Mevhibe İnönü

Mevhibe İnönü was born in İstanbul in 1897. Her father was Zühtü Bey and her mother was Ayşe Hanım. The family emigrated from Bulgaria, Svishtov to İstanbul after the war in 1877-1878 known as "93 War" (the Russo-Turkish War). Mevhibe could only attend until secondary school as a little girl in those times of turmoil. When she was 19 years old she got married in 1916 with staff colonel İsmet İnönü who was the son of their neighbors Hacı Reşit Bey and Cevriye Hanım. Ismet Bey was 32 years old at that time. When talking about his memories, he says that he only saw Mevhibe Hanım through the doorway.

21 days after their marriage İsmet Bey went to Diyarbakır. He often wrote letters to his young bride. At one stage he returned to İstanbul, but he went back to war again. In 1918 after the Treaty of Mondros he was assigned to İstanbul Harbiye Supervision Undersecretariat. It was this time of the year when their marriage finally fell into place. İstanbul was under military occupation. In 1919, their first child İzzet was born. When his son was three months old, İsmet Pasha went to Anatolia to join Mustafa Kemal. With the start of War of Independence, Mevhibe Hanım left İstanbul and after having a tough journey together with Hacı Reşit Bey’s family, they arrived in Malatya passing through Karadeniz. İzzet died here at the age of two. After staying in Konya for a while, the family went to İzmir. In 1923 Mevhibe Hanım went to Switzerland with İsmet Pasha who was at the time carrying the process of 2nd Lausanne Conference. In 1924 his son Ömer was born in İzmir. Being the first Prime Minister of the Republic, in 1925 İsmet Pasha brought Mevhibe Hanım to Ankara and they moved to an orchard house in Çankaya which is known as the Pink House. In 1926 Erdal and in 1930 Özden were born in this house. When İnönü was elected as the President in 1938, the family moved to Çankaya House. After the elections in 1950 Mevhibe Hanım lived for a while in a duplex house in Ayten Street, but apart from that she lived in Pink House until her death.

While assuming “the most important woman” role before the society until 1938 as the wife of Prime Minister and between 1938 and 1950 as the wife of President, ensuing years Mevhibe İnönü won the Turkish public’s affection with her good heart, grace and modest character. With the big support of her husband, she pioneered Turkish women to find their true place in the society. She was one of the first women to use the Latin alphabet. She removed her chador, drove a car and rode a horse. With the request of Atatürk, in 1927 she threw the first ball of Republic in Pink House. During the 2nd World War she continued her nursing course.

Working as the founder of institutions such as Türkiye Yardım Sevenler Derneği and Türk Kadınlar Birliği (Turkish Women’s Union) Mevhibe İnönü was recognized as a “Republican Lady” always being loyal to the traditions and her beliefs.

When İsmet İnönü become the leader of the opposition party, she continued travelling by his side throughout the country.

When she passed away in February 7, 1992, she left behind an unforgettable name, so many memories, documents, letters and carefully reserved belongings. Mevhibe İnönü had 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.