ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON TURKISH NATION
My only honorary title and my only wealth is nothing but being a member of the Turkish Nation. ( Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Memories from the Recent Past, p. 95 )
Turk! Be Proud. Work. Trust. ( Afet İnan, About Atatürk H. B., p. 304 )
A Turk is equal to all the world. ( 1925 )
The answer to the question asked by the British Military Attache :
Tedoz, who takes pride in his parents’ blue blood, asks Atilla, who wants to conquer the Italian peninsula, before the peace talks:
“ Which noble family do you belong to? “ Atilla replies: “ I’m a son of a noble nation” My answer to your question is exactly the same! ( Ruşen Eşref Ünaydın, Atatürk; T. And D. K. H. , p. 54 )
Turkish nation is a gigantic lion. We are all tiny creatures too small to be seen stuck and finding shelter in his hair. The effective acts and movements of the lion are the effective acts and movements of the revolution. To be able to incite the lion to act and move… For us, this is the role we can be proud of. 1931 ( Asım Us, Memoirs, p. 322 )
I know western nations and all the nations in the world. I know the French, the German, the Russian and all other nations, and I came to know them on the front under fire, face to face with death. I assure you that the moral strength of Turkish nation is superior to that of all the other nations’. 1920 ( Atatürk’s S. D., p. 81 )
Turkish nation likes and appreciates everything that’s beautiful, everything that’s high, everything that’s civilized. But without a doubt, the one thing that the Turkish nation values more than anything is heroism. Surely these words will echo strongly and effectively in the ears of today’s sharp Turkish youth. I wouldn’t expect any less from the Turkish youth whose noble disposition I regard as extremely important.
We are no less than the other nations. We are brave, we are intelligent, we are hardworking, we know how to die for noble causes. ( Makbule Atadan Tells. Atatürk with witty remarks, anecdotes and drawings III, Compiled by: N. A. Banoğlu, p. 79 )
There is no “ Nation “ and “ We “, there is only the nation in whole. “ We “ and “ Nation “ are not two individual things. Let me assure you that if a nation does whatever it takes to save its existence and independence and makes every sacrifice to reach this goal, it is not possible for such a nation to be unsuccessful. It will succeed for sure. If a nation cannot succeed, then it is dead. So, as long as the nation exists and makes every necessary sacrifice, failure is not possible at all. 1919 ( Mazhar Müfit Kansu, E. O. K. With Atatürk; Vol. II, p. 346 )
If we want the world to respect us, first we must show this respect to our own personality and nationality in feelings, in thoughts and in action; we must keep in mind that the nations that couldn’t develop their own national personality can only be prey to other nations. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 143 )
Disasters, anguish and defeats causes some effects on nations. The main one of these effects is that, after such dark days, nations wake up, remember their dignity and sense their own personalities.
We should add another one to these effects that exalt the dignity of the nations: the feeling of revenge… There should be the feeling of revenge in the heart of the nations. This is not an ordinary revenge, but the one that aims to repairing the harm done by the ones that are enemies of the nation’s life, prosperity and future. The whole world must know that it is not, and will not ever be possible for us to forgive such an enemy so long as it stands against us. Showing mercy to the enemy is weakness and inability. It is not humane, but the manifestation of the vanishing of the human character. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II. P. 117 )
The undecided, rotten mentality of the past is dead. The whole world should know that the Turkish nation is able to exhibit its rights, dignity and honor. The whole nation will stand up in one body and fight for a single foot of motherland soil. It is a mistake to think the Turkish nation hasn’t realized that any aggression against the least bit of its dignity, a handful of motherland soil is an attack against its whole presence. 1924 ( Behçet Macit, The Ghazi and His Works, p. 96 )
Those who are about to pass away and say farewell to the Turkish nation, should say ,as their last words to their children whose life will go on : “ My duties to Turkish nation, Turkish people and the future of the Turk haven’t been accomplished yet. It is now up to you to complete them. You should repeat these words to your descendants. “
These words are not the expression of an individual, but the expression of a “ Sense “ of Turkish nation. Every Turk will breathe his last breath repeatedly saying these words to his children as a password. The last breath of every Turk should show that the breath of the Turkish nation never cease and it will keep on breathing forever. Noble Turk, there is no limit to your nobility. 1935 (Atatürk’ün T.T.B. IV., S.575-76)
We have accomplished many important duties in such a short time. The most important of these duties is the Republic of Turkey, whose foundation is Turkish heroism and noble Turkish culture. We owe this success to the Turkish people and its invaluable army that have walked hand in hand in utmost determination. But we can never say what we have done so far is enough. Because we have to do more and we are determined to do so. We will bring our country to the level of the world’s most civilized and prosperous countries. We will raise our national culture beyond the level of contemporary civilization.
