Binali Yıldırım

Binali Yıldırım

Binali Yıldırım
Portrait of Binali Yıldırım (cropped).jpg
27th Prime Minister of Turkey
Assumed office
24 May 2016
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Ahmet Davutoğlu
Leader of the Justice and Development Party in the Grand National Assembly
Assumed office
24 May 2017
Deputy Mustafa Elitaş
Naci Bostancı
İlknur İnceöz
Bülent Turan
Mehmet Muş
Leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Position established
Leader of the Justice and Development Party
In office
22 May 2016 – 21 May 2017
Preceded by Ahmet Davutoğlu
Succeeded by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication
In office
24 November 2015 – 24 May 2016
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
Deputy Yüksel Coşkunyürek
Preceded by Feridun Bilgin
Succeeded by Ahmet Arslan
In office
1 November 2011 – 25 December 2013
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Deputy Yahya Baş
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Lütfi Elvan
Minister of Transport
In office
6 July 2011 – 1 November 2011
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Habip Soluk
Succeeded by Position abolished
In office
29 August 2007 – 8 March 2011
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by İsmet Yılmaz
Succeeded by Habip Soluk
In office
18 November 2002 – 8 May 2007
Prime Minister Abdullah Gül
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Naci Kınacıoğlu
Succeeded by İsmet Yılmaz
Member of the Grand National Assembly
Assumed office
1 November 2015
Constituency İzmir-I (Nov 2015)
In office
3 November 2002 – 7 June 2015
Constituency İstanbul-I (2002)
Erzincan (2007)
İzmir-II (2011)
 turkey prime minister 
Personal details
Born (1955-12-20) 20 December 1955 (age 61)
Refahiye, Turkey
Political party Justice and Development Party
Spouse(s) Semiha Yıldırım (m. 1976)
Alma mater Istanbul Technical University
World Maritime University

Binali Yıldırım (Turkish pronunciation: [binaːˌli jɯldɯˈɾɯm]; born 20 December 1955) is a Turkish politician who is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Turkey and the former leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). He previously served as the Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication almost continuously from 2002 to 2013 and again between 2015 and 2016. Between 2014 and 2015, he served as Senior Advisor to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Yıldırım served as the chairman of the board of Directors of İstanbul Fast Ferries Company (İDO) from 1994 to 2000 before being elected as an AKP Member of Parliament for İstanbul’s first electoral district during the 2002 general election. He was appointed as Minister of Transport by Prime Minister Abdullah Gül and continued in office after Erdoğan became Prime Minister in 2003. As Transport Minister, he presided over numerous projects such as Marmaray, high-speed rail lines and an expansion in the country’s airport and road facilities. In 2011, the portfolios of Maritime and Communications were merged with the Ministry of Transport, with Yıldırım becoming the Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication.

Leaving office in a cabinet reshuffle in 2013, Binali Yıldırım  ran as the AKP candidate for Mayor of İzmir in the 2014 local elections but lost to the incumbent Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Aziz Kocaoğlu. He was appointed as special advisor to Erdoğan in June 2014 and left Parliament in the June 2015 general election due to the AKP’s three-term rule for its sitting MPs. He was re-appointed as Transport Minister by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu after being re-elected to Parliament in the November 2015 general election. Following Davutoğlu’s resignation as party leader due to a breakdown in relations with President Erdoğan on 5 May 2016, Yıldırım was announced as the AKP’s next leader by the party Central Executive Committee on 19 May and was elected unopposed during the party’s 2nd Extraordinary Congress on 22 May 2016. He formed the country’s 65th government and became Prime Minister on 24 May 2016. 

Following the declared victory of the ‘Yes’ vote in the 2017 constitutional , Yıldırım resigned as AKP leader in place of Erdoğan, who was elected as his successor during the 3rd AKP extraordinary congress on 21 May 2017. Binali Yıldırım was subsequently elected as the AKP’s parliamentary group leader by 300 votes on 24 May.

Early life and career


Binali Yıldırım was born in Refahiye, Erzincan Province, on 20 December 1955. His name, Binali, means son of Ali in Arabic (بن علي).  His surname, Yıldırım, means “lightning bolt” and has often been attributed by the pro-government press to embody the rapid growth of transport infrastructure during his tenure as Minister of Transport.

