Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
1st President of Turkey
In office
October 29, 1923 – November 10, 1938
Succeeded by İsmet İnönü
1st Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
3 May 1920 – 24 January 1921
Succeeded by Fevzi Çakmak
Personal details
Born 1881
Died November 10, 1938
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul
Nationality Turkish
Political party Republican People's Party
Spouse(s) Latife Uşaklıgil (1923-1925)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of the Republic of Turkey until his death in 1938. He is known for being a leader of Turkey who freed the country from being controlled by other countries, and later for starting reforms that made Turkey more modern and similar to Europe.

Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881. His birth place was Salonika (now Thessaloniki in Greece). Salonika was part of the Ottoman Empire at that time. He was given the name Atatürk (Father of All Turks) later. His father's name was Ali Rıza Efendi. His mother's name was Zübeyde Hanım. He also had a sister whose name was Makbule (Atadan).

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after the First World War, Atatürk organised the Nationalist movement that established the modern secular Republic of Turkey. This meant that the country was no longer governed by the religious leaders. Visitors to Turkey are often surprised by the importance given to Atatürk in present-day Turkey.

In fact few countries have such a person in their history. Not only was he a successful military commander, but he established a democratic constitution and put in place reforms that set Turkey on the road to becoming a modern and developing nation. He is also noted for inspiring many later leaders, like Gamal Abdel Nasser, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and others.

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.
  4. Populism: The equality of all citizens before the law.
  5. Reformism: A constant process of development and modernisation.
  6. Etatism: An economic system combining private enterprise with government-funded monopolies of large industries