Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal

Born: 1881 AD
Died: 1938 AD, at 57 years of age.

Nationality: Turkmen
Categories: Military Officer, Politicial Adviser, Presidents

 NOTE: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is TURKISH (not Turkmen).

1881 - Born in Islahhane Street, Turkey; birth of the founder of the Turkish Republic.


1885-1895 - Around these years, he enrolled at Hafiz Mehmet Efendi and later transferred to Semsi Efendi School.


1888 - His father died which forced him to stay with his maternal uncle in a farm, continued school at Salonika Mulkiye Rustiye then got in the military Rustiye, his Math teacher added 'Kemal' to his name.


1896-1899 - Between these years, he registered at Manastir Military School, transferred to Military School in Istanbul.


1902 - Graduated at Military School in Istanbul as lieutenant.


1902-1905 - Entered the Military Academy and on 11th of January, he graduated as major.


1905-1907 - His post was in Damascus with the 5th Army 1907 - got promoted as senior major and he was stationed in Manastir with the 3rd Army.


1909 - Entered Istanbul as the Staff Officer of the "Special Troops".


1910 - Sent to Paris to attend the Picardie manuevers the 19th of April.


1911 - Worked at the General Staff Office in Istanbul - he was later stationed at Tobruk and Derne regions - lead the troop to victory over Italian troops at the Tobruk battle on December 22 1912.


1912 - Became the Commander of Derne on the 6th of March, part of the Balkan War in October.


1913 - Took part in the recapturing of Dimetoka and Edirne.


1914 - Assigned to Sofia as military attache.


1915 - Promoted as lieutenant colonel, in January, his term as military attache came to an end. 1st World War already broke out and he was posted to Tekirdag to form the 19th Division.


1916 - Won the battle at Ariburnu with the Anafartalar Forces, also won the Kirectepe and Second Anafartalar Victory, fought against the Russian forces and recaptured Mus and Bitlis


1918 - Returned to Khalleppo as the Commander of the 7th army tasked as Commander of Yildirim Armies.


1919 - Worked at the Ministry of Defence on the 13th of November.


1919 - 15th of May, marked the Turkish War.


1920 - His significant contributions include leading the: recapturing of Sarikamis, Kars and Gumru; 1st Inonu Victory, 2nd Inonu Victory, Sakarya Victory; and the Great Attack, Battle of the Chief Commander and the Great Victory.


1923 - Elected as Speaker of the Grand Assembly on the 24th of April.


- Re-elected as Speaker of the Grand Assembly on 13th of August.


1927-1931-1935 - Marked the coming of the very first president of the Turkish Republic.


1925 - Married Latife Hanim.


1937 - Separated from her wife.


1938 - Donated farms to the Treasury and some real estate to the municipalities of Ankara and Bursa, 9:05 a.m., he died at Dolmabahce Palace due to liver ailment.


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (indeterminate - 1881–10 November 1938) was the leader of the Republic of Turkey as well as its first President. Mustafa Kemal became known as an extremely capable military officer during World War I.[1] Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish national movement in what would become known as the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. During his presidency, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms. An admirer of the Age of Enlightenment, Atatürk sought to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, democratic and secular nation-state. The principles of Atatürk's reforms, which modern Turkey was established on, are referred to as Kemalism.


Early life

Born as Mustafa, his second name Kemal (meaning Perfection or Maturity) was given to him by his mathematics teacher in recognition of his academic excellence.[2] In his early years, his mother encouraged Mustafa to attend a religious school, something he did reluctantly and only briefly. Later, he attended the Þemsi Efendi school at the direction of his father. His parents wanted him to have education in a trade, but without consulting them he took an entrance exam for a military junior high school in Salonika in 1893. In 1896, he enrolled into a military high school in the Ottoman city of Manastýr (modern Bitola, Republic of Macedonia). In 1899, he enrolled at the War College in Istanbul and graduated in 1902. He later graduated from the War Academy on 11 January 1905.

