–50 Born Mustafa Ismet in Izmir, he was commissioned into the Ottoman army in 1903. Mustafa became a prominent participant in the rebellion of the Young Turks in 1908, and became a member of the General Staff during World War I. He took a leading part in the Turkish‐Greek War of 1921–2, where he gained a famous victory at Inönü in 1921. An increasingly close ally of Kemal (Atatürk), as Foreign Minister he negotiated the favourable terms of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. He was the first Prime Minister of the new Turkish Republic. In this office, and as Atatürk's successor as President, he did more than anybody else to confirm and strengthen Kemal's legacy of a secular, Westernized state. Perhaps most importantly, for the most part he kept the country out of World War II, which it could have ill‐afforded given his efforts at economic and social reform. He finally created a multi‐party system in 1945, and subsequently lost the elections of 1950. He remained head of his party, the Republican People's Party, until 1972, and was Prime Minister following the army coup of 1960.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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