Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

From Quotes
What I needed most was to love and to be loved, eager to be caught. Happily I wrapped those painful bonds around me; and sure enough, I would be lashed with the red-hot pokers or jealousy, by suspicions and fear, by burst of anger and quarrels.
St. Augustine
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We must delve into our roots and reconstruct what history has divided.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 - 10 November 1938) Turkish army officer and revolutionist statesman. Also, he was the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey; known most of his life as Mustafa Kemal, he was given the name Atatürk by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1934.

Sourced

Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die.
  • Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
    • Orders to the 57th Infantry Regiment, at the Battle of Gallipoli (25 April 1915); as quoted in Studies in Battle Command by Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, p. 89; also quoted in Turkey (2007) by Verity Campbell, p. 188
    • Variant translation: I am not ordering you to fight, I am ordering you to die.
Every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
  • Our life here is truly hellish. Fortunately, my soldiers are very brave and tougher than the enemy. What is more, their private beliefs make it easier to carry out orders which send them to their death. They see only two supernatural outcomes: victory for the faith or martyrdom. Do you know what the second means? It is to go straight to heaven. There, the houris, God's most beautiful women, will meet them and will satisfy their desires for all eternity. What great happiness!
    • Letter to Corinne Lütfü, from the Gallipoli peninsula (20 July 1917) as translated in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey (2002) by Andrew Mango. ISBN 158567334X
  • In human life, you will find players of religion until the knowledge and proficiency in religion will be cleansed from all superstitions, and will be purified and perfected by the enlightenment of real science.
    • Speech (October 1927); quoted in Ataturk’ten Dusunceler by E. Z. Karal, p.59
  • Today the Soviet Union is a friend and an ally. We need this friendship. However, no one can know what will happen tomorrow. Just like the Ottoman and Austro-Hungrian Empires it may tear itself apart or shrink in size. Those peoples that it holds so tightly in its grip may one day slip away. The world may see a new balance of power. It is then that Turkey must know what to do. Ally Soviets have under their control our brothers with whom we share language, beliefs and roots. We must be prepared to embrace them. Being ready does not mean that we will sit quietly and wait. We must get ready. How does a people get prepared for such an endeavour? By strengthening the natural bridges that exist between us. Language is a bridge... Religon is a bridge... History is a bridge... We must delve into our roots and reconstruct what history has divided. We can't wait for them to approach us. We must reach out to them.
Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.
  • Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
  • I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea. He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
    • Quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey, by Andrew Mango; "In a book published in 1928, Grace Ellison quotes [Atatürk], presumably in 1926-27", Grace Ellison Turkey Today (London: Hutchinson, 1928)
  • We do not consider our principles as dogmas contained in books that are said to come from heaven. We derive our inspiration, not from heaven, or from an unseen world, but directly from life.
    • Statement (1 November 1937), as quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey (2002) by Andrew Mango
Peace at home, peace in the world.
  • Yurtta Barış, Dünyada Barış
    • Peace at home, peace in the world.
      • Maxim which became the motto of the Republic of Turkey; quoted in many sources including, Atatürk (1963) by Uluğ İğdemir, p. 200; and Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus (2000) by Svante E. Cornell, p. 287
Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body.
  • Lasting peace is sought, it is essential to adopt international measures to improve the lot of the masses. The welfare of the entire human race must replace hunger and oppression. People of the world must be taught to give up envy, avarice and rancour.
    • As quoted in I. Milletleraras Genclik Kongresi [First International Youth Congress] (1988) by Selçuk Üniversity, p. 19
  • It is claimed that religious unity is also a factor in the formation of nations. Whereas, we see the contrary in the Turkish nation. Turks were a great nation even before they adopted Islam. This religion did not help the Arabs, Iranians, Egyptians and others to unite with Turks to form a nation. Conversely, it weakened the Turks’ national relations; it numbed Turkish national feelings and enthusiasm. This was natural, because Mohammedanism was based on Arab nationalism above all nationalities.
    • Yurttaslik Bilgileri, Yenigun Haber Ajansi (1997 edition) p. 18
  • Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women.
    • As quoted in The Macmillan Dictionary of Political Quotations (1993) by Lewis D. Eigen and Jonathan Paul Siegel, p. 424; also in Ataturk: First President and Founder of the Turkish Republic (2002) by Yuksel Atillasoy, p. 15
  • Religion is an important institution. A nation without religion cannot survive. Yet it is also very important to note that religion is a link between Allah and the individual believer. The brokerage of the pious cannot be permitted. Those who use religion for their own benefit are detestable. We are against such a situation and will not allow it. Those who use religion in such a manner have fooled our people; it is against just such people that we have fought and will continue to fight. Know that whatever conforms to reason, logic, and the advantages and needs of our people conforms equally to Islam. If our religion did not conform to reason and logic, it would not be the perfect religion, the final religion.
    • As quoted in Kemalizm, Laiklik ve Demokrasi [Kemalism, Laicism and Democracy] (1994) by Ahmet Taner Kışlalı
  • The foundation of our religion is very strong. The material is strong as well, but the building itself was neglected for hundreds of years. As the plaster dropped down, none thought to replace it and none felt the need to reinforce the building. Quite the contrary: many foreign elements and interpretations, as well as empty beliefs, came along and damaged it still more.
    • As quoted in Kemalizm, Laiklik ve Demokrasi [Kemalism, Laicism and Democracy] (1994) by Ahmet Taner Kışlalı
The nation has placed its faith in the precept that all laws should be inspired by actual needs here on earth as a basic fact of national life.
  • The future is in the skies.
    • Ataturk's comment on aerospace-aeronautics, as quoted in Modernism and Nation-Building: Turkish Architectural Culture in the Early Republic (2001), p. 126 by Sibel Bozdoğan
  • There are two Mustafa Kemals. One the flesh-and-blood Mustafa Kemal who now stands before you and who will pass away. The other is you, all of you here who will go to the far corners of our land to spread the ideals which must be defended with your lives if necessary. I stand for the nation's dreams, and my life's work is to make them come true.
    • As quoted in Ataturk: First President and Founder of the Turkish Republic (2002) by Yuksel Atillasoy, p. 19
  • The nation has placed its faith in the precept that all laws should be inspired by actual needs here on earth as a basic fact of national life.
    • As quoted in A World View of Criminal Justice (2005) by Richard K. Vogler, p. 116

