AND THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC
was born in 1881 at the Kocakasım ward of Salonika, in a three storey
pink house located on Islahhane Street. His father is Ali Rıza Efendi
and his mother Zübeyde Hanım. His paternal grandfather, Hafız
Ahmed Efendi belonged to the Kocacık nomads who were settled in
Macedonia during the XIV - XV th centuries. His mother Zübeyde
Hanım was the daughter of an Old Turkish family who had settled in
the town of Langasa near Salonika. Ali Rıza Efendi, who worked as
militia officer, title deed clerck and lumber trader, married Zübeyde
in 1871. Four of the 5 siblings of Atatürk died at early ages and only
one sister, Makbule (Atadan) survived, and lived until 1956.
reaching school age, little Mustafa started school at the neighborhood
classes of Hafız Mehmet Efendi and later, with his own choise, was
transferred to Şemsi Efendi School. He lost his father in 1888 where
upon he stayed at the farm of his maternal unce for a while and returned
to Salonika to complete his studies. He registered at the Salonika Mülkiye
Rüştiye (secondary school) and soon transferred to the military Rüştiye.
While at this school, his math teacher, also named Mustafa, added the
"Kemal" to his name. He attended the Manastır Military
School between 1896 - 1899 and later the Military School in İstanbul
from which he graduated in 1902 with the rank of lieutenant. He later
entered the Military Academy and graduated on January 11, 1905 with the
rank of major. Between 1905 - 1907 he was stationed in Damascus with the 5th.
Army. In 1907 he was promoted to the rank of "Kolağası"
(senior major) and was posted with the III rd Army , which was
stationed in Manastır. He was the Staff Officer of the "Special
Troops" (Hareket Ordusu) which entered İstanbul on April 19,
1909. He was sent to Paris in 1910 where he attended the Picardie
manuevers. In 1911 he started to work at the General Staff Office in
Kemal was stationed at Tobruk and Derne regions with a group of his
friends during the war which started with the Italian attack on Tripoli.
He won the Tobruk battle in 22 December 1911 against the Italians. On
March 6, 1912 he was made the Commander of Derne.
When the Balkan War started in October 1912, Mustafa Kemal joined the
battle with units from Gallipoli and Bolayır. His contributions to
the recapturing of Dimetoka and Edirne were considerable. In 1913 he was
assigned to Sofia as a military attache. In 1914, while still at this
post, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His term as an
attache ended in January 1915. By that time the First World War had
started and the ottomon Empire was inevitably involved. Mustafa Kemal was
posted to Tekirdağ with the assignment of forming the 19th
Kemal put his signature under a legend of heroism at Çanakkale during the
First World War, which had started in 1914, and had the Allied Powers
admit to the fact that "Çanakkale is unpassable!" On March 18,
1915 when the English and French navies in an attempt to force their way
up the Çanakkale Strait gave heavy loses, they decided to put units on
land at Gallipoli Peninsula. The enemy forces which landed at Arıburnu
on 25 April 1915 were stopped by 19th Divison under Mustafa
Kemal's command at Conkbayırı. Mustafa Kemal was promoted to the
rank of colonel after this victory. English forces attacked at Arıburnu
once more on 6-7 August 1915. Mustafa Kemal, as the Commander of the
Anafartalar Forces won the Anafartalar Victory on 6-7 August 1915. This
victory was followed by the victories of Kireçtepe on August 17, and the
Second Anafartalar Victory on August 21. Turkish nation who lost about
253.000 men at battle, had managed to emerge in honour against the Allied
forces. Actually the fate at trenches changed when Mustafa Kemal addressed
his soldiers with the words "I am not giving you an order to attack,
I am ordering you to die!"
Kemal was stationed at Edirne and Diyarbakır after the Çanakkale
wars and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general on 1 April 1916.
He fought against the Russian forces and recaptured Muş and Bitlis.
Following short assignments at Damascus and Khallepo, he came to İstanbul
in 1917. He traveled to Germany with Vahdettin Efendi, the heir to the
throne. He became sick after this trip and went to Vienna and Karisbad for
treatment. He returned to Khalleppo on 15 August 1918 as the Commander of
the 7th army. At this front, he fought successful defence wars.
He was appointed as the Commandar of Yıldırım Armies one
day after the signing of the armistice at Mondros. When this army was
disbanded, he came to İstanbul on November 13, 1918 and started to
work at the Ministry of Defence.
following the Mondros Armistice, the Allied forces started to take over
the Ottoman armies, Mustafa Kemal went to Samsun on May 19, 1919 as 9th
Army Inspector. With the circular he published on 22 June 1919 at Amasya,
he declared that " The freedom of the nation shall be restored with
the resolve and determination of the nation itself" and called the
meeting of the Sivas Congress. He convened Erzurum Congress during 23 July
- 7 August 1919 and Sivas Congress during 4 - 11 September 1919, thus
defining the path to be followed towards the freedom of the motherland. He
was met with great enthusiasm in Ankara on 27 December 1919. With the
initiation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 23 April 1920, a
significant step was taken on the way to establishing the Turkish
Republic. Mustafa Kemal was elected as the head of the national assembly
as well as the head of the government. The Grand National Assembly started
to put into effect the necessary legislative measures so as to enable the
Independence War to come to a successful conclusion.
