ATATÜRK, Mustafa Kemal

Statesman and military man (b. 23 April 1881, Thessalonica - d. 10 November 1938, İstanbul). He attended primary school at the provincial school of Hafız Mehmet Efendi and later, on his father’s wishes, he attended Şemsi Efendi School. After attending Manastır Military High School (1899), he graduated from the War Academy (1905). Between 1905 and 1907, he served in the 5th Army in Damascus. In 1909, he was the Chief of Staff of the Army that subdued the rebellion in İstanbul. In 1910 he was sent to France and joined the Picardie Maneuvers. In 1911, he began to work for the Chief of General Staff in İstanbul. During the war that began in 1911 when the Italians attacked Tripoli, he served in the Tobruk and Derne regions with his comrades. In 1912, he was appointed as the Commander of Derne. In October 1912, he joined the Balkan War in the Gallipoli and Bolayır regions.

He contributed a great deal in regaining Didimotihon and Edirne. In 1913, he was appointed as the Military Attaché in Sofia. In 1914, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His duty as military attaché was terminated in January 1915. The 19th Division under his command stopped the enemy in Conkbayırı and consequently Mustafa Kemal was promoted to the rank of colonel upon this success. In 1916, he served in Edirne and Diyarbakır. In 1916, he was promoted to the rank of major general. He fought against Russian forces and regained Muş and Bitlis. After his short-term duties in Damascus and Aleppo, he went to İstanbul in 1917. He went to Germany with Prince Vahdettin Efendi. In 1918, he went to Aleppo as the commander of 7th Army. In the same year, he was appointed as the Commander of the “Lightning Armies”. When the army was disbanded, he went to İstanbul and began to work for the Ministry of War.

After the Armistice of Mondros, when the Allied States began to take over the Ottoman armies, he went to Samsun as the Inspector of the 9th Army on 19 May 1919. In the same year he organized the Congresses of Erzurum and Sivas and determined the methods to be used to save the country. On 23 April 1920, he founded the Turkish Grand National Assembly, which was an important step in the process of establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The National Assembly established the regular army and united the National Forces, which concluded the Independence War in victory.

Under the command of Mustafa Kemal, Sarıkamış (1920), Kars (1920) and Gümrü (1920) were saved from occupation and Çukurova, Antep, Maraş and Urfa were defended (1919 1921); the Battle of İnönü I and II (1921) and the Battle of Sakarya (1921) ended in victory. The Great Attack was initiated, and the War of Commandership was waged and the Great Victory was gained (26 August - 9 September 1922). After the Victory of Sakarya, the Turkish Great National Assembly honored him with the rank of marshal and the title of War Veteran (Gazi) on 19 September 1921.

Atatürk organized a revolution to “elevate the country to the contemporary level of civilization”. In this context, he abolished the regime of the sultanate and adopted the republican system (29 October 1923). Later on, among his reforms, the system of the caliphate was abandoned (3 March 1924), women were granted the same rights as men in society (1926-1934), a revolution in hats and clothes began (25 November 1925), dervish lodges were closed (30 November 1925), the law of taking surnames was implemented (21 June 1934), titles and nicknames were abolished (26 November 1934), the international system of time was adopted, along with the calendar and measurement (1925-1931). In the juridical structure, a new system was adopted with the abolishment of the Mecelle (civil code devised in the 19th century, abolished between 1924-1937) and the introduction of the Turkish Civil Code and other laws (1924-1937). In the educational system, he united all educational institutions (Law of the Union of Education, 1924) and adopted the new Turkish alphabet (1 November 1928). The Turkish Language Association and Turkish Historical Society were founded (1931-32) and university education was re-arranged (31 May 1933). In economics, tithes were abolished, farming was encouraged, exemplary farmlands were established, industry was encouraged by the Law for Encouraging Industry and new motorways were built around the whole country. Mustafa Kemal was given the surname “Atatürk” by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 24 November 1934, after the implementation of the surname law. The elections for presidency were held every four years, based on the rules of Constitution, and Atatürk was elected President by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1927, 1931 and 1935.

He was fluent in French and German. During the period 15-20 October 1927, at the general meeting of the Republican People’s Party, he announced the Büyük Nutuk (The Great Speech), in which he depicted the Independence War and establishment of the Republic. He gave his 10. Yıl Nutku (Speech for the 10th Anniversary of the Republic) on 29 October 1933. He became ill with cirrhosis of the liver and died on 10 November 1938 at Dolmabahçe Palace in İstanbul. He was temporarily entombed at the Ankara Museum of Ethnography on 21 November 1938. After the Anıtkabir (Grave Monument) in Ankara was built, his body was transferred there to his eternal resting place at a splendid ceremony on 10 November 1953.

WORKS:

COPYRIGHT: Nutuk (The Speech; his Speech has often been published by the state and private publishing houses since his death, with simplification and in one or many volumes, under the titles Nutuk and Söylev and has been translated into many languages), Atatürk’ün Özel Mektupları (The Private Letters of Atatürk, collected by Sadi Borak, 1961), Cumali Ordugâhı – Süvari Bölük Alay Liva Talim ve Manevraları (Military Camp of Cumali - Training and Maneuvers of the Cavalry, Company, Regiment, Brigade 41 pages, Thessalonica), Beşinci Kolordu Erkân-ı Harbiyesi (5th Army Corps Military Staff 1327-1911, 40 pages, Thessalonica), Zabit ve Kumandan İle Hasbihal (Conversation with Officers and Commanders, Military Attaché of Sofia, Governor of the Military Staff, 35 pages, 1918), Yurttaşlık Bilgisi (Knowledge of Citizenship, dictated in notes by Afet İnan), Atatürk Konuşuyor - Nutuk Öncesi (Atatürk Speaks-Before the Great Speech, collected by Mahmut Soydan and Falih Rıfkı Atay).

In addition, Sami Selçuk mentions a small work of Atatürk, on the Turkish equivalents of arithmetic and geometry terms, written during the studies of the simplification and development of the Turkish language. All his works have been published by the Kaynak Publications, in the series Bütün Eserleri (Collected Works). The publishing house also has copies of archives relating to Atatürk. He also translated many works.