The Socialist International celebrates the life of Erdal İnönü, former Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, and Vice-President of our International.
Erdal İnönü, son of Turkey’s second president, İsmet İnönü, studied, and later taught, physics during his early career. He was particularly notable for his pioneering work on group contractions which became one of the basic methods of mathematical physics. After the military coup in Turkey in 1980, Erdal İnönü entered politics and in 1983 he co-founded the Social Democracy Party, SODEP, and was appointed its first Chairman. SODEP was banned from entering the 1983 elections by the military government of the time, nevertheless, the party came second in the 1984 local elections. A year later, SODEP merged with the People's Party, Halkçı Parti, to become the Social Democratic People's Party, SHP, and Erdal İnönü was elected Chairman again in 1986. In 1991 İnönü became Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government with the True Path Party, DYP; and was appointed acting Prime Minister for a short time after the DYP’s Süleyman Demirel became President in 1993. He continued as Deputy Prime Minister for some months after a new government was formed. In 1995 the SHP merged with the Republican People's Party, CHP, and Erdal İnönü was given the title of Honorary Chairman. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs later that year.
Erdal İnönü made significant contributions to the field of physics and was awarded the Wigner medal in 2004 for his scientific contributions, the most important award in physics after the Nobel prize. He equally played a crucial role in his political career and was dedicated to advancing social democracy and working for peace. Under his leadership, the SHP hosted a meeting of the SI Council in Istanbul on 11-12 June 1991, the first to be held in Turkey. Active in the Socialist International for many years, Erdal İnönü was elected a Vice-President of the SI at the XIX Congress in Berlin in 1992 and held the position for more than a decade. He will be long remembered in Turkey’s history, and by all his comrades in our political family.