- Kemal, Mustapha
- (1880–1938)More commonly known as Atatürk, soldier and father of modern Turkey, Mustapha Kemal was born in Salonica in 1880, where a museum at the current Turkish Consulate commemorates his birthplace. His father died when Mustapha was seven, and his mother brought him up. Mustapha studied at the military secondary school in Selânik, where his mathematics teacher gave him the additional name Kemal (“perfection”) because of his academic excellence. He entered the military academy at Manastır in 1895, graduated as a lieutenant decade later and was posted to Damascus.Mustapha joined a small secret revolutionary society of reformist officers in Damascus called “Motherland and Liberty” and became an active opponent of the Porte. In 1907, when he was posted to Selânik, he joined the Committee of Union and Progress commonly known as the Young Turks. In 1908, the Young Turks seized power from Abdul Hamid II and Mustapha became a senior military figure. In 1911, he was send to defend Libya against the Italian invasion, and he was stranded there when the first of the Balkan Wars started and was unable to take part. In July 1913, he was appointed commander of the Ottoman defenses of the Gallipoli Peninsula and in 1914 as military attaché in Sofia.After a brief period of constitutional rule, power became vested in the triumvirate of Mehmet Talat Pasha, Ahmet Cemal Pasha, and Enver Pasha, who, through secretive negotiations, courted a German alliance. When they joined the Ottoman Empire to the side of the Central Powers during World War I, Mustapha was posted to Tekirda˘g, on the Sea of Marmara. He was then promoted to colonel and assigned the command of a division in Gallipoli. He played a vital role in the battle against the allied forces in April 1915, holding them off at Conkbayırı and on the Anafarta hills. He was promptly promoted to a brigadier general, thus acquiring the title of pasha. During 1917 and 1918, Kemal Pasha was sent to the Caucasus to fight against the Russians and then the Hejaz, to suppress the Arab revolt. After resigning his commission, he returned to serve in the unsuccessful defense of Palestine. In October 1918, the Ottomans capitulated to the Allies and he became one of the leaders that favored defending Anatolia and withdrawing from territory not dominated by Turks.Kemal Pasha, seeing that the disintegration and partition of the Ottoman Empire, even in Anatolia, was a serious possibility, arranged to be sent to Samsun, in Anatolia, with extraordinary powers, as an inspector of the Nineteenth Army and started ordering provincial governors and military commanders to resist occupation. In June 1919, he declared that the government at Constantinople held no legitimate authority and a government-in-exile should be established in Anatolia. In April 1920, a parliament, the Grand National Assembly, was formed in Ankara, and Kemal became the president. This body repudiated the Constantinople government and rejected the Treaty of Sèvres. This was a direct threat to Greece, which stood to gain the most, an empire in Anatolia, from that treaty and that country invaded Anatolia. After a series of Greek successes, in January and again in April 1921, Ismet Pasha defeated the Greek army at ˙Inönü. In July, after a third Greek offensive, Kemal took command and routed the Greeks in the 20-day Battle of Sakarya. Victory over the Greeks came in the Battle of Dumlupinar in August 1922 and this assured Turkey’s sovereignty and the Treaty of Lausanne delineated the borders.See also <
>; < >.FURTHER READING:Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961;Macfie, A. L. Atatürk. London: Longman, 1994;Mango, Andre. Atatürk. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 2000.ANDREKOS VARNAVA
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.