a project of ATASC

A Young Nation’s First President

Volumes have been written about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life and leadership as the Republic of Turkey’s first president.  Although this website is kept brief, please see Books and Articles about Atatürk for more information.

On 29 October 1923, after incessant fighting in the Italian-Ottoman Wars, First and Second Balkan Wars, World War I, and Turkey’s War of Independence, and founding a new republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first President of the Republic of Turkey. He was only 42. 

 After proclaiming the Republic, Atatürk immediately set to work to repair and rebuild his war-torn nation. True to his intellect, he studied and analyzed various western governments, constitutions, institutions, policies, economic, education, and legal systems to adapt what was needed for Turkey. He placed capable colleagues in key positions to initiate reforms that would modernize his beloved country. He knew the challenges that his nation would pose: shock, anger, fright, hopelessness, hunger, desperation, need for stability, even a longing for the previous way of life. His aspiration to transform a remnant (approximately 15%) of the former vast Ottoman Empire into a democratic, secular nation became his motivating cause.

Atatürk would remain this new nation’s president until he died on 10 November 1938 at the age of 57.



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