Father of the Turks

Published by flag-ro Madalina Creta — 5 years ago

Blog: Entertainment and tips
Tags: flag-tr Erasmus blog Turkey, Turkey, Turkey

Dictator vs. hero

Since i came first time to Turkey five years ago i always noticed one interesting thing over and over again and it took me back to Egypt where i spent some time transitioning from being a teenager into an adult. In Egypt was the same thing as in Turkey which is pictures and paintings, statues and institutions named after Mubarak, which was in that time the president of Egypt and well, a dictator, now same thing is happening in Turkey every corner, every office, every school or place has his name and pictures, but this time around he is not a dictator, he was and is the Father of the Turks, this is what the Turkish people like to call him, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. But why? why they hang his pictures everywhere, i mean if i were president of Turkey i may get mad thinking maybe my picture deserve to be up on the wall. Who is this guy? Why he is so famous that his picture and name is in every corner?

Well will find out today...

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


This is the picture that is on the wall in my office, the office where i am currently and not for long doing my Erasmus internship at the International office, and of course not an office without his picture. Five years ago when i did my first Erasmus in a city close to where i am now, called Diyarbakir first thing i noticed was his picture everywhere on the streets and of course i had no clue about who is this character and to tell to the truth i wasn't so interested in finding out, but the things started to get too much where my friends which i have been in Erasmus with started to buy watches and cups and shirts with him, i said c'mon what is this?! Then i found out he is the one who gave birth to the Republic of Turkey and abolish the Ottoman Empire. But let's get some facts straight about his persona...

True Facts

Ataturk actually was born under a different name in 1881, his real name was Ali Riza in which Riza is a very common name used by Persians ( Iranians ) and to tell you the fact he does not look at all like a Turkish man, because is known that the Turks have similar face aspects ( black hair, dark eyes and dark color skin ) he is looking more like a German in my opinion with super white skin and blue eyes. He was born as i was saying in the 19th century in Thessaloniki which is in Greece. The legend says that his father it might have been Albanian and other stories might point to the fact that he has Slavic background. Growing up he attended military highschool and also military college and academy.

He was an activist so due to this he spend some time behind bars and after it's release he sign up for army and he was stationed as a captain first in Syria then in Libya. He fought during the Galipolli fight and after spent his time in his office in Bulgaria. World War 1 and many battles after that lead to the date of 29 October 1923 when he manage to get independence for Turkey and demolish the Ottoman sovereignty. After this happen he proclaim himself president and he started what he called the modernization of the country, a transition from old customs into new ideologies and modernism.

He married for a short while and never had any born children but there are some stories that he may adopted one girl and one boy or another crazy legend that he had 8 kids but nothing is certified, as far as we know he did not had children at all. His name changed into Ataturk which means literally ''father of the Turks'' and died in 1938 of cirrhosis of the liver.

Interesting facts about him

On today 's Turkish currency the Turkish Lira his face is on all the money.


You know it is a crime to speak bad about him because if somebody heard you they can report you and you may end up in a Turkish jail. Yes a small insult and you have criminal record. This thing when i heard about it i was like ''am i again living into a dictatorship or what'' because you may get the feeling of it when you are in Turkey, no offense.

Another fact which i taught it was interesting was that Hitler was a huge fan of Ataturk, like he was obsessed with him and one time Ataturk send Hitler a picture with him alongside his autograph and Hitler was so happy about it that he framed it. And he was always talking about Ataturk and he was making him as an example.

Ataturk also abolished the ruff Muslim law of having four wives and since then Turkey became let's say a bit more modern but of course is a process it cannot happen over night. Nowadays in Turkey for example the women have their choice if they want to cover themselves or not, or actually is more like a family choice, if you are raised into a very conservator family then you must wear cover. I see on the streets of Turkey modern girls just like me and you and others super covered like Arabic style which i think is wrong. I am not against Muslim religion but life means freedom and if you don't have that then how can you live to the fullest. I am against the cover 100% and you cannot tell me that is your choice to wear that at 40 degrees in the summer, c'mon!

He also change the language and alphabet, from an old Arabic Turkish mix language into a full Turkish with Latin alphabet. He also moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara. And from my own experience more than 50% of the museums and institutions in Turkey have his name or are about him. For example in every city there is a museum castle something that once before he maybe stayed there for one night or so and they turned it into a museum. So yeah everywhere are his houses and many schools and public places, airports, clubs etc etc. Which is totally not bad at all but is a bit too much as i said in the beginning if i were a leader in Turkey i may feel a bit outshadowed by him everywhere. Because after the president mandat is over what will legacy will be like if you constantly live in the shadow of a Hero.

All in all

But overall i do respect the customs, culture and traditions, i respect what Ataturk did for the Republic of Turkey, nowadays is the only Muslim country with democracy in the world to thumbs up to that but hero's for what i learn and saw they are meant to be in our history books and maybe sometimes on our walls, if is this the case here who am i to judge. And trust me i do no want to go to jail ( which if funny just thinking about it ) but is true, unfortunately in Turkey the freedom of speech is also a crime seems to so yeah let's end this post in a positive note and hope some of the info's will be helpful or it can just be a cool article to read when you bored .

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Comments (1 comments)

  • flag-tr Bilgehan Cem Turan 7 years ago

    It's a nice article about Atatürk overall. However, I think there is a misunderstanding about Atatürk's real name; Ali Rıza was his father's name. His family gave him name of Mustafa and while he was a student in middle school there was a math teacher whose name was also Mustafa. At that time nobody had surname so, it was confusing having two Mustafa in one classroom. Because of that his math teacher gave him name of Kemal for aiming the confusion in the classroom. After that he was called Mustafa Kemal all the time.

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