Military career

Following graduation, he was assigned to Damascus as a lieutenant. He joined a small secret revolutionary society of reformist officers called Vatan ve Hürriyet ("Motherland and Liberty"). In 1907, he was promoted to the rank of captain and assigned to Manastýr. He joined the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP, 'Young Turks'). However, in later years he became known for his opposition to, and frequent criticism of, policies pursued by the CUP leadership. In 1908, he played a role in the Young Turk Revolution which seized power from Abdülhamid II. In 1910, he took part in the Picardie army maneuvers in France. In 1911, he worked at the Ministry of War for a short time. Later in 1911, he was posted to the Ottoman province of Trablusgarp (present-day Libya) to fight in the Italo-Turkish War. He returned to the capital in October 1912 following the outbreak of the Balkan Wars. During the First Balkan War, he fought against the Bulgarian army at Gallipoli and Bolayýr on the coast of Thrace. In 1913, he was appointed military attaché to Sofia and promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1914.

Mustafa Kemal in Gallipoli with his soldiers, 1915

In 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered European and Middle Eastern theatres of World War I on the side of the Central Powers. Mustafa Kemal was given the task of organizing and commanding the 19th Division attached to the Fifth Army during the Battle of Gallipoli. Mustafa Kemal became the outstanding front-line commander after correctly anticipating where the Allies would attack and holding his position until they retreated. Following the Battle of Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal served in Edirne until 14 January 1916. He was then assigned to the command of the XVI Corps of the Second Army and sent to the Caucasus Campaign. The massive Russian offensive had reached the Anatolian key cities. On 7 August, Mustafa Kemal rallied his troops and mounted a counteroffensive.[3] Two of his divisions captured not only Bitlis but the equally important town of Muþ, greatly upsetting the calculations of the Russian Command.[4] On 7 March 1917, Mustafa Kemal was appointed from the command of the XVI Corps to the overall command of the 2nd Army. The Russian Revolution erupted and the Caucasus front of the Czar's armies disintegrated.[3] Mustafa Kemal had already left the region and was assigned to the command of the 7th Army at the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. He returned to Aleppo on 28 August 1918, and resumed command. Mustafa Kemal retreated towards Jordan to establish a stronger defensive line against the British forces that won against the German commander Liman von Sanders' troops at the Battle of Megiddo. Mustafa Kemal was appointed to the command of Thunder Groups Command (Turkish: Yýldýrým Ordularý Gurubu), replacing Liman von Sanders. Mustafa Kemal's position became the base line for the Armistice of Mudros.

Kemal's last active service in the Ottoman Army was organizing the return of the troops who were left behind the south of his line. Mustafa Kemal returned to an occupied Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), the Ottoman capital, on 13 November 1918. Along the established lines of partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, British, Italian, French and Greek forces began to occupy Anatolia. The occupation of Constantinople along with the occupation of Ýzmir mobilized the establishment of the Turkish national movement and the Turkish War of Independence.[5]

War of Independence

TIME 24 March 1923. Atatürk, the title reads 'Where is a Turk his own master?'

Mustafa Kemal's active participation in the national resistance movement began with his assignment as a General Inspector to oversee the demobilization of remaining Ottoman military units and nationalist organizations. On 19 May 1919, he reached Samsun. His first goal was the establishment of an organized national resistance movement against the occupying forces. In June 1919, he and his close friends declared that the independence of the country was in danger. He resigned from the Ottoman Army on 8 July and the Ottoman government issued a warrant for his arrest. Later, he was condemned to death.

