Fahrettin Kerim Gökay

Tıp Doktoru, Devlet Adamı, Akademisyen, Siyasetçi

22 Temmuz, 1987
Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine

Medical doctor, academics, statesman and politician (B. 1900, Eskişehir, Turkey - D. July 22, 1987, Istanbul, Turkey). He was the son of Abdullah Efendi who was dealing with textile trade in Eskişehir. He completed his primary education in his birthplace. Then, he studied at Eskişehir Liva High School in Istanbul and Istanbul Boğaziçi Rehber-i İttihad and Menbaul İrfan High School. After having graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine (1922) between the years of 1922-24, he studied the Major program in Munich, Hamburg and Vienna Universities and became an expert on mental health. After having returned to the country, he became the psychology laboratory chief of the Istanbul Psychiatric Hospital. During his student years, he published Milliyetçi and Ahrar newspapers. In 1926, he became the assistant professor at the Neurology Clinic and became a professor during the university reform. In 1942, he took the title of distinguished professor. He worked voluntarily in the non-governmental organizations as a member of Health and National Education Councils, the head of Turkish Red Crescent and Green Crescent Society and as the founder and head of the Turkish Social Psychiatry Association.

 He worked as a faculty member at Istanbul University for a long time. In 1949, he was appointed as the governor and Mayor of Istanbul. Between October 24, 1949 and November 26, 1957, after he had served as governor and metropolitan mayor of Istanbul for eight years; he was appointed to the Switzerland Embassy (Bern). He worked as a parliamentarian of Istanbul in the XII Government’s period. Between the years of 1961-65, he was elected deputy of Istanbul from the Yeni Türkiye Party (YTP). He worked as the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in the government of Ismet Inonu (1963) and as the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing.

  Just before the general election of May 14, 1950 when Demokrat Party (DP) came to the power, he pointed to the extraordinary crowd saying that “My master, here is Istanbul”, during the election speech of İsmet İnönü in Istanbul's Taksim Square and when Adnan Menderes said to him that “Hodja, you get some rest” to criticize his nationalization program which was implemented in Istanbul, he responded to that as: “No, you get some rest”. He was etched on the people’s memory with his interesting words.

  Fahrettin Kerim Gökay is also famous for his effective works on “Green Crescent Society”. He was the general secretary and the head of Green Crescent Society. He became the symbol of fighting to alcohol addiction. He took active parts in various societies and congress both national and international and attended many international conferences.

  During his governorship and mayorship of Istanbul, he put his signature on interesting applications such as checking often the prices of merchants and making discounts on the goods, banishing the drunkards out of the city. The sale of foodstuffs by the municipality so as to regulate the prices started during his mayorship of Istanbul. In this regard, the big market Migros opened in the same period. Construction plans for Kazlıçeşme and Zeytinburnu was realized during his mayor ship and these regions were urbanized. In addition, nearly fifty schools were built in Istanbul. He gave special attention to the construction of the roads on the historic and tourist routes.

  He increased the water potential of Asian side of Istanbul through the construction of 2nd Elmalı Barrage. He installed a pipeline between Terkos-Kağıthane. So, the many fountains became operative. Due to the 500th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul, the historical and monumental buildings were illuminated at night for the first time. Fatih Complex, Süleymaniye Mosque, Murat Paşa Mosque, İvaz Efendi Mosque and Saliha Sultan Fountain were repaired. The shops around the Eyüp Sultan Mosque were demolished and the square was opened; so that the mosque was uncovered. To the construction of the Municipality building in Saraçhane was started and the construction lasted for seven years. He is the first mayor of Istanbul who banned honking in the city. He held anti-alcohol and anti-smoking campaigns. He took drastic measures against the drunks who disturb the public peace.

  The two major streets in Üsküdar and Kadıköy were named after him. He is always remembered with his saying: “People rushed to the beaches; so, the citizens cannot swim”. The sentence also expresses the approach of the elitist politicians of the time.  Because he remained inadequate during the events of 6-7 September, he and the Minister of Internal Affairs Namık Gedik, who named the massacre as “The Uprising of National Youth” when he was in Istanbul at the time, had to resign.

  He was soft hearted, although he had a nervous personality. He responded rigidly to the interventions of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes for the city of Istanbul. When he heard that Menderes was deeming him “insane”, he held a press meeting and said that: “Menderes is a landlord, he is calling me insane as if he knew a thing about mental medicine. His words are enough to make a cat laugh. But, if I give him a mentally ill report, he can’t convince anyone that he’s not, throughout his life.” Following his press meeting, Menderes was personally interested in the construction plan of Istanbul from the mid-1950s. Gökay resisted this and he resigned from his position in 26 November 1957 and was appointed as the Ambassador of Bern.

  Ord. Prof. Dr. Fahrettin Kerim Gökay withdrew from politics in 1965 and began to spend time cultivating roses in the garden of his house. He died in Istanbul where he much loved, in July 22, 1987. So much loved by the people, hence a short rhyme was manufactured: “Mini-mini-governor, what will we do with you?” As a rich man, Gökay had 630 pieces of real estate titles. He left all of his assets to the foundation bearing his name.            He left all his properties to the foundation that bears his name. Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Anatolian High School in Sefaköy district of Istanbul was named after him. In addition, Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Pavilion in Bakırköy Mental and Nervous Diseases Hospital in Istanbul was named after him. He has approximately fifty unpublished and published works.


  Gayrı Tabiî Aşklar Üzerine Ruhi Tetkikler (1924), Akıl Hastalıklarının Teşhisi ve Tedavisi (1925), Türkiye’de Felc-i Umumi Meselesi (1926), Ruh Hastalıkları (1928), Ameliyatla Selâh Göstermiş Ekstra Medüller Tümör Vak’ası (1944).



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