Ataturk and The Republic of Turkey | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
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28 October 2007

Ataturk and The Republic of Turkey

Today, Republic Day is celebrated throughout Turkey. On October 29, 1923, the Turkish constitution was amended and Turkey became a republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, capitalized on his reputation as an efficient military leader and spent his following years instituting wide-ranging and progressive political, economic, and social reforms, transforming Turkish society from perceiving itself as Muslim subjects of a vast Empire into citizens of a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the hands of the Allies, and the subsequent plans for its partition, Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish national movement in what would become the Turkish War of Independence. A basic principle for Kemal was the complete independence of the country, for him the total independence of the country was not negotiable, as he had fought numerous wars in several fronts until then just to achieve this goal. However, he was well aware that the independence of a country could not be maintained solely by the forces of arms. He once explained his view of the independence that:

"…by complete independence, we mean of course complete economic, financial, juridical, military, cultural independence and freedom in all matters. Being deprived of independence in any of these is equivalent to the nation and country being deprived of all its independence."

Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Entente powers. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. This formally declared the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Mustafa Kemal then embarked on a major programme of reforms in the political, economic and cultural aspects of life in Turkey, with the perspectives defined in the Kemalist ideology, which sought to create a modern, democratic and secular nation-state, guided by educational and scientific progress based on the principles of positivist and rationalist enlightenment.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk worked hard to establish his vision, "peace at home, peace in the world", up until his death in 1938 - which is why we miss him ever more today. The following video is my tribute to Atatürk. It's a collection of some of the rare video clips from his time, accompanied with music by Sema - a song called 'Hasret' (meaning 'Longing' in Turkish).

If you are interested, you might want to download the Atatürk wallpaper I made as well.

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