Mesut Yilmaz

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Person.png Mesut Yilmaz   WikidataRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Istanbul, Turkey
Died30 October 2020 (Age 72)
SpouseBerna Yılmaz
PartyMotherland Party
Attended the 1990 Bilderberg as ex Turkish Foreign Minister. Became Prime Minister of Turkey in 1991 with approval from the military. Made Turkey more "business-friendly and Europe-oriented".

Employment.png Prime Minister of Turkey Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
30 June 1997 - 11 January 1999
DeputyBulent Ecevit
Preceded byNecmettin Erbakan
Succeeded byBulent Ecevit

Employment.png Prime Minister of Turkey Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
6 March 1996 - 28 June 1996
Preceded byTansu Çiller
Succeeded byNecmettin Erbakan

Employment.png Prime Minister of Turkey Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
23 June 1991 - 20 November 1991
Succeeded bySüleyman Demirel

Employment.png Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
13 July 2000 - 18 November 2002

Employment.png Leader of the Motherland Party

In office
15 June 1991 - 4 November 2002

Employment.png Turkey/Minister of Foreign Affairs Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
22 December 1987 - 20 February 1990
Preceded byVahit Halefoglu
Succeeded byAli Bozer

Employment.png Turkey/Minister of Culture and Tourism

In office
17 October 1986 - 21 December 1987

Employment.png Turkey/Minister of State

In office
28 May 1999 - 18 November 2002

Employment.png Turkey/Minister of State

In office
13 December 1983 - 17 October 1986

Employment.png Turkey/Member of the Grand National Assembly

In office
22 July 2007 - 12 June 2011
Succeeded byUmut Oran

Employment.png Turkey/Member of the Grand National Assembly

In office
24 November 1983 - 3 November 2002
Succeeded byBinali Yıldırım

Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz [1] was a Turkish politician. He was the leader of the Motherland Party, (ANAP) from 1991 to 2002, and served three times as Prime Minister of Turkey. His first two prime-ministerial terms lasted just months (in 1991 and 1996), while the third ran from June 1997 to January 1999.

Personal life

He was married to Berna Yılmaz. The couple became parents to two sons, Hasan Yılmaz and Yavuz Yılmaz, the latter of which was found shot dead in his apartment in Istanbul in December 2017.[2]

Between 1975-1983, he worked as a manager in various private companies in the chemical, textile and transportation sectors.


Mesut Yılmaz was a rising star in the Motherland Party of Turgut Özal, representing the Black Sea province of Rize in the parliament and serving in Özal's cabinet. He was State Minister for Information (December 1983), then Minister of Culture and Tourism (1986), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (December 1987 to February 1990). Due to differences of opinion on Turkey's Iraq policy during the Gulf War, he resigned from the post of foreign minister on February 20, 1990.

Prime Minister

In June 1991 Yılmaz managed to discharge Yıldırım Akbulut from the party leadership and from all executive functions during the party congress. Because ANAP had the majority in the parliament he subsequently became Prime Minister of Turkey in the 48th government of Turkey.

His image as a man with his own mind mollified some of the generals in the army, who were said earlier to have favored early elections to allow a strong government to emerge in Turkey, to take care of the deteriorating labor situation, growing Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism in the big cities and public discontent about falling living standards.[3]

However, in October ANAP came in second in the 1991 general election to Süleyman Demirel's True Path Party (DYP), and the DYP formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Populist Party.

The following years saw a decline in the popularity of the Motherland Party and an acrimonious relationship with Tansu Çiller, leader of the center-right True Path Party (DYP). Yılmaz also made the Motherland Party more business-friendly and Europe-oriented, causing the more conservative, religious wing to switch to the Welfare Party (RP) of Necmettin Erbakan. In the December 1995 general election ANAP again came second, this time to the Welfare Party. After lengthy coalition negotiations Yılmaz formed a coalition with the DYP in March 1996 (53rd government of Turkey), but this lasted less than four months, falling to a censure motion led by the Welfare Party. President Demirel invited Erbakan to form a government, which he did, in coalition with the DYP.

Erbakan's term was marked by the Susurluk scandal, during the investigation of which Yılmaz admitted the existence of the JİTEM counter-terrorist Gendarmerie unit.[4] The scandal led to the resignation of Erbakan's Interior Minister, Mehmet Ağar (a leader of the True Path Party, DYP), following revelations that Abdullah Çatlı, leader of the far-right Grey Wolves organisation, worked for the state.[5] Yılmaz' concerns over his own safety, owing to his support of the Susurluk investigation, led to his briefly carrying a gun in self-defense.[6]

Yılmaz formed a government for the third time in June 1997,[7] after the Welfare Party had resigned from government following the February 1997 military memorandum. DYP and others expected to form a government under Tansu Çiller, but President Süleyman Demirel asked Yılmaz to form the new government. Yılmaz created an ANAP-Democratic Left Party-Democrat Turkey Party coalition which lasted until January 1999. Yılmaz' final term was marked by fallout from the investigations into the Susurluk scandal, and further revelations of connections between politicians, police and mafia. When the attempt to privatize the Türk Ticaret Bankası to Korkmaz Yiğit blew up in October 1998 over allegations of the involvement of mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı, Yılmaz' coalition did not last much longer.[8]

In October 1998, Yılmaz set off a furor in the Arab world by threatening to "poke out the eyes" of Syria over Hafez al-Assad's alleged support of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party.[9]

Later career

Yılmaz continued as a politician, however, serving as a deputy prime minister in a coalition led by Bülent Ecevit from 1999 to 2002. After his failure to win entry into the Grand National Assembly in 2002 elections, Yılmaz retired from politics to pursue a teaching career.

He was charged by the state public prosecutor with corruption during his tenure as prime minister relating to the privatization of Turkish Trade Bank. In 2006 the Supreme Court suspended the case for five years, so that the charges would be dropped if no similar charges arose in that period. Yılmaz announced that he would return to politics.[10]

In the 2007 general election he was elected as independent member of parliament from Rize. He died from complications of lung cancer in 30 October 2020 and buried at Kanlıca Cemetery two days later.[11]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/199010 May 199013 May 1990New York
Glen Cove
38th Bilderberg meeting, 119 guests
80 pounds thermometer.png
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