Atatürk’s Life – TED ÇORLU KOLEJİ

Atatürk's Life

The founder of the Turkish Republic, the savior of the Turkish nation, the world-renowned great statesman who left his mark on the era in which he lived, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in 1881 in a three-storey pink house on Islahhane Street in the Kocakasim District of Thessaloniki. He accepted the date of May 19, when he went to Samsun, as his birthday. His father is Ali Rıza Efendi and his mother is Zübeyde Hanım. His paternal grandfather, Hafız Ahmet Efendi, was one of the Kocacık nomads who were settled in Macedonia from Konya and Aydın in the XIV-XV centuries. His mother, Zübeyde Hanım, is the daughter of an old Turkish family settled in the town of Langaza, near Thessaloniki. Ali Rıza Efendi, who was a militia officer, a secretary of foundations and a timber trader, married Zübeyde Hanım in 1871. Four of Mustafa Kemal's five siblings died at a young age, only Makbule (Atadan) lived until 1956.


When Mustafa reached the age of education, he first started his education at Hafız Mehmet Efendi's Neighborhood School with his mother's request, then he transferred to Şemsi Efendi School at his father's request. Atatürk was grateful to his father throughout his life for his father's decision in school choice. While he was continuing his education at Şemsi Efendi, his father died (1888). After staying with his uncle in Rapla Farm for a while, he returned to Thessaloniki and finished his school. He enrolled in Thessaloniki Civil High School. After a short while, he entered the Military High School in 1893 by winning the military school exams, which he secretly took despite the opposition of his mother. At this school, Mathematics teacher Mustafa Bey gave him the name Kemal, which means "perfection, maturity". Kolağası Mehmet Tevfik Bey, a history teacher at the Manastır Military High School, where he was educated between 1896-1899, strengthened Mustafa Kemal's interest in history. He learned French at school, he continued his French courses during his summer holidays in Thessaloniki. Although he wanted to join the Ottoman-Greek War voluntarily, which started on April 19, 1897, he could not go to the front because he was a high school student and at the age of 16. He graduated from the Manastır Military High School in November 1898 as second in his class. He started his education at the Military School in Istanbul (the Harbiye) in 1899. Two months after entering the Harbiye, he became a class sergeant. When he came to Istanbul, he started to deal with the country's problems. He graduated in 1902 with the rank of lieutenant.
He was entitled to enter the Military Academy in 1902. He received military staff officer training. While at the Military Academy, he and his friends published a handwritten newspaper to explain the shortcomings and errors they noticed in the administration and policies of the government. He graduated on January 11, 1905 with the rank of staff captain.


Between 1905-1907, he started his military service in Damascus under the command of the 5th Army. In the meantime, he founded the "Homeland and Freedom Society". He became Kolağası (Senior Captain) in 1907. He was assigned to Manastır, to the Army III. On April 13, 1909, he took office as the "Chief of Staff" in the Movement Army, which suppressed the "31 March Uprising", which was started by the anti-constitutional reactionaries in Istanbul. In 1910 he was sent to France. He participated in the Picardie Maneuvers. In 1911, he started to work under the command of the General Staff in Istanbul. In the war that started with the Italian attack on Tripoli in 1911, Mustafa Kemal secretly came to Tripoli with a group of friends, disguised as a journalist, under the name of Şerif. He gained his first military success by organizing the people of the region in Tobruk and Derne. When the Balkan War started in October 1912, Mustafa Kemal was assigned to Gallipoli. His great services were seen in the recapture of Edirne in the Second Balkan War. In 1913 he was appointed Attaché of Sofia. While in this position, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1914.

World War I started and the Ottoman Empire was forced to enter the war. Mustafa Kemal was assigned to Tekirdag to establish the 19th Division. During the First World War, Mustafa Kemal wrote a heroic epic in Çanakkale and made the the Allied Powers say "Çanakkale is impassable!". When the British and French navies, trying to cross the Çanakkale Strait (Hellespont), suffered heavy losses on March 18, 1915, they decided to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula. On April 25, 1915, the 19th Division commanded by Mustafa Kemal stopped the enemy forces that landed on Arıburnu at Conkbayırı. Upon this success, Mustafa Kemal was promoted to the rank of colonel. The British attacked again at Arıburnu on 6-7 August 1915. Anafartalar Group Commander Mustafa Kemal won the Anafartalar Victory on 9-10 August. This victory was followed by the Kireçtepe victory on 17 August and the II. Anafartalar victory on 21 August. The Turkish nation, which gave 253,000 martyrs in the Çanakkale Wars, knew how to protect its honor against the Allied Powers. Mustafa Kemal's words to his soldiers, "I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die!" His order changed the course of the war.

After the Çanakkale Wars, Mustafa Kemal took office in Edirne and Diyarbakır in 1916. He was promoted to major general on April 1, 1916. He fought against the Russian forces in the Caucasus Front and ensured the recapture of Muş and Bitlis. After his short assignments in Damascus and Aleppo, he came to Istanbul in 1917. He went to Germany with Crown Prince Vahidettin Efendi and made investigations at the front. He fell ill after this trip. He went to Vienna and Karisbad for treatment. On 15 August 1918, he returned to the Syrian Front as the 7th Army Commander in Aleppo. He fought successful defensive battles against the British forces on this front and was appointed as the Commander of the Yıldırım Army Group. Mustafa Kemal arrived in Istanbul, Haydarpasa Train Station on 13 November. Passing from Haydarpaşa to Istanbul, when he sees the enemy warships anchored in the Bosphorus for the occupation of the city, he said his famous word "As they have come, so they will go!". During his six-month stay in occupied Istanbul, he held secret meetings with other patriotic officers who wanted to resist the invasion and disintegration of the country.