We will do more in shorter time. I am sure that we will succeed. Because Turkish people have a noble character. Turkish people are hardworking, Turkish people are intelligent. Because Turkish people have succeeded in overcoming difficulties by national unity and identity. And because, on the path of development and civilization, the torch in the hands and mind of Turkish people is positive science.
I must also stress that another historic quality of the Turkish nation, which is a noble society, is to appreciate and master the fine arts. For that reason, it is our national ideal to develop our nation’s noble character, untiring industriousness, natural intelligence, faith in science, affection to fine arts, sense of national unity by continuously supporting them with every imaginable means and measures.
I have no doubt at all; the great albeit forgotten cultural achievements and great civilizing talents of the Turks shall rise on the horizon of the future and of progress.
I sincerely hope that you celebrate this grand national occasion every ten years forever with more pride. more happiness, in peace and prosperity.
What joy to he/she who says “ I’m a Turk ! “ 1933 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 272 )
The source of inspiration for those who want to be a leader in serving the country and the nation is the sincere feelings and desires of the nation. If we ever did anything that is worth mentioning, that would be nothing but our effort to touch the presence of the nation in terms of its feelings and tendencies. We have no doubt whatsoever that the secret to any success, the true source of any power and capacity is the nation itself. 1925 ( M. E. İ. S. D. I, p.26 )
One of our friends who made a speech asked me what was the source of inspiration and power for me. The source of inspiration and power our friends inquired about is the nation itself. Some deny that a nation has a common tendency, a common view and idea. Probably you all have heard such people many times. Such people are absentminded ones who are indifferent to the country and the nation. Many disasters our country and nation had to face were undoubtedly caused by the fact that those absentminded ones had the control of the fate and the will of the country.
A community undoubtedly has a common idea. Maybe this idea cannot always be expressed, but this should never lead one to decide that such a common idea is nonexistent. It surely exists in the affairs. Our presence, all acts and accomplishments that saved our independence are nothing but the noble sign of the nation’s common idea, desire and resolution. 1925 ( Atatürk’s M. A. D., p. 22 )
We have taken our inspiration neither from the skies, nor from the invisible worlds, but directly from life itself. What draws our path are the motherland we live in, the Turkish nation we belong to and the conclusions we have drawn from the pages of the history of nations which are full of disasters and anguish. 1937 ( Atatürk’s K. A. N., p.40 )
Our nation doesn’t approve of those who think and act opposite to it’s true tendencies. Today, I am proud of this virtue. To explain how appropriate it is, I must say that our source of inspiration has always been, is and will always be the conscience of Great Turkish Nation. We believe beyond any doubt that, as long as all of our acts, power and productivity find foundation in national conscience, and as long as we are guided by the national common sense, we, as we have done so far, will carry the nation forward to the right goals. 1925 ( Atatürk’s B. N., p. 92 )
When we attempted to accomplish our great duties, our main guide and source of success was our nation’s noble common sense and capacity. This great nation always appreciate and support his sons who try and see the directions its desire and capacity lead. 1926 ( Atatürk’s S. D. I, p. 337 )
There is no bigger reward than the Nation’s love and affection. I think I served my nation in some ways during the independence war. But I have never taken credit for any of them alone. I always say “ All that’s done is the nation’s accomplishment ” and that is the truth. We can not claim that we have done all we have to do to prove that we are the descendants of a race and a nation that formed countless civilizations in the past, for we have yet much work to do to today and tomorrow. Scientific efforts are among them. My advice to my friends is this: Let’s work hand in hand not for ourselves, but for the nation we belong to, for this is the noblest of all works. ( Muzaffer Göker, T. T. K. Belleten, Vol. 3, Issue: 10, 1939, p. 388 )
I’m proud of the fact that I have never deceived my nation with my words and actions. When I said “ I will do it “, “ We will do it “, “ We can do it “, I always believed what I said. For instance, before the Battle Of Sakarya started, I said we would drown our enemy in our country. Some supposedly important people sent word and asked me not to send the people to death in vain. They told about Rumenians, Bulgarians and Greeks and suggested that it would be best if we waited for the future to gain our independence. But keeping the capacity and faith of our nation in mind, I said “ no, we will do it “. And now, keeping our existing capacity to lead the country and the nation to prosperity, development and happiness in mind, I say “ We will do it too! “. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 70 )
