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ABOUT MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK

Turkish Flags at Kabatepe War Museum


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President, stands as a towering figure of the 20th Century.

Among the great leaders of history, few have achieved so much in so short period, transformed the life of a nation as decisively, and given such profound inspiration to the world at large.

Emerging as a military hero at the Gallipoli War in 1915, he became the charismatic leader of the Turkish national liberation struggle in 1919.


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk      Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


He blazed across the world scene in the early 1920s as a triumphant commander who crushed the invaders of his country. Following a series of impressive victories against all odds, he led his nation to full independence.

He put an end to the antiquated Ottoman dynasty whose tale had lasted more than six centuries - and created the Republic of Turkey in 1923, establishing a new government truly representative of the nation's will.

As President for 15 years, until his death in 1938, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk introduced a broad range of swift and sweeping reforms - in the political, social, legal, economic, and cultural spheres - virtually unparalleled in any other country.


The ANZAC Memorial at ANZAC Cove
THE ANZAC MEMORIAL AT GALLIPOLI
Those heroes that 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 the 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.
Ataturks Signature


In 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered European and Middle Eastern theatres of World War I on the side of the Central Powers. Mustafa Kemal was given the task of organizing and commanding the 19th Division attached to the Fifth Army during the Battle of Gallipoli.

Mustafa Kemal became the outstanding front-line commander after correctly anticipating where the Allies would attack and holding his position until they retreated. Following the Battle of Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal served in Edirne until 14 January 1916.

He was then assigned to the command of the XVI Corps of the Second Army and sent to the Caucasus Campaign. The massive Russian offensive had reached the Anatolian key cities. On 7 August, Mustafa Kemal rallied his troops and mounted a counteroffensive.

Two of his divisions captured not only Bitlis but the equally important town of Mus, greatly upsetting the calculations of the Russian Command. On 7 March 1917, Mustafa Kemal was appointed from the command of the XVI Corps to the overall command of the 2nd Army.

The Russian Revolution erupted and the Caucasus front of the Czar's armies disintegrated. Mustafa Kemal had already left the region and was assigned to the command of the 7th Army at the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. He returned to Aleppo on 28 August 1918, and resumed command.

Mustafa Kemal retreated towards Jordan to establish a stronger defensive line against the British forces that won against the German commander Liman von Sanders' troops at the Battle of Megiddo. Mustafa Kemal was appointed to the command of Thunder Groups Command (Turkish: Yildirim Ordulari Gurubu), replacing Liman von Sanders. Mustafa Kemal's position became the base line for the Armistice of Mudros.

Kemal's last active service in the Ottoman Army was organizing the return of the troops who were left behind the south of his line. Mustafa Kemal returned to an occupied Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), the Ottoman capital, on 13 November 1918.

Along the established lines of partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, British, Italian, French and Greek forces began to occupy Anatolia. The occupation of Constantinople along with the occupation of Izmir mobilized the establishment of the Turkish national movement and the Turkish War of Independence.


Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial at Gallipoli


PEACE AT HOME - PEACE IN THE WORLD

Mustafa Kemal said: "What particularly interests foreign policy is the internal organization of the state. It is necessary that foreign policy should agree with the internal organization."

He eternalized this view with the famous motto: "peace at home, peace in the world."

His foreign policy choices were not at random. The quest for peace in the region was an extension of the domestic needs of the newly established state, as the internal organization and stability of the young Turkish Republic depended on the application of this foreign policy. He worked to establish this vision, which was evident in his funeral.


Mustafa Kemal participated in forging close ties with Turkey's former enemy, Greece, culminating in a visit to Ankara by the Greek premier Eleftherios Venizelos, in 1932. Venizelos even forwarded Ataturk's name for the 1934 Nobel Peace Prize, highlighting the mutual respect between the two leaders.

In 1981, the centennial of Ataturk's birth, the memory of Ataturk was honored by the United Nations and UNESCO, which declared it The Ataturk Year in the World and adopted the Resolution on the Ataturk Centennial.

The Ataturk Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand (which also serves as a memorial to the ANZAC troops who died at Gallipoli); the Ataturk Memorial in the place of honour on ANZAC drive in Canberra, Australia; the Ataturk Forest in Israel; and the Ataturk Square in Rome, Italy, are only a few examples.

He has roads named after him in several countries, like the Kemal Ataturk Marg in New Delhi, India, Kemal Ataturk Avenue in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Ataturk Avenue in the heart of Islamabad in Pakistan, the Ataturk Road in the southern city of province of Sind of Pakistan called Larkana where Ataturk visited back in 1923, and Mustafá Kemal Ataturk street in the Naco district of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


His statues have been erected in numerous parks, streets and squares of many different countries in the world. The famous Madame Tussauds Museum in London has a wax statue of Ataturk.

The entrance to Princess Royal Harbour in Albany, Western Australia is named Ataturk Channel. Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States; who earlier visited his tomb and praised him, also expressed his view regarding Ataturk's legacy at his speech towards "the Muslim world" by stating Ataturk's "greatest legacy is Turkey's strong and secular democracy, and that is the work that this assembly carries on today.


Since its inception by Mustafa Kemal, "Peace at Home, Peace in the World" has been the motto of the Republic of Turkey.



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