Mahir Ünal (born 1 July 1966) is a Turkish politician and academic from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) who currently serves as the Minister of Culture and Tourism since 24 November 2015. He has been a Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Kahramanmaraş since being elected in the 2011 general election. He was re-elected in both the June and November 2015 general elections.Prior to becoming an MP, Ünal was a campaign strategist for the AKP during the 2007 general and the 2004 and 2009 local elections. He has also worked as an election strategist for elections held in Iraq, Malaysia, Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon, having served as an advisor to local administrations on the issues of political relations and local policies.
With the AKP winning a parliamentary majority in the November 2015 general election, party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu formed the 64th government of Turkey in which Ünal was appointed Minister of Culture and Tourism on 24 November 2015.
Mahir Ünal was born on 1 July 1966 in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaraş Province. Having completed his primary and secondary education in Elbistan, he attended Bahçelievler Koca Sinan High School in İstanbul and graduated in 1984. In 1991, he graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Theology. He received his masters degree from İstanbul University Institute of Social Sciences in 1997, specialising in social structures and social change. He has continued pursuing a doctorate in the same university’s Faculty of Sciences and Literature, in the field of sociology.
In 1992, Ünal became a teacher. He later became an advisor on the fields of urban policy, local government and political communication. In 2005, he became an advisor at the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. Between 2007 and 2009, he became a member of the executive board of İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi sports club. He later became the director of the behavioural sciences department of a private university and also taught on the subject of organisational behaviour.