Today, 70 years since 19 May 1919 – which marks Atatürk’s first step towards founding a new Turkish state – the explicit and implicit attacks on his reforms and principles by negative internal and external forces, emboldened by his no longer being alive, have reached their peak. Even worse, these forces are striving to destroy all those reforms and principles in the future through a deliberate and insidious strategy.
Atatürk was not just a great soldier who rescued the Turkish nation, the independence of which was completely at risk, from the invasion by imperialist powers.
He was the one who:
destroyed all the negative connections that threatened our independence, especially in the political, cultural and economic spheres;
founded the Turkish Republic by attaining national sovereignty;
rescued our society from institutions and organisations built on the mentality of medieval times and sharia law, by discarding religious beliefs;
showed us how to be a modern and civilised nation, and maintain this as a lifelong process;
made secular thoughts based on reason, secular law; and the secular educational system sovereign in community life;
paved the way for all types of freedom, civil rights, a state based on social law, and pluralistic democracy;
abolished man-made inequality by ensuring justice for Turkish women, who had been treated as second-class human beings for centuries, making them citizens with equal rights in respect to men;
made the public the real master, not only in the political domain, but also in the economic and social spheres, by opposing every kind of internal and external exploitation;
regarded the welfare of each citizen as the reason for and purpose of the State;
adopted and instilled the principle that the national economy should not be led by the will of entrepreneurs in an irregular way according only to the mechanism of profit and competition – but should be led by the State itself to meet the requirements of society of all the citizens of the country;
believed and made others accept that Turkish citizens should be able to benefit from the country’s riches – both those below and above the ground;
created a positive, constructive and modern Turkish nationalism, and made it one of the main principles of the State to oppose racism, in line with the National Pact, arguing that “anyone who calls him/herself Turkish” is indeed Turkish;
stated that every citizen should be able to benefit from science, education and art, and also made people’s freedom of thought, knowledge and conscience the primary mission of the State;
saw the purification and enrichment of the Turkish language as a great social mission – in addition to the adoption of new Turkish script (the Latin alphabet) – to free it from cultural imperialism and to standardise education;
connected Turkish history to the foundations of modern life;
condemned war, racism and violence in international relations and within the State itself, by employing the principle of “Peace at home, peace in the world”;
made the “rule of reciprocity” and the standard of “being an honourable and equal member of the World Nations’ Family” an indispensable principle;
He was also the founder of a modern state, and he sowed the seeds of the type of thinking that unites all human beings, by highlighting that all nations are part of the family of humanity.
It is in this context that the people who believe Ataturk’s reforms and principles have the creative and enlightening power to solve the country’s social problems have founded the “Association of Atatürk Principles”, recognising the need for his reforms and principles to be upheld in the future, and their responsibility for facilitating and safeguarding these principles.
Founders’ Committee- 19 May1989