Yıldırım was educated at the İstanbul Technical University’s School of Maritime, studying Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering and later received his master’s degree from the same department. While serving in numerous managerial positions in the General Directorate of the Turkish Shipping Industry and the Camialtı Shipyard, he received specialised training regarding Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection from the International Maritime Organisation’s World Maritime University in Sweden. While at the World Maritime University, Binali Yıldırım spent six months working with maritime administration professionals at Scandinavian and European ports.

İstanbul Fast Ferries Director, 1994–2000

After graduation, Binali Yıldırım served as the director general of the İstanbul Fast Ferries Company (İDO) from 1994 to 2000 while Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was Mayor of İstanbul. In attempts to make greater use of sea travel to ease transport congestion in İstanbul, Yıldırım established the İstanbul-Yalova and İstanbul-Bandırma ferry routes and oversaw the establishment of 29 ferry terminals, the commission of 22 passenger and 4 car ferries, making İDO the largest commercial maritime transportation company of its time. In 1999, he was awarded a quality medal by the Skål International group for his contributions to the modernisation of the maritime transportation and tourism industries. 

Early political career

As the Director of İDO, Yıldırım established a close relationship to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who served as İstanbul’s Mayor from 1994 to 1998. When the latter led efforts to establish a new moderate conservative democratic political party in August 2001, Yıldırım joined Erdoğan to become a founding member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). He was subsequently fielded as a parliamentary candidate for İstanbul’s first electoral district in the 2002 general election and was elected following the party’s landslide victory.

Member of Parliament

Elected as a Member of Parliament for İstanbul’s first electoral district in the 2002 general election, Binali Yıldırım was re-elected as an MP in the 2007 general election as a candidate from his home province of Erzincan. In 2006, he stated that his name was of Alevi origin and that he would work hard for the AKP to field Alevi candidates in the upcoming election, in response to criticism that the party was discriminating against the Alevi minority in Turkey due to its Sunni Islam political origin.

In the 2011 general election, Yıldırım was elected for a third consecutive time from İzmir’s second electoral district. Due to the AKP’s three-term limit on its MPs, Yıldırım was unable to seek re-election for a fourth time in the June 2015 general election. However, he re-entered Parliament from İzmir’s first electoral district during the November 2015 snap general election seven months later.

Minister of Transport, Maritime, and Communication

Yıldırım signing an agreement with his Argentine counterpart in 2011
Yıldırım signing an agreement with his Argentine counterpart in 2011

Binali Yıldırım has been referred to as the AKP’s ‘unchanging Transport Minister’ due to his almost uninterrupted 11-year term in office. The only other non-independent AKP politician to hold the post before Yıldırım became Prime Minister was Lütfi Elvan, who succeeded Yıldırım in 2013 and served until 2015.

Yıldırım served as the Minister of Transport between November 2002 and November 2011, leaving office three months before the 2007 general election and the 2011 general election in accordance to Article 114 of the Turkish constitution, which requires the vacation of the partisan Minister of Transport and his or her replacement by an independent minister three months before the end of a parliamentary term. In November 2011, the portfolios of maritime and communications were merged with the Transport Ministry, with Binali Yıldırım becoming the first Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication. He left office during a cabinet reshuffle in 2013, but was reinstated as Minister by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on 24 November 2015.

On his personal website, Yıldırım has claimed that 17,500 kilometers of new motorways, 29 new airports and 1,213 kilometers of high-speed railway were constructed during his term as Minister.

Rail network expansion

Opening ceremony of Marmaray, the world’s first intercontinental subway, October 2013

In 2003, the government launched Turkey’s first high-speed rail project, the Hızlandırılmış tren (“Fast train”). On 4 January 2004, Yıldırım oversaw the launch of construction works on the first branch between Ankara and Eskişehir, that was eventually inaugurated in 2009 with total costs of ₺7.5 million to upgrade the tracks, rolling stock and increase the speed of trains on the route to 150 km/h (93 mph). At the same time, work was completed to increase the average train speeds to 100 km/h (62 mph) throughout Turkey. In 2014, the line, operated by a subsidiary of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), was extended to İstanbul, completing the Ankara–İstanbul high-speed railway. Construction on the Ankara–Konya high-speed railway began in 2006 and was completed in 2011.

Under the strategic aims published by the Transport Ministry while Binali Yıldırım was in office, the government planned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) of high speed lines by the year 2023, as part of the AKP’s ‘2023 vision’ for the centenary of the Turkish Republic. 