of Independence started with the first bullet shot at enemy on 15 May 1919
during the Gerek occupation of İzmir. The fight against the victors
of the First World War who had divided up the Ottoman Empire with the
Treaty of Sevres signed on 10 August 1920, initially started with the
militia forces called Kuva-yi Milliye. Turkish Assembly later initiated a
regular army and achieving integration between the army and the militia,
was able to conclude the war in victory.
significant stages of the Turkish War of Independence under the Command of
Mustafa Kemal are
Sarıkamış, Kars and Gümrü
Gazi Antep, Kahramanmaraş, Şanlı Urfa defenses (1919 -
Attack, Battle of the Chief Commander and the Great Victory
Sakarya Victory, National Assembly bestowed the rank of marshal on
Mustafa Kemal and the Gazi (veteran) title. War of Independences came to
end with the Lozanne Agreement, which was signed on 24 July 1923. Hence,
there were no longer any obstacles to create a new nation on Turkish soil
which Treaty of Sevre had torn to pieces leaving Turks an area the size of
The National Assembly which first convened on 23 April 1920 in Ankara was
the first clue to the Turkish Republic. The successful management of the
War of Independence by this assembly accelerated the founding of the new
Turkish State. On 1 November 1922, the offices of the Sultan and caliph
were severed from one other and the former was abolished. There was no
longer any administrative ties with the Ottoman Empire. On 29 October
1923, Turkish Republic was formally proclaimed and Atatürk was
unanimously elected as its first President. On 30 October 1923, the first
government of the Republic was formed by İsmet İnönü. Turkish
Republic started to grow on the foundations of the twin principles
"Sovereignty, unconditionally belongs to the nation" and
"peace at home and peace abroad",
undertook a series of reforms to "raise Turkey to the level of modern
civilizations" which can be grouped under five titles
of the office of the Sultan (November 1922)
of the Republic (29 October 1923)
of the caliph (3 March 1924)
of equal rights to men and women (1926 - 1934)
of Headgear and Dress (25 November 1925)
of mausoleums and dervish lodges (30 November 1925)
family names (21 June 1934)
of titles and by-names (26 November 1934)
of international calendar, hours and measurements (1925 - 1931)
of the Canon Law (1924 - 1937)
to a secular law structure by adoption of Turkish Civil Code and other
laws (1924 - 1937)
Reforms in the fields of education and culture
of education (3 March 1924)
of new Turkish alphabet (1 November 1928)
of Turkish Language and History Institutions (1931 - 1932)
of the university education (31 May 1933)
in fine arts
of the farmers
of model farms
of industrial facilities, and putting into effect a law for Incentives
for the Industry
into effect Ist and IInd Development Plans
(1933-1937), to develop transportation networks
to the Law on Family Names, the Turkish Grand Assembly gave "Atatürk"
(Father of Turks) as last name to Mustafa Kemal on 24 November 1934.
was elected as the Speaker of the Grand Assembly on 24 April 1920 and
again on 13 August 1923. This was a position equal to that of the
president as well as the prime minister. Republic was proclaimed on 29
October 1923 and Atatürk was elected as the first President. Elections
for President were renewed every four years according to the Constitution.
In 1927, 1931 and 1935 Turkish Grand Assembly again elected Atatürk as
took frequent trips around the country and inspected locally the works
undertaken by the state, giving directives were problems were faced. As
president he was host to visiting foreign presidents, prime ministers and
He read his
Great Speech, which covers the War of Independence and the founding of the
Republic on 15 - 20 October 1927, and his 10th Year Speech on
29 October 1933.
led a very simple private life. He married Latife Hanım on 29 January
1923. They took many trips to different parts of the country together.
This marriage lasted until 5 August 1925. A great lover of children he
adopted girls named Afet (İnan), Sabiha (Gökçen), Fikriye, Ülkü,
Nebile, Rukiye and Zehra and a Sheppard boy named Mustafa. He also took
two boys called Abdurrahim and İhsan under his protection. He
provided for the futures of these children who survived.
his farms to the Treasury in 1937 and some of his real estate to
municipalities of Ankara and Bursa. He divided his inheritance among his
sister, his adopted children and to the Turkish History and Language
Institutions. He enjoyed books and music as well as dancing, horse riding
and swimming. He was extremely interested in Zeybek dances, wrestling and
the Rumelia folk songs. Games of billards and backgammon gave him great
pleasure. He valued his horse Sakarya and his dog Fox . He had a rich
library. He used to invite statesman, scholars and artists to dinners
where the problems of the country were discussed. He was particular about
his appearance and enjoyed dressing well. He was also a lover of nature.
He used to frequent the Atatürk Forest Farm and join in the work.
French and German. Atatürk died on 10 November 1938 at 9.05 A.M at
Dolmabahçe Palace, defeated by the liver ailment he was suffering from.
He was taken to his temporary place of rest at the Ethnography Museum in
Ankara on 21 November 1938. When the mausoleum was completed, he was taken
to his permanent rest place with a grand ceremony on 10 November 1953.