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I am not leaving a spiritual legacy of dogmas, unchangeable petrified directives. My spiritual legacy is science and reason.
  • A nation devoid of art and artists cannot have a full existence.
  • A nation which does not practice science, such a nation, one must admit has no place in the high road of civilization.
  • Educate youth. Give them the positive ideas of knowledge and science. You will succeed in getting the enlightenment of the future for them.
    • (1927)
  • Freedom and independence is my character.
  • I am not leaving a spiritual legacy of dogmas, unchangeable petrified directives. My spiritual legacy is science and reason. ... What I wanted to do and what I tried to achieve for the Turkish nation is quite evident. If those people who wish to follow me after I am gone take the reason and science as their guides they will be my true spiritual heirs.
  • I do not want to be recorded in history as the man who bequeathed a tyranny.
    • A statement to Ali Fethi Okyar about the need for an opposition party (1930)
  • I like a sports person being smart, fit and at the same time, having moral values.
  • If I had not become the president, I would have wanted to be the Minister of Education.
    • (1930)
  • In any case, it is necessary to be victorious in education activities. The real salvation of a nation can only be in this manner.
    • (1922)
  • In order to stave off covetousness, greed, and spite, citizens world over must be educated.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
  • It is only teachers who are saving nations.
    • (1925)
  • Justice is the infrastructure of proprietorship.
  • No matter how rich and prosperous, a nation without independence, cannot be subject to any behaviour before the humanity, at a higher level than serving.
  • Religion is an issue of conscience. Everyone is free to conform to the commands of their conscience. We show respect for religion. We are not against a way of thinking or thoughts. We are only trying not to mix religious affairs with the affairs of the nation and the state, we are avoiding reactionary actions that are based on evil intent and deeds.
  • Science is the most reliable guide for civilization, for life, for success in the world. Searching a guide other than the science is meaning carelessness, ignorance and heresy.
  • Sovereignty belongs to the nation by all means.
  • Teachers: the new generation will be your devotion.
  • The evils which sapped the nation's strength had all been wrought in the name of religion.
  • Humankind consists of two sexes, woman and man. Is it possible that a mass is improved by the improvement of only one part and the other ignored? Is it possible that if half of a mass is tied to earth with chains and the other half can soar into skies?
  • Köylü milletin efendisidir
    • The villager (peasant) is the lord of the nation.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
  • To write history is as important as to make history. It is an unchanging truth that if the writer does not remain true to the maker, then it takes on a quality that will confuse humanity.
  • Unconditional, unrestricted sovereignty belongs to the nation.
  • We, all Turks, born-democrats by soul.
  • Where there is no freedom, there is death and destruction.
  • Flag is not stepped on.
  • We shall do within five months. (After his speech about education)

Quotes about Atatürk

  • The genius of our century - centuries rarely produce a genius. Look at this bad luck of ours, that great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation.
  • The exploits of your leaders in many a historic field of battle; the progress of your Revolution; the rise and career of the great Ataturk, his revitalization of your nation by his great statesmanship, courage and foresight all these stirring events are well-known to the people of Pakistan.
    • Mohammad Ali Jinnah replying to the speech made by the first Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan at the time of presenting Credentials to the Quaid-i-Azam on 4th March. 1948.
  • The name of Ataturk brings to mind the historic accomplishments of one of the great men of this century, his inspired leadership of the Turkish People, his perceptive understanding of the modern world and his boldness as a military leader.
    • John F. Kennedy speaking in Washington D.C., November 10, 1963 on the 25th commemoration of Ataturk's death.Source

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