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Ali Çetinkaya, also known as "Kel" Ali Bey (1878—21 February 1949) was an Ottoman Army officer and Turkish politician who served eight terms in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, including a period in 1939–40 as his country's first Minister of Transport.
He was born in Kara Hisâr-i Sâhib (present day Afyonkarahisar) in Hüdavendigâr Vilayet as a son of Ahmed Efendi. He studied in the Bursa Military High School (Bursa Askerî İdadisi ). After graduating from military highschool, he entered the Ottoman Military Academy (Mekteb-i Füsûn-u Harbiyye-i Şâhâne ) In 1898 he graduated academy and joined the Ottoman military as an Second Lieutenant (Mülâzım-ı Sani ). During World War I, he served for the army in the Caucasus and Galicia fronts.
When the Greek forces were landing at Smyrna in May 15, 1919, he was a lieutenant colonel and the commander of 172nd Infantry Regiment stationed in the Aegean coastal town of Ayvalık. His regiment was under the command of the 56th Division of Hürrem Bey. Ali played a key role in the first stage of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, starting with the opening battle.
He was briefly able to hold back the advance into the city of Greek occupation forces. His action is considered to mark the first shots fired by regular forces in the 1919–22 Greco-Turkish War, although there were earlier confrontations in which irregular militias participated, including the battle involving Hasan Tahsin in İzmir, as well as actions in Urla and Ödemiş. Cunda Island of Ayvalık is named after this great hero as Alibey Adası. Ali Çetinkaya is the commander of the first military resistance forces at İlk Kurşun Tepesi ( The First Bullet Hill ) against the Greeks. Now there is a military rehabilitation center on that hill. After the war, Ali Çetinkaya was elected to Turkish Grand National Assembly for eight successive terms and served until 1942, holding ministerial posts in six different governments, including, with the formation of a Ministry of Transport, becoming Turkey's first Minister of Transport.
Ali Cetinkaya died in Istanbul in the year of his 71st birthday.
- Hasan Kundakçı, "Ali Çetinkaya'yı Anarken", Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi Dergisi, Sayı 38, Cilt: XIII, Temmuz 1997 (Turkish)