8 Odes to Atatürk, Founder of the Turkish Republic

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

The modern Republic of Turkey is 90 years old. Here’s what notable people have shared about the man credited with its founding, and who served as its first president — Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

“The name of Ataturk reminds people of the historical successes of one of the great individuals of this century, the leadership that gave inspiration to the Turkish nation, farsightedness in the understanding of the modern world and courage and power as a military leader. It is without a doubt that another example can’t be shown indicating greater successes than the birth of the Turkish Republic and ever since then Ataturk’s and Turkey’s broad and deep reforms undertaken as well as the confidence of a nation in itself.”
— John F. Kennedy

“Turkish history is linked to the Western and European history. The efforts of Atatürk have made this possible.”
— Charles de Gaulle

“The most valuable and interesting statesman in all of Europe does not live in Europe today, but beyond the Bosphorus, he lives in Ankara.”
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Probably no other 20th century leader did more for his country than Ataturk. He brought Turkey independence, changed its alphabet and culture, and created a secular democracy. And probably no 20th century general had any better battlefield instincts, skill or discipline.”
– Gen. Wesley Clark

“He was a military-statesman, one of the greatest leaders of our era. He ensured that Turkey got its rightful place among the most advanced nations. Also, he gave the feeling of support and self-confidence to the Turks that form the foundation stone of a nation’s greatness. I take great pride in being one of Ataturk’s loyal friends.”
— Gen. Douglas MacArthur

“Above all, he was a builder, the greatest nation-builder of modern times.”
— Andrew Mango, British author and biographer

“He stands today as the Emancipator of Turkey. He has lifted the people out of the slough of servile submission to alien authority, brought them to a realization of their inherent qualities and to an independence of thought and action.”
— TIME Magazine, Mar. 24, 1923

“Ataturk’s death is not only a loss for the country, but for Europe is the greatest loss, he who saved Turkey in the war and who revived a new the Turkish nation after the war. The sincere tears shed after him by all classes of people is nothing other than an appropriate manifestation to this great hero and modern Turkey’s Ata.”
— Winston Churchill