Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

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We must delve into our roots and reconstruct what history has divided.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (188110 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer and revolutionist statesman who was the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey; known most of his life as Mustafa Kemal, he was given the name Atatürk by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1934.

Quotes[edit]

Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die.
Unless a nation's life faces peril, war is murder.
My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go.
Every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.
Peace at home, peace in the world.
Know that whatever conforms to reason, logic, and the advantages and needs of our people conforms equally to Islam.
Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body.
The nation has placed its faith in the precept that all laws should be inspired by actual needs here on earth as a basic fact of national life.
Humankind is made up of two sexes, women and men. Is it possible for humankind to grow by the improvement of only one part while the other part is ignored?
We did not win the war with prayers, but with the blood of our soldiers.
  • Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
    • Orders to the 57th Infantry Regiment, at the Battle of Gallipoli (25 April 1915); as quoted in Studies in Battle Command by Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, p. 89; also quoted in Turkey (2007) by Verity Campbell, p. 188
    • Variant translation: I am not ordering you to fight, I am ordering you to die.
  • If you don't have ammunition, you have bayonets! FIX BAYONETS! GET DOWN!
    • Instructions to his soliders to answer an ANZAC attack on Chunuk Bair (25 April 1915)
  • Our life here is truly hellish. Fortunately, my soldiers are very brave and tougher than the enemy.
    • Letter to Corinne Lütfü, from the Gallipoli peninsula (20 July 1917) as translated in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey (2002) by Andrew Mango. ISBN 158567334X
  • Hattı müdafaa yoktur, sathı müdafaa vardır. O satıh bütün vatandır.
    • There is no defence line, there is defence of area. This area is all of the home country!
      • His order to the Turkish army at the Battle of Sakarya (26 August 1921); Turkish, as quoted in Bugünkü Türkiye (1937), by Stephan Ronart, p. 127
    • Variant: Hattı müdafaa yoktur, sathı müdafaa vardır. O satıh bütün vatandır. Vatanın her karış toprağı, vatandaşın kanıyla ıslanmadıkça terk olunamaz…
      • Variant translation: There is no line of defense, but a territory of defense and that territory is the whole of the motherland. No inch of the motherland may be abandoned without being soaked in the blood of her sons...
        • English translation, as quoted in History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (1976) by Stanford Jay Shaw
  • In human life, you will find players of religion until the knowledge and proficiency in religion will be cleansed from all superstitions, and will be purified and perfected by the enlightenment of real science.
    • Speech (October 1927); quoted in Ataturk’ten Dusunceler by E. Z. Karal, p .59
  • Today the Soviet Union is a friend and an ally. We need this friendship. However, no one can know what will happen tomorrow. Just like the Ottoman and Austro-Hungrian Empires it may tear itself apart or shrink in size. Those peoples that it holds so tightly in its grip may one day slip away. The world may see a new balance of power. It is then that Turkey must know what to do. Ally Soviets have under their control our brothers with whom we share language, beliefs and roots. We must be prepared to embrace them. Being ready does not mean that we will sit quietly and wait. We must get ready. How does a people get prepared for such an endeavour? By strengthening the natural bridges that exist between us. Language is a bridge... Religon is a bridge... History is a bridge... We must delve into our roots and reconstruct what history has divided. We can't wait for them to approach us. We must reach out to them.
  • Bu Memleketin toprakları üstünde kanlarını döken kahramanlar! Burada dost bir vatanın toprağındasınız. Huzur ve sükun içinde uyuyunuz. Sizler Mehmetçiklerle yanyana koyun koyunasınız. Uzak diyarlardan evlatlarını harbe gönderen analar! Gözyaşlarınızı dindiriniz. Evlatlarınız bizim bağrımızdadır, huzur içindedirler ve huzur içinde rahat rahat uyuyacaklardır. Onlar bu toprakta canlarını verdikten sonra artık bizim evlatlarımız olmuşlardır.
    • Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
  • I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea. He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
    • Quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey, by Andrew Mango; "In a book published in 1928, Grace Ellison quotes [Atatürk], presumably in 1926-27", Grace Ellison Turkey Today (London: Hutchinson, 1928)
  • We do not consider our principles as dogmas contained in books that are said to come from heaven. We derive our inspiration, not from heaven, or from an unseen world, but directly from life.
    • Statement (1 November 1937), as quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey (2002) by Andrew Mango
  • Yurtta Barış, Dünyada Barış
    • Peace at home, peace in the world.
      • Maxim which became the motto of the Republic of Turkey; quoted in many sources including, Atatürk (1963) by Uluğ İğdemir, p. 200; and Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus (2000) by Svante E. Cornell, p. 287
  • Lasting peace is sought, it is essential to adopt international measures to improve the lot of the masses. The welfare of the entire human race must replace hunger and oppression. People of the world must be taught to give up envy, avarice and rancour.
    • As quoted in I. Milletleraras Genclik Kongresi [First International Youth Congress] (1988) by Selçuk Üniversity, p. 19