In addition to national rail infrastructure, several suburban and inner-city rail and metro systems were inaugurated by Yıldırım. These included the İstanbul Kabataş–Taksim funicular in 2006, both the İzmir commuter rail (İZBAN) and the Adana Metro in May 2010, the İstanbul Metro lines M3 in 2013, M4 in 2012 and M6 in 2015 and the Ankara Metro lines M3 and M4 in 2014. In 2013, the first phase of the Marmaray project, which links the continents of Europe and Asia via a tunnel under the Bosphorus in İstanbul was opened, due to link and take over the entirety of the İstanbul suburban rail services by 2018. Yıldırım also presided over extensions to the İzmir Metro and İstanbul Metro line M2, which was extended from Şişhane to Yenikapı via the Golden Horn Metro Bridge in 2014.

Aviation expansion

Yıldırım accompanying Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a visit to the Polish Senate in 2009
Yıldırım accompanying Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a visit to the Polish Senate in 2009

Yıldırım presided over a new Transport Ministry initiative to vastly upgrade airports that were regarded to be in ‘discarded condition’. Under the new scheme, numerous airports were closed for refurbishment. Following improvement work, the Tokat, Kahramanmaraş, Sivas, Gaziantep and Çanakkale airports were re-opened in 2006 while Balıkesir Airport and Kars Harakani Airport was reopened by Yıldırım in 2007. A new international terminal at İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport was opened in 2006, with Yıldırım also present at the opening of a new domestic terminal in 2014. New terminal buildings for Erzincan Airport and Mardin Airport were both opened in 2011 and a new international terminal for Milas–Bodrum Airport was completed in 2012. Major improvements to Balıkesir Koca Seyit Airport and Kastamonu Airport were completed in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

Numerous new airports were constructed or completed construction while Yıldırım was Minister. Along with Zonguldak Airport and Şanlıurfa GAP Airport, Yıldırım opened the controversial Hatay Airport in 2007. Amasya Merzifon Airport followed in 2008, while Gazipaşa Airport serving Antalya and Gökçeada Airport serving Çanakkale were opened in 2010. Zafer Airport serving the cities of Afyonkarahisar, Uşak and Kütahya in 2012, Iğdır Airport also in 2012 and Şırnak Airport followed in 2013. Erhaç Airport in Malatya and Cengiz Topel Airport in Kocaeli, previously operating as military air bases, were opened to civilian air traffic in 2007 and 2011 respectively. Binali Yıldırım was also involved in the construction of the Ordu-Giresun Airport, the third in the world to be built on an artificial island and the only one in Turkey and Europe, eventually opened on 22 May 2015. He was also involved in the initial phases of the Istanbul New Airport project to be opened in 2018, which is due to become the largest in the world.

Maritime projects

Yıldırım accompanying President Abdullah Gül on a visit to Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2010

One of the most prevalent projects commissioned by the AKP government was the establishment of a new artificial waterway, running parallel to the Bosphorus and linking the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. The project, named Kanal İstanbul was described by former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the party’s ‘crazy project’, being one of the most prominent goals for the party’s 2023 vision.

The government initially started discreet studies into the project’s viability and possible routes, with Yıldırım announcing plans in 2009. The project was officially inaugurated by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2011. By 2016, Binali Yıldırım announced that five possible routes for the project had been identified. However, he denied that the final route had ben confirmed and warned investors to not engage in speculative asset purchases.

In addition to Kanal İstanbul, Yıldırım also presided over various upgrades to the country’s existing waterways and ferry services. İzmir obtained new car and passenger ferries in 2013 and 2014, while a new ferry terminal was opened at Tuzla for İDO ferry services to Yalova.

Government surveillance and censorship

Yıldırım along with other cabinet ministers during a state visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Turkey in 2010
Yıldırım along with other cabinet ministers during a state visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Turkey in 2010

Later political career

Special advisor to Erdoğan, 2014–15

After leaving office as Transport Minister in 2013, he was appointed by the AKP as an advisor to the party leader, whom at that point was Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. When Erdoğan was elected as the President of Turkey during the 2014 presidential election, he became a special advisor to the President despite being seen as a potential Prime Minister. With Ahmet Davutoğlu becoming Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım continued as an ‘unofficial’ advisor to Erdoğan since officially being appointed to the Presidential Office required his resignation as an MP. Leaving Parliament in June 2015, he was officially appointed and continued as Presidential advisor until being re-elected as an MP in the November 2015 general election. Yıldırım was frequently referred to by the press as Erdoğan’s closest and most loyal supporters.

