ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE
Our people experienced many sufferings, defeats, disasters. But we still live on this land and there is one main reason for that: Because Turkish farmers, while fighting with their swords in one hand, kept on plowing their land which they never left with the other. If the majority of our nation wasn’t farmers, we wouldn’t exist in this world today. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 117 )
The real owner and master of Türkiye are the farmers who are the real producers. So, it is the farmers who deserve and have a right to more prosperity, welfare and wealth than anyone else.
Gentlemen! Our people consists of farmers. We must take economic measures to increase the efforts in the farming sector to the limit. Increasing the output of the farming sector to the limit for the farmer’s own benefit is the cornerstone of our economic policy. 1922 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 219 )
The country and the nation can not develop unless we promote the farmers to the rank of “ Masters” . ( Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Memoirs From His Close Acquaintances p. 94 )
An arm that fights with a sword gets tired and as soon as it puts the sword back in its sheath, it is most probably doomed to get rusty and moldy. But an arm that uses a plow gets stronger each day and with more strength it gets more land. ( 1923 )
The foundation of the national economy is agriculture. For that reason we consider it most important to progress in agriculture. Planned training and applied studies that spread down to the small villages will help us reach this goal.
But to reach the goal in this vital matter, first we must designate an agriculture policy based on comprehensive research for which we must create an agriculture regime that every single farmer and citizen can easily comprehend and willingly apply. Main points of such a policy and regime could be as follows:
First of all, there shouldn’t be any farmer left without land in the country. The size of large land farmers and large farm owners are allowed to run must be limited on basis of the population density and the level of soil fertility in the area. ( 1937 )
If the majority of our nation wasn’t farmers, we wouldn’t exist in this world today. ( March 1928 )
Our people consists of farmers. We must take economic measures to increase the efforts in the farming sector to the limit. Increasing the output of the farming sector to the limit for farmer’s own benefit is the cornerstone of our economic policy.
Since this is the case, we must make every effort to use and produce machinery and scientific instruments that will increase the output and productivity of farmers, and to take economic measures to assure maximum benefit from it. ( 1922 )
Transportation and Development
Everywhere, farmers and citizens have reminded me of the work program with these two words:
Roads – schools. Since they said: “ Roads are the wings of farmers “, it is obvious that they consider roads more important than anything. Indeed, all economy is in the first, and everything is in the second word. 1934 (Atatürk’ün S.D. II, S. 193 – 194)
The vigor and dynamism of the economic life is in proportion with the quality and quantity of the transportation means, roads, trains, seaports. 1922 ( Atatürk’s S. D. I, p. 221 )
We must form a network of railways and well designed roads on which cars run in our country. Because cars and trains are the vehicles the west and the world use and it is simply impossible to compete with them riding donkeys on natural trails. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 111 )
Railways are sacred torches that brighten a country with the light of civilization and prosperity. 1937 ( Atatürk’s K. A. N., p. 20 )
The main elements of economic development, in other words roads, railways, seaports, land and sea transportation vessels, are the physical and political blood veins of the nation’s presence. 1930 ( Afet İnan, About Atatürk H. B., p. 266 )
There are many people who define civilization in various ways. In my opinion, it is rather difficult and unnecessary to distinguish civilization from culture. In order to explain what I mean, let me describe culture:
It is the result of the efforts of a society in a) governmental affairs; b) intellectual affairs e. g. in science, sociology and fine arts; c) economic affairs e. g. in agriculture, crafts, trade, land – air – sea transportation.
When one says “ civilization of a nation “ , I think it cannot be anything else but the result of the efforts in three fields I mentioned when describing culture. Undoubtedly, the civilization level of all the societies cannot be the same. Such differences can be observed separately in the governmental, intellectual and economic affairs as well as in the collective result of all three. The important one is the difference in results. A superior culture doesn’t stay in the country where the nation that owns it live, but spreads to other continents and effects other nations. Maybe that is why some nations are call superior and effective culture “ Civilization “. 1930 ( Afet İnan, About Atatürk B. H., p. 267)
Civilization can not come to terms with cruelty. Incompetence can not be something praiseworthy. Because nations do not inhabit their lands only as the true owners, but also as the representatives of humanity. They benefit from the sources of the land, so they are responsible to make them available for the benefit of whole humanity too. According to this principle, the nations that are incapable of doing so, do not have the right to independence nor do they have the right to exist. 1920 ( The Oration III, p. 1182)
Trying to resist against the wild flood of civilization is useless and this flood is so merciless on the unwary and disobedient ones. The nations that attempt to go on with an obsolete mentality and primitive fabricated myths are doomed to be wiped out, or at least to slavery and inferiority against the power and capacity of the civilization that bores the mountains, flies in the sky, sees, illuminates and researches everything from unseeable atoms to the stars. But the people of the Republic of Türkiye has smashed the chains of slavery to bits in a manner of heroism that history has never seen and decided to exist forever as a mature body. 1925 ( Mustafa Selim İmece, Atatürk’s S. D. K. And I. S., p. 47 )
I always believe that the ones who wish to live humanely in this world must find in them the determination and quality of being human … They must be willing to sacrifice anything for this cause. Otherwise no civilized nation would want to be on the same line with them. 1926 (Falih Rıfkı Atay, Atatürk’ün B.A., S. 99-100)
As you know, the value of a society’s presence, and its right to freedom and independence are in proportion with the civilized works it has produced and will produce. Societies that lack the capability of producing “ civilized “ works are doomed to lose their freedom and independence. To walk on the road to civilization and to succeed is the necessity of life. The ones that are so ignorant and imprudent as to look backward instead of forward on this road are doomed to drown in the wild flood of civilization. 1924 ( Atatürk’s B. N., p. 85 )
On the road to civilization, success depends on renovation. This is the only way of maturation and progress in the social life and in the fields of economy and science. It is inevitable for the rules that direct the life to change and develop in time. In an age when the ambition of civilization and the wonders of science continuously change the world, it is impossible to keep on existing through age old obsolete mentalities and longing for the past. Since we talk about civilization, I must stress that the essence of civilization, and the source of power and progress are in the family life. Bad quality in family life will surely cause social, economic and political weakness. The male and female elements that constitute the family must have their natural rights and must be competent to carry out their duties to the family. 1924 ( Atatürk’s B. N., p. 85 )
The ability of walking fast and successfully on the road to civilization of a nation that has the power and competence to prove its merit and independence should be acknowledged. But the inbred customs and practices, emotions and beliefs of a society are important. So, societies has an almost commanding and dominating effect over the initiators ( of reforms ). But the nations whose capacity and competence have reached a high level of progress and development never run late in compensating the delays caused by the opportunities missed in the past, under the guidance of their enlightened sons who have been inspired and influenced by the progress in civilization. 1928 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 249 )
Today’s Turkish nation, descendants of the Turkish race that claims to have formed the greatest civilizations of the past have found the clearest and the most reliable path to follow. 1930 ( Things I’ve Seen, Things I’ve Heard, My Feelings, p. 141 )
The nation will definitely be modern, civilized and brand new. For us this is a matter of life and death. Whether our sacrifices bear fruit depends on this. Turkey either will be governed with new ideas and honorably or shall not be at all. I am in close contact with the people. You do not know how much those simple people are in favor of renewal. (1923 Atatürk’ün S.D. III., S.60)
We want to modernize our country. All our efforts are devoted to form a modern, in other words, an occidental government. Is there any country that wants to reach the civilization and doesn’t head towards west? What would a man who wants to walk towards a direction but can’t because of the chains that tie his feet? He would break the chains and walk. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. III., p. 60 )