Military officer, statesman, politician (B. 27th July 1881, Istanbul – 16th July 1964, Istanbul) His full name was Hüseyin Rauf Orbay. He was the son of Admiral Mehmet Muzaffer Pasha, who was of Abkhaz origin, and who was the chief of the Council of the Ministry of Navy and a Senator. After he graduated from the primary school in Cibali, Istanbul, he went to Askerî Rüştiye (Military School- Secondary) in Tripoli where his father served as a commodore. In 1893 he entered the Heybeliada Bahriye Okulu İdadisi (Naval High School). In 1897, he enrolled in Şakirdan class (armed forces). He graduated as a Deck Engineer Officer in 1899. After his education from Heybetnüma School Ship, he was appointed to Selimiye Frigate and then to Garp Vapuru as a Navigation Officer. He was promoted as the first lieutenant when he was at Mahmudiye Armored Cruiser in 1901. He served in Hamidiye Torpedo Boat and Fethiye ship. He was promoted as the lieutenant while he was on Mesudiye Armored Ship in 1904.
Hüseyin Rauf Bey brought the Mecidiye Cruiser from the USA to Istanbul and was appointed as an assistant to Mr. Bucknam, who was kept in Istanbul as a counselor, due to his competency in English and outstanding successes. He had remained in his duty for 2 years and was sent to the USA and to England to make researches on shipyards and to buy vehicle transport ships. Two years later he was appointed to Asar-ı Tevfik Armored Ship in 1906 and was sent to Germany with other officers to bring back the ship which was repaired in the Kiel Shipyard. Meanwhile he was promoted as the lieutenant commander in 1907. In the same year, he was appointed to the Peyki Şevket Command and served in the fleet which was sent to suppress the uprising of Samos. In November, 1907 he went to Istanbul and joined the operations of Hareket Army because of the 31st March Incident (13th April 1909). In the same year, he was appointed to the Command Post of Hamidiye Ship. He achieved success in suppressing the Albanian uprising.
Rauf Bey represented Turkish navy in navy parade during the coronation of George V who acceded to the throne in England in 1910. He shipped firearms to the Tripoli in the Turkish-Italian Wars. In 1912 he joined the Black Sea campaign of the Balkan War and bombarded Varna and its vicinity. Since Hamidiy Ship was hit by a torpedo and was under repair, he was assigned as commander of a post called Bağımsız I. Fırka (T.N. 1st Free Legion). He wrecked a Greek submarine during a military expedition (called Dolphin) on Dardanelles and bombarded Tenedos so that the Greek couldn’t use this advanced base. He was assigned to the pirates operation in the Mediterranean Sea during the dark era of the Balkan Wars and in 1913 he slipped through the Greek naval blockade and managed to set sail. The following day, he shelled the town of Ermoupoli which was an important base of Greeks. He sunk the armed supplementary cruiser Makedonia and destroyed the powder mills and arsenals around. From there, he sailed to Port Said but England did not allow him to proceed, thus he moved to the Red Sea. In 1913 he set sail to Mediterranean again and shelled the port of Durres, which was a supply base, and the seven Greek transports ship carrying Serbian soldiers and combat equipment while they were waiting to land at San Giovanni di Medua. From there he set sail for Alexandria and stayed in the Eastern Mediterranean for a while. Later he sailed to the Red Sea and stayed there till the end of war. During the most desperate time of the Balkan Wars, he boosted people’s morale. He kept Greek forces at Thessaloniki and prevented Serbian’s help. He kept the Greek navy, especially its biggest armored ship Averoff Armored, immobile.
Due to his success, Hüseyin Rauf Bey was called the “Hero of Hamidiye” by the public and the empire gave him a medal called “Hamidiye Kruvazörü Hümayunu” (T.N. Imperial Hamidiye Cruiser). On 2nd July 1913, Rauf Bey was promoted as a major. On January 8, 1914, he was appointed to the Command of armored ship Sultan Osman which was under construction in England. However, he turned back after England seized the ship when World War I erupted. He was appointed to the Head of the 1st Department of the Ministry of Navy in 1915. He became the captain of frigate as lieutenant colonel. In 1917 he was appointed to Captain of Galleon as colonel and throughout the war he had remained his position as the Chief of the Naval Staff. After the war, he was appointed to the Minister of Navy in Ahmet İzzet Pasha Government which was formed upon fall of Talât Pasha Government. He signed the Armistice of Montrose on 30th October 1918 with a committee chaired by him, on the Greek island of Lemnos. One week later, his duty as the Minister of Navy ended since the government resigned.
Upon the English occupation and violation of the Montrose pact by the Allied, he resigned from his position and went to Anatolia to collaborate with Kemal Atatürk, his former friend in 1919. First, he reviewed issues of the Aegean. Then he went to Ankara to meet Ali Fuat (Cebesoy) Pasha, Commander of the 20th Corps. Together they went to Amasya to sign the Amasya Protocol. He joined the Congress of Erzurum and Congress of Sivas with Mustafa Kemal Pasha. Together with Kemal Pasha and other nine people he was elected to Heyet-i Temsiliye (T.N. Representative Committee). On December 27th, 1919 he and other members went to Ankara.
He was elected to the Last Ottoman Parliament as deputy of Sivas on 12th January 1920. He showed efforts for the acceptance of the National Pact (“Misak-ı Millî”) in the parliament on 17th February 1920. He was exiled to Malta with some other deputies when Istanbul was occupied by England on March 16th; 1920. He stayed there for one year eight months. Upon his return from Malta, he was elected to TBMM (T.N. Grand National Assembly of Turkey) as the deputy of Sivas. He was appointed to Ministry of Public Works in 1921. He became the Prime Minister in 1922; he served as the Prime Minister until 4th August 1923. He dissented from İsmet Pasha, the Chief negotiator, during the first period of Lausanne Peace Conferences. He made one hundred and three speeches, forty of which were at closed sessions.
Hüseyin Rauf Bey was elected to Istanbul deputy in the second period. He was criticized sharply in the Congress of the Halk Fırkası (CHP) because of his statements after the proclamation of republic to Tevhid-i Efkar and Vatan newspapers published in Istanbul. It was the beginning division between him and the government. On November 9th, 1924 he left the CHP with some of his friends and founded the Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası (T.N. Progressive Republican Party). In 1925 when his party was closed and its branch office in Istanbul was searched with the warrant of Independence Courts, he remained in his duty as an independent deputy. In 1926, he took forty-five days off and went to Europe for the treatment. While he was at London, he learnt that he had been charged with an assassination on Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha in Izmir and sentenced to confinement in a fortress for 10 years. He was discharged of his duty as deputy upon the hearing of the decree in TBMM. He didn’t accept those judgments however, he did not return to Turkey for he couldn’t appeal to it. Two years later, the judgments were dismissed with an amnesty act published in 1933, he returned to Turkey. He was pensioned by the decree of the council of ministers.
He was nominated by the General Presidency Council of the CHP for a free seat in the parliament with a proclamation dated 22nd October 1939. That proclamation emphasized that he had no connection with the assassination. In the end, he was elected as the Kastamonu deputy and joined the TBMM. However, he was sent to England as an Ambassador in 1942 because the government thought it was better if he represented Turkey in England during the most critical period of the World War II and he resigned from his post as deputy. He returned to Turkey in 1944 and didn’t accept any more duties. He stayed away from politics. Rauf Orbay, who never got married, died on July 16th, 1964 in Istanbul and buried in Erenköy Sahra-yı Cedid Cemetery.