Nuh Necati Çelim (1909, Köşk, Aydın Province, Ottoman Empire - 5 March 1986, Izmir, Turkey) was a Turkish politician, doctor and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Democratic Party (Demokrat Parti). He represented Aydın Province in the 10th and 11th Turkish parliaments from 1954 to 1960. He was first sentenced to death in the mock Yassıada trials undertaken after the 1960 Turkish coup d'état. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison. He was given a 6 month release in September 1964 due to health problems and with transition back to democracy around the 1965 elections he was released from the Kayseri prison along with the rest of the DP MP's still remaining in prison. He is survived by his wife Kamuran Çelim, his daughter Muhsine Neyran Yıldızhan, his son Ahmet Oğuz Çelim, and two grandchildren.
Family background and education
Çelim, was born in Köşk in 1909 to Hafız Ahmet and Muhsine Hanım. He comes from the family of Posacılar an old Turkoman family with roots in Western Turkestan that settled originally in Karahayıt, Aydın during the Ottoman Interregnum.
His original education was religious in nature and with his mother's encouragement Necati Çelim recited the Qur'an twice first at age 7 and then again at age 9. His father, who owned the Posacılar Farm, wanted him to focus on their large farming and trading businesses instead of getting further education. Thus he escaped from home, with the financial help of his mother. He studied in cities where he had relatives as at that time there were no middle or high schools in Aydın. First he passed the primary school exams as he had not been able to go to school during the years that spanned World War I and the Turkish War of Independence. Then he went to Manisa and graduated from middle school. Later, he went to Istanbul and graduated from Kabataş High School. Upon graduation from high school he entered the Medical School at Istanbul University, one of the corner stones of President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's new educational institutions, that was heavily staffed by German and Austrian scientists who the National Socialist regime in Germany had considered `racially' or politically undesirable. He graduated from the Medical School at Istanbul University in 1934. His family supported him until the Great Depression, yet at this time his family's business was heavily hit and he completed the remainder of his studies with a scholarship from a family friend. In return, after he had a permanent job, he supported the education of many students from Cizre to Aydin. He completed his residency at Zeynep Kamil Kadın ve Çocuk Hastalıkları Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi and became a gynecologist. In addition to his native Turkish, he could read and write in Arabic, Persian and French.
Career as a government-appointed doctor around Turkey
As a government doctor first, he was appointed to Cizre in Şırnak Province. Necati Çelim worked as a government doctor in Cizre for four years. Then he was appointed to Çukurova in the Mersin Province with a focus on fighting malaria.
In the 1930s in Çukurova it was determined that malaria cases were much more frequent around paddy fields. As such a law was passed in 1935 to administer the wet-field cultivation in Turkey. In every region a committee was formed for this purpose with a government administrator, a doctor and a producer on board. Dr. Necati Çelim helped significantly in eradicating malaria from around Çukurova during this time. However some large land owners, unhappy with losing too much farming land to malaria prevention efforts, asked the government to transfer him out of Mersin. Subsequently he was appointed to Söğüt in Bilecik Province. In Söğüt in addition to his regular duties, he was heavily involved with the Celebration of the Life of Ertuğrul Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. His final post was at Bayındır in İzmir Province again with a focus on fighting malaria. This was to be his last government post and after his service in Bayındır he returned to Aydın Province to operate his private practice.
During his time as an MP (1954-1960) he focused on legislative efforts to increase the amount of money allocated to the Ministry of Education as well as improving the living standards of teachers.
He was a member of the important 15-person investigation committee on relations between the Turkish Army and Republican People's Party (RPP), which had established the Turkish Republic and had remained in power from the founding of the Republic through 1950. The committee was founded in April 1960, just one month before the 1960 Turkish coup d'état. RPP's all too powerful head Ismet Inonu, the former president of Turkey, was intriguing with some lower ranking officials to overthrow the government and DP Committee's goal was to prevent a coup d'état from happening. The 15-person investigation committee had mostly focused on the relationships between the RPP and the Army but they were also looking into international connections of the upcoming coup d'état. Nevertheless, the committee could not stop the coup.
Subsequent to the 1960 Turkish coup d'état the generals took control of the country along with the Republican People's Party supporters, the Prime Minister of Turkey Adnan Menderes along with his two ministers were unlawfully executed by hanging, many Democratic Party members were prisoned and banned from political life. Furthermore, the Turkish Military declared its allegiance to NATO and CENTO, received over a billion US dollars in aid from the US and forced more than half the officer corps of the Turkish Military into retirement. As a result, about 90 percent of the generals, 75 percent of the colonels, 50 percent of the lieutenant colonels and 30 percent of the majors were discharged from the army.
Contributions to Aydın during his political career
Necati Çelim is one of the founding members and also one of the original Board of Directors of the Aydın Textiles Factory. Aydın Textiles Factory is the first textiles factory of the city of Aydın and for over 25 years was the largest employer in the region. Necati Çelim also wrote and submitted the legislation that made Kuşadası part of Aydın Province instead of Izmir Province. Çeşme, part of Izmir Province, was the favorite vacation spot of almost all the Izmir Province MPs. Furthermore, the distance between Izmir and Kuşadası was far greater than the distance between Aydın and Kuşadası. Due to these reasons Kuşadası did not get enough attention from the Turkish Government. As a result of the legislation, that Necati Çelim spearheaded, Kuşadası started to receive significant investments from the government and started to become an important destination for tourism. This change has also greatly increased Aydın Province's tax revenues. Necati Çelim was also key to securing the government investment for building the first passenger port in Kuşadası.
1960 Turkish coup d'état and after the coup
After the 1960 Turkish coup d'état Dr. Necati Çelim was first imprisoned in Yassıada. Afterwards he was kept as a political prisoner in Kayseri until 1964. The generals, now lifetime senators, banned him from practicing medicine upon his release. This ban was overturned in 1966 by the Justice Party, a descendant of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless his political rights were curbed for over ten years, until the late 1970s, during which he even couldn't vote in the parliamentary elections, or take part in politics.
In 1966, Necati Çelim, was penniless, without any property as his family had to sell whatever little they had to survive during his five years in prison. He went back to square one at age 57, this time with two kids and a wife to support. He returned to practicing medicine, which he did, until he was 73, until he was too sick to take good enough care of his patients. He moved to the Izmir Province where his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren resided and he was treated there for his severe respiratory disease.
He died in 1986 and he is buried in Kuşadası, hometown of his wife.