He was born in Alaca, Çorum, in 1962. He graduated from Işıklar Military High School in 1978 and from the Turkish Military Academy in 1982 as a Lieutenant of Artillery. In 1983, he completed his training at the Artillery and Missile School. After serving as a commander in various units, he transferred to the Air Defence Branch and became one of the founders of the Air Defence School in 1997.
He managed the entire process, from the design to the inventory integration and the development of advanced versions, of the National Air Defence Early Warning Command and Control System (HERİKKS), which was produced by a consortium led by ASELSAN and consisting of STM, HAVELSAN, TÜBİTAK, and AYDIN YAZILIM, as a national replacement for the FAADS supplied by the USA. With the inventory integration of HERİKKS, the Turkish Armed Forces became one of the twelve NATO member countries possessing these systems.
He carried out project officer duties for the Air Defence Radar KALKAN, produced by ASELSAN as a replacement for the US-made Sentinel radars, and for the NATO Low Level Air Picture Interface (LLAPI) project. With the KALKAN Radar, Türkiye obtained the capability to develop national air defence radars. He completed his master degree in Economics at Gazi University in 1999, Command and Staff Training at the Turkish War Academies Command in 2003, and a Master's degree in Education Management and Supervision at Beykent University in 2005. He retired from the Hadımköy Garrison Command, which he established and assumed command of, in 2013. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the General Manager of GOLD Elektrik, a company he co-founded for a year.
İlhami KELEŞ, who assumed the position of Founding Secretary-General of SAHA Istanbul Defence Aerospace and Space Cluster established in March 2015;
With the support of our esteemed sector leaders, who have served and continue to serve as the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors since its establishment, SAHA Istanbul has achieved significant milestones, including:
- Increasing its membership from 27 to 960 companies from 38 cities, including major contractors and 25 universities,
- Becoming the largest cluster of the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership (EACP),
- Becoming an important part of the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQC), which manages the aerospace and space technology industry worldwide through the SAHA MİHENK structure, defining and auditing quality processes,
- Establishing the National Space Industry Committee (SAHA MUEK) to bring together all companies working in Türkiye's space industry under one roof,
- Leading technical committee work in 10 different areas, serving as the kitchen for numerous completed and ongoing projects aimed at reducing dependency on foreign defence industry, and establishing new companies like TASECS and MİLTEKSAN,
- Opening liaison offices in Technopark Istanbul as the main SAHA headquarters, as well as in Yıldız Technopark, ITU Maslak Campus, Technopark Ankara, and industrial chambers of 5 cities,
- Expanding the SAHA EXPO Fair, first organized in 2018, to a significant scale in 2022, with 957 companies participating, including 390 foreign and 567 domestic firms, 289 official delegations from 33 countries, 103 commercial delegations from 22 countries, and a total of 78,643 visitors, including 40,000 industry professionals,
- Creating a SAHA MBA program equivalent to the world's best MBA programs with the vision of becoming an international brand by 2026, providing MBA education to 200 company owners, second-generation leaders, and corporate executives, thus contributing to the development of managerial human resources in the sector,
- Leading the SAHA Entrepreneurship program, providing training, mentoring, and access to investors for entrepreneurial companies in the sector, and implementing an acceleration program.
During his tenure as Secretary-General of SAHA Istanbul, he carried out significant work with the mission of developing the technological and sectoral competencies of its members, promoting collaboration among members, and building a strong ecosystem to increase the domestication rate, acquire critical technologies not yet possessed, and elevate the Turkish defence, aerospace, and space sectors to higher levels of international competitiveness. He managed the efforts of SAHA Istanbul for the success of the National Technology Move. On February 6, 2023, he was appointed as the General Manager of MKE Inc.