Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

By: Mick Yates

A military hero in 1915, Ataturk went on to become the leader of the Turkish national liberation struggle. In the early 1920's he became a successful commander crushing all those who dared to invade his country.

Following a series of impressive 'against all odds' victories, Ataturk united the Great National Assembly in Ankara, thus leading his nation to full independence and putting an end to centuries of the Ottoman Dynasty.

The Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, and Ataturk naturally took the lead role as President, where he stayed until his death 15 years later.

Ataturk brought about a secular government that reflected the wishes of his people through a democratic parliamentary process. He utilised his time in power well and ruled according to his principles of Kemalism, dubbed 'Six Arrows'. This saw Turkey transformed through reforms in the social, political, economic and cultural spheres.

Ataturk is one of the few historical leaders who dedicated his life totally to his nation. He is said to rank amongst the world's greatest strategists. He clearly perceived his role as leader to be that of facilitator of the people's dreams, and hoped to inspire the nation into continuing his life's work long after his death.

Melanie Smith