I have never been forced to go back on a promise given to the nation. While giving these promises, I was not like a fanciful poet persuing the imaginatory when giving them I trusted in talents of this nation.1923 (Atatürk’ün S.D. II, S. 123)
The Turkish nation is superior to all the other nations not only in heroism, but also in capability and aptitude. ( Yusuf Ziya Özer, T. T. K. Belleten, Vol. 3, Issue : 10, 1939, p. 287 )
Before me, it was the nation which took action to accomplish an important duty. The nation reminded me the important duty I delayed for one reason or the other and made me accomplish it. 1925 ( Mustafa Selim İmece, Atatürk’s S. D. K. And I. S., p. 44 )
My only intercessor and shelter is my nation. 1919 ( Memoirs of Reşit Pasha, p. 86 )
If this nation had not been ready to die without turning a hair for the cause and for me, I couldn’t have accomplished anything. ( Behçet Kemal Çağlar, Atatürk, Anecdotes – Memoirs, Compiled by: Kemal Arıburnu, p. 39 )
If I was a man who could be easily intimidated by difficulties, my nation would leave me alone. I’m always grateful to my nation’s goodwill. ( Afet İnan, About Atatürk H. B. P. 21 )
When necessary, I will give the Turkish nation my life as my biggest gift. ( June 1937 )
As in every phase of my life, during the days of crisis and disasters of the last years, there was not a single moment when I didn’t get the utmost pleasure in sacrificing my personal interests, my personal peace and comfort for my nation’s happiness and welfare.
The only born democrat nation among all the nations past and present in this world is the Turkish nation. ( 1937 )
Incapable minds and weak eyes can not see the truth easily. Such ones are far behind the level of great the Turkish Nation. ( 1925 )
Our nation is determined to obtain, in essence and in form, the life and means that contemporary civilization has provided to all nations. The nation is resolved not to let the efforts it makes in terms of reforms and modernization cease because of many lies and tricks as was the case in past centuries.
This nation has adopted as an absolute fact that, in the struggle at the international level, science as the means of survival and the source of power can only be found in the contemporary civilization.
As a natural and indispensable result of the alterations and reforms I mentioned, a secular governmental mentality which doesn’t change unless the mundane needs it stems from change in the nation’s general volition and in law system has been adopted by our nation as a vital principle. ( 1925 )
This great nation always appreciates and supports her sons who try and see the directions its desire and capacity lead. (1926)
There are two Mustafa Kemals. One is me, the mortal Mustafa Kemal; the other is the ideal of Mustafa Kemal which will live forever within the heart of the nation. I represent this ideal. I appeared at a moment of danger, yes, but isn’t my mother a Turk? It is the nation that is fertile, not me. ( 1935 )
The natural ability and the final resolution of the Turkish nation is to walk untiringly and unceasingly on the path of civilization. ( 1924 )
Wishing to cure terrible wounds of many millennia quickly and believing that it has found the jewel called the truth, Turkish nation consciously decided to seek liberation. The obvious fate of those who attempt to prevent it is to be stomped under the strong feet of the Turk.
I have no doubt whatsoever that our nation will show the same competence in fighting with wisdom as it did in fighting with guns. Our nation’s pure disposition is full of capability. ( 15 July 1921 )
As soon as I arrived Samsun, I examined the country and the people. I saw that the tendency of the nation would make anyone who hesitated in defending the country’s independence feel ashamed. The events that the whole world witnessed in the last two years proved that I was right and the nation had a real perseverance in its determination and faith. ( 23 April 1921 )
No victory is the goal itself. The victory is only the main means to reach a goal that is superior to it. The goal is the idea. The victory can only be as valuable as the idea it produces and serves. A victory that doesn’t produce an idea can not be lasting. Such a victory is a useless effort.
The juridical, political, economic and financial chains that held us back from the level of civilized nations have been broken… The success we reached only paved the way for progress and civilization. But we have not yet reached the progressive civilization.
Our great cause is to exalt the dignity of our presence as the most civilized and prosperous nation. This is the dynamic ideal of Great Turkish Nation that permanently revolutionized not only its institutions, but also its ideas. To reach this ideal, we must carry out the idea and the act together. In such an attempt, success is possible only through long term planning and rational work.