The Transition to Latin Letters and Atatürk's Fastidiousness


one of our journeys to Istanbul, where we were for three times, was at the same time as the letter reform. Atatürk delivered an alphabet to the employees, officials and the people usually there as soon as he arrived at Istanbul. He ordered them to learn the new Turkish writing. Two days later examinations and interviews started.

Everybody was examined at the blackboard placed in the hall. The subject of the written examination was the Karadeniz March (Blacksea March).

All of us started to write on the papers in front of us, some of our friends who knew the Latin alphabet before wrote easily. But there wasn’t any letter on the papers of the people who did not know the Latin letters.

Atatürk first wanted the paper of our friend Zühtü Bardakoğlu.

After taking a look at the paper Atatürk asked.

- What is the word of Karadeniz?

- It is a compound word, sir.

- Why did you write it in two words?

Atatürk was very polite and kind and tender. He rarely got angry and scolded the people as if joking. Exactly as I had gone to Palace the first night I stepped on the electric cable and caused an electricity cut. I was waiting to be scolded. He turned to the guests.

- Our children are not used to the Palace. Please excuse them.

But now he scolded Zühtü Bardakoğlu considerably.

His sadness and our friends being scolded had made all of us sad. Although our friend had gone through many examinations and replied to the questions about history of Rome and he had not been scolded so severely.

To night he was very sorry and nearly crying. I noticed the situation of Atatürk. He was pointing to a paper in front of the another not even one letter was on it, by looking at the face of the of the Zühtü. The owner of the paper was more upset than Zühtü. We understood that Atatürk had scolded Zühtü but not aimed at him.