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Ataturk’s Biography

Turkish biographies. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s biography (The founder of the Turkish Republic, 1881 Salonika – 1938 Istanbul). Video: Lewis Belote

Biography of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

  • 1881 He was born in Salonika.
  • 1888 He lost his father.
  • 1896 – 1899 He attended Manastır Military School.
  • 1902 He graduated from İstanbul Military School with the rank of lieutenant.
  • 1905 He graduated from the Military Academie with the rank of major.
  • 1905 – 1907 He was stationed in Şam, Damascus with the 5th Army.
  • 1907 He was promoted to the rank of senior major.
  • 1909 He was the Staff Officer of the Hareket Ordusu (Special Troops) which entered İstanbul to stop an uprise.
  • 1910 He was sent to Paris to attend the Picardie manuevers.
  • 1911 He started to work at the General Staff Office in Istanbul.
  • 1911 He was sent to Tripoli, Libia to take part in the war against Italian army.
  • 1912 He was made the commander of Derne, Libia.
  • 1912 He joined the units from Gallipoli when the Balkan war broke out.
  • 1913 He was assigned to Sofia, Bulgaria as a military attache.
  • 1914 He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in Sofia.
  • 1915 He took part in the battles in Gallipoli. The enemy forces were stopped by the 19th Divison under Mustafa Kemal’s command at Conkbayırı. He was promoted to the rank of colonel after this victory. He is remembered with the famous words that he addressed to the soldiers: “I am not giving you an order to attack, I am ordering you to die!”
  • 1916 He was stationed to Edirne and Diyarbakır after the Çanakkale battles and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. He fought against the Russian forces and recaptured Muş and Bitlis. He was assigned to Damascus Khallepo for a short time.
  • 1917 He traveled to Germany with Vahdettin Efendi, the heir to the throne.
  • 1918 He returned to Khalleppo on 15 August 1918 as the Commander of the 7th army. Mondros Armistace was signed, the Ottoman army was disbanded and he came back to İstanbul to work at the Ministry of Defence.
  • 1919 He went to Samsun as an Army Inspector upon the Allied forces started to take over the Ottoman armies and invade İstanbul. He declared that ” The freedom of the nation shall be restored with the resolve and determination of the nation itself” and called the meetings in Amasya, Sivas and Erzurum. Greek Army invaded Anatolia.
  • 1920 The Sultan’s regime in İstanbul signs an agreement to leave parts of Anatolia to the Greeks, as drafted in the Treaty of Sevres.
  • 1920 April 23 He went to Ankara and started the Turkish Grand National Assembly. He was elected as the head of the national assembly as well as the head of the government. The assembly decided to integrate the army and Kuva-i Milliye, the militia.
  • 1921 August New Turkish Army wins a decisive battle against the Greek Army at Sakarya.
  • 1922 August New Turkish Army wins a decisive battle against the Greek Army at Dumlupınar.
  • 1922 After beating the Greeks in Dumlupinar, Mustafa Kemal’s army gets control over İzmir in the following month.
  • 1922 November 1 The sultanate is abolished by the powers around Mustafa Kemal.
  • 1923 January 29 He married Latife Hanım. They took many trips to different parts of the country together. This marriage lasted until 5 August 1925.
  • 1923 July 24 The Treaty of Lausanne superceded the Treaty of Sevres and Turkey recovered all of Anatolia and eastern Thrace from the Greek Army.
  • 1923 October 29 The Turkish Republic was formally proclaimed and M. K. Atatürk was unanimously elected as its first President. 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, peace in the world,” Atatürk undertook a series of reforms to “raise Turkey to the level of modern civilization” which can be grouped under five titles: Political reforms, social reforms, legal reforms, reforms in the field of education and culture, economic reforms.
  • 1924 March 3 Abolishment of the caliph (the position of nominal head of the Islamic faith, held by the Ottoman Sultans). Unification of education.
  • 1924 Abolishment of the Canon Law.
  • 1925 November 25 Reform of Headgear and Dress.
  • 1925 November 30 The theological schools madrassas were closed.
  • 1925-1931 Adoption of international calendar, hours and measurements.
  • 1926 – 1934 Recognition of equal rights to men and women.
  • 1927 October 15-20 He read his Great Speech, which covers the War of Independence and the founding of the Republic.
  • 1928 November 1 Adoption of new Turkish alphabet. The government decreed that the Arabic script be replaced by a modified Latin alphabet, which was easier to learn and teach and made publishing much easier. All citizens from six to 40 years of age were made to attend school and learn the new alphabet. The Turkish language was “purified” by the removal of many Arabic and Persian words and their replacement by new Turkish ones.
  • 1930 He assigned Fethi Okyar Bey to organize an opposition party for the sake of democracy. The main difference of the principles of Serbest Cumhuriyet Firkasi (Liberal Republic Party) was liberalism against the statism in CHP. But after the reactionist attitudes of the new members, which were against revolutionism, Fethi Bey closed it.
  • 1931 The official ideology of the regime, Kemalism, was promulgated by the ruling Republican People’s Party (CHP), which Kemal founded and controlled. Its six principles were republicanism, nationalism, populism, statism, secularism and revolutionism.
  • 1931-1932 Establishment of Turkish Language and History Institutions.
  • 1933 May 31 Regulation of the university education. Innovations in fine arts.
  • 1933 October 29 He read his 10th Year Speech.
  • 1933-1937 Abolution of tithe, encouragement of the farmers, establishment of model farms, establishment of industrial facilities, and putting into effect a law for Incentives for the Industry, putting into effect Ist and IInd Development Plans, to develop transportation Networks.
  • 1934 December Women were given the vote for parliamentary members and were made eligible to hold parliamentary seats.
  • 1934 November 26 Abolishment of titles and by-names. Acccording to the Law on Family Names, the Turkish Grand Assembly gave “Atatürk” (Father of Turks) as last name to Mustafa Kemal).
  • 1936 The Restoration of Turkish sovereignty over the Straits under the Montreux Convention.
  • 1937 He donated his farms to the Treasury.
  • 1938 November 10 He died at 09:05 a.m. at Dolmabahçe Palace, defeated by the liver ailment he was suffering from.
  • 1938 November 21 He was taken to his temporary place of rest at the Ethnograpy Museum in Ankara.
  • 1953 November 10 When Anıtkabir, the mausoleum was completed, he was taken to his permanent rest place with a grand ceremony.

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