Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | November 10, 2010

molly’s cafe: the anniversary of ataturk’s death

this morning at 9:05 sirens went off, accompanied by ferryboat horns.  for those who didn’t know, there was something of a shock, as they wondered what on earth was going on.  this morning at 9:05 mustafa kemal ataturk died in 1938 in the harem section of dolmabahce palace.  a friend was on istiklal caddesi and commented that everyone stood still, even on this street that is always active.  on my little street it was the same, except for the guy across the street, who was hurrying to open the shop.

the father of turkey


if it were not for ataturk (the father of the turks), there would not be a turkey.  he is greatly admired here and you see statues and pictures of him all over the place.  his picture must be in all classrooms.  he emerged as an authoritarian figure who knew he had to save this country from being taken over and cut up by the great powers, who at that time were already occupying some parts of the country.  if there had not been an ataturk, turkey would be suffering from similar chaos as the middle eastern countries around it. he is so admired that when someone posted some disrespectful videos of him on youtube, it was banned for two years.

of course enough time has elapsed that historians are starting to uncover or discuss this leader.  there have been a few movies about him and some allegations.  he was after all human and made some mistakes.  i think his biggest mistake was not settling hte kurdish issue, which troubles turkey to this day.  however, although i think there is a certain amount of overkill in the admiration expected of him, i too admire him and i am glad he formed the republic of turkey that i so enjoy.


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