Sunday, November 10, 2013

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK ~ 1881 ~ November 10, 1938

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (indeterminate - 1881– November 10, 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, and founder of the Republic of Turkey as well as its first President.

Atatürk became known as an extremely capable military officer during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of Turkey. During his presidency, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms. An admirer of the Age of Enlightenment, he sought to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state. The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.

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Dennis and I were in Istanbul thirteen years ago at the end of a marvelous Mediterranean cruise. At the exact time of Ataturk's death-- as on every November 10th-- at 09:05 a.m.-- after sirens made the announcement-- almost all vehicles and people in the country's streets paused for one minute in remembrance of his memory. We had the opportunity to visit his bedroom in which he died in the Dolmabahce Palace. It is generally open to visitors only on November 10th.

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