İzmir mayoral candidacy

Local election 2014: İzmir Metropolitan Mayor
Party Candidate Votes %
  CHP Aziz Kocaoğlu Green tickY 1,307,501 49.6
  AKP Binali Yıldırım 947,108 35.9
  MHP Murat Taşer 210,124 8.0
  HDP Osman Özçelik 88,375 3.4
  Others 82,760 3.1

In the 2014 local elections, Yıldırım was approached by Erdoğan to run for the Metropolitan Mayor of İzmir, regarded as a stronghold of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Campaigning with the slogan ‘İzmir’e İyi bir Bakan Lazım’, which could be translated both as ‘İzmir needs a good Minister’ or ‘İzmir needs someone to look after it well’, he set out 35 projects for İzmir, co-inciding with İzmir’s license plate code, which is also 35. These included a tunnel and bridge linking the southern and northern banks of the Gulf of İzmir.

In 2013, a dubious poll showed that Binali Yıldırım was ahead of the CHP in İzmir. lost the election and came second to the CHP candidate and incumbent Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu, who won 49.6% of the vote compared to Yıldırım’s 35.9%. Following the election, Yıldırım praised the AKP’s local gains in İzmir where the party took 6 local mayoralties, stating that the local municipalities that had endorsed the AKP had said ‘yes’ to service and good governance. In 2016 following Ahmet Davutoğlu’s resignation as Prime Minister, his mayoral rival and successful opponent Aziz Kocaoğlu stated that he preferred Yıldırım as Davutoğlu’s successor due to his ties with İzmir.

Prime Minister, 2016–present

Yıldırım is the first Prime Minister in 20 years to come from an engineering background. The previous Prime Minister to have originated from a background in engineering was Necmettin Erbakan, who served as Prime Minister from 1996 to 1997.

Election as AKP leader

On 19 May 2016, Yıldırım was announced as the sole candidate for the Justice and Development Party leadership by the party Central Executive Committee (MKYK). He was elected as leader unopposed during the party’s 2nd Extraordinary Congress on 22 May 2016, winning 1,405 of the 1,411 votes (with the remaining 6 being declared invalid or blank). A new Central Executive Board was elected alongside the party leader, with numerous senior AKP politicians, some of which had been seen as potential leadership candidates alongside Yıldırım, being left off the unified list.

Executive Presidency and new constitution

Delivering a statement on his government’s program shortly after being appointed as Prime Minister on 24 May 2016, Yıldırım set out the main goals of his government to abolish the parliamentary system and bring about an executive presidency, which would require 330 of 550 votes in Parliament to hold a referendum or 367 votes to enact directly without the need for a referendum. This confirmed wide speculation that Yıldırım would not act as a head of government independent from the Presidency, but as a loyalist to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the intention of using the powers of Prime Minister to boost Erdoğan’s powers as President and potentially result in the abolition of his own office of Prime Minister.Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım claimed that the fact that the President was now elected by popular vote rather than by Parliament had created a power struggle and confusion amongst the population, resulting in the need for a transition to an executive presidency.

During his first speech to the AKP parliamentary group since becoming Prime Minister, Yıldırım announced that his government would begin work on drafting a new constitution with a matter of urgency, claiming that the current Constitution of Turkey, which was written during the 1980 coup d’état, was outdated for the AKP’s 2023 vision for the centenary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. He called on opposition parties to start working together again with the AKP to write a joint constitution, with the all-party constitutional commission having been abandoned by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) under Davutoğlu’s premiership over disagreements regarding the presidential system.

Economic policy

Foreign policy

Shortly after taking office as Prime Minister, Yıldırım gave an overview of the foreign policy that his government would follow. He claimed that regional problems increased the importance of Turkey as a regional power, further claiming that he would follow the ‘simple’ foreign policy goal of increasing the number of allies and decreasing the number of enemies in the region. 

European Union

In response to deadlock in reaching a deal with the EU regarding the European migrant crisis, Yıldırım called on the EU to keep its promise to grant Turkish citizens access to member countries without a visa as was initially agreed. The EU declared that Turkey would have to change its terror laws for the deal to take place despite the initial agreement, a condition met with strong opposition by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Referring to the fight against terrorism, Binali Yıldırım‘s new minister for EU affairs Ömer Çelik once again criticized the EU’s “double standards” and warned that Turkey’s relations with the EU were very important, but not the country’s “sole option”. Foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu doubled down on Turkey not being “bluffing” or uttering “threats” when it says it could suspend all agreements signed with the EU, including the readmission agreement.

