Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

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Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 1919 Sivas Congress (cropped).jpg
Personal life
Date and place of birth 1881
Salonica, Ottoman Macedonia, Ottoman Empire
Parents Ali Rıza Efendi
Zübeyde Hanım
Claimed religion Sunnism (rejected)
Education Ottoman War Academy
Imperial Military Staff College
Spouse Latife Uşaklıgil (1923–1925)
Children 9 (adopted)
Date & Place of Death November 10, 1938
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Manner of Death Cirrhosis
Place of burial Ethnography Museum, Ankara (November 21, 1938 – November 10, 1953)
Anıtkabir, Ankara (since November 10, 1953)
Dictatorial career
Country Turkey
Military service Ottoman Army (1893–1919)
Army of the Grand National Assembly (1920–1923)
Turkish Army (1923–1927)
Highest rank attained Major General (Ottoman Army)
Marshal (Turkish Army)
Political beliefs Republicanism
Political party Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi)
Date of dictatorship October 29, 1923
Wars started Revolt against the Allies and the legal government in Constantinople ("Turkish War of Independence")
Number of deaths attributed 264,000 Greek civilians
60,000–250,000 Armenian civilians
Thousands of Ottomans supporting the legal Constantinople government

Kemal Atatürk[2] (or alternatively written as Kamâl Atatürk;[3] 1881 – November 10, 1938), also known as Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Turkish: Mustafa Kemal Paşa) and often called Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was a Turkish military commander of the Ottoman Army during World War I and the founding father of the Turkish nation state. After the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I, he started a nationalist revolt against the legal Ottoman Imperial Government in Constantinople and the authorized Allied Powers. In this rebellion, he got stronger with the support of Ottoman army officers, politicians, and people. He won his war against Constantinople and the Allies, then founded the Republic of Turkey. He inspired Adolf Hitler with these actions.[4][5] Ataturk was a heavy drinker and smoker.[6]


Atatürk was a successful division commander in the Battle of Gallipoli. The Allies defeated the Ottoman Empire and arranged for its partition. Thereupon, after a few congresses, he led an organized political resistance in Asia Minor by establishing a new assembly and government in Ankara (at that time Angora). Atatürk defeated the forces sent by the Allies, thus emerging victorious from what was later referred to as the "Turkish War of Independence" (in fact, this war was a revolt against the victorious Allied Powers of WWI and the legal government of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople). Then he deposed the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 and became the first President of Turkey in 1923.

Atatürk led a political, legal, religious, cultural, social, and economic revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific (also nationalistic pseudoscientific), secularized, and based on the rationalist Enlightenment. He abolished the caliphate, a remnant of the former monarchy, and exiled the Ottoman dynasty from Turkey. Atatürk took all schools under the control of the Turkish government and abolished the privileges granted to foreigners. He carried out a nationalization policy in economy, a Turkish supremacist policy called "Turkish History Thesis" (Türk Tarih Tezi) in historiography, and a Turkicization policy against ethnic minorities. He changed the place names in Greek, Armenian, Kurdish, Zazaki, Arabic, Syriac, Yazidi, Laz, and Georgian languages to Turkish language. (Such as Constantinople became İstanbul, Smyrna became İzmir, and Angora became Ankara. However, these place names used in Turkish are already have Greek or Hittite roots.[7][8][9]) It is estimated that most of Turks are Muslim (and most of them are conservative), but Atatürk established a secular rule based on a strong military. He abolished the sharia law, outlawed polygamy, and accorded equal rights to women including the right to vote and hold government positions. As a result of his efforts, Turkey was the only Muslim-majority country to independently hold democratic elections. Islamists all over the world hate him because of his secularist reforms.[10] However, he inspired some Muslims, the moderate ones.[11]

Atatürk read and was influenced by the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau.[12] From September 9, 1923 to November 10, 1938, he was also leader of the Republican People's Party, the largest secularist political party in Turkey.

Samuel P. Huntington defines "Kemalism" as a response to attempts at "reconciliation of Islam and modernity", or to modernize Islam without Westernization.

