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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: The Incredible Turk

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Anybody who comes to Turkey should learn about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This is a 1950s American presentation about him. There is FAR more to Mustafa Kemal than this short film presents, but it gives you a basic idea of who he was and why he is so revered.

 

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Everyone who comes to Turkey should learn about Ataturk.

However, we should be free to interpret his impact however we want.

i think the fact that we can come and go to turkey as we please, is testament to his rule. although flawed, he was a man with a vision for his country that has never been bettered!

it is sad that the religious faction in turkey may overturn his legacy of a secular country, but

the turkish people i am sure will prevail, and it will always be the welcoming place that i have always found it to be.

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Anybody who comes to Turkey should learn about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This is a 1950s American presentation about him. There is FAR more to Mustafa Kemal than this short film presents, but it gives you a basic idea of who he was and why he is so revered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9EkewZea3k&feature=player_detailpage

I primarily use Firefox for my browser the media did not show at all in your post. Posted Image I fired up Chrome and it did. Posted Image Thanks for sharing. Posted Image

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I primarily use Firefox for my browser the media did not show at all in your post. Posted Image I fired up Chrome and it did. Posted Image Thanks for sharing. Posted Image

That's the other way round with me (not an unusual occurrence), I have trouble with YouTube on Chrome but not on Firefox. Burası Türkiye yaa!

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Everyone who comes to Turkey should learn about Ataturk. However, we should be free to interpret his impact however we want.

Have you somehow been restricted? Posted Image Never had that problem personally but am always interested in hearing the stories of others. Posted Image

Some friends of my daughter came to visit Kaş, they asked who was the man whose photo in a tuxedo seemed to show up in every business place they visited. They had no idea who was Mustafa Kemal. They are from the US originally and have lived in Belgium for the last 7 years. I was quite surprised, perhaps I should not have been?Posted Image

Some reforms as a result of Atatürk:

[*]Abolished polygamy

[*]1925, the famous hat law. Believed to be a mark of Ottoman backwardness he banned the wearing of the fez, announcing 'the headgear of civilised people' to be a western style hat.

[*]Civil marriage ceremonies were made law.

[*]Islam was removed as the state religion making Turkey a secular country.

[*]Abolished the Caliphate

[*]Changed city names: Constantinople to Istanbul, Angora to Ankara, Smyrna to Izmir.

[*]Arabic alphabet was replaced with a Latin based. (started nationwide literacy campaign in just a few months)

[*]Sunday became the official day of rest replacing the Moslem Holy Day of Friday.

[*]1935 surnames were introduced

[*]Lifted the veil on women

[*]1930 women obtained the right to vote and later were given the right to serve in Parliament

Compare women's voting rights to:

United States - 1920 the Senate approved the amendment

UK - 1928 The Representation of the People Act extended the voting franchise to all women over the age of 21, granting women the vote on the same terms as men.

France - 1944 ordinance of the French provisional government extended suffrage to French women

For a couple of good, comprehensive biographies on Atatürk see

Ataturk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey by Andrew Mango

OR

this one which is an older, less comprehensive study

Ataturk: A Biography of Mustafa Kemal, Father of Modern Turkey by Patrick Balfour Kinross (Lord Kinross)

Another excellent book of fiction and an epic is called Birds Without Wings by Louis De Bernieres (an Englishman in spite of his French surname) which has some excellent and sometimes humourous chapters which are chronological (and accurate) accounts of the life of Mustafa Kemal stuck in amongst the conflict leading to the birth of Modern Turkey.

Last but not least, King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership by Arnold M. Ludwig

Where the author places Atatürk number 1 on his "Political Greatness Scale"

Here is the transcript of an interview with the author:

Mr Lamb asks Ludwig about his Political Greatness Scale and says "the number one leader you found in the 20th century, from your political greatness scale, was Ataturk." and goes on to ask "But why Ataturk?" and Ludwig answers: "Let's look at what Ataturk did. And again, mind you, take this in the context of some of the other great leaders that -- some of the immortals I've mentioned. Ataturk created -- started Turkey. He dismantled the Ottoman empire, which was in existence at the time. He not only was the founder of the country, creating a country, but he caused a profound social change in Turkey. He introduced democracy into Turkey, somewhat a militant type of democracy, but a democracy nonetheless. He separated -- he was one of the -- first time in history to kind of separate church and state. In fact, even though it is predominantly a Muslim country, it's one of the few ones where certain types of freedoms are permitted..."

That's the other way round with me (not an unusual occurrence), I have trouble with YouTube on Chrome but not on Firefox. Burası Türkiye yaa!