Germany genocide recognition

In response, the government enacted similar measures that had been taken against the previous 29 countries that had recognised the Armenian Genocide, beginning with the recalling of the Turkish Ambassador in Berlin back to Turkey (though presumably on a temporary basis). The German Ambassador to Turkey was also summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be presented with a letter of strong condemnation that refused to recognise the decision in line with Turkey’s claim that only historians should have a say on historical events, not parliamentarians. It was also expected that Germany would enter Turkey’s ‘red list’ of states that they would not follow close partnerships with, especially in the fields of defence and industry on a temporary basis.

In response to the German Parliament’s decision, Prime Minister Yıldırım made a statement criticising Germany and claiming that there was no past historical event that the Turkish people are ashamed of. He also called the decision ‘faulty’ and reiterated that Turkey would not accept its legitimacy. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş branded the actions of the German Parliament as ‘distorted and baseless’, calling it a ‘historical mistake.’ and warning that it was not compliant with Turkey-Germany relations. In response, Merkel reiterated that the relations between Germany and Turkey remained strong.


As part of the new government’s program, Yıldırım announced plans to keep open channels for mutual dialogue with Russia in an attempt to normalise relations on the basis of common interests. Turkish relations with Russia deteriorated sharply in November 2015 after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet claiming that it had violated Turkish Airspace. The deterioration in relations also caused economic and trade relations between the two countries to decline. It was expected that ‘normalisation’ of economic relations with Russia would be one of the most important responsibilities of the new government.

In response to the appointment of Yıldırım as Prime Minister, the Deputy President of the Federation Council Foreign Policy Committee Vladimir Cabarov claimed that a new Prime Minister would not result in any changes to Turkey-Russia relations, claiming that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was effectively the main policy-maker in Turkey and that his past actions had ‘burnt all bridges’ with Russia. He also referred to Yıldırım’s close relations with Erdoğan and claimed that any attempts to reconcile with Russia would not be initiated at Yıldırım’s own accord.

Coup attempt

On July 15, 2016, a terrorist group in the military staged a coup that attempted to overthrow the Turkish government but it failed.

Personal life

Yıldırım is married to retired teacher Semiha Yıldırım since 1976 and has three children, Erkan, Ahmet and Büşra. A primary school established by their three children in Çekmeköy, İstanbul was named after his wife, ‘Öğretmen Semiha Yıldırım İlkokulu’, and was opened on 24 November 2012. Semiha Yıldırım is also active in the Justice and Development Party, having been seen at the establishment of the government’s ‘Soul Mountain’ (Gönül Dağı) Project on 17 May 2016 sitting next to President Erdoğan’s wife Emine Erdoğan.

Awards and honours

Yıldırım has been awarded Honorary doctorates by a number of Turkish universities, as well as by the World Maritime University, Malmö and the Technical University of Berlin.

  • Honorary Doctorate by the Girne American University, Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus (20 July)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun (19 June)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Cumhuriyet University, Sivas (7 May)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Bozok University, Yozgat (29 September)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Anadolu University, Eskişehir (28 February)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Erzincan University (12 September)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Kırklareli University (20 September)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Technical University of Berlin (23 December)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Pamukkale University, Denizli (6 June)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the World Maritime University, Malmö (2 December)
  • Honorary Doctorate by the Okan University, Istanbul (22 March)

A Speech From Binali Yıldırım in His Mother Tongue Turkish

Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Binali Yıldırım who is in the official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Denis Zvizdić, visited International University of Sarajevo on March 29, 2018.
The delegation was welcomed by president of Foundation for Education Development Sarajevo Mr. Hasan Topaloğlu, Acting Rector of the University Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yıldırım, and other University management members.

Pupils from Foundation’s Primary School “Isa-beg Ishaković” prepared special performance of dance and songs in Turkish to welcome Prime Minister Yıldırım.

In July 2018 Yıldırım had been last prime minister of Turkey because of demolishing Prime Minister post and evolving political system from parlimantiary to presidential system..

Taken From Wikipedia and Regulated by writers.. 

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