Kemal Atatürk

Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), Turkey's national hero, was a military commander of genius and a statesman with few equals.

Here are some basics about Atatürk. His image is everywhere and his influence is still alive generations after his death (in 1938).

He took a defeated, demoralized, poverty-stricken medieval theocratic monarchy and reshaped it into a vibrant, progressive, democratic secular republic. In other words, he turned black into white almost single-handedly.

A boy named Mustafa was born into the family of a minor official in Ottoman Salonika* (Thessaloniki) in 1881. Excelling at mathematics in school, his teacher gave him the nickname Kemal (Excellent). He went on to attend the Ottoman military staff college (Harbiye) in Istambul.

He joined other "Young Turks" to reform Turkey's government and society in the last years of the 19th century. Unfortunately, it was his far less talented colleagues who took power from the sultan and led the empire into a disastrous alliance with the German Empire during World War I.

During the Gallipoli campaign** (1915-1916), Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal was instrumental in stopping the advance of the Allied forces intent on seizing Istanbul. He commanded from the front lines with incredible courage, and was hailed as a war hero.

After the war, the Allies tried to seize most of Turkey's territory and resources, leaving little for the Turks. Kemal fled from occupied Istambul to Anatolia and rallied the population in defense of their homeland. He summoned representatives, organized a republican government and army and, while serving as head of goverment also commanded the army against several powerful invading forces. By 1923. the republican armies had driven all the invaders out, and the new government in Ankara was secure - if poverty-stricken.

Granted the surname Atatürk ("Father of the Turks") by a grateful parliament, Kemal made peace - and even established friendly relations - with Turkey's erstwhile enemies. Before his untimely death in 1938, he spearheaded his country's economic recovery and laid the foundations for Turkey's neutrality in World War II.

It may well be said that without Atatürk,there would be no modern Turkish Republic, well ahead of its Islamic neighbors in democratic, social, cultural and commercial progress.

His principles, still revered by most Turks, include:

4- SECULARISM (a diverse of religion and state)

memory and legacy are revered and protected by law. Nobody in Turkey jokes about Atatürk. During your visit, refrain from any light-hearted or disrespectful references to the national hero.

* Salonica, then an Ottoman city, now in Greece
** [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The World War I battle for control of the Dardanelles (Hellespont) strait was fought mainly on Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula, with appalling casualties. Around 100,000 were killed and 400,000 wounded during the nine-month campaign (1915-1916).[/font]​


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Thank you Smilina! That was really interesting to read about and learn about. It sure kept me entertained at this daft hour. ;)
Wow smilina, i found that truely interesting!! This web site is getting more and more informative each time i'm on here!!!!!! Thanks for that and keep it coming!!


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Thanks Smil,
That was really interesting!!! :)

This is one of my favorite 'Ataturk' sayings ....

"Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness."
The man spoke a lot of sense!!!!!!!!!​
O, and I forgot to mention one thing that I find rather important. Ataturk died in 1938. at the 10th of November at 09:05. Every year at that time the clock stops and the sirens are louded for one minute.
He sure has been a great man!
I have been told by a lot of Turks, that while Ataturk did great things for Turkey, he also did a lot of not so good things such as he had all the followers of the emperor murdered etc, but its so interesting, when i first went to Turkey he was everywhere! Now i know all about him!
i found that very interesting to thanks for sharing i never understood why he was so important. when i went to turkey last i was there for republican day and i was really confuzed of why there was pictures of him everywhere but now i understand why he is so respected xxx
I'm a Turk and i want to thank Smilina for sharing some information about him. I never knew that people who are from other countries know about Ataturk ... and he died in 1938 at the 10th of November at 09:05 and he had a clock in his room, that clock stopped working when he died...
Yes, excellent post. I am a Kemalist, was converted years ago. Turkey needs another Ataturk to solve the current problems.
He was truly an amazing man, that is why the Turks are so proud of him.


A truly great man

If only England could find an Ataturk!!!
He was a truly great man. He was also forgiving and compassionate, he even had a monument built to honour the soldiers he defeated at Gallipoli