Heybeliada İsmet İnönü House

Heybeliada İsmet İnönü House

(It is taken from the self-titled brochure of İnönü Foundation.)

It was 1924 when İsmet Pasha got to know Heybeliada. Pasha had an illness at that time. Doctors, especially Ghazi Pasha recommended resting. So, Heybeliada was chosen and this house was rented furnished. Whole family moved in here.

They had walks in the piney wood around Heybeliada. And his interest in trees started here. His condition got better every day. But, his joyful days at Heybeliada did not take long, because Sheikh Said rebellion arose in the east part of Turkey. Ghazi Pasha called him back to Ankara. And he was assigned to the Prime Ministry again for a while.

Meanwhile, new members entered the family. Erdal and Özden joined Ömer. They went to Heybeliada every year. They swam and had walks. Children played tennis and sailed in boat. They considered buying the house in1934. 25.000 Turkish Liras was wanted for the furnished house. Ghazi Pasha suggested that they should buy it without the furniture for it was quite difficult to gather that amount of money at those times. So they bargained off the price and agreed on 9.500 Turkish Liras. And Ghazi Pasha bestowed the new furniture to the family. Today all the furniture, exterior surfaces renewed, dates from that time.

After leaving the Prime Ministry in September 1937, İsmet Pasha settled in Ada for a very long time. And new Prime Minister Celal Bayar visited him there.

Even though Yalova and Florya were chosen due to their crowded retinues during the presidential term between 1938 and 1950, the family could not leave Heybeliada. Mevhibe Hanım and the children spent at least some of their summer time here.

The house in Heybeliada regained its liveliness between 1950 and 1960. During the opposition period, most of the summer time was spent here. Famous feet first dives were performed in the wooden pier of the beach. His photos with one of his shoulder strap stripped are known to everyone. These photos were published in the newspaper as well. He went to the beach with his wife.

Children and teenagers surrounded him immediately. They went to the pier as a whole group. While Pasha performed feet first dive, children and teenagers who were in line waiting on the diving board jumped to the sea altogether. Mevhibe Hanım always checked the time spent in the sea. But the time seemed to string out. They went to the beach on foot but returned by phaeton. When arrived home, Pasha took a nap for an hour. He wore his tie and vest and only then he was ready for the lunch. After the lunch he again put his pajamas on and slept for a while. Pasha instilled this habit in many people.

In the evening, they drank tea in the balcony. And they usually had guests. He greeted the young people passing by and waved at them. Sometimes they went upstairs and kissed his hand. The dinner was served inside the house. And from time to time all family members were at the table. After the engagement with the neighbor’s daughter Sevinç Sohtorik, Erdal stayed at his father’s house and after the marriage he started to live in the house of his father-in-law.

İnönü liked to have one or two drinks at dinner. And he did not exceed that limit. Sometimes he drank rakı and sometimes vodka, as he pleased. He also drank a glass of whisky before dinner at times. But, he was always prudent for the next day he weighed himself. And for that, he first went to the pharmacy around the pier for a walk and weighed himself there and then in the bathroom of the house. The bascule in the bathroom had of course a steelyard which showed well into the gram as details were very significant to İnönü.

For the opposition leader İsmet İnönü, there was a lot work to do between 1950 and 1960. Republican People’s Party became the opposition party due to one negative vote. There were different thoughts and tendencies in the party at that time. Most of the guests of Mevhibe İnönü were RPP’s politicians. But fortunately they had to get on the “Last Ferry.”

When the elections in 1954 ended up even worse, everything became much harder for Pasha. It was 1956 when he could stop the decline of the Party. Notables of the Republican Nation Party and the Independence(Liberty?) Party joined the guests of Heybeliada. Cooperation negotiations continued in the houses at Taşlık and Heybeliada. Many protocols were signed. And well-known politicians were now also the guests of the dinner tables. But the ones who wanted to negotiate always asked for more than they deserve. Ismet Pasha said “I am tired of struggling with the foolishness of others, don’t you start too!” to his party’s executives in this house at Heybeliada.

After May 27 and during the presidency period, the number of guests coming lessened. During summer time the house was occasionally open and guests were hosted. Or, the family went to Heybeliada from Ömer’s house at Maltepe with ferry and stayed there for couple of days.

İsmet Pasha called his barber Yanni every morning for shave and as for haircut he went to his barbershop in town.

During the prime ministry period, Maltepe seemed as a better choice for it had a facility to go on a train and return to Ankara on Sunday evenings.

When İsmet İnönü was not prime minister, his main guests were RPP’s secretary general İsmail Rüştü Aksal and his wife Jale Aksal. Usually in the study and at nights in the balcony, they created the idea “left-of-center.” This idea was completed in this house and then released to the public.

The other guests of the house were unforgettable journalists who were young, dynamic and capable of turning up like a bad penny. İnönü held many press conferences in the house. They also tried to get scoops from each other.

It was after 1973 when sorrow began in the house in Heybeliada.

İsmet İnönü was now gone. He closed his eyes to life at the age of 89 in the 25th of December 1973 in Pink House in Ankara. The house in Heybeliada was not open for the first summers. Mevhibe Hanım was in Kartal at that moment. But, the longing for the house in Heybeliada never went away. Besides,her daughter-in-law Sevinç spent her childhood in Heybeliada. Some summers, the house opened and got cleaned, and then Mevhibe Hanım came together with Erdal and Sevinç in the house. Erdal and Sevinç could keep the aliveness in the house.

However, the houses incur the wrath of nature just like human beings. The house which witnessed many years with its beautiful garden and walls started to die in the loneliness it was left in. The only solution was to turn the house not into a museum but into a house by İnönü Foundation such as İsmet İnönü House. In order to do this, the house was donated to İnönü Foundation by İnönü Family and today the building you see became what it is with the contribution of our many friends. This house will live and even improve with the full support of old and new friends, especially the ones from Heybeliada.


Heybeliada İnönü House is open every day except on Mondays between 10.00 am and 18.00 pm.

ADDRESS: Refah Şehitleri Street.No:59 H.Ada-İSTANBUL

Telephone: 0 216 351 84 49