ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON ARMY
Armed forces, Turkish armed forces. Here is the glorious name which makes the whole nation swell with confidence and pride.
Our armed forces are a solid expression of Turkish unity, Turkish power and competence, and Turkish patriotism.
Our army is the undefeatable guarantor of Turkish land and our efforts to realize Turkish ideal.
I have no doubt that exceptional care and protection will be considered for the great national discipline school, the armed forces to be constituted as a great school raising the most needed members for our economic, cultural and social struggles. (1937)
The issues of reform are the economy and education. In this way the country will be improved, the nation will gain prosperity. We do not harbor any intention of aggression against any nation or country. However, to protect our existence and independence, to assure working securely for prosperity and happiness, it is our ambition to have armed forces powerful enough always to defend our country and nation. (10.12.1922)
The Armed forces of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey are exempt from being an instrument of greed in anybody’s hands to carry out invasions or to establish rule in other countries. It is an esteemed and vigorous delegation consisted of the nation’s own children with no other purpose but living humanely and independently who are devoted to the same ideal and ready at its service.
Encountering catastrophic results is inevitable for those who are unable to have enough strength to shoulder the duty and responsibility of commandership. (16.8.1930)
War has to be unavoidable and vital. Unless the nation’s life is in danger, war is murder.
Here is the most noble soldierly manner : Various probabilities must be very carefully examined and the most reasonable must be carried out with audacity and decisively. (1924)
This is the measure to evaluate our armed forces: A detachment of Turkish Armed Forces defeats the equivalent force in any case, and stops and ties down a force twice as large. (25.2.1924).
An attack to be made with incomplete preparations and measures is worse than not attacking at all. (Oration)
Friends, in this war you have won a new and great victory always to be remembered as Sakarya Victory which we entered in order not to see our nation as slaves of the foreigners. I, a friend who had spent his life span in your lines, thought it necessary to say aloud, the assessment, amazement and gratitude we‘ve heard about you to be heard by every individual of the armed forces and all over the country after the withdrawal of the defeated and destroyed enemy.
We, the whole country attempted a battle of great importance along Sakarya which can be counted at the cost of our existence and independence. The idea to in vad and plunder a nation ensued in a violent fight for 21 days and nights.
I have felt the deepest happiness and pride that a human heart can feel insofar as one is able to be your commander-in-chief in this war which brought inspiration and salvation for our oppressed nation again, during the most dangerous time of its history. In no part of the world and in no army a soldier whose heart is purer and stronger than yours is met. The biggest share of every victory is yours. It is my sacred obligation to express my gratitude and thanks for your great efforts with the contribution of your life, belief, obedience, and your heart as pure as iron, that no fear can daunt, which eventually defeated the enemy.
It is not possible to be the slaves of foreign lands for a nation who has commanders, officers and privates (soldiers) like you.
And now, the compliment and kind regard of Great National Assembly which imparted a new rank and dignity for myself which directly relates to you. The armed forces which rose with the rank granted by the nation is a new army distinguished in a great sacred war. I will bear this rank and title with honor. It indicates the nation’s recognition of your heroic success gained at the cost of your endless sacrifice as the greatest cause of just pride of my great military service life. God grant my honorable friends the deserved absolute independence for their distinguishing nobility, bravery, and heroism displayed in the independence war.
I cannot omit to tell you about the Bombasırtı incident. The distance between our trenches facing one another is eight meters, in other words death is inevitable… All in the first trench fall none surviving, those in the second go to substitute them. But you know how remarkable a sobriety and resignation they display while doing this? Sees the dying one, knows that he is going to die in three minutes, shows no sign of fear, no shaking. The literate have the Koran in their hands getting ready to go to Heaven. Those who can not read are walking while reciting confession of their belief in God. This is a surprising example to be proud of which shows the spirit strength of Turkish soldiers. Be sure, this is the noble spirit which enabled us to win the Battle of Çanakkale.
While the nation is striving perfectly for social and conceptual evolution, the people may rest assured considering the readiness of the strong, powerful, and heroic armed forces aware of it’s great responsibility in case of presence of internal and external obstacles which will prevent those from reaching their objectives. (14 October 1925)
The principal of separating the armed forces from politics in the public life of the country is an essential matter always adhered to by the republic. By being faithful to this principal up to now, the armed forces of the Republic retained an esteemed and powerful position as certain and strong protector of the country. (1 March 1924)