Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the first president of Turkey, a revolutionary statesman, and an author who helped in establishing the Republic of Turkey. He led the war of independence in Turkey and modernized the country with his policies and reforms, which came to be known as “Kenalism”.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in 1881 as Ali Riza Oglu Mustafa to Ali Riza and Zubeyde Hanim. He grew up in Salonika, in the Ottoman Empire. At twelve, Mustafa was sent to a military academy in Istanbul. His mathematics teacher gave him second name “Kemal” which means “perfection”.
He graduated in 1905. Shortly after he was arrested for his anti-“Monarchist and Liberty”. In July 1908, he participated in the Young Turks Revolution, which deposed Sultan Abdul Hamid II and established a constitutional monarchy. Ataturk held various posts in the Ottoman army from 1909 to 1918. In 1911, he fought in the Italo-Turkish war. He also fought in the Balkan Wars from 1912 to 1913. He was given the position of the commander of the 19th division in the First World War. Ataturk’s military prowess and bravery helped him in thwarting allied invasion of the Dardanelles and earned him repeated promotions until the end of the Fight in 1918.
After the end of the First World War, Ataturk planned and led a resistance movement to attain complete independence of Turkey. In a series of battles against the Armenian and Greek forces, Ataturk showed his strategic prowess and signed the treaty of Lausanne. After that, he established the Republic of Turkey.
In 1923, Ataturk became the president of Turkey. He instituted social, political and economic reforms after establishing the Republic. Under his presidency, the Museum state was transformed into a secular and democratic nation state. He also formed a constitution that separated religion from the government and declared state secularism.
Ataturk insisted on the usage of Latin instead of Arabic and the use of Turkish for prayer. He also replaced the Islamic calendar with the Gregorian calendar. Besides this, he insisted that people accept westernization and abandon the Middle Eastern sartorial tradition. Under his rule, women were given equal political and civil rights. He gave orders to the Ministry of National Education to ban religious schools and establish secular schools instead.
Ataturk was the visionary behind the established of the Central Bank of the Republic Turkey. The first and second five years economic plan was also supervised by him. Ataturk was known for solving all foreign issues without the use of military might. He promoted national sovereignty and abolished the reformation of the political system by abolishing the Caliphate. His motto was, “Peace at home”, Peace in the world”.
For all his memorable work, Ataturk received many high profile decorations from the Turkish government, like the Silver Imtiyaz Medal, Golden Liakat Medal, fifth class knight Order of the Medijdie, Medal of independence, Gallipoli Star, and others France bestowed upon him the Legion of Honor; and Bulgaria, the Commander Grand Cross Order of Saint Alexander. He also received the 1st and 2nd Class Iron Cross the Germen Empire.
It is believed that Ataturk was in relationship with Eleni and Fikriye Hanim, before he got married to Latife Usakligil in 1923. Their union was not a happy one, which is why they separated in 1925. Since he had no biological children, Ataturk adopted thirteen children; one son and twelve daughters. His daughter, Sahiba Gokcen, became one of Turkey’s first female pilots and the world’s first female fighter pilot.
From 1937 to 1938, Ataturk’s health deteriorated drastically. Later, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He breathed his last age if 57, on November 10, 1938.
UNESCO honored Ataturk by naming his centennial birth year as the Ataturk Year. The government of Turkey has constructed many memorials, monuments, and squares in his honor. In turkey, people fondly remember the first president as the ‘Father of the Turks. ’