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İsmet İnönü

Mustafa Ismet İnönü was born in 1884 in Izmir and completed his primary and secondary education in Sivas, after which he enrolled at the Mühendishâne-i Berrî-i Hümâyun, one of the country’s leading engineering institutes. After completing his studies at the Army Military College in 1903 and then graduating from the Military Academy in 1906, he took up various postings in the army with the rank of Captain.

Between 1910 and 1913, he was a member of the battalion sent to the Gulf to suppress the rebellion in Yemen, where his outstanding abilities in the negotiations with the rebels over the border issues were noted.

Ismet Pasha’s friendship with Mustafa Kemal, stretching back to their student years, meant they were able to work in tandem as they planned the future direction and development of the state. As Atatürk’s closest friend and comrade-in-arms in the War of Independence, İnönü directed the First and Second Battles of İnönü. After victory at the Battle of Sakarya and the Advance on Smyrna/Izmir, he represented the Grand National Assembly at the armistice negotiations at Mudanya. He attended the Lausanne Peace Conference as both Foreign Minister and Head of the Turkish Delegation and on 24 July 1923 signed the Treaty of Lausanne.

After the declaration of the republic, İnönü was instrumental in establishing the foundations of the new state and implementing Atatürk’s reforms. After the latter’s death in 1938, he was elected Second President of the Republic by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. During the Second World War, İnönü maintained Turkish neutrality and kept her away from the catastrophes engulfing the continent and the wider world. One of the outstanding figures in Turkish political history, İnönü died on the 25th December 1973. He was laid to rest the same year at the Anıtkabir mausoleum in Ankara next to Atatürk, his friend and comrade-in-arms.

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