The Founder and First President of the Republic of Turkey – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Мустафа Кемал Ататурк, Мustapha Кemal Аtaturk, Мostafa Кemal Ataturk) studied in Bitola (Monastir) military high school since March 13, 1896 until 1899, in the period when Macedonia was under Turkish rule.
In this text is presented short biography of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, an excerpt from the book “Ataturk and the War of Independence Museum” published by Turkish General Staff
Family of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in Salonika in 1881 in a three floors pink house on Islahane Avenue in Kocakasim District. His father was Ali Rıza Efendi and his mother was Zübeyde Hanım. His grandfather Hafız Ahmet Efendi on his father’s side, was from Kocacık Yörüks (a nomadic shepherd tribe from Anatolia) that had come from Konya and Aydın and settled at Kocacık in Macedonia in the XIV – XV centuries.
His mother Zübeyde Hanım was the member of an old Turkish family that had settled in the town of Langaza near Salonika. Ali Rıza Efendi served as a militia officer, a clerk of estates in mortmain, a customs official and undertook the trade of lumber. He married Zübeyde Hanım in 1871 and died in 1893 at the age of 54. Four of Atatürk’s five siblings died at an early age, only Makbule (Atadan) lived until 1956. Zübeyde Hanım raised her children with great self-sacrifice and was an exemplary Turkish woman. She died in İzmir on January 14, 1923 at the age of 66 after witnessing the successes of her son.
Memorial house of Ali Rıza Efendi father of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Kocacık (Коџаџик) Macedonia (Ali Rıza Efendi Anı Evi)
When Atatürk reached school age, he first started his education at Hafız Mehmet Efendi local primary school and later at his father’s request he attended Şemsi Efendi School. Meanwhile lie lost his father in 1893. He spent some time at the Rapla farm with his maternal uncle and later returned to Salonika and finished his school.
He registered at Selanik (Thessaloniki, Солун) Secondary School. In 1894, a short time later, he entered the Military Secondary School. At this school, his mathematics teacher Mustafa added “Kemal” to his name. Between 1896 -1899, he completed the Monastir Military High School and started his education at the Military Academy in Istanbul.
Bitola (Monastir) military high school
In 1902 he graduated with the rank of lieutenant. He continued at the Staff College. On January 11,1905 he completed the College with the rank of Staff Captain.
Between 1905-1907, he undertook duties in the command of the 5th Army in Damascus. In 1907 he became a Senior Captain and was assigned to the 3rd Army in Monastir.
On April 19, 1909 he was the Chief of Staff in the Operations Army that entered Istanbul. In 1910 he was sent to France. He attended Picardie Manoeuvres. In 1911 he started to work under the command of the General Staff in İstanbul.
During Tripoli and Balkan Wars
In 1911 in the war that broke out with the Italians’ assault on Tripoli, Mustafa Kemal took up duties with a group of friends in Tobruk and Damah regions. On December 22, 1911 Tobruk Battle was won against the Italians. On March 6, 1912 he was promoted to the Commander of Damah.
In October 1912 when the Balkan War started, Mustafa Kemal joined the war with regiments from Gallipoli and Bolayir. He performed great services in the recapture of Dimetoka (Dhidhimotikhon) and Edirne.
In 1913 he was assigned as the Military Attache to Sofia. While he was performing these duties, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1914. His duties as Military Attache ended in January 1915. In the meantime, the World War I started and the Ottoman Empire was forced to enter the war. Mustafa Kemal was appointed to Tekirdağ to set up the 19th Division.
During the World War I that started in 1914, Mustafa Kemal wrote a heroic epic and made the Entente States say “The Dardanelles is impassable!” On March 18, 1915, the English and French fleets that tried to pass the Dardanelles Strait, after having heavy losses, decided to land troops on the Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula. On April 25, 1915, the forces that landed at Anburnu (Cape of Bees) were stopped at Conkbayin (Chunuk Bair) by the 19th Division, commanded by Mustafa Kemal. As a result of this success, Mustafa Kemal promoted to Colonel. The English attacked once again at Anburnu on August 6-7, 1915. The Anafarta Group Commander Mustafa Kemal won the Anafartalar victory on August 9-10. Tins victory was followed by the victories at Kireçtepe on August 17, and the 2nd Anafartalar on August 21.
