Mehmet Ali Talat was born in Kyrenia on July 6, 1952. Completing his primary and secondary education in Cyprus, Talat graduated from the Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey with and M. Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering.
Talat was involved in various political activities since he was a university student and played an important role in the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot Students´ Youth Federation (KOGEF), becoming the first chairman of its executive board.
He also participated in the youth movement of the Republican Turkish Party, and served in various committees and organs of the RTP for many years. He served as the party secretary for Education.
Talat was the Minister of Education and Culture in the first coalition government formed by the RTP-Democrat Party (DP) Alliance after the general elections of December 1993. He undertook the same post in the second DP-RTP coalition government, and became the Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister in the third DP-RTP coalition government.
Talat was elected as the leader of the RTP on January 14, 1996, succeeding Ozker Ozgur. Talat entered the parliament in 1998. He became the prime minister of the RTP-DP Coalition Government formed following the 14 December 2003 general elections. Winning a victory in the February 20, 2005 general elections, Talat formed the second RTP-DP coalition, serving as Prime Minister until his election as the TRNC President on April 17, 2005.
During the 2004 referendum on the Annan Plan to unify Cyprus in advance of its entry to the European Union, Talat promoted a ´Yes´ vote and the plan received overwhelming endorsement among Turkish Cypriots.Talat is a fluent speaker of English. He is married and has two children.