Today, May 19, is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s birthday. Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki, which was part of the Ottoman Empire and died on November 10th, 1938 in Istanbul. Atatürk, which means father of the Turks was the first president of Turkey from 1923 to 1938. He led the National Movement and was the commander during the war of independence against imperialism. He was a nationalist and he advocated the independence of Turkey from all foreigners. In 1923, he found the Republic of Turkey out of ashes of the Ottoman Empire and he transformed the country into a secular democratic nation-state and launched many reforms to create a modern Turkey by bringing a new political, legal, and education system and giving equal civil rights to women.
A number of books with information about Mustafa Kemal can be found in Special Collections on the second floor of the Bartle Library. These include Ataturk : a biography of Mustafa Kemal, father of modern Turkey by Lord Kinross, How happy to call oneself a Turk : provincial newspapers and the negotiation of a Muslim national identity by Gavin D. Brockett and Turkey by Arnold J. Toynbee and Kenneth P. Kirkwood. All three of these books are part of the Saeedpour Kurdish Collection.