Last Updated 26 Dec 2020

Biography of Ataturk

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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President. He was born in 1881 to Ali Riza Efendi and Zubeyde Hanim. His father was a militia officer, title deed clerk, and lumber trader. Mustafa Kemal had five siblings, only one of whom survived until 1956 (Biography of Ataturk). Mustafa Kemal lost his father in 1888, at a time when the young boy had been attending school. The boy returned to his birth town, Salonika, to finish his studies after his father’s demise. After his primary education, he joined a secondary school only to be transferred soon to a military institution.

Mustafa Kemal attended the Manastir Military School and later the Military School in Istanbul from which he graduated with the rank of lieutenant in the year 1902 (Biography of Ataturk). The young man entered the Military Academy afterwards and graduated with the rank of major in the year 1905. This began Mustafa Kemal’s career as a soldier. Between 1905-1907, the man was stationed with the 5th Army in Damascus. He was promoted to the rank of senior major in 1907, and was posted in Manastir with the 3rd Army. When the “Special Troops” entered Istanbul in 1909, Mustafa Kemal was the Staff Officer of the troops.

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The man was sent to Paris in 1910 where he attended the Picardie maneuvers. In 1911, Mustafa Kemal returned to Turkey where he began to work at the General Staff Office in Istanbul. He won the Tobruk battle against the Italians in the same year, after which he was made the Commander of Derne.

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1914 during the Balkan War because his contributions to the recapturing of Dimetoka and Edirne were considerable (Biography of Ataturk). When the First World War began with the involvement of the Ottoman Empire, the man was posted to Tekirdag and charged with the formation of the 19th Division. Then, at Canakkale, Mustafa Kemal won more accolades for heroism. He was promoted to the rank of colonel after a victory he won in the First World War. Mustafa Kemal went on to win more victories against the Allied forces.

At one time, he commanded his soldiers thus: "I am not giving you an order to attack, I am ordering you to die! (Biography of Ataturk)" Mustafa Kemal was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 1916. He returned to Istanbul in 1917 and soon began traveling to Germany with the heir to the throne. To Khalleppo he returned in 1918 as the Commander of the 7th Army. He was successful in his defense wars and soon appointed as the Commander of Yildirim Armies. On 13 November 1918, the man returned again to Istanbul to work at the Ministry of Defense (Biography of Ataturk).

Mustafa Kemal went to Samsun as the 9th Army Inspector in 1919 once the Allied forces had begun to take over the Ottoman armies. He called the meeting of the Sivas Congress at this point and also convened the Erzerum Congress to define the path to be followed towards the freedom of Turkey. The initiation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1920 was a significant step in this direction. Mustafa Kemal was elected at this time as the head of the National Assembly as well as the head of the Turkish Republic.

The war was concluded when the Turkish Assembly achieved integration between the army and the militia. Under the command of Mustafa Kemal, the Turks recaptured Sarikamis, Kars, and Gumru besides attaining other important victories. After the conclusion of the Turkish War of Independence, Mustafa Kemal was free to form a new nation on the Turkish soil – now considerably shrunk through the Treaty of Sevres which had partitioned the Turkish Empire. On 29 October 1923, the Turkish Republic was officially proclaimed and Mustafa Kemal was elected as its first President.

Ismet Inonu formed the first government of the Republic, and Mustafa Kemal assumed his position of principle leadership with the twin principles of the Turkish Republic: "Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation" and "peace at home, peace in the world" (Biography of Ataturk). The man undertook a series of reforms at this point in order to modernize Turkey. He was elected as the Speaker of the Grand Assembly in 1920 and again in 1923. Moreover, in recognition of his efforts, the Turkish National Assembly conferred upon him the surname, “Ataturk” or the Father Turk and Ancestor Turk on 24 November 1934.

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