Harold C. Armstrong, a British army officer who was captured by the Ottomans in World War I, described Atatürk as follows:

He is a man born out of due season, an anachronism, a throw-back to the Tartars of the Steppes, a fierce elemental force of a man. Had he been born in the centuries when all Central Asia was on the move he would have ridden out with Sulyman Shah under the banner of the Grey Wolf, and with the heart and instincts of a Grey Wolf. With his military genius, and his ruthless determination unweakened by sentiments, loyalties or moralities, he might well have been a Tamerlane or a Jenghis Khan riding at the head of great hordes of wild horsemen, conquering countries, devouring and destroying cities, and filling in the intervals of peace between campaigns with wild and hideous orgies of wine and women. Grey Wolf: Mustafa Kemal – An intimate study of a dictator (fifth cheap edition, July 1935), p. 333

On a Turkish website – The Turkish War of Independence and the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey:

The National Assembly which first convened on 23 April 1920 in Ankara was the first clue to the Turkish Republic. The successful management of the War of Independence by this assembly accelerated the founding of the new Turkish State. On 1 November 1922, the offices of the Sultan and caliph were severed from one other and the former was abolished. There was no longer any administrative ties with the Ottoman Empire. On 29 October 1923, Turkish Republic was formally proclaimed and Atatürk was unanimously elected as its first President. On 30 October 1923, the first government of the Republic was formed by İsmet İnönü. Turkish Republic started to grow on the foundations of the twin principles "Sovereignty, unconditionally belongs to the nation" and "peace at home, peace in the world". Biography of Atatürk

See also


  • Balfour, Patrick. Atatürk: The Rebirth of a Nation (1964).
  • Çandar, Cengiz, and David Pryce-Jones. "Atatürk's Ambiguous Legacy." Wilson Quarterly 2000 24(4): 88-96. Issn: 0363-3276 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Eissenstat, Howard. "History and Historiography: Politics and Memory in the Turkish Republic." Contemporary European History 2003 12(1): 93-105. Issn: 0960-7773 Fulltext: in Cambridge journals.
  • Karpat, Kemal H. "The Personality of Atatürk," The American Historical Review, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 893–899 in JSTOR
  • Kazancıgil, Ali and Özbudun, Ergün, eds. Atatürk: Founder of a Modern State. Archon, 1982. 243 pp.
  • Kedourie, Sylvia, ed. Seventy-Five Years of the Turkish Republic. (1999). 237 pp.
  • Kedourie, Sylvia. Turkey Before and After Atatürk: Internal and External Affairs (1989) 282pp; excerpts and text search
  • Kinross, Patrick. Atatürk: The Rebirth of a Nation (1965) 615pp
  • Macfie, A.L. Atatürk (1995) 275pp excerpt and text search
  • Mango, Andrew. Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey (1999) and text search
  • Tachau, Frank. Kemal Atatürk (1987)
  • Trask, Roger R. "The United States and Turkish Nationalism: Investments and Technical Aid during the Atatürk Era," Business History Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, International Government-Business Issue (Spring, 1964), pp. 58–77 in JSTOR
  • Volkan, Vamık D., and Norman Itzko. The Immortal Atatürk – A Psychobiography (1984)
  • Weiker, Walter F. The Modernization of Turkey: From Atatürk to the Present Day (1981) online edition


  2. ID card from 1934
  3. ID card from 1935
  4. In his address to the Reichstag on May 4, 1941, Adolf Hitler said:
    "Turkey had been our ally in the World War. Its unfortunate result was as heavy a burden for Turkey as it was for us. The great and ingenious reconstructor of the new Turkey gave his Allies, beaten by fate, the first example of resurrection. While Turkey, thanks to the realistic attitude of her State leadership, preserved her independent attitude Yugoslavia fell a victim to British intrigues."
  5. In a meeting with a delegation of Turkish politicians and journalists on April 20, 1938, Hitler said:
    "Atatürk was the first to show that it is possible to mobilize and regenerate the resources that a country has lost. In this respect Atatürk was a teacher; Mussolini was his first and I his second student."
  7. Necdet Sakaoğlu (1993/94a): "İstanbul'un adları" ["The names of Istanbul"]. In: Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi, ed. Türkiye Kültür Bakanlığı, Istanbul.
  8. Romein, Jan (translated by R. T. Clark). The Asian Century: A History of Modern Nationalism in Asia (De eeuw van Azie). University of California Press, 1962. p. 170. "In 1930 geographical names were 'turkicized'. [...] Smyrna, Ismir [sic], [...]"
  9. Judy Turman: Early Christianity in Turkey
  10. Umut Azak: Islam and Secularism in Turkey: Kemalism, Religion and the Nation State. I.B.Tauris, 2010, p. 134.
  11. M. Şükrü Hanioğlu (May 9, 2011). Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-3817-2. Retrieved on June 5, 2013. 
  12. The Rising Cresent: Turkey Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

External links