Atatürk made a series of reforms with the objective of “raising Turkey above the contemporary level of civilization”:
I. Political Reforms: The abolishment of the Sultanate (November 1, 1922), the proclamation of the Republic (October 29, 1923), the abolishment of the Caliphate (March 3, 1924).
II. Social Reforms: Giving equal rights to women (1926, 1934), the hat and clothing reform (November 25, 1925), closing of the dervish lodges, the cells or convents of recluses and the tombs of saints (November 30, 1925), the Surname Law (June 21, 1934), the abolishment of titles (November 26,1934) and the acceptance of international time, calendar, and measures (1925, 1931).
III. Reforms in Jurisprudence: Abolishment of the old Turkish civil code, and by promulgating the Turkish Code of Civil Law and other laws, the transition to a secular legal system (1924-1937).
IV. Reforms in the fields of Education and Culture: The unification of education (March 3,1924), acceptance of the new Turkish alphabet (November 1,1928), the establishment of the Turkish Language
and History Associations (1931,1932), rearrangement of High Education, innovations in Fine Arts.
V. Reforms in the field of Economics: Abolishment of the title or tax on crops, agricultural incentives, the establishment of model farms, the promulgation of the Industrial Incentive Law and the establishment of industrial organizations, putting into practice the 1st and 2nd Development Plans (1933, 1937), equipping the country with new roads.
Atatürk, the Statesman
The Great Leader Atatürk was elected the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 24, 1920 and August 13, 1923. This presidential duty was at the level of State and Government Presidency. On October 23,1923 the Republic was proclaimed and Atatürk was elected as the first President. In accordance with the Constitution, the presidential elections were repeated once in every four years. In 1927, 1931, and 1935 the Turkish Grand National Assembly reelected Atatürk the President. Atatürk frequently went on trips in the country to check on the activities of the state in its place. He gave orders concerning the delayed aspects to the relevant people. As President, he welcomed the foreign country head of states, prime ministers, and commanders who visited Turkey. Between October 15-20, 1927, he gave the Great Speech narrating the War of Independence and the founding of the Republic and on October 29, 1933 he gave the Tenth Year Speech.
Atatürk’s Personal Life
In his personal life, Atatürk lived in simplicity. On January 29, 1923 he married Lâtife Hanım in İzmir. They went together on many trips in the country. This marriage lasted until August 5, 1925. Atatürk loved children very much and he adopted Afet (İnan), Sabiha (Gökçen), Fikriye, Ülkü, Nebile, Rukiye and Zehra and one shepherd boy called Mustafa and brought up the children named Abdurrahim and îlısan and he prepared a bright future for them.
In 1937 he donated his farms to the treasury and some of his property to the Ankara and Bursa Municipalities. From his estate he set aside shares for his sister, his adopted children and the Turkish Language and History Association.
He liked reading, listening to music, dancing, horseback riding and swimming very much. He had an extreme interest in the Zeybek folk dances, the Rumelian folk songs and wrestling. He enjoyed playing backgammon and billiards. He placed great value on his horse named Sakarya and his dog Fox. He collected a rich library. He invited statesmen, scientists and artists to dinners and debated the issues of the country. He took pains to dress well. He loved nature very much. He went frequently to the Atatürk Forest Farm and personally participated in the activities.
He spoke French and German. He passed away in İstanbul on November 10,1938 at 9:05 a.m. from cirrhosis of the liver. His body was brought to his temporary place of rest at the Ankara Ethnographic Museum. Upon the completion of Anıtkabir (the Mausoleum), his body was burried to his eternal place of rest with a magnificent ceremony on November 10, 1953.