Mustafa Kemal called for a national election to establish a new Turkish Parliament that would have its seat in Ankara.[6] On 12 February 1920, the last Ottoman Parliament gathered in the capital. This parliament was dissolved by British forces after it declared the Misak-ý Milli ("National Pact"). Mustafa Kemal used this opportunity to establish the "Grand National Assembly" (GNA). On 23 April 1920, the GNA opened with Mustafa Kemal as the speaker. On 10 August 1920, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha signed the Treaty of Sèvres. It finalized the plans for the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, including the regions that Turkish nationals viewed as their heartland. Mustafa Kemal insisted on complete independence and the safeguarding of the interests of the Turkish majority on Turkish soil. He persuaded the GNA to gather a National Army. The Army faced the Allied occupation forces and fought on three fronts: in the Franco-Turkish, the Greco-Turkish and the Turkish-Armenian wars. After a series of initial battles during the Greco-Turkish war, the Greek army advanced as far as the Sakarya River, just eighty kilometers west of the GNA. On 5 August 1921, Mustafa Kemal was promoted to Commander in chief of the forces by GNA.[7] The ensuing Battle of Sakarya was fought from 23 August to 13 September 1921 and ended with the defeat of the Greeks. The Allies, ignoring the extent of Kemal's successes, hoped to impose a modified version of the Sèvres treaty as a peace settlement on Ankara, but the proposal was rejected. In August 1922, Kemal launched an all-out attack on the Greek lines at Afyonkarahisar in a final conflict, the Battle of Dumlupýnar.

The Conference of Lausanne began on 21 November 1922. Turkish representative Ýsmet Ýnönü refused any proposal that would compromise Turkish sovereignty,[8] major matters regarding the control of Turkish finances, the Capitulations, the Turkish Straits, justice, and the like. On 24 July 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed. The final outcome of the independence war came with the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923.


For conceptual analysis, see Kemalist ideology and Atatürk's Reforms
In 1930 leaving the parliament after the 7th year celebration meeting

With the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, efforts to modernise the country started. Institutions and constitutions of Western states such as France, Sweden, Italy, or Switzerland were yet to be analyzed and adapted according to the needs and characteristics of the Turkish nation. Highlighting the public's lack of knowledge regarding Kemal's intentions, the public cheered: "We are returning to the days of the first caliphs".[9] In order to establish reforms, Mustafa Kemal placed Fevzi Çakmak, Kazým Özalp and Ýsmet Ýnönü in important political positions. Mustafa Kemal capitalized on his reputation as an efficient military leader and spent the following years, up until his death in 1938, instituting wide-ranging and progressive political, economic, and social reforms. In doing so, he transformed Turkish society from perceiving itself as Muslim subjects of a vast Empire into citizens of a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state.

Domestic policies

A basic political principle for Kemal was the complete independence of the country.[10] He clarified his position: complete independence, we mean of course complete economic, financial, juridical, military, cultural independence and freedom in all matters. Being deprived of independence in any of these is equivalent to the nation and country being deprived of all its independence."[11]

—Mustafa Kemal

He led wide-ranging reforms in social, cultural, and economical aspects. As a result, the new Republic's backbone of legislative, judicial, and economic structures was put in place with these reforms.

Mustafa Kemal created a banner to mark the changes between the old Ottoman and the new Republican rule. Each change was symbolized as an arrow in this banner. The new citizens of the Republic, who had been subjects of the Ottoman Empire only a few years ago, carried this banner to remind them of the major concepts of this new establishment. This defining ideology of the Republic of Turkey is referred to as the "Six Arrows" or Kemalist ideology. Kemalist ideology is based on Mustafa Kemal's conception of realism and pragmatism.[12] The fundamentals of nationalism, populism and etatism were all defined under the Six Arrows. These fundamentals were not new in world politics or, indeed, among the elites of Turkey. What made them unique was that these interrelated fundamentals were formulated specifically for Turkey's needs. A good example is the definition and application of secularism; the Kemalist secular state significantly differed from predominantly Christian states.

Emergence of the state, 1923–1924

A political satire from the single-party period depicting Mustafa Kemal, the leader of RPP, choosing the party candidates for the MPs. In the single-party state, the candidates had only one party's (RPP) list to join.