The main purpose of Mustafa Kemal, who was sent to Samsun by the Sultan as the 9th Army Inspector to stop the resistance started by the Turkish people, was to organize the people against the occupations and to establish a new state on the foundations of National Sovereignty by ensuring the National Independence with the War of Independence. In line with these goals, he landed in Samsun on 19 May 1919. Mustafa Kemal, who declared that "the independence of the nation will be saved by the determination and decision of the nation," with the circular published first in Havza and then in Amasya on June 22, 1919, resigned from his military service on July 8 and continued the struggle as a civilian with the support of his people. He convened the Erzurum Congress between 23 July and 7 August 1919, and the Sivas Congress between 4 and 11 September 1919, and determined the path to be followed for the liberation of the homeland. He was greeted enthusiastically in Ankara on 27 December 1919. With the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920, an important step was taken towards the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal was elected as the Chairman of the Assembly and the Government. The Turkish Grand National Assembly adopted and started to implement the necessary laws for the successful conclusion of the War of Independence.

The Turkish War of Independence began on May 15, 1919, when the first bullet was fired at the enemy during the Greek occupation of Izmir. By signing the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920, the war was fought against the victorious states of the First World War, who divided the Ottoman Empire among themselves, with the militia forces called Kuvayi Milliye. With the establishment of the regular army by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the integration of the Kuvayi Milliye and the army was ensured.

The War of Independence, which took place on three fronts under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal; The Gyumri Agreement, which was signed as a result of the successes won against the Armenians in the East, continued with the victories achieved in the South in Urfa, Antep and Maraş thanks to the heroes of the Kuvayi Milliye units. Mustafa Kemal, who became the Commander-in-Chief of the army after the Battle of İnönü, which was won on the Western Front, the most important front of the War of Independence, broke the offensive power of the Greek army in the Sakarya Pitched Battle, and he said his historical command as “There is no line defense, there is surface defense. That surface is the whole country. As long as every inch of the land of the country is wet with the blood of the citizens, it cannot be abandoned”. He defeated the enemy in the Battle of the Commander-in-Chief, led by himself on August 30, 1922, with his armies, which he attacked on August 26, and saved Anatolia from enemy occupation on September 1 with his command as “Armies, your first target is the Mediterranean! Forward!”.


The War of Independence ended with the Treaty of Lausanne signed on July 24, 1923. Thus, there were no obstacles left for the establishment of a new Turkish state based on national unity on Turkish lands, which was shattered by the Treaty of Sèvres.

The establishment of the Turkish Republic was heralded with the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920 in Ankara. The successful management of the Turkish War of Independence by the Assembly accelerated the establishment of the new Turkish state. On November 1, 1922, the caliphate and the sultanate were separated from each other and the sultanate was abolished. Thus, administrative ties with the Ottoman Empire were severed. The administration of the Republic was accepted on October 29, 1923, and Mustafa Kemal was unanimously elected the first president of the Republic of Turkey. The first government of the Republic was formed by İsmet İnönü on 30 October 1923. Republic of Turkey began to rise on the foundations of "Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation." and "Peace at home, peace in the world".

In accordance with the Surname Law, the surname "Atatürk" was given to Mustafa Kemal by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 24, 1934.

Atatürk was elected as the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 24, 1920 and August 13, 1923. This was at the level of Head of State-Government. The Republic was proclaimed on October 29, 1923 and Atatürk was elected as the first president. In accordance with the Constitution, presidential elections were renewed every four years. In 1927, 1931 and 1935, the Turkish Grand National Assembly re-elected Atatürk as the President.

Atatürk went on country tours frequently and supervised the state works on site. He gave orders to those concerned about the failing aspects. As the President, he hosted the heads of state, prime ministers, ministers and commanders of foreign countries visiting Turkey.

He delivered his great speech on 15-20 October 1927 about the War of Independence and the establishment of the Republic, and his 10th Anniversary Speech on 29 October 1933 in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Atatürk lived in simplicity in his private life. He married Latife Hanım on 29 January 1923. They went on many country tours together. This marriage lasted until 5 August 1925.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk initiated the Five-Year Industrial Plan in 1933 with the aim of mitigating the effects of the 1929 World Economic Depression and accelerating the development of the country. In the same period, important steps were taken in foreign policy. Initiatives such as joining the League of Nations (1932), signing the Balkan Entente (1934), Montreux Straits Convention (1936) and Sadabat Pact (1937) contributed to Turkey's prominence as an influential actor in its region and in the world. Atatürk made an intense diplomatic effort for Hatay to join the motherland, and this aim of his was realized in 1939 after his death.

Atatürk was not only a commander who successfully led the Turkish Nation's War of Independence, but also a genius statesman with his revolutions. For most of his 57-year life, he worked tirelessly for the independence and happiness of his nation and homeland and emerged victorious in every struggle he entered.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and great leader of the Republic of Turkey, passed away on November 10, 1938, at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.

His body was buried in Ankara Ethnography Museum, which is his temporary resting place, with a ceremony on November 21, 1938. After the Anıtkabir was built, his body was transferred to his final resting place on 10 November 1953 with a magnificent ceremony.

Atatürk Köşesi