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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his reforms

The turning point in Turkey’s fortunes came in 1919 when Turkish forces successfully defended the Gallipoli peninsula against attack by the British and French armies. Out of that emerged the figure of the Turkish colonel Mustafa Kemal as a dynamic, tireless, charismatic leader. Starting in eastern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal organized resistence to the foreign occupation and inspired the nationalist movement that established the political borders of the new Republic of Turkey. With the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in July 1923, Turkey was recognized as an indepent equal among the world nations.

How did Ataturk Modernize Turkey

Ataturk’s reforms list of

On October 29, 1923 Mustafa Kemal was elected by the Grand national Assembly to be the first president of the Turkish Republic in its new capital Ankara. Shortly thereafter he took the surname Atatürk, “father of the Turks.” The government which he led accomplished a remarkable number of reforms. The sultanate was abolished, as was the caliphate. The Republic was proclaimed to be secular: Islamic canonical law was replaced by Turkish law which was a combination of European codes. The metric system was adopted. Schools were secularized, and education through fifth grade was both required and free (Public education through university is still free if you do not consider the minimal fees.) The Islamic calendar was replaced with the Gregorian, and Sunday became the day of rest. The Ottoman alphabet, based on Arabic, was changed to a modified Latin alphabet, and the Turkish Language Association attempted – generaly succesfully – to purify and simplify the language as one of the many programs unifying the country. Dress was westernized, and men were required to wear hats with brims rather than fezzes. Surnames were required,, and the old titles or professional distinctions forbidden. Voting for men and women a like was made obligatory. Western music and art were encouraged, and – a significant symbolic ac – St. Sophia, the great church of Byzantium that the Ottomans had made a mosque, was turned into a public museum. Atatürk2s foreign policy, the forerunner of peacegul co-existence and nonintervention, was expressed in his goal of “peace in the country, peace in the world.” This continues to be the country’s motto. The reforms are frequently weighed, both in spesific instances (dres code, mandatory education age), and in their raionale, but in principle they still define the nation.

Recognizing Atatürk’s international stature, UNESCO dedicated the year 1981 (his centennial) to him. Although he had been unsuccessful in instituting a two party political system, that did come about in 1950; today there is multiplicity of parties. Faced with an almost total loss of Turkey’s resources during the War of Independence (1919-1923), Atatürk envisioned and then applied an economic and industrial development plan reflecting the extent  of his genius. Under his presidency this gave the country its most steady economic developmeny.

With his genius and determination in establishing his reforms, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk laid the foundation for modern Turkey.

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