There is not a single just leader or political force in history that is mass-oriented, but in some very rare cases, provided that this is a phenomenon that can happen once every 100 years, we come across people like Mustafa. Kemal Ataturk. Today he is considered a saint in Turkey, his name is studied in the history of the country, but thanks to him, the harsh view of the Ottoman Empire is changing, and this ordeal takes a lifetime.
The Ottomans began their rise sometime in the 16th century and rapidly expanded their territory in the Balkans and then on to Central Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottoman empire no longer had any control over Europe, and borders were closing very quickly. After the end of the First World War, all foreign territories were cut off and handed over to Great Britain and France. At that time, the government could not even react – the reason was that the British removed it much earlier, and in their great ambition to dispose of this distant territory. The humiliation is complete, but we must not forget that the Turks are not the only victims, the insane madness of the victors of the First World War will lay the roots for those shaped by the Second World War.
It is in this political and national crisis that people will emerge who not only cannot go back and blame the previous incompetent rulers, but also prefer to start building the new. And it is here that “The War That Will End All Wars” appears on the scene. By this time, the West had already decided to use all the tributaries and the Turkish front to allow a safe sailing line to Turkey.
At the time, Churchill was a naval commander and offered to use the ships to secure the tributaries, as well as to land an army, believing that the “Sick Man of Europe” would offer no resistance. The battle of Galipoli became another big mistake that Churchill would make, and the Turks, backed by Austrian officers, managed not only to punish the British for their audacity, but also to find a special leader in this regard – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. After the battle, Ataturk will say only one thing:
“These heroes shed their blood and lost their lives.”
They lie in the ground on a friendly side. I hope they rest in peace. There is no big difference between the Djonovs and the Mehmedovs, who lie next to each other and are heroes of our country…
You, the Mothers who sent your sons to distant lands, wipe away your tears, your sons lie on our chests and are at peace, having lost their lives in our territory, now they are also our sons.
Despite some successful military maneuvers, the Ottoman Empire lost the war, and once British troops occupied Istanbul, the victors’ plans were to divide the territory. It is here that Mustafa Kemal will become actively involved in national politics. He refused to disband the military forces at his disposal and ordered the government to comply with the demands of the British, but continued to work undercover and support the resistance. In 1920, he was betrayed and arrested while fleeing, and received the death penalty, so the failure will be paid for with his life. Britain continued to cripple the empire until it finally dissolved the government. An armed conflict is expected, with Kemal leading the resistance. Battles take place on several fronts.
Despite the end of the war, the Turks did not agree with anyone else dictating their policies, and for this very reason the casualties on both sides were more than cruel. For many, the first global conflict seems to be continuing. By October 1922, the resistance had succeeded in taking its country back, and it was time, not for revenge, but for the much-dreamed reform that would put an end to all kinds of petty vicious practices that were pushing the country into the abyss. Mustafa Kemal has good ideas and is looking for Greece in January next year to decide on a population transfer.
The creation of territories with representatives of each of the parties is the only option for maintaining the tension and subsequently – its mitigation. Turkey, like any other country in the Balkans, must solve its problems with a multi-layered society. In 1923, the Republic of Turkey was established. In 1934 came the nickname of Mustafa – Ataturk – the father of the Turks. He was elected president and will serve only one term, for the simple reason that his wars have managed to reduce his life drastically. Unlike many new leaders today, he is particularly religious, but in no way tries to show his views or impose his religion as a leading force.
Interestingly, he removed the caliph, forbidding religious leaders from pressuring and dictating the rules of the population – he stressed that there must be a choice. He banned polygamy and began talking about women’s rights. For the first time, they will begin to appear in the law. The other interesting view in this direction is that the inspiration for modernization came with the help of the West.
All sharia and other laws that run counter to the official legal system are automatically banned and replaced by European laws. The language is standardized and Latin takes the place of the various dialects. Educational reform follows, which will provide more trained staff for the future, instead of being an obstacle for the current residents.
However, the economic crisis remains a problem. After the war, we will find that Atatürk inherits a huge debt and his main task for four years is to try to pay it off. Economic reforms began, a national bank was opened, investment was made in industry, and then the railways began to be actively improved. All this is happening within four years, and as we read the results, we must not forget that Atatürk had to fight on various fronts every day, inheriting a side on the brink of collapse, division and despotism. All this is done in the name of the people, in the name of a better morning, and instead of taking a step back to some very old traditions, the focus is elsewhere.
Turkey manages to build and reach the level we know today. The economy today is very different and developed, but we must also not forget that with the help of the vision for the future, other countries are also beginning to follow this example. Here we must not forget one more detail, Mustafa Kemal managed to build the state when many others were broken by the First World War. In this respect, Bulgaria is facing many problems and the influence from abroad is beginning to affect even more severely. Atatürk proves that even in the greatest crisis, steps forward are possible and can be taken.
There is another requirement for the creation of such a revolution – the trust of the people that one person can change them, to point the way forward, to guarantee a better tomorrow, while he in turn will have to think about everyone, not for a select minority, as we have already seen happen many times in world history. Ataturk died on November 10, 1938, leaving his country with a clear view of what exactly it should be and how it should develop.