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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Salih Ulku Cevat Abbas Musti Kilic Ali (cropped)2.jpg
Atatürk in 1937
1st President of Turkey
In office
October 29, 1923 – November 10, 1938
Succeeded by İsmet İnönü
1st Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
3 May 1920 – 24 January 1921
Succeeded by Fevzi Çakmak
Personal details
Born 1881
Salonika (now Thessaloniki)
Died November 10, 1938
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul
Nationality Turkish
Political party Republican People's Party
Spouse(s) Latife Uşaklıgil (1923-1925)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey until his death in 1938. He is known for being a leader of Turkey who freed the country from being controlled by other countries, and later for starting changes that made Turkey more modern and similar to Western civilization, mainly Europe and the United States.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born under the name Ali Rıza oğlu Mustafa in 1881. His birth place was in Salonika, Greece (now Thessaloniki). Salonika was part of the Ottoman Empire at that time. He took the name "Kemal" as a schoolboy and Atatürk (which means Father of All Turks) when he was president. His father's name was Ali Rıza Efendi. His mother's name was Zübeyde Hanım. He also had a sister whose name was Makbule (Atadan). He became an army officer and the most successful general officer of the empire in World War I, fighting in Gallipoli.

When the Ottoman Empire was ended after the war, Atatürk organized a nationalist movement that created the new, secular, Republic of Turkey. This meant that the country's government was no longer led by hereditary or religious leaders. Visitors to Turkey are often surprised by the importance given to Atatürk in present-day Turkey.

Few countries have such a person in their history. He was a successful military commander, and later established a democratic constitution and put in place changes that set Turkey on the road to becoming a new and developing nation. He inspired many later leaders, like Gamal Abdel Nasser and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

His six principles still serve today as a sign post for establishing a democratic government:

  1. Republicanism: Replacing the hereditary monarchy with an elected parliament.
  2. Nationalism: Citizens working together with pride in a common interest.
  3. Secularism: Separating religion from government.
  4. Populism: The equality of all citizens before the law.
  5. Reformism: A constant process of development and modernisation.
  6. Etatism: An economic system combining private enterprise with government-funded monopolies of large industries

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