I can play any YouTube videos in FFox or Chrome without difficulty, it is the link that is invisible to me. Posted Image When I hit the reply button to Ken's posting, the URL then showed itself. If Ken had posted the actual web address (URL) to the video I would have seen that. Something about the "embeddedness" of the video I presume. Posted Image

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Yes, he was a great man. But many people mistakenly think he was anti-Islam. This is not the case! In fact, he was a religious, practicing man, but wanted to secularize the state as a way to PROTECT the image of TRUE Islam and not have Turkey associated with the oppression of the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. I was at the Ataturk Museum (can't remember which city in Turkey) and while it wasn't that large, I spent the better part of the afternoon reading all the plaques. I came to realize that he's VERY MUCH misunderstood and praised for things he never intended.

Turks use Ataturk as a way to justify/hide behind their non-practice. They think that anyone who has Allah in his/her life is some backward person, like you can't be modern AND faithful. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Ataturk PROVE this!

Ataturk took drastic measures for Turkey in 1923. People say Erdogan is "undoing" Ataturk's vision. But people forget that the reasons WHY Ataturk did what he did. Situations now in 2013 are very different, so the reasons WHY Erdogan is doing what he's doing is based upon different circumstances. You can't compare the two. It's apples and oranges, historically. I bet if the two were together today, they'd agree on a lot more than you think.

I am tired of Turks -- who have ID cards with "Islam" on them -- put down the faith and use Ataturk as their pedestal.

Come on, people. You're really going to praise a 1950's xenophobic, revisionist history propaganda film?

I don't mean to offend but this really hit a nerve with me.

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I am tired of Turks -- who have ID cards with "Islam" on them -- put down the faith and use Ataturk as their pedestal.

Come on, people. You're really going to praise a 1950's xenophobic, revisionist history propaganda film?

I don't mean to offend but this really hit a nerve with me.

What does this mean "put down the faith and use Ataturk as their pedestal"?

As of this time, it is my understanding that Turkish citizens are required to put a religion on their ID cards. Most people world wide, certainly true with the Christians I have known, actually look around, critically investigate and then choose a religion (or reject it). What they were born into, many (most?) simply accept as "their" religion. If you were born into a family of people who are Muslim, you would, in most cases, grow up and say you are a Muslim. Ergo, you would then put that on your ID card.

In the past, (let us hope this is no longer true) persons with XXX on their ID cards were discrimintated against, or at the least were considered "suspicious."

Perhaps you would share with us which parts of the film "hit a nerve" with you? You have given us no clues to which part(s) of the film upset you. For example how was it revisionist? Which part was propaganda and for whom? Where is it xenophobic? Please share your detailed criticism with us.

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Just the fact that, given all the media spin on all the protests, the anti-Islamic behaviors and criticisms of Erdogan, the edification of Ataturk's gotten on my nerves. Yes, he did a lot for Turkey. But that's not a reason to do what so many are doing right now.

The film in general made it look like Turks were just a bunch of ignorant people and he came along and "fixed" them by Westernizing them. Yes, he did a lot of the country and he's celebrated. Erdogan has, too, yet he's criticized. Just because he's making it easier for people to worship if they CHOOSE to do so. Nobody can argue against the fact that their economy has become stronger with him. But no- they're just freaking out because they're afraid that it my become more difficult for them to get their alcohol.

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Just the fact that, given all the media spin on all the protests, the anti-Islamic behaviors and criticisms of Erdogan, the edification of Ataturk's gotten on my nerves. Yes, he did a lot for Turkey. But that's not a reason to do what so many are doing right now.

The film in general made it look like Turks were just a bunch of ignorant people and he came along and "fixed" them by Westernizing them. Yes, he did a lot of the country and he's celebrated. Erdogan has, too, yet he's criticized. Just because he's making it easier for people to worship if they CHOOSE to do so. Nobody can argue against the fact that their economy has become stronger with him. But no- they're just freaking out because they're afraid that it my become more difficult for them to get their alcohol.

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HobbitTR, you pretty much answered your own questions with the skewed perspective of the film.

As for the protests, yes, that is directly to which I was referring. Everyone has the right to protest, but many were just looking for something to do. If the weather was not so good and they did it in February, I'm sure not so many people would turn to rioting in the streets. They make it out like it's to save some trees, but really, it's WAY more politically charged. There are plants in the crowds to incite them and they were drinking in mosques and iftar tents. It's clear that they distain their "religion" that's put on their ID.

My husband has tried to debate with his friends over it, and you clearly can't reason with these people. "Erdogan's trying to make Turkey Iran... I can't even kiss in public... My girlfriend can't wear her miniskirt... My professor won't let me eat in class." Really? That's your complaint? How about the fact that my sister-in-law can finally go to college and keep her dignity by covering and hopefully, when she gets her degree in PR and social work, she'll be allowed to work for the government. Those are two rights Ataturk put in place: education and work for women.

So in many ways, Erdogan is trying to protect the reforms of Ataturk! Think about it...

