Mayor, Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality | President, Union of Municipalities of Türkiye

Born in 1975, Yücel Yılmaz is married and has three children, one daughter and two sons. After completing his education in Balıkesir, he attended university in Eskişehir. During his university years, he served as the president of the university student senate. He completed his master's degree in Economics and Trade Policy at İzmir Democracy University Institute of Social Sciences. He completed his military service as a Second Lieutenant at Bandırma 6th Main Jet Base. Yücel Yılmaz founded Foreign Language Schools serving in the education sector throughout Türkiye, also worked as an English teacher in various schools affiliated to the Ministry of National Education before starting his commercial life.

Yücel Yılmaz, who has been active in various associations in some part of his commercial life, served as a council member in Balıkesir Chamber of Commerce for two terms and as the Chairman of the Assembly for one term. After he became the Founding Mayor of Karesi Municipality, he left the Chamber of Commerce Assembly Presidency and association memberships. Yücel Yılmaz was elected as Mayor of Karesi Municipality in March 2014 local elections. Yücel Yılmaz added 10 national and international awards to his career during his term as Mayor of Karesi Municipality, personally pioneered the establishment of the Union of Cities Organising Oil Wrestling in Türkiye and ensured that the centre of the union was Balıkesir, the hometown of “Kurtdereli Mehmet Pehlivan” (Wrestler Mehmet from Kurtdereli). He is also the president of the union he founded.

Yücel Yılmaz was elected as the Mayor of Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality in 31 March 2019 Local Administrations Elections.

He is the Vice President of the United Cities and Local Governments World Organisation (UCLG) for the period 2022-2026 and Future Pact - Future of Governance Ambassador.

Yücel Yılmaz is the Co-Chairman of the United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Regional Organisation (UCLG-MEWA), one of the nine regional organisations of UCLG, for the period 2019-2022, a member of the Board of Directors for the period 2022-2025 and also the Chairman of the UCLG-MEWA Culture and Tourism Committee and Co-Chairman of the UCLG-MEWA Environment Committee.

He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Regent Park World Urban Community. He is the founder and president of Ida Madra Geopark Tourism Infrastructure Service Municipalities Union, which was established for the management of Ida Madra Geopark, which contains natural, historical and cultural resource values covering an area of 17.000 km2 in Balıkesir region.

He is a member of the Local Assembly in National Delegation to the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CoE Congress). He is a Bureau Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) and a member of the Türkiye Working Group of the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR).

Yücel Yılmaz has been serving as the President of the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye since May 2023.