Where does the name “Fethiye” come from?
The Turkish Government of the time wanted to show that they were not behind Europe in aviation development; the Turkish Minister for Defence Enver Paşa ordered two planes to fly from İstanbul to Cairo, allowing the Ottoman pilots to prove their ability in flying long distance routes.
The first plane was flown by Captain Fethi Bey (1887-1914), with Navigator First Lieutenant Sadik Bey, both of the Turkish Navy.
Captain Fethi Bey’s Bleriot XI monoplane named “Muavet-i Milliye” took off on the 8th of February 1914 from Istanbul heading for Alexandria. Sadly his plane crashed on the 27th of February between Damascus and Tiberias. Captain Mehmet Fethi Bey and First Lieutenant Sadik Bey were killed and are buried in Damascus. Megri Municipal Council proposed changing the name of “Megri” to commemorate Fethi Bey, the first Turkish pilot who was killed in a crash. This proposal was approved by the Council and Mayor of the time, Musaoğlu Mehmet Cen, and the town of Megri was renamed Fethiye in the Turkish pilot’s honour. “Fethiye” was used in all documentation from that point on. However, due to the First World War and the subsequent Independence War, the Council of Ministers approval could only be officially obtained in1934.
Fethi Bey was born in 1887 and trained as a pilot in England between 1912 and 1913, becoming an officer on graduation from naval academy. Awarded the Silver Merit Medal during the Balkans war, then leading the İstanbul to Cairo attempt in 1914.
The impressive bronze statue of Fethi Bey looking out over the sea can be found just off the promenade near Fethiye (Ece)Marina.