Binali Yıldırım was born in Erzincan in 1955. He has a Master’s Degree in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering from the Istanbul Technical University. In 1991 he graduated from WMU with a Master of Science degree in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection. From 1994 to 2000 Mr Yildirim was the General Manager of Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. (IDO). During this time he materialized important projects to canalize people to sea transportation and thus help ease traffic problems in Istanbul. He was honoured to the ‘Skal’ Quality Award for his contribution to sea transport and tourism in 1999. H.E. Binali Yıldırım is the longest-served Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications in Turkey's political history, serving more than 11 years and as a Member of Parliament for Istanbul of the ruling AKP. On 22 May 2016, he was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey by the governing Justice and Development Party in an extraordinary party congress. He received an Honorary Doctorate and an Outstanding Alumnus award from WMU during the 2012 graduation ceremony.