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Türkiye commemorates founder Ataturk on 85th anniversary of his demise


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and brave and unforgettable leader of the Republic of Türkiye, went down in history not only as the commander who successfully led the Turkish nation’s War of Independence but also as a statesman with groundbreaking revolutions.

Ataturk was born in 1881 in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, then part of the Ottoman Empire, as the son of Ali Riza Efendi and Zubeyde Hanim. His father passed away when Mustafa Kemal was a young boy.

His military education started in 1893 when he was enrolled in a military school in Thessaloniki. Along with military skills, Ataturk also learned the French language.

He continued his education at the Military School of Istanbul and then graduated as a lieutenant in 1902. With his extraordinary skills, Ataturk quickly climbed the military ranks, becoming a staff captain in 1905.

The year 1911 marked a significant point in Ataturk’s life as he fought the Italians in Tripoli and won a decisive victory, proving his skills in the military field.

He drew the attention of his subordinates with his outstanding services following the start of the Balkan Wars in 1912. As a major, he played a significant role in recapturing the Dimetoka and Edirne provinces.

Success in battle of Dardanelles

In 1914, when Ataturk was a military attache in Sofia, World War I started, and the allies deployed soldiers on the Gallipoli peninsula as the Dardanelles (Canakkale) campaign began.

In a letter to Acting Chief Commander Enver Pasha, Ataturk requested to be in the field, suspending his duty in Sofia.

Ataturk and Turkish soldiers made history by showing incredible resistance. Ataturk’s order to his soldiers at the war still echoes in the hearts of all Turks: “I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die!”

His star continued to shine during his services in the northwestern Edirne and southeastern Diyarbakir provinces in 1916, earning him the title of major general that same year. He fought against the British army in Damascus in 1918, and led a successful resistance against it

Path to independence

Following the occupation of Istanbul by the Allies in 1919, Ataturk went to the northern Samsun province as the inspector of the 9th army, completely changing his life and, eventually, Türkiye.

After proclaiming that the country’s liberation from the occupant forces would only be possible through the will of the people, he organized two congresses – in the cities of Sivas and Erzurum – where the battle of independence and the country’s future was discussed.

On April 23, 1920, the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye was established, and Ataturk was elected as the head of the government and speaker of the parliament, which enabled him to adopt laws essential to beat occupant forces.

The struggle for Turkish independence started on May 19, 1919, when the first bullet against the occupant Greek forces was fired by Hasan Tahsin, a Turkish journalist who was killed shortly after his action.

Turkish army, under the leadership of Ataturk, won incredible battles against the occupant forces – including the first and second Battles of Inonu, Sakarya, and the Great Offensive – until 1923 when the Lausanne Treaty was signed on July 24.

The incredible achievements on the battlefield led to Turkish independence, and the Republic of Türkiye was founded on Oct. 29, 1923.

Ataturk became the first president of the republic and served in that capacity until Nov. 10, 1938, when he passed away in Istanbul at the age of 57 due to cirrhosis.

As a tradition, Turkish people visit his mausoleum in Ankara every Nov. 10 and pay their tributes to Ataturk.