Mustafa Kemal


Mustafa Kemal was born in Salonika, 1881. His teacher added Kemal to his name when he was on high school for civil servants. After high school he went on his education in Istanbul military college than military academy. His first appointment was in between 1905-07 in 5 Army in Damascus. He took part in many wars and won the battles. He was the founder of the Turkish Republic and the first president of the republic. He made political, social, juridical, economical, educational and cultural reforms in order to bring Turkey to the level of contemporary civilizations. He was very modest in his private life. He was suffering from liver ailment and died on November 1938, at 09:05 in Istanbul Dolmabahce Palace. He was buried in Ankara. He received the honorific Ataturk (The Father of the Turks) by the Turkish Parliament.

Especially he wrote a heroic epic and made the legend of Dardanelles are impassible against entente troops in Gallipoli in the First World War which started in 1914. Mustafa Kemal took an active role in the military coup and he was the only Ottoman commander to gain fame during World War I. Successfully he defeated the British attempt on the Gallipoli Battle to land at Gallipoli peninsula. Anzacs attempt was met with the staunch defense of Mustafa Kemal during the battle. The creator of this success was no doubt Mustafa Kemal and this reality is emphasized always by Turkish and foreign experts.

He did an historical order during the Gallipoli Battle to Turkish troops. He said: “I don’t order you to attack; I order you to die. Until we die we could save the time for the arrival of new troops and commanders.”

At the Gallipoli Battle Turkish soldiers’ ammunitions finished and they began to escape from Anzacs and Mustafa Kemal ordered to his troops: “Never run away from the enemy, if you don’t have ammunitions you have your bayonets, fix your bayonets and lie down.” Turkish soldiers did all he ordered and the Anzacs could not understand what was happening so they also stopped and did the same. So Mustafa Kemal could save the time and according to him they won the war at that moment.

Almost seventy years after the Gallipoli Battle the place on the peninsula where the Anzacs landed on 25th April, 1915, was recognized as Anzac Cove by Turkish Government and in return for this gesture, the Australian Government established the memorial garden around the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk memorial. On Anzac parade this is the only memorial to an enemy commander and it honors the heroism and self sacrifice of the Anzac and Turkish soldiers who took part in Gallipoli Battle. There is an inscription written by Ataturk on this memorial and it reflects his understanding about cost of war. It says:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lay side by side here in this country of ours... You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.\"