Emergence of Modern Turkey under Kemal Ataturk

Emergence of Modern Turkey under Kemal Ataturk:

Turkey is the meeting point of Europe and Asia. A large part of its territory lies in Asia and only a little in Europe. It is a great country in the west. In the nineteenth century, declining Turkey was called the sick man of Europe. The people had grown tired of the despotic sultans, so the youth organised a movement known as the Young Turks Movement against their despotism. As a result of the revolt of 1908, the government of the Sultan fell into the hands of the youth, but the Sultan still continued as a titular head. Struggle under the leadership of nationalist leader Kemal Pasha started in Egypt.

Defeated in World War I, Turkey was forced to sign the treaty of Sevres (August 10, 1920). The sultan had agreed with this treaty but Kemal Pasha opposed it vehemently. He aroused strong public opinion against it and the Allied nations were forced to sign another treaty with Turkey- The Treaty of Lausanne- on July 24, 1923, through which Turkey received most of what she had been forced to cede earlier. Constantinople, Thrace and Anatolia remained with Turkey. The Allies gave up the claim for war indemnity. Restrictions on the army, navy and airforce were lifted. Kemal Pasha organized a national assembly and declared an independent state in Anatolia with Ankara as its capital. The Sultan ordered the arrest of Kemal Pasha but no officer could dare do so. The Sultan got afraid and abdicated the throne. Kemal Pasha was made President of the Republic of Turkey. He transformed Turkey into a strong and modern state based on western civilization. He was adorned with the title of Ataturk or the father of modern Turkey.

For the reconstruction of the war debilitated Turkey whose socio-economic condition had disrupted the Ataturk adopted the following six principles-

  • Republicanism.
  • Nationalism.
  • Equality.
  • Controlled Economy.
  • Secularism.
  • Reformism.

Following these principles Kemal Pasha abolished the office of the Sultan and Caliph and Islamic traditions. Polygamy was banned. Education was expanded. He adopted the policy of controlled economy for transforming Turkey from an agricultural country into an industrial nation. For the development of agriculture feudalistic system was ousted.

Kemal Pasha, the father of the Turkish nation dreamt of making Turkey a modern state and realized it in his own lifetime. Now the ‘Sickman of Europe’ of yesteryears had recovered and stood up with his full strength. The activities of Kemal Pasha are often called a wonderful drama of hospital.

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