Celal Bayar was born in Umurbey, a village in Gemlik, Bursa. After receiving education at Bursa Vocational School specialized in Silk and Collège français de l’Assomption, he started working as a clerk. Bayar worked in the fields of banking and law. In 1907, he joined the secret branch of the Committee of Union and Progress in Bursa and was sent to İzmir by the Committee.
During the Armistice period he was involved in the grassroots movements against the Allied Forces occupation and impersonating a religious leader, he propagandized against the enemy with the nickname Galip Hoca. He was involved in the struggle to recapture the province of Aydın. With a decision made in the Balıkesir Convention he was appointed as the Commander of the Akhisar Front.
He participated in the final meeting of the last Ottoman Parliament on 12 January 1920 as the representative of Saruhan region. Later he took part in the national resistance and moved to Anatolia. Celal Bey who was in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) as a Bursa representative became the Minister of Economics in 1921.
Bayar took part in the Lausanne Peace Conference as a consultant. He entered the Second TBMM from İzmir in the 1923 elections. In March 1924 he was appointed as the Minister of Development, but he resigned in the August of same year.
Bayar assumed an important role in the establishment of the first bank of Turkey in 1924 and worked as the President of the Türkiye İş Bank until 1932. He shined during the establishment of the new Republic with his knowledge in economics and skills in politics. Bayar served as the Minister of Economics between 1932 and 1937. He also was the Prime Minister for two years from 1937 to 1939. He continued his political life as a İzmir Deputy in the Parliament.
With the transition to the multi-party system in 1946 he founded the Democratic Party (DP) along with Adnan Menderes, Fuat Köprülü and Refik Koraltan. Bayar was the Chairman of the DP and after the victory of his party in the 1950 elections he was elected as the third President of Turkey on 22 May 1950.
Mahmut Celal Bayar was removed from office as a result of the 27 May 1960 military intervention and sentenced to death by the Yassıada court on 15 September 1961.However, because his sentence was reduced to lifetime imprisonment, he was sent to Kayseri Regional Prison. Due to health conditions Bayar was released on 7 November 1964.
The third President of Turkey died in Istanbul on 22 August 1986.Celal Bayar who got married to Reşide Hanım in 1903 had three children.