Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

founding father of the Republic of Turkey (c. 1881-1938)

Kemal Atatürk[2] (Mustafa Kemal Pasha[a] until 1934, Kamâl Atatürk from 1935 to 1937,[3][4] commonly referred to as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk;[b] 1881[c] – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish marshal and statesman who was the first President of Turkey from 1923 to his death in 1938.

Halâskâr Gazi[1]

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
1st President of Turkey
In office
29 October 1923 – 10 November 1938
Prime Ministerİsmet İnönü
Fethi Okyar
Celâl Bayar
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byİsmet İnönü
1st Prime Minister of the Government of the Grand National Assembly
In office
3 May 1920 – 24 January 1921
DeputyFevzi Çakmak
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byFevzi Çakmak
1st Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
In office
24 April 1920 – 29 October 1923
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byFethi Okyar
1st Leader of the Republican People's Party
In office
9 September 1923 – 10 November 1938
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byİsmet İnönü
Personal details
Ali Rıza oğlu Mustafa
(Mustafa son of Ali Rıza)

circa 1881
Salonica, Salonica Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
(now Thessaloniki, Greece)
Died10 November 1938(1938-11-10) (aged 57)
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Resting placeEthnography Museum, Ankara (21 November 1938 – 10 November 1953)
Anıtkabir, Ankara (since 10 November 1953)
Political partyRepublican People's Party
Other political
Motherland and Liberty
Committee of Union and Progress (1907–1918)
Association for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia (until 1923)
Spouse(s)Latife Uşaklıgil (1923–25)
ParentsAli Rıza Efendi
Zübeyde Hanım
Relatives3, include Makbule Atadan
AwardsList (24 medals)
Military service
AllegianceOttoman Empire Ottoman Empire (1893–1919)
Ankara Government (1921–1923)
Turkey Turkey (1923–1927)
Branch/service Ottoman Army
Army of the GNA
Turkish Army
RankMajor General (Ottoman Army)
Marshal (Turkish Army)

He started changes that founded the Turkish nation state based on social and economic nationalism, which was modern and similar to Western civilization (such as the French model of secularism called laïcité).

Atatürk was born under the name Mustafa in 1881. His birthplace was in Salonika, Macedonia (now Thessaloniki, Greece). Salonika was then part of the Ottoman Empire. He took the name Kemal as a schoolboy and Atatürk (which means Father of the Turks) when he was president. His father was Ali Rıza Efendi (Efendi is a title of nobility). His mother was Zübeyde Hanım. He also had a sister, whose name was Makbule (Atadan). He joined the Ottoman army and became an army officer and the most successful general officer of the empire in World War I, fighting in Gallipoli where he successfully defended the peninsula against British and French attacks.

The Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Allied powers in World War I and the empire was divided by several major powers. Many territories of the Ottoman Empire including those in Anatolia were to be given to Britain, France, Italy, Greece and Armenia. While the Ottoman Empire was collapsing after the war, Atatürk quickly fled the capital Istanbul right before the Allied occupation of the city and went to Ankara where he organized a Turkish resistance army to fight against the invaders and kick them out of Anatolia. After defeating the armies which had invaded Anatolia and expelling them in September 1922, he marched into Istanbul as a liberator in January 1923 where he created a nationalist Turkish movement that created the new, secular Republic of Turkey. This meant that the country's government was no longer led by hereditary or religious leaders. Visitors to Turkey are often surprised by the importance given to Atatürk in Turkey.

Few countries have such a person in their history. He was a successful military commander, later established a unitary republic based on a constitution and put in place changes that set Turkey on the road to becoming a new and developing nation. He inspired many later leaders like Amānullāh Khān, Reza Shah Pahlavi, Adolf Hitler,[5] Habib Bourguiba, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sukarno, and John F. Kennedy.[6]

Reza Shah Pahlavi and Atatürk in Ankara (1934)

His six principles still serve today as a sign post for establishing a democratic government:

  1. Republicanism: Replacing the hereditary monarchy with an elected parliament.
  2. Nationalism: Citizens working together with pride in a common interest.
  3. Secularism: Separating religion from government and the guarantee of freedom of religion and conscience in society.
  4. Populism: The equality of all citizens before the law.
  5. Statism: An economic system combining private enterprise with government-funded monopolies of large industries.
  6. Revolutionism: The basis of the other five principles. According to the needs of the society, innovations that are required by the age and science are made as soon as possible.
  1. Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى كمال پاشا, Turkish: Mustafa Kemal Paşa. He was given the title paşa (pasha) when he became a general in 1916.
    He was known for most of his lifetime as Mustafa Kemal but is referred to in this article as Atatürk for reasons of readability.
  2. /ˈmʊstəfə kəˌmɑːl ˈætətɜːrk/ ( listen); Turkish: [mustaˈfa ceˈmal aˈtatyɾc]
  3. His birthday is unknown. However, 19 May, when he landed at Samsun in 1919 to start the nationalist resistance, is considered to be his symbolic birthday. It is also claimed that he was born in 1880.


  1. Andrew Mango Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey, Overlook Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-58567-334-6, [1]
  2. His identity document (serial number: 993 814)
  3. His identity document (serial number: 993 815)
  4. Enis Dinç (2020). Atatürk on Screen: Documentary Film and the Making of a Leader. p. 180.
  5. Ihrig, Stefan (2014). Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-674-36837-8. For example, in 1938, on his birthday, in a meeting with a delegation of Turkish politicians and journalists, he reaffirmed the primal and original role Atatürk had played for him and in doing so also pinpointed what was the essence of most far-right and Nazi interpretations of Atatürk in interwar Germany: "Atatürk was the first to show that it is possible to mobilize and regenerate the resources that a country has lost. In this respect Atatürk was a teacher; Mussolini was his first and I his second student."
  6. Remarks on the 25th Anniversary of the Death of Kemal Atatürk, 4 November 1963. Audio file on:

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