MUSTAFA KEMAL’S CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881- 1938) was the founder and the first President of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881 in Salonika (Selanik). His fathers name was Ali Rıza Efendi. His father was customs official. His mothers name was Zübeyde Hanım. For his primary education, he went to the school of Şemsi Efendi in Salonika. But Mustafa lost his father at an early age. He had to leave school. Mustafa and his mother went to live with his uncle in the country. His mother brought him up. Life continu ed like this for a time. Mustafa worked on the farm but his mother began to worry about his lack of schooling. It was finally decided that he should live with his mothers sister in Salonika.
He entered the Military Middle School in Salonika. In 1895, after finishing the Military Middle School, Mustafa Kemal entered the Military High School (Askeri İdadisi ) in Manastir (Manastır). After successfuly completing his studies at the Manastir Military School, Mustafa Kemal went to İstanbul and on the 13th of March 1899 he entered the infantry class of the Military Academy. (Harbiye Harp Okulu) After finishing the Military Academy, Mu stafa Kemal went on to the General Staff College in 1902. He graduated from the Academy with the rank of captain on the 11th of January, 1905.
MUSTAFA KEMAL AS AN ARMY COMMANDER
In 1906, he was sent to Damascus (Şam). Mustafa Kemal and his friends founded a society which they called "Vatan ve Hürriyet" (Fatherland and Freedom) in Damascus. On his own initiative, he went to Tripoli during the war with Italy in 1911 and took part in the defence of Derne and Tobruk While he was still in Libya, the Balkan War broke out. He served in the Balkan War as a successful Commander (1912-1914). At the end of the Balkan War, Mustafa Kemal was appointed military attache in Sofia. When Mustafa Kemal was in Sofia, the First World War broke out. Hewas made Commander of the Anafartalar Group on 8th of August, 1915. In the First World War he was in command of the Turkish forces at Anafartalar ata critical moment. This was when the Allied landings in the Dardanelles (Çanakkale Boğazı) took place and he personally saved the situation. During the battle, Mustafa Kemal was hit by shrapnel above the heart, but a watch in his breast pocket saved his life. Mustafa Kemal explained his state of mind as he accepted this great responsibility: "Indeed, it was not easy to shoulder such responsibility, but as I had decided not to live to see my countrys destruction, I accepted it proudly." He then served in the Caucasus and in Syria and just before the armistice in 1918 he was placed in command of the Lightning Army group in Syria. After the armistice (peace agreement), he returned to İstanbul.
THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
After the Armistice of Mondoros, the countries that had signed the agreement did not consider it necessary to abide by its terms. Under various pretexts the navies and the armies of the Entente ( France, Britain and Italy ) were in İstanbul, while the p rovince of Adana had been occupied by the French and Urfa and Maraş by the British. There were Italian soldiers in Antalya and Konya, and British soldiers in Merzifon and Samsun. Everywhere there were foreign officers, officials and agents. On the 15th of May 1919 the Greek Army landed in İzmir with the agreement of the Entente. Under difficult conditions, Mustafa Kemal decided to go to Anatolia. On 16th of May 1919, he left İstanbul in a small boat called the "Bandırma". Mustafa Kemal was warned that his enemies had planned to sink his ship on the way out. But he was not afraid and on Monday19th May 1919, he arrived in Samsun and set foot on Anatolian soil. That date marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence . It is also the date Mustafa Kemal later chose as his own birthday. A wave of national resistance arose in Anatolia. A movement had already begun in Erzurum in the east and Mustafa Kemal quickly placed himself at the head of the whole organization. The congresses in Erzurum and Sivas in the Summer of 1919 declared the nat ional aims by a national pact. When the foreign armies occupied Istanbul, on 23th of April 1920 Mustafa Kemal opened the Turkish Grand National Assembly and hence established a provisional new government, the centre of which was to be Ankara. On the same day Mustafa Kemal was elected President of the Grand National Assembly. The Greeks, profiting by the rebellion of Çerkez Ethem and acting in collaboration with him, started to advance towards Bursa and Eskişehir. On the 10th of January 1921, the enemy forces were heavily defeated by the Commander of the Western Front, Colon el İsmet and his troops. On the 10th of July 1921, the Greeks launched a frontal attack with five divisions on Sakarya. After the great battle of Sakarya, which continued without interruption from the 23rd of August to the 13th of September, the Greek Army was defeated and ha d to retreat. After the battle, the Grand National Assembly gave Mustafa Kemal the titles of Ghazi and Marshal. Mustafa Kemal decided to drive the enemies out of his country. He gave the order that the attack should be launched on the morning of the 26th of August 1922. The bulk of the enemy forces were surrounded and killed or captured on the 30th of August at D umlupınar. The enemy Commander - in - Chief, General Trikupis, was captured. Or the 9th of September 1922 the fleeing enemy forces were driven into the sea near İzmir. The Turkish forces, under the extraordinary military skill of Kemal Atatürk, fought a War of Independence against the occupying Allied powers and in the end won victories on every front all over the country. On the 24th of July 1923, with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, (Lozan Antlaşması ) the independence of the new Turkish State was recognised by all countries. Mustafa Kemal built up a new, sturdy, vigorous state. On the 29th of October 1923, he d eclared the new Turkish state a Republic. Following the declaration of the Republic, the Caliphate wase abolished. Mustafa Kemal was elected the first President of the Republic of Turkey.
Atatürk made frequent tours of the country. While visiting Gemlik and Bursa, Atatürk caught a chill. He returned to Istanbul to be treated and to rest. But, unfortunately Atatürk was seriously ill. At. 9.05 on the 10th of November 1938, Atatürk died. But he attained immortality in the eyes of his people. Since the moment of his death, his beloved name and memory have been engraved on the hearts of his people. As a commander he had been the victor of many battles, as a leader he had influenced the masses, as a statesman he had led a successful administration, and as a revolutionary he had striven to alter the social, cultural, economic, political and legal str ucture of society at its roots. He was one of the most eminent personalities in the history of the world. History will count him among the most glorious sons of the Turkish nation and one of the great leaders of mankind.