Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

While it is highly unlikely that players will meet him, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the President of Turkey, and Turkey during this time period is undergoing massive social changes, so knowing a little about him can be helpful to really set the stage during the campaign.  He was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him (and forbidden to any other person) in 1934 by the Turkish parliament.

Atatürk was a military officer during World War I.  Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies.  His military campaigns gained Turkey independence.  Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, westernized and secular nation-state.  Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced.  The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.

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