The official Anadolu news agency reported that Mesut Yilmaz, a former Turkish prime minister, and veteran politician who served as premier three times during a tumultuous political era in his country, died at the age of 72 on Friday.
From 1991 to 2002, Yilmaz led the now-defunct center-right Motherland Party, or ANAP, and served three times as prime minister in the 1990s. Due to the fall of his coalition governments, two of those premierships only lasted for months. He was the party's founding member.
After the so-called 1997 military memorandum that put an end to the coalition government of then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan during a tense political period in Turkey, Yilmaz formed his third government, which lasted 18 months. Erbakan supported Islamic values and was a mentor to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president. The overthrow of Erbakan was dubbed by the secular military a 'postmodern coup' and remains a traumatic event for his followers.
Earlier, Yilmaz served in the government of former Prime Minister Turgut Ozal as a foreign minister and culture minister.
In 2019, Yilmaz received lung cancer treatment and had an operation in May to remove a tumor in his brain stem. He died Friday at a hospital in Istanbul, where he was receiving treatment.
Yilmaz was the first prime minister to be tried on charges of "misfeasance in public office" in Turkey's supreme court for alleged attempts to influence a tender for the Turkbank private bank. In 2006, the court ruled that state officials should maintain their distance from tendering processes and found that Yilmaz was criminally responsible. The conviction was delayed by an amnesty bill.