Ali Fuat was born in September 1882 to father Ismail Fazil Pasha and mother Zekiye Hanim. Ali Fuat was the grandson (on his mother's side) of Musir Mehmet Ali Pasha (Ludwig Karl Friedrich Detroit) who was the commander of the Danube Army (Tuna Sark Ordusu) during the Russo-Turkish war, participated in the Congress of Berlin as one of three representatives of the Ottoman Empire and was killed on September 7, 1878 in Dakovica (Kosovo) by Albanian insurgents who were dissatisfied with the results of the Berlin Congress.
Ali Fuat attended the War School in 1902, and graduated from the Ottoman War College in 1905 as a Staff Captain (Erkan-i Harp Yuzbasisi).
Ali Fuat was Circassian on his fathers side.
He was assigned to the 3rd Rifle Battalion (Ucuncu Nisanci Taburu), the 28th Cavalry Regiment (Yirmi Sekizinci Suvari Alayi) based in Beirut under the command of Fifth Army based in Damascus, and later to 15th Artillery Regiment (On Besinci Topcu Alayi) based in Thessalonica under the command of Third Army as an intern. He joined the Committee of Union and Progress (membership number was 191). On June 28, he was assigned to the staff officer of the Third Army. And then he was promoted to the rank of Senior Captain and appointed to the area commander of Karaferye (present day: Veria). On January 9, 1909, he was appointed to the military attache in Rome, Italy. On October 1, 1911, he was appointed to the chief of the 1st department (chief of operations) of the Western Army. On February 20, he was temporarily appointed to the chief of staff of the I Corps, VII Corps. And then he was appointed to the commander of a detachment that was formed to liberate Ipek (present day: Pec) and Yakova (present day: Dakovica) from insurgents.
On June 24, he was dispatched to Europe for the preparation of the transfer of arms and ammunition to Tripoli Vilayet. On September 29, he was appointed to the chief of staff of the Iskodra Corps. He also participated in the Balkan Wars. He became the chief of staff of the Yanya Corps and on November 10 he was appointed to the deputy commander of the 23rd Division (Yirmi Ucuncu Firka), replacing Mirliva Cevat Pasha. On December 12, when the Greek offensive commanded by Konstantinos Sapountzakis was launched, he planned to retreat in an orderly fashion, but panic amongst the ranks led to the defeat of his division. In the defense line of Bizani he was severely wounded in the thigh, but continued to direct artillery fire whilst on a stretcher. On March 6, 1913, he and his forces surrendered following the instruction of Esad Pasha (Battle of Bizani). He was then transferred to a hospital in Kifissia, a suburb of Athens, to receive medical treatment.
On January 15, 1914, he was appointed to the chief of staff of the VIII Corps. After Kress von Kressenstein was appointed the chief of staff of this corps, replacing Ali Fuat, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (Kaymakam) and on September 19, he was appointed to the commander of the 25th Division. In January 1915, he participated in the First Suez Offensive. On January 7, he and his division left Birussebi (present day: Beersheba) for the desert and arrived at the front of the Suez Canal, but the Ottoman forces couldn't pass the canal and retreated. He and his division went back to Gaza on January 20, 1915.
After the Gallipoli Campaign was launched, the 25th Division was dispatched to the Gallipoli Front on May 24, 1915 and started to arrive there on June 2, 1916. His division entered to the order of the XVII Corps of the First Army and deployed in the Bulair-Saros area.
On January 20, 1916, he was appointed to the commander of the 14th Division. At first, his division was intended for use in the Second Suez Offensive and sent to Maallaha, but because of the Russian offensive, his division instead came under the command of the Seconde Army under Ahmet Izzet Pasha, and on June 27, were sent back from the Rayak station to Aleppo and dispatched to Diyarbekir.
On September 30, he was promoted to commander of the 5th Division and in January he became the chief of staff of the Seconde Army.
On January 12, 1917, he returned to the Sina-Palestine Front and in April he became the deputy commander of the Sina-Palestine Front. On June 30, 1917, he became the commander of the XX Corps. After the Armistice of Mudros was signed, he concurrently became the deputy commander of Seventh Army, replacing Mustafa Kemal. After the Seventh Army was abolished, he transferred the headquarters of the XX Corps from Syria to Eregli, then to Konya and to Ankara.
Ali Fuat Pasha organized the resistance in Western Turkey against the Greek invasion and thus actually started the National Independence War. He contributed to the resistance forces against the Greek army that had begun to occupy Western Anatolia. He signed Amasya Protocol and at the end of the Sivas Congress in 1920, he was appointed as the general commander of the National Forces by the Board of Representatives. The presence of him and his army in Ankara is the reason behind Ataturk's choice of this city as the center of Turkish War of Independence.
The same year, he was elected as a deputy at the First Parliament. He was appointed ambassador to Moscow, Soviet Union in 1921, as he had quarrels with Ismet Inonu, who was appointed by Ataturk as the Commander of the Western Front although Inonu had failed against Greek invasion at Kutahya-Altintas in 1921. By personally negotiating with Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, he signed the Treaty of Moscow (1921) along the lines of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty as the representative of the Ankara government, which provided financial and military support from the Soviet Union to the Turkish Independence War, in exchange for the return of Batum back to Soviet Union. After finishing his duty as an ambassador, he was elected as the second spokesman of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
After the declaration of the Republic, he became a deputy. In this new era of his political career, he joined the founders of the opposition party, the Progressive Republican Party, and he was elected as the general secretary of the party in 1924. During the rebellion of Seyh Sait, the Law on the Maintenance of Order was affected and the Progressive Republican Party was closed down. Ali Fuat Cebesoy was arrested with the accusations of participating in the attempt of assassination against Ataturk and was taken to Izmir. He was tried at the Izmir Independence Court and was acquitted in 1926.
He retired with the title of general. He stayed away from politics for four years between 1927 and 1931. In 1931, he returned to politics and elected as a deputy from Konya. He served as the deputy of Konya and Eskisehir until 1950. He also served as Minister of Public Works from 1939 to 1943, Minister of Transportation (1943–1946) and as the president of the Parliament in 1948. He was an independent candidate of the Democratic Party from Eskisehir in the first democratic elections of the Turkish history held on May 14, 1950 and he was elected with a landslide. In the following years, he was elected as a deputy from Istanbul and served in the parliament for ten more years between 1950 and 1960. After the military coup on May 27, 1960, he was initially arrested by the junta with the rest of the Democratic Party MPs but later set free. After this experience he quit politics for good.
In accordance with his will, he was buried to the backyard of a mosque near Geyve train station, where the first shots of the Turkish War of Independence were fired, when he died at the age of 86. However, his remains were moved to the Turkish State Cemetery in Ankara, after the military coup of 1980.