  • It is claimed that religious unity is also a factor in the formation of nations. Whereas, we see the contrary in the Turkish nation. Turks were a great nation even before they adopted Islam. This religion did not help the Arabs, Iranians, Egyptians and others to unite with Turks to form a nation. Conversely, it weakened the Turks’ national relations; it numbed Turkish national feelings and enthusiasm. This was natural, because Mohammedanism was based on Arab nationalism above all nationalities.
    • Yurttaslik Bilgileri, Yenigun Haber Ajansi (1997 edition) p. 18
  • Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women.
    • As quoted in The Macmillan Dictionary of Political Quotations (1993) by Lewis D. Eigen and Jonathan Paul Siegel, p. 424; also in Ataturk: First President and Founder of the Turkish Republic (2002) by Yuksel Atillasoy, p. 15
  • Religion is an important institution. A nation without religion cannot survive. Yet it is also very important to note that religion is a link between Allah and the individual believer. The brokerage of the pious cannot be permitted. Those who use religion for their own benefit are detestable. We are against such a situation and will not allow it. Those who use religion in such a manner have fooled our people; it is against just such people that we have fought and will continue to fight. Know that whatever conforms to reason, logic, and the advantages and needs of our people conforms equally to Islam. If our religion did not conform to reason and logic, it would not be the perfect religion, the final religion.
    • As quoted in Kemalizm, Laiklik ve Demokrasi [Kemalism, Laicism and Democracy] (1994) by Ahmet Taner Kışlalı
  • The foundation of our religion is very strong. The material is strong as well, but the building itself was neglected for hundreds of years. As the plaster dropped down, none thought to replace it and none felt the need to reinforce the building. Quite the contrary: many foreign elements and interpretations, as well as empty beliefs, came along and damaged it still more.
    • As quoted in Kemalizm, Laiklik ve Demokrasi [Kemalism, Laicism and Democracy] (1994) by Ahmet Taner Kışlalı
  • İstikbal göklerdedir.
    • The future is in the skies.
    • Ataturk's comment on aerospace-aeronautics, as quoted in Modernism and Nation-Building: Turkish Architectural Culture in the Early Republic (2001), p. 126 by Sibel Bozdoğan
  • İki Mustafa Kemal vardır: Biri ben, et ve kemik, geçici Mustafa Kemal... İkinci Mustafa Kemal, onu "ben" kelimesiyle ifade edemem; o, ben değil, bizdir! O, memleketin her köşesinde yeni fikir, yeni hayat ve büyük ülkü için uğraşan aydın ve savaşçı bir topluluktur. Ben, onların rüyasını temsil ediyorum. Benim teşebbüslerim, onların özlemini çektikleri şeyleri tatmin içindir. O Mustafa Kemal sizsiniz, hepinizsiniz. Geçici olmayan, yaşaması ve başarılı olması gereken Mustafa Kemal odur.
  • There are two Mustafa Kemals: One is me, the flesh-and-blood, mortal Mustafa Kemal … The second Mustafa Kemal,… I can not express it with the word “me”, it is not “me”, it is “we”. That is an intellectual and challenging society, struggling in every corner of the homeland for new ideas, new life and the great ideal. I represent their dream. My attempts are to satisfy the things they long. That Mustafa Kemal is you, all of you. That is the non provisonal Mustafa Kemal that must live and succeed.
    • As quoted in Ataturk: First President and Founder of the Turkish Republic (2002) by Yuksel Atillasoy, p. 19
  • The nation has placed its faith in the precept that all laws should be inspired by actual needs here on earth as a basic fact of national life.
    • As quoted in A World View of Criminal Justice (2005) by Richard K. Vogler, p. 116
  • Humankind is made up of two sexes, women and men. Is it possible for humankind to grow by the improvement of only one part while the other part is ignored? Is it possible that if half of a mass is tied to earth with chains that the other half can soar into skies?
    • As quoted in "Atatürk" in Images of a Divided World (29 October 2006)
    • Variant translation: Humankind consists of two sexes, woman and man. Is it possible that a mass is improved by the improvement of only one part and the other ignored? Is it possible that if half of a mass is tied to earth with chains and the other half can soar into skies?

Quotes about Atatürk[edit]

Above all, he was a builder, the greatest nation-builder of modern times. ~ Andrew Mango
Sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • The centuries rarely produce a genius. It is our bad luck that the great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation. We could not beat Mustafa Kemal.
    • In the Turkish TV series, Kurtulus (1994), David Lloyd George is portrayed as saying this, as George Nathaniel Curzon was making a complaint against Raymond Poincaré, but no prior citation of such a statement has yet been found.
    • Variant translation: The genius of our century — centuries rarely produce a genius. Look at this bad luck of ours, that the great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation.
  • The exploits of your leaders in many a historic field of battle; the progress of your Revolution; the rise and career of the great Ataturk, his revitalization of your nation by his great statesmanship, courage and foresight all these stirring events are well-known to the people of Pakistan.
    • Mohammad Ali Jinnah replying to a speech made by the first Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan at the time of presenting credentials to the Quaid-i-Azam (4 March 1948)
  • The name of Atatürk brings to mind the historic accomplishments of one of the great men of this century, his inspired leadership of the Turkish People, his perceptive understanding of the modern world and his boldness as a military leader.

External links[edit]

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