Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – 1938) was a Turkish politician, writer and soldier who became the founder and first president of Turkey (1923 – 1938) shortly after the demise of...
Category: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) was the founder and first president of the Republic of Türkiye.
A competent military general, he played a central role in leading Turkiye through a period of political, cultural, and economic reforms following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.
Below, World History Edu present some of the internet’s most asked questions about Ataturk:
Why is he called “Atatürk”?
“Atatürk” means “Father of the Turks.” This title was bestowed upon him by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1934 and indicated the high esteem in which he was held by the Turkish people.
What were his main contributions to Türkiye?
Atatürk introduced sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing Turkiye. These included the secularization of the state, the introduction of a new legal code (based on European models), educational reforms, the adoption of the Latin alphabet, women’s suffrage, and many other cultural and economic changes.
How did he come to power?
After World War I and the subsequent occupation of parts of Türkiye by Allied powers, Atatürk led the Turkish National Movement in the War of Independence against both the occupying forces and the Sultanate. Following victory, the Republic of Turkiye was established in 1923, and Atatürk was its first president.
Wasn’t he involved in World War I?
Yes, during World War I, Atatürk served as a division commander at Gallipoli, where his successful defense against Allied forces earned him significant acclaim.
How did Atatürk view religion in the state?
Atatürk believed in a clear separation of religion and state. He aimed to create a secular nation, moving away from the Islamic theocratic traditions of the Ottoman Empire. While he didn’t suppress Islam, he ensured it remained a private matter and removed it from the central political sphere.
What is Atatürk’s principle of “Six Arrows”?
The Six Arrows are the foundational principles of Kemalism, Atatürk’s political ideology. They include Republicanism, Populism, Secularism, Reformism, Nationalism, and Statism.
How did Turkish people view him?
Atatürk is a highly revered figure in Türkiye, credited with rescuing the nation from potential fragmentation after World War I and laying the foundations for a modern, secular republic. While he remains an iconic figure, like all major historical figures, opinions about some of his policies and actions vary.
When and how did he die?
Atatürk died on November 10, 1938, likely due to cirrhosis, exacerbated by his heavy alcohol consumption.
Where can I learn more about his legacy in Türkiye today?
The Atatürk Mausoleum (Anıtkabir) in Ankara is both his final resting place and a museum dedicated to his life and the founding of the Turkish Republic. Additionally, numerous books, academic papers, and documentaries provide insights into his life and legacy.