ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON INDEPENDENCE
Complete independence is a basic to the spirit of our current mission. This mission has been taken up before all nations and history. While taking up this mission, we carefully considered feasibility of carrying it through. However, these considerations resulting in faith and an enhanced view, point to our success. We are the men who took action in such a manner. Due to the mistakes made by predecessors, our nation was living in a so-called independence. All things considered, Turkey’s lagging behind the civilized world is the result of previous faults and their continuation. As a result of repeating these mistakes, certainly the country and the nation may abstain from all dignity, honor and ability to survive. We are a nation that wants to live in dignity and honor. We can’t bear to remain deprived of these features as a result of continuing mistakes. Whether wise or ignorant, all the members of the nation, maybe without understanding in what difficulties they are, are determined to unite around an aim and shed blood forever. This is the point upon which our independence is founded and maintained.
Complete independence means independence and freedom in every field such as politics, economics, judiciary, military, culture, etc… Insufficiency in one of those fields means the total loss of independence of the nation. We don’t believe to be able to reach peace and settlement unless this is provided. 1921 (The Speech 2, s.623-624)
The basic and immortal principle of nations who have reached consciousness of the real contents, large meaning and high value of independence and freedom, is not to let anyone to damage their independence and freedom at any price, to protect them with all their might and if necessary to shed the blood of the last person, thus glorifying human history with such an example. The societies which are always ready to sacrifice everything for this purpose, are the only nations who are thought to worthy of the continuous respect of humanity. 1928 (Atatürk’s S.D 2, s.249)
A nation which risks death for its independence, consoles by making every sacrifice that humanity dignity and honor require from it. And naturally, its place according to friends and foes will be different than another nation’s place which for itself has accepted slavery. 1927 (The Speech I, s.13-14)
What is important, is Turkish nation’s leading a life in dignity and honor. This principle can be provided by only complete independence. No matter how wealthy and prosperous a nation is, if it is deprived of its independence it no longer deserves to be regarded otherwise than as a slave in the eyes of civilized world.
To accept the protectorate of a foreign power is to admit to a lack of all human qualities, to weakness and incapacity. It is not at all thinkable that those who have never been in such a humiliating state will appoint a foreign master out of their own desire.
But the Turk is both dignified and proud; he is also capable and talented. Such a nation will prefer to perish rather than subject itself to the life of a slave.
Therefore Independence or Death! 1919 (The Speech I, s.13)
Our desire is to protect external independence and unconditioned national sovereignty. I am sure you will destruct the heads of those who mean to damage even a portion of our national sovereignty. 1923 (Atatürk’s S.D II, s.71-72)
Everyone must know that when we say we want peace, then we mean that we aspire to complete independence. We have the right and power to warrant this aspiration. We must prefer die in an honored and dignified manner than to be degraded after ten or twenty years. 1923 (Atatürk’s S.D II, s.89)
In order to live, I certainly must remain a son of an independent nation. For this reason, national independence is a matter of vitality for me. If it is required for the sake of the nation and the country, I appreciate with great sensitivity the friendship and political relations that are needed for civilization with each of the nations forming humanity. But I am the bitter enemy of the nations who want to captivate my nation and don’t give up these desires. (23.4.1921)
We, the Turks, are a symbol of independence and freedom during all our history. (The Speech)
No matter how wealthy and prosperous a nation is, if it is deprived of its independence it no longer deserves to be regarded otherwise than as a slave in the eyes of civilized world. (The Speech)
The Turkish nation consists of heroic people of a tribe which stipulates independence for vitality and has been living independently and freely for centuries. This nation hasn’t lived, can’t live and won’t live without independence. (June 21 1922)
Freedom and independence are a part of my character and I am a man who is full of love of independence, which is the greatest and worthiest heritage of my ancestors. My love is known by those who know my family, private and official life from my childhood to this day. Dignity, honesty and humanity are formed in a nation only by having independence and freedom. Personally, I place great importance on the characteristics I have mentioned. In order to claim that I posses these characteristics, my nation must posses them also. I must remain a son of certainly independent nation in order to live. For this reason, national independence is a vital issue.
For the freedom- and independence-loving nations, moments of suffering, and their perpetrators, must always be remembered in order to take warning and to stand ready. The vital and basic principle of nations who have reached consciousness of the real contents, large meaning and high value of the independence and freedom, is not to let anyone to damage their independence and freedom at any price, to protect them with all their might and if necessary to shed the blood of the last person, thus to colorize human history with such an glorious example.
Because of pretending to do great and imaginary things, but not actually realizing them, all the world bore grudge and enmity to us. We did not apply Panislamism. Maybe we said “ we did not or we would”. Then the enemies thought :“Let us kill them at once not to let them apply it”. We did not apply Panturkism. We said “we had, did or would” and again they said, “Let us kill them”. This is a summary of the entire case. (1921)