Military officer, statesman, chief of the general staff (B. 11th March 1886, Izmir – D. 3rd July 1964, Ankara ). His full name is Mehmet Kâzım Orbay, his surname, Orbay, was given by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk when Surname law was adopted in 1934.
He graduated from Mühendishane-i Berri-i Hümayun (T.N. Imperial School of Military Engineering) as an artillery lieutenant in 1904 and graduated from Harb Akademisi (T.N War Academy) as a staff officer in 1907. Until 1922, he was on duty at several headquarters and troops. Meanwhile he took courses in Germany in 1908. Later, he was appointed to 3rd Troops of Harekât Army and fought then in the Balkan Wars. He was appointed to the chief adjutant of the Ministry of War (National Defense) in 1914. Therefore he became the closest officer to Enver Pasha during the World War I (1914-18), who would be his future brother-in-law upon marrying Enver Pasha’s sister, Mediha Hanım.
He became the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of War, served as a Chief of Staff in the Eastern Front Army (1920) in the War of Independence, worked as the head of department National Defense Army (1921). In 1922, he was promoted to brigadier and appointed to the 3rd Caucasian Division. He accomplished success in Turkish War of Independence and in its last battle, Battle of Dumlupınar. He served in military operations against the Dersim Rebellion in 1925 and was promoted to the rank of a lieutenant general and appointed to the Vice Chief General Staff in 1926.
General Kâzım Bey served in 4th Corps and served as the Chief of the General Staff of the Afghanistan Kingdom between 1928 and 1929. Having returned to Turkey, he held high-ranking military posts. On 30th July 1930, he was appointed to the General Commander of Gendarmerie and to Third Army on 24th August 1935. In 1935, he was promoted to the rank of a Full General. When he became a member of the Supreme Military Council on 15th February 1943, he again was appointed as the Vice Chief General Staff. He succeeded Fevzi Çakmak as the Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish armed forces and served as the Chief of the General Staff during the time between January 12th, 1944 and July 23rd, 1946.
While he was the Chief of the General Staff, his son, Haşmet Orbay, was put on trial as the instigator of a homicide called Ankara Cinayeti (T.N. Ankara Homicide) (16th October 1945) and sentenced to one year in jail. Upon this event, he had to resign from his duty. This homicide hasn’t been solved yet despite the long years passed since then.
Kâzım Orbay maintained his services in military after he resigned from the Chief of General Staff. He was appointed to the Supreme Military Council. He got retired on July 6th, 1950. During the military coup of 27th May 1960, he served as the Member of the Constituent Assembly as the Representative of the State Presidency during the time between January 9th, 1961 and October 26th, 1961. After the Constituent Assembly era, he was elected to the parliament from the Presidency quota by the President Cemal Gürsel on 23rd November 1961.
Upon a stomach surgery, he died on Jun 3rd, 1964 and was buried in the State Cemetery in Ankara. He spoke French, Germany, and Italian and was married with two children. After he died, some barracks, districts and institutions were named after him
Kâzım Orbay served in numerous important campaigns and operations such as Harekât Army to suppress 31 March Incident (1909), Montenegro Border Incidents, Balkan Wars (1912-13), World War I (1914-18) War of Independence (1919-22) and Dersim Operations (1925). Because of his successful services, he was awarded several medals and he also possessed İstiklâl Medal (T.N. War of Independence Medal).