Statesman and politician, prime minister of 48th, 53rd and 55th governments. He was born on November 6, 1947 in Istanbul. His full name is Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz. His family is from the village of Çataldere, Rize / Çayeli. After having completed his primary and secondary education, he went to İstanbul Erkek High School. He graduated from the Department of Economics and Public Finance, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Ankara in 1971. He did his post graduate at the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Cologne during the time between 1972 and 1974. He worked in private sectors such as chemical, industry, textile and transportation in the administrative position between the years of 1975 and 1983.
Ahmet Mesut Yılmaz, whose uncle was the Minister of Culture and Tourism in İzzet Akçal government and Nihat Erim government, didn’t think of entering politics until the 1980 coup d'état. He went into politics with the Anavatan Party (ANAP) established in 1983 upon the request of Turgut Özal. He was a founding member of the party and its vice-president. In the elections in November of the same year, he entered the parliamentary as representative of Rize. He was in the service of the first Turgut Özal Government as the Minister of State in charge of information and the government spokesman. In 1986, he was appointed to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In this period he held the presidency of Turkey- Federal Germany and Turkey-Yugoslavia Joint Economic Commissions (JEC). In November 1987, he was appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the second Turgut Özal Government. After 1988, he became the vice-president of the European Democratic Union. He resigned from his duty in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on 20th February, 1990 when Yıldırım Akbulut was assigned to form a government upon Özal's election to the presidency.
Mesut Yılmaz was elected to the presidency of ANAP during the Grand Congress of the party on 15th June 1991. The government he formed received vote of confidence in TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) on 5th July 1991. He made the biggest mistake of his political life when he decided to go for an early election in order to get rid of intraparty oppositions, Mehmet Keçeciler and his group, who represented conservatives from the “milli görüş” approach, and to come to power alone while he had been prime minister for three and a half months despite of warnings of senior members of his party and the President Turgut Özal. Elections did not result as he thought and his party took the second place in elections after the Doğru Yol Party (DYP) of Demirel on 20th October 1991. From then on, he continued his studies as the leader of the main opposition party to the DYP. After the elections on 24th December 1995, he was appointed to Presidency of the coalition government of the ANAP-DYP.
The following years saw a decline in influence of the Anavatan Party on politics. Due to the acrimonious relationship with Tansu Çiller, the leader of the center-right Doğru Yol Party (DYP), both parties were worn out and couldn’t come to power alone. After a four-month-long debate, Tansu Çiller was appointed to form the 53rd government as the prime minister. However, the government had to submit its resignation to the President Demirel three and half months later.
As a result of the 1997 military memorandum, Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan government (54th government) had to resign and Mesut Yılmas was assigned to form the 55th government as the vice-president of Bülent Ecevit, the leader of the DSP (Demokratik Sol Party), by the President Demirel (30th June 1997). But he failed his duty because of rumors about conspiring to rig the bid and both he and his party ANAP began to lose prestige progressively. Due to public pressures, Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit resigned from his duty in the first days of January 1999 and gave inconsistency in the coalition as a reason. Bülent Ecevit formed the new government, which would be active until new general election (11th January 1999). Thereby, both Mesut Yılmaz’s political life and the 55th government, which was the longest lasting government of all three (eighteen months and twelve days), ended there.
Yılmaz resigned from the presidency of ANAP when the party failed to pass the 10% national threshold needed for a political party to have a seat in Parliament in the election on 3rd November 2002. He was charged by the Supreme Court with corruption, however the case dropped in 2006 because statute of limitations expired. In the 2007 general election on July 22nd he was elected as an independent member of parliament. He joined the Demokrat Party, which was established by a merging between the ANAP and DYP in 2009, but he left the party when Namık Kemal Zeybek was appointed to the presidency of the party (18th January 2011). Mesut Yılmaz, who is married with two children, speaks German and English.