The Turkish nation that lost 253,000 lives, of whom 60,000 were martyred, at the Çanakkale Battles knew how to protect their honor against the Entente States. Mustafa Kemal’s command to his soldiers, “I do not order you to attack, I do order you to die!” changed the fate of the battles.
At Other Fronts During the First World War
In 1916 after the Çanakkale Battles, Mustafa Kemal took up duties in Edirne and Diyarbakır. On April 1,1916, he was promoted to Major General. By fighting against the Russian forces he recaptured Muş and Bitlis. After short-term duties in Damascus and Aleppo, he returned to İstanbul in 1917.
He went to Germany with Crown Prince Vahidettin Efendi and made investigations at the front. He became ill after this trip. He went to Vienna and Karlsbad for treatment. On August 15, 1918, he returned to Aleppo as the 7th Army Commander. On this front, he undertook successful defensive battles against the English forces. On October 31, 1918, one day after the signing of the Mudros Armistice, lie was assigned as the Commander of the Lightning Armies Group. Upon the abolishment of this army, on November 13, 1918, he came to Istanbul and commenced duties at the Ministry of War.
Towards the War of Independence
After the Mudros Armistice with the commencing of occupation of the Ottoman Empire by the Entente States, Mustafa Kemal went to Samsun on May 19, 1919 as the 9th Army inspector. In the proclamation published on June 22, 1919 in Amasya he announced, “The independence of the country will be saved once again by the determination and decisiveness of the nation ” and lie decided to hold a congress in Sivas.
The Erzurum Congress was held between July 23-August 7, 1919 and the Sivas Congress was held between September 4-11, 1919 to ensure the designation of the path to be followed to free the country. He was welcomed with excitement in Ankara on December 27, 1919. With the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23,1920, a significant step was taken on the path for the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was elected the Speaker of the Assembly and the President of the Government. The Turkish Grand National Assembly promulgated the necessary laws for the successful conclusion of the War of Independence and ensured their enforcement.
During the War of independence
The Turkish War of Independence started with the shooting of the first bullet, on May 15, 1919, during the occupation of İzmir by the Greeks. Initially, they fought with the militia forces called “the National Forces” against the states that won the World War I and who shared among themselves the Ottoman Empire by signing the Sevres Treaty on August 10, 1920. The Turkish Grand National Assembly established a regular army and by uniting the National Forces and the Army, the war concluded with victory. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, the important stages of the Turkish War of Independence are as follows:
The liberation of Sarıkamış (September 19, 1920), Kars (October 30, 1920) and Gümrü (November 7, 1920) • The defenses of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Şanlıurfa (1919-1921) • The First İnönü Victory (January 6-10, 1921) • The Second İnönü Victory (March 23 – April 1, 1921) • The Sakarya Pitch Battle (August 23 – September 13, 1921) • The Great Attack, the Commander-in-chief Battle and the Great Victory (August 26 – September 9, 1922)
After the Sakarya Victory, on September 19, 1921, the Turkish Grand National Assembly bestowed on Mustafa Kemal the rank of Marshal and the title of Gazi (holy veteran). The War of Independence was concluded on July 24, 1923 with the signing of the Lausanne Agreement. Thus, there was no obstacle left for the founding of a new Turkish State on the Turkish land that had been broken into pieces by the Sevres Treaty, with an area equal to the size of 5-6 provinces left to the Turks.
The Foundation of the Republic
In April 23, 1920, the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara was the herald of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. The Assembly’s successful leading of the Turkish War of Independence accelerated the foundation of the new Turkish State. On November 1, 1922 the Caliphate and the Sultanate were separated from each other and the sovereignty of the sultans was abolished. Thus, the ties with the Ottoman Empire were broken off on October 13, 1923, Ankara was proclaimed the capital. On October 29, 1923, the Republic administration was accepted and Atatürk was elected as the first President with a unanimous vote. On October 30, 1923 the Republic’s first government was established by İsmet İnönü. The Republic of Turkey started to advance on the principles of “Sovereignty belongs unconditionally and unrestrictedly to the nation” and “Peace at home, peace in the world”.