Mustafa Kemal's private journal entries dated before the establishment of the republic in 1923 show that he believed in the importance of the sovereignty of the people. In forging the new republic, the Turkish revolutionaries turned their back on the perceived corruption and decadence of cosmopolitan Istanbul and its Ottoman heritage.[13] For instance, Ankara became the country's new capital. It was a provincial town deep in Anatolia that turned into the center of the independence movement. He wanted a "direct government by the Assembly"[14] and visualized a representative democracy, parliamentary sovereignty, where the National Parliament would be the ultimate source of power.[14] However, in the following years, he took the position that the country needed an immense amount of reconstruction, and that "direct government by the Assembly" could not survive in such an environment. The revolutionaries regularly faced challenges from the supporters of the old Ottoman regime, and also from the supporters of relatively new ideologies such as communism and fascism. Mustafa Kemal saw the consequences of fascist and communist doctrines in the 1920s and 1930s and rejected both.[15] He prevented the spread of totalitarian party rule which held sway in the Soviet Union, Germany and Italy.[16] Some perceived his opposition and silencing of these ideologies as a means of eliminating competition, others believed it was a necessary means to protect the young Turkish state from succumbing to the instability of new ideologies and competing factions.[citation needed]

The heart of the new republic was the GNA. The GNA was established during the Turkish War of Independence by Mustafa Kemal.[17] The elections were free and an egalitarian electoral system that was based on a general ballot was used.[17] The role of deputies at the GNA was to be the voice of Turkish society by expressing its political views and preferences. It had the right to select and control both the government and the Prime Minister. Initially, it also acted as a legislative power, controlled the executive and, if necessary, acted as an organ of scrutiny under the Turkish Constitution of 1921.[17] But the Turkish Constitution of 1924 set a loose separation of powers between the legislative and the executive organs of the state, whereas the separation of these two within the judiciary system was a strict one. Mustafa Kemal, then the President, occupied a powerful position in this political system.

The single-party regime was established de facto in 1925 after the adoption of the 1924 constitution. The only political party of the GNA was the "Peoples Party" that was founded by Mustafa Kemal in the initial years of the independence war. On 9 September 1923 it was renamed as the Republican People's Party (Turkish "Cumhuriyet Halk Fýrkasý").

Civic independence and the Caliphate, 1924–1925

In 1924 during the Bursa speech.

Abolition of the Caliphate was an important dimension in Mustafa Kemal's drive to reform the political system and to promote the national sovereignty. The Caliphate was the core political concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries.[18] Abolishing the sultanate was easier because the survival of the Caliphate at the time satisfied the partisans of the sultanate. This produced a two-headed system with the new republic on one side and an Islamic form of government with the Caliph on the other side. Kemal and Ýnönü worried that "it nourished the expectations that the sovereign would return under the guise of Caliph...[19]" Caliph Abdülmecid II was elected after the abolishment of the sultanate (1922). The Caliph had his own personal treasury and also had a personal service that included military personnel; Mustafa Kemal said that there was no "religious" or "political" justification for this. He believed that Caliph Abdülmecid II was following in the steps of the sultans in domestic and foreign affairs: accepting and responding to foreign representatives and reserve officers, and participating in official ceremonies and celebrations.[20] He wanted to integrate the powers of the Caliphate into the powers of the GNA. His initial activities began on 1 January 1924.[20] He acquired the consent of Ýnönü, Çakmak and Özalp before the abolition of the Caliphate. The Caliph made a statement to the effect that he would not interfere with political affairs.[21] On 1 March 1924, at the Assembly, Mustafa Kemal said

The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument, as had been the case in the past."[22]

—Mustafa Kemal

On 3 March 1924, the Caliphate was officially abolished and its powers within Turkey were transferred to the GNA. The debate as to the validity of Turkey's unilateral abolition of the Caliphate was taken up by other Muslim nations in order to decide whether they should confirm the Turkish action or appoint a new Caliph.[21] A "Caliphate Conference" was held in Cairo in May 1926 and a resolution was passed declaring the Caliphate "a necessity in Islam", but failed to implement this decision.[21] Two other Islamic conferences were held in Mecca (1926) and Jerusalem (1931), but failed to reach a consensus.[21] Turkey did not accept the re-establishment of the Caliphate and perceived it as an attack to its basic existence; while Mustafa Kemal and the reformists continued their own way.[23]

The removal of the Caliphate followed with an extensive effort to establish the separation of governmental and religious affairs. Education was the cornerstone in this effort. In 1923, there were three main horizontal educational institutions. The first and most common institution was medreses (local school) based on Arabic, the Qur'an and memorization. The second type of institution was idadî and sultanî which were the reformist schools of the Tanzimat era. The last group was the colleges and minority schools in foreign languages that used the latest teaching models in educating pupils. The old medrese education was modernized.[24] Mustafa Kemal changed the classical Islamic education with a vigorously promoted reconstruction of educational institutions along the line of an enlightened pragmatism.[24] Kemal linked educational reform to the liberation of the nation from dogma, which he believed was more important than the Turkish war of independence.

