Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Father of Turkey

Mustafa Kemal AtaturkMustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in Salonica (today in Greece) in 1881. He is renown as the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

In 1915, he emerged as a military hero in Dardanelles during the Gallipoli campaign, and later became the leader of the Turkish national liberation struggle started in 1919.

In 1923, as the creator of the new Republic of Turkey, Atatürk established a form of government that reflected the wishes of the people thru the Parliament.

Sweeping cultural and socio-political reforms took place. Between 1926 and 1930, legal changes led the way for Islamic religious laws to be abolished and a secular system emerged.

Atatürk initiated a program for economic development in Turkey, which consisted of agricultural expansion, industrial and technological advances.

Determined not to stop there, Atatürk undertook the greatest challenge of all, a reform of the existing language. In 1928, he decided to abolish the Arabic script and incorporated the Latin alphabet with the Turkish.

With this came the impetus to develop the education of the country's citizens. Primary education was declared compulsory and great prominence was given to the education of women.

Mausoleum of AtaturkMustafa Kemal Atatürk was President for 15 years, until his death in 1938, on November 10th. His achievements are a legacy to the modern state of Turkey and he is considered a pioneer of national liberation. Today his Mausoleum is in Ankara.

He was a great defender of the idea of peace at home and in the world. He explained his ideals about the responsibilities of humankind to each other by expressing;

Humankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness.

In 1981, his memory was honored by the United Nations and UNESCO on the occasion of the centennial of his birth. He will be always remembered as saying;

Unless the life of the nation faces peril, war is a crime. If war were to break out, nations would rush to join their armed forces and national resources. The swiftest and most effective measure is to establish an international organization which would prove to the aggressor that its aggression cannot pay.

He was not just a Turkish leader who led his country's war against aggressors, but also a peaceful son of humankind who sent very important messages to the other nations about the necessity of a peaceful and mutually respectful co-existence of all nations on the same planet.