The Fethiye Municipality announced this week that a commemorative ceremony, marking the death of Fethi Bey 103 years ago, will be held on Monday, 27th February. The public are welcome to attend. The ceremony will take place at 10am.

Fethi Bey ceremony 2016
Fethi Bey ceremony 2016

Fethi Bey is an important figure in the town’s modern history – after all, he gave his name to the town and a ceremony is held at this time every year in his honour. However, apart from his statue and the accompanying plaque, there is little information (in English) in the town about who this pioneering hero was…

Fethi Bey staue in Fethiye

Who was Fethi Bey?

Fethi Bey

According to information on line, Tayyareci Fethi Bey was born in Ayazpaşa in Istanbul in 1887. He graduated from Naval College in 1907 as a second lieutenant. He was then sent to Britain, where he trained as an aviator. He was promoted to captain in 1911 and was one of first pilots in the Ottoman Air Force.

What happened to Fethi Bey?

One American newspaper at the time said that the young aviator died on 28th February, 1914. It reported that he was attempting to fly from Istanbul to Alexandria, in Egypt, together with his navigator, Sadik Efendi, in a Bleriot XI/B plane called Muavenet-i Milliye when the tragedy occurred.

This is a transcript of a news story in an American paper with a description of what is said to have happened on that fateful day.

“Turkish Aviators Killed,”
Knoxville Journal and Tribune, 
Knoxville, Tennessee: March 1, 1914,
Transcribed by Bob Davis – 2-20-07
“Constantinople, Feb. 28. – Fethy Bey and Sadik Bey, young aviators of the Turkish military aviation corps, were killed today while attempting to fly from Constantinople to Alexandria, Egypt. After leaving Damascus on the way to Jerusalem the aeroplane broke down in mid air and the two aviators fell with it from a high altitude. Fethy Bey rendered great assistance to the Ottoman army during the Balkan war, making many flights over the Bulgarina positions.”

There appears to be some confusion about the day Fethi Bey died but Turkish sources, however, concur that is was on February 27th 2014.

The town, previously called Meğri, was renamed Fethiye in honour of the young pilot, in 1934.

After the ceremony, at 11am, there will be a display in the skies above Fethiye by the THK. Let’s hope the sun is shining, like last year, on our town’s special day.

Fethi Bey ceremony 2016
Fethi Bey ceremony 2016
Fethi Bey ceremony 2016
Fethi Bey ceremony 2016