Today, our most important and most productive task is the national education [unification and modernization] affairs. We have to be successful in national education affairs and we shall be. The liberation of a nation is only achieved through this way."[25]

—Mustafa Kemal

In the summer of 1924, Mustafa Kemal invited American educational reformer John Dewey to advise him for the reforms and recommendations.[24] His public education reforms aimed to prepare citizens for roles in public life through increasing the public literacy. He wanted to institute compulsory primary education for both girls and boys; since then this effort has been an ongoing task for the Republic. He pointed out that one of the main targets of education in Turkey had to be raising a generation nourished with what he called the "public culture". The state schools established a common curriculum which became known as the "unification of education." Unification of education was put into force on 3 March 1924 by the Law on Unification of Education (No. 430). With the new law, education became inclusive, and organized and operated on a deliberate model of the civil community. It established a contemporary route to the traditional social structure by causing contemporary citizen consciousness. In this new design all schools submitted their curriculum to the "Ministry of National Education." It was a government agency modeled after other Ministries of Education of its time. Concurrently, the Republic abolished the two ministries and subordinated the clergy to the department of religious affairs. The change was one of the foundations of secularism in Turkey. The unification of education under one curriculum was the end of "clerics or clergy of the Ottoman Empire." It was not the end of religious schools in Turkey which were moved to higher education until consequent governments pulled them back to secondary education after Mustafa Kemal's death.

In 1925, Atatürk with his Panama hat just after the Kastamonu speech

Beginning in the fall of 1925, Mustafa Kemal encouraged the Turks to wear modern European attire.[26] He was determined to force the abandonment of the sartorial traditions of the Middle East and finalize a series of dress reforms, which were originally started by Mahmud II.[26] The fez was established by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 as part of the Ottoman Empire's modernization effort. The Hat Law of 1925 introduced the use of Western style hats instead of the fez. Mustafa Kemal first made the hat compulsory to civil servants.[26] The guidelines for the proper dressing of students and state employees (or , indeed, anyone, in public space controlled by the state) were passed during his lifetime; many civil servants adopted the hat willingly. In 1925, Mustafa Kemal wore his "Panama hat" during a public appearance in Kastamonu, one of the most conservative towns in Anatolia, to explain that the hat was the headgear of civilized nations. The last part of reform on dress emphasized the need to wear modern suits instead of antiquated religion-based clothing such as the veil and turban in the Law Relating to Prohibited Garments of 1934.

Even though he personally promoted modern dress for women, Mustafa Kemal never made specific reference to women’s clothing in the law. In the social conditions of the period, he believed that women would adapt to the new way with their own will. He was frequently photographed on public business with his wife Lâtife Uþaklýgil, who covered her head in accordance with Islamic tradition. He was also frequently photographed on public business with women wearing modern clothes. But it was Atatürk's adopted daughters like Sabiha Gökçen and Afet Ýnan who provided the real role model for the Turkish women of the future. He wrote: "The religious covering of women will not cause difficulty ... This simple style [of headcovering] is not in conflict with the morals and manners of our society."[27]

In 1923, with members of the Mevlana order before its institutional expression become illegal and their dervish lodge into Mevlana Museum. The Mevlevi order managed to transform itself into a nonpolitical organization which still exits.

