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TURKEY   >  HISTORY   >> The Republic Period
The Republic Period Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Reforms


1881 Birth of Mustafa in Salonika
1893 Enters Military Secondary School where he is given the name of Kema
1899 Enters War College in Constantinople
1902 Graduates as lieutenant
1905 Posted to 5th Army in Damascus
1907 Posted to 3rd Army in Salonika
1908 "Young Turk" Revolution in Salonika
1911 Posted to General Staff in Constantinople; goes to Tobruk and Derna with Turkish Forces, promoted to Major
1912 Balkan War; severe defeat, returns home
1913 Appointed Military Attaché in Sofia
1914 Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel; Turkey signs secret alliance with Germany; Russia, Britain and France declare war on Turkey
1915 Appointed to reorganize 9th Division, in Thrace; unsuccessful allied naval attack on Dardanelles; allied military landing at Ariburnu (Anzac); promoted to colonel; appointed to command 16th Army Corps
1916 Allied evacuation of Gallipoli Peninsula; transferred to Caucasus front; promoted to General and Pasa
1917 Returns to Constantinople
1919 Appointed Inspector-General in Anatolia; lands in Samsun; issues "Declaration of Independence" at Amasya; ordered by Government to return; resigns from the army; Nationalist Congress at Sivas and Erzurum; National Pact; new parliament elected; headquarters at Angora
1920 (April 23) First Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) at Ankara
1921 Consecutive battles against different enemies; given title of Gazi and rank of Marshal by TGNA
1922 Izmir is retaken; proclaims abolition of Sultanate
1923 Treaty of Lausanne; People's Party; Second GNA; Angora (Ankara) becomes capital; proclamation of the Republic; becomes President; marries Latife in Izmir
1925 Divorces Latife
1938 Death of Ataturk; succession of Ismet Inonu as President of the Republic

Thousands of his statues or busts and millions of his photos have been erected or hung all over the country. His name has been given to countless institutions, buildings, streets, parks and suchlike.

Foreigners unaware of his accomplishments might think that the Turks are a bit obsessed with a man now dead for approximately 60 years.

No other nation on earth has loved a leader as much as the Turkish nation loves Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

"Mustafa Kemal Ataturk differed from the dictators of his age in two significant respects; his foreign policy was based not on expansion but on retraction of frontiers; his home policy on the foundation of a political system which could survive his own time. It was in this realistic spirit that he regenerated his country, transforming the old sprawling Ottoman Empire into a compact new Turkish Republic.

... I don't act for public opinion. I act for the nation and for my own satisfaction.....
It was a restless mind, nurtured on those principles of Western civilization which had influenced Turkish liberal thought since the nineteenth century; continually refueled by the ideas of others, which he adapted and adopted as his own; but always grounded in a common sense mistrustful of theory..."

His life

He was born in Salonika in 1881 and named Mustafa. Kemal was a nickname meaning "perfection" given by a tutor. He was a good student and did well at the military academy.

He was one of the early members of the Young Turks movement and a front-runner in the revolution which demanded a constitutional government for the Ottoman Empire.

During the First World War, he fought on many fronts. In 1915, then a Lieutenant Colonel, Mustafa Kemal was commanding a division of troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula. His actions in the Dardanelles as a soldier of determination, bravery and brilliance gave him great standing amongst the soldiers. His successes against the Allies were well received by the civilian population and he was acclaimed as the "Hero of Gallipoli".

This man, a military genius, soon showed himself as a great statesman too. After calling national congresses, he was elected President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in April 1920. From then until his death in 1938, he remained in power in Turkey.

In 1934 everyone had to take a surname and Mustafa Kemal received the surname ATATURK which means "Father of the Turks". With all that he did for his country, he really deserved this title.

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   Last update 21.December.2018 Thursday