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I don't want to go too much into my feelings on Ataturk, this is a public forum and I could get into trouble for saying what I think.

However, my wife still face xenophobic remarks about her religion almost daily. Today, infact she was called a yabanci by one of her colleagues due to her religion. Ataturk created modern Turkey but many of the actions of the few, who have continued his legacies, would have him turning in his grave.

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HobbitTR, you pretty much answered your own questions with the skewed perspective of the film.

my sister-in-law can finally go to college and keep her dignity by covering

So in many ways, Erdogan is trying to protect the reforms of Ataturk! Think about it...

I must be one of the most ignorant members of this forum, I simply do not see how I answered my own questions. I hope you can please tell me how I did that?

I first started teaching at the university in the fall of 2000 at Bilgi University. I had many covered women students. Ecevit was still Prime Minister. I had one or two foolish and narrow-minded colleagues and some students who did not like it and one actually resigned because of headscarfed students. Most teachers could have cared less, to us they were all students.

Secularism in different countries means different things. In the USA it is supposed to mean a separation of religion and government ("Church and State" no mention of Mosques or Synagogues). In Turkey, the term is laïcité , and although it derives from the French, it really means control of religion. "Sunni Islam, the majority religion, is now controlled by the Turkish government through the Department of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) and is state-funded." All imams are government employees, therefore they often do not bite the hand that feeds them. Friday talks in Mosques are dictated by the Diyanet.

I often wonder if all Mosques and Imams had to survive from the contributions of the members of their religious communities, how many of them would survive? I have asked this question several times and always get the same answer from pious and other Turkish people---far fewer would survive. In 2006 its budget was nearly $1 billion USD.

Perhaps the Prime Minister should abolish the Diyanet? This would eliminate a huge budgetary allowance for the payments to Mosques and Imamans and other religious officials and stop any control the government may have over religion. I would imagine if he did that, he would be more convincing to Kemalists who believe he has a "hidden agenda."

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The US is NOT free from church and state. That's a huge lie. (Not you- our system!) Money washes the hands of many lobbyists and policy is decided beyond just what the constitution dictates.

You obviously know more than me with your experience. I can only say what I think given my limited knowledge. One day, I plan to move to Turkey and will have a better perspective. I just know that the media does a very good job supporting the protester's point of view, but I see/hear many opposing perspectives and there's more than just one side to a coin.

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As for the protests, yes, that is directly to which I was referring. Everyone has the right to protest, but many were just looking for something to do. If the weather was not so good and they did it in February, I'm sure not so many people would turn to rioting in the streets.

I can't really comment on Ataturk, but I respectfully disagree with this comment. People aren't out there having picnics and singing songs in the streets, they're being gassed and thrown into jail. The weather has nothing to do with it, and if you're looking for something to do I'm pretty certain you're not going to choose protesting when there are so many dangers to it. It's not an idle activity. Protests right now are not fun and I have yet to talk to anyone who would disagree with that statement. There are probably some people who are protesting because everyone else is doing it, but I do not think it is this huge subversive number.

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The US is NOT free from church and state. That's a huge lie. (Not you- our system!) Money washes the hands of many lobbyists and policy is decided beyond just what the constitution dictates.

I just know that the media does a very good job supporting the protester's point of view

What I wrote was "In the USA it is supposed to mean a separation of religion and government ("Church and State" no mention of Mosques or Synagogues)." I did not say it did. Posted Image I lived in the USA for 55 years, I have some idea of the reality "on the street." Posted Image

In Turkey, for the first few nights of the protests, the shameful Turkish media did not cover the events at all. Posted Image The reporters from foreign media outlets and the Internet were on the streets getting gassed and trying to report what was happening. I have many friends who were there, night after night, who would not so respectfully disagree with what you said about the reasons for the protests and who made up the population of those protesting.

Nuff said, end of conversation as far as I am concerned. This was supposed to be about Atatürk.

Ken, thank you for starting this posting. I hope others have comments.

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Ken, thank you for starting this posting. I hope others have comments.

Thanks. Me too. As Admin I will stay out of this one, but I hope nobody has the impression that they are not supposed to discuss topics like this. We should have an environment where opposing opinions can be expressed and debated.

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Turkey wouldn't be the country it is today if Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had not been president of Turkey. Although I agree that some changes needed to be made as things change but the present PM's actions over the last two months would have had MKA spinning in his grave.

How anyone can only see that the protests were only about alcohol rather than restriction of people's rights and gagging of the press, I don't know. All I can assume is that they haven't read the papers and only listen to RTE's childishly embarrassing rants. If he'd behaved like a rational person and talked to the original protesters, instead of sending in the police with tear-gas and water cannon, the whole thing could have been sorted out in a couple of days. The escalation of the whole thing can be clearly laid at his door.

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