On 30 August 1925, Mustafa Kemal's view on religious insignia used outside places of worship was introduced in his Kastamonu speech. This speech also had another position. He said:

In the face of knowledge, science, and of the whole extent of radiant civilization, I cannot accept the presence in Turkey's civilized community of people primitive enough to seek material and spiritual benefits in the guidance of sheiks. The Turkish republic cannot be a country of sheiks, dervishes, and disciples. The best, the truest order is the order of civilization. To be a man it is enough to carry out the requirements of civilization. The leaders of dervish orders will understand the truth of my words, and will themselves close down their lodges [tekke] and admit that their disciplines have grown up.[10]

—Mustafa Kemal, Kastamonu Nutku

On September 2, the government issued a decree closing down all Sufi orders and the tekkes. Mustafa Kemal ordered their dervish lodges to be converted to museums, such as Mevlana Museum in Konya. The institutional expression of Sufism became illegal in Turkey, but a politically neutral form of Sufism, functioning as social associations, was permitted to exist.[citation needed]

The abolition of the Caliphate and other cultural reforms were met with fierce opposition. The conservative elements were not happy and they launched attacks on the Kemalist reformists.[21]

Opposition, 1924–1927

Mustaf Kemal Anatolian tours.ogg
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Atatürk during one of his Anatolian tours

In 1924, while the "Issue of Mosul" was on the table, Sheikh Said Piran began to organize the Sheikh Said Rebellion. Sheikh Said Piran was a wealthy Kurdish hereditary chieftain (Tribal chief) of a local Naqshbandi order. Piran emphasized the issue of religion; he not only opposed the abolition of the Caliphate, but also the adoption of civil codes based on Western models, the closure of religious orders, the ban on polygamy, and the new obligatory civil marriage. Piran stirred up his followers against the policies of the government, which he considered to be against Islam. In an effort to restore Islamic law, Piran's forces moved through the countryside, seized government offices and marched on the important cities of Elazýð and Diyarbakýr.[28] Members of the government saw the Sheikh Said Rebellion as an attempt at a counter-revolution. They urged immediate military action to prevent its spread. The "Law for the Maintenance of Public Order" was passed to deal with the rebellion on 4 March 1925. It gave the government exceptional powers and included the authority to shut down subversive groups (The law was eventually repealed on 4 March 1929).

There were also parliamentarians in the GNA who were not happy with these changes. There were so many members who were denounced as opposition sympathizers at a private meeting of the Republican People's Party (CHP) that Mustafa Kemal expressed his fear of being among the minority in his own party.[29] He decided not to purge this group.[29] After a censure motion gave the chance to have a breakaway group, Kazým Karabekir, along with his friends, established such a group on 17 October 1924. The censure became a confidence vote at the CHP for Mustafa Kemal. On 8 November the motion was rejected by 148 votes to 18, and 41 votes were absent.[29] CHP held all but one seat in the parliament. After the majority of the CHP chose him[29] Mustafa Kemal said, "the Turkish nation is firmly determined to advance fearlessly on the path of the republic, civilization and progress".[29]

On 17 November 1924, the breakaway group officially established the Progressive Republican Party (PRP) with 29 deputies and the first multi-party system began. The PRP's economic program suggested liberalism, in contrast to the state socialism of CHP, and its social program was based on conservatism in contrast to the modernism of CHP. Leaders of the party strongly supported the Kemalist revolution in principle, but had different opinions on the cultural revolution and the principle of secularism.[30] The RPR was not against Mustafa Kemal's main positions as declared in its program. The program supported the main mechanisms for establishing secularism in the country and the civic law, or as stated, "the needs of the age" (article 3) and the uniform system of education (article 49).[29] These principles were set by the leaders at the onset. The only legal opposition became a home for all kinds of differing views.

During 1926, a plot to assassinate Mustafa Kemal was uncovered in Ýzmir. It originated with a former deputy who had opposed the abolition of the Caliphate and had a personal grudge. The trail turned from an inquiry of the planners of this attempt to an investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities and actually used to undermine those with differing views regarding Kemal's cultural revolution. The sweeping investigation brought before the tribunal a large number of political opponents, including Karabekir, the leader of PRP. A number of surviving leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress, who were at best second-rank in the Turkish movement, including Cavid, Ahmed Þükrü, and Ismail Canbulat were found guilty of treason and hanged.[31]

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