Fahrettin Kerim Gökay

Ord. Prof. Dr.

Fahrettin Kerim Gökay
Making a public speech in front of Nusretiye Mosque, 1949.
Minister of Health and Social Security
In office
November 27, 1963 – December 25, 1963
Prime Minister İsmet İnönü
Preceded by Yusuf Azizoğlu
Succeeded by Kemal Demir
Minister of Construction and Settlemen
In office
July 1962 – November 27, 1963
Prime Minister İsmet İnönü
Ambassador of Turkey to Switzerland
In office
November 23, 1957 – July 2, 1960
President Celal Bayar
Preceded by Faik Zihni Akdur
Succeeded by Zeki Kuneralp
Governor and Mayor of Istanbul
In office
October 24, 1949 – November 26, 1957
Preceded by Lütfi Kırdar
Succeeded by Mümtaz Tarhan
Personal details
Born January 9, 1900
Eskişehir, Ottoman Empire
Died July 22, 1987(1987-07-22) (aged 87)
Istanbul, Turkey
Citizenship Turkish
Political party New Turkey Party (1961) (YTP)
Education Medicine
Alma mater Istanbul University

Fahrettin Kerim Gökay (January 9, 1900 Eskişehir – July 22, 1987 Istanbul) was a Turkish politician, civil servant, professor ordinarius and physician. He served as government minister, and is well known for his long-term position as governor of Istanbul.

Early years

He was born on January 9, 1900 in Eskişehir. His father was Hajji Kerim Efendi, a Crimean Tatar from Kerch and his mother Hajji Azize Hanım, an immigrant daughter from Dobruja. After finishing the primary school in his hometown, he studied in a high school in Istanbul.[1]

Gökay was educated at Istanbul University's Faculty of Medicine, from where he graduated as a physician in 1922. He then carried out studies between 1922 and 1924 at universities of Munich and Hamburg in Germany as well as at University of Vienna, Austria, specializing in neuropathy.[1]

In 1926, Gökay became associate professor, in 1933 professor and then in 1942 full professor.[1][2] He served also as president of the Turkish Red Crescent.[3]

Civil servant

On October 24, 1949, he was appointed governor and mayor of Istanbul, succeeding Lütfi Kırdar (in office 1938–1949). Gökay served in this post until November 26, 1957.[1] He introduced price controls on staple foods in Istanbul to protect low-income residents.[2][3] The municipality of Istanbul founded Migros Türk in 1954 as a joint venture with Swiss Migros, initially operating (like its counterpart in Switzerland) via sales trucks.[4] Gökay opened up the area outside of the Walls of Istanbul for urbanization. He also initiated the foundation of around fifty schools in Istanbul.[3] During his term of office, he was nicknamed "Küçük Vali" (literally English: Little Governor) for his small height,[1] and was a favorite figure depicted in cartoons as such. He was blamed for his passive behavior during the Istanbul riots on September 6–7 in 1955, and was tried before the military tribunal on Yassıada after the 1960 coup d'état.[1]

On November 23, 1957, he was appointed Ambassador to Switzerland, where he served in Bern until July 2, 1960.[1][2][3]


In the 1961 general election, Gökay entered politics, running for a seat in the parliament from the New Turkey Party and became deputy of Istanbul. In the cabinet of İsmet İnönü, Gökay served as Minister of Construction and Settlemen from July 1962, and then as minister of health and social security between November 27 and December 25, 1963. He retired from politics in 1965.[1][2][3]

Gökay died on July 22, 1987 at the age of 87 in Istanbul.[1]


A main street in Kadıköy district of Istanbul is named after him.[5] There is an Anatolian High School at Sefaköy in Küçükçekmece district of Istanbul bearing his name.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fahrettin Kerim Gökay". Kent Haber Eskişehir (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  2. ^ a b c d "Fahrettin Kerim Gökay'ın tıp diploması, bir araştırmacıda çıktı". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ord. Prof. Dr. Fahrettin Kerim Gökay" (in Turkish). İstanbul Valiliği. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  4. ^ Wirtschaft, Finanz und. "Hot Corner: Diese Migros gibt Vollgas". Finanz und Wirtschaft (in German). Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  5. ^ Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Caddesi Haritası Kadiköy Istanbul (Map) (in Turkish). Harita. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  6. ^ "Istanbul Küçükçekmece Fahreddin Kerim Gökay Anadolu Lisesi" (in Turkish). FKGAL. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lütfi Kırdar
Governor and Mayor of İstanbul
October 24, 1949–November 26, 1957
Succeeded by
Mümtaz Tarhan
Preceded by
Minister of Construction and Settlemen
July 1962–November 27, 1963
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Yusuf Azizoğlu
Minister of Health and Social Security
November 27, 1963–December 25, 1963
Succeeded by
Kemal Demir