Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938)


Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 after the former military attaché and general Mustafa Kemal had lead the Turkish army to victory over the Greeks and their allies, amongst them England, France and Australia.
Turkey became a republic and Mustafa Kemal its first president. From then on everything happened quickly. It became necessary to revise traditional thinking. The caliphate was abolished. The new president had one goal, to create a modern and independent Turkey based on western models.
The Arabic script was replaced by the Latin alphabet. Agricultural reform, the legal system and school reforms were initiated and as a symbol of the new period the fez (red Turkish hat), turbans and veils were banned.
Mustafa Kemal introduced the obligatory adoption of surnames for everyone. He himself was given the name Atatürk meaning Father of Turks.
The many reforms and changes inevitably resulted in some victims. Many history books accuse, correctly, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of being too hard on his political opponents, especially the Kurdish minority in the eastern part of Turkey. This is seldom mentioned today.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died in 1938. Even now, 65 years after his death, there is still no doubt of his importance in the hearts of Turks. Main roads, airports and many other things have been given his name - Atatürk. His portrait is still to be seen in all classrooms and workplaces in Turkey. Turkey has and always will have only one Father of Turks and, as the name says, that is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Location: 

Section: