1881 On the 12th of March, at Thessaloniki, Greece, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born, son of a customs officer. He was a war hero, founder of secular Republic of Turkey by the ruins of the former Islamic Ottoman Empire. He became the first president of this republic and was a proponent of modernization, but his country had a delicate balance being divided between laity and Muslims.
1899 He was enough old to be a soldier. Nicknamed Kemal – “the perfect one” – by his Maths teacher, he enrolled to School of Cadets and this year he started to attend War College in Istanbul.
1902 He graduated the College as a lieutenant.
1905 He was promoted to captain after graduating Military Staff School. As a young officer, he was involved in a secret motion called Turkish Youth, organization that fought against Ottoman autocratic government. His association to these nationalists overshadowed his military career.
1911-1912 He fought against Italians in Libya.
1915 He rejected the Allied Troops at Gallipoli where he had a crucial role for rejecting the attempt to land of English, Australian, neo-Zealand and Senegalese troops. He was called “Istanbul’s saver”.
1916 He defeated Russians on the Eastern battle field. He was promoted to General and was given the title of Pasha.
1918 He supervised Ottoman withdrawal from Syria.
1920 Allied victories of World War I imposed a peace ending on humiliating terms for Ottoman Empire. According to Treaty of Sevres, Ottoman Empire was divided and occupied. Turks were not allowed to manage their banks. The treaty offered to Greece large parts of Anatolia and Thrace and foresaw the establishment of an independent Armenian state. After its signing by Sultan, Allied Supreme Council from Paris invited Greece to “restore order in Anatolia”. They did not count on Kemal, who had been appointed commander of a small company that had to quell protests during occupation. Instead of doing this, Kemal turned against occupiers.
1919 On the 19th of May, Kemal called the Turks to fight for independence. He established the headquarters to Ankara, in the middle of Turkey, where he also founded a provisional government. Kemal needed the invasion of a foreign army in order to implement an unfairly treaty. During two years he succeeded to push the Greeks to the sea shore, removed the Sultan, dealt with Italians and French and, helped by Russian, he crushed the Armenians and the Kurds in East.
1920 He defeated Greeks within Sakarya battle.
1923 English people decided to negotiate and Kemal obtained a new treaty - Lausanne Treaty. This time the terms were equitable and Turkey revived under the ashes of the Ottoman rule that lasted six centuries, a free country led by Kemal. The new Turkish Republic was proclaimed on the 29th of October 1923 and Kemal was elected president of the new Turkish state. Kemal founded the modern Turkish state. The cornerstone was represented by secularization. Islam, that had been dominating for a long time all life aspects, was limited to mosques and to the privacy of houses.
1824 Caliphate was abolished; legal system was also secularized. Provision that Turkey was an Islamic country was taken out of the new Constitution from 1928. Religion was forbidden in public life and headscarf wearing was taken out of law. Even the fez – a hat under the shape of a human being, with flat end, that had been brought from Europe – disappeared. Western calendar was adopted and Saturday replaced Friday as day of rest. Turkish alphabet, Arabian regarding origin, was Latinized. Polygamy was taken out of law and women got the suffrage. Kema’s secular revolution was so strong that in 1930 Turkey was one of the most developed liberal states in the world.
1934 National Assembly offered to Kemal the title of Ataturk (Turks Father) ensuring to him a place within history of Turkey.
1938 On the 10th of November, Kemal Ataturk died at Istanbul, Turkey.
- Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), ro.biography.name
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