Thursday 19th of September 2019, 19:03 CET|
First name: Mustafa Kemal
Date of birth: 1881
Date of death: November 10, 1938
Last updated: June 3, 2014
|Ataturk is the national hero of Turkey. He founded the modern Turkish Republic out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire; an empire that was seen as the sick man of Europe at the turn of the century. His modern perspective created a new nation and a country, and a secular state understanding different from most other Islamic countries was introduced by him. Once you step in Turkey, you will see his statues and the busts all over. One of the best books written about Ataturk from a foreigner's point of view is the book titled " The Rebirth of a Nation" by Lord Kinross.|
He was born in the year 1881 in Thessaloniki, at that time, within the Ottoman Empire's borders at that time, in Greece at present . His full name was Mustafa Kemal and the Ataturk surname, meaning the father of Turks, was given to him by the Turkish people (1934 November 24th.) in accordance with the reforms he introduced to create a modern Turkish country.
His background was military, and he served in various posts in the Ottoman army. During the First World War , he was the colonel in charge of Infantry at Gallipoli in 1915 and it was his genious defense tactics that prevented the allied forces ( British, French, Anzacs - Australians and New Zealenders and Senegalese) from capturing the Dardanelles and eventually Bosphorus.
His success and fast growing reputation disturbed the capital and to keep him under control he was promoted to Pasha ( General ). When the War ended the armies of the allied forces occupied nearly all corners of the country including Istanbul. Sultan and many of the people saw a hopeful future in the acceptance of either the British or American mandate. Ataturk, however, had a very different vision. He left Istanbul in a small boat, namely Bandirma ( a nice model of the boat may be seen at the Ataturk Museum in Ataturk's Mausoleum, Ankara), going ashore at Samsun, a coastal town in the Black Sea, on the 19th. of May 1919 ( a date later to be presented by Ataturk to the Turkish Youth as the Turkish Youth Day), the day the War of Independence began. He wanted Independence.
First with skirmishes , in time with proper army troops, Ataturk and his army friends' armies started fighting the enemy. Ankara was chosen to be Ataturk's headquarter for its central location and the seeds of a new country were planted there. He and his friends wanted to replace the Monarchy with a Republic. The War of Independence took some three years and by the end of the year 1922, all of the invaders had left the country. The Ottoman Sultan fled in a British boat. The birth of a new nation had begun.