Mustafa Kemal’s love life was one of turbulence, pain and sometimes tragic.
With the Ottoman empire constantly at war from the Tripolitanian war in 1911, the Balkan wars in 1912, WW1 and in particular the war of independence from 1919 to 1923 his determination, courage and thinking, was way ahead of his times, helped to propel him to that of a national hero and international stature that few in history attained. Loved by his people and respected by all he fought.
Sadly he was never able to achieve the same success in his personal life. In parts 1 and 2, I wrote about some of his lesser known but important relationships, while the 3rd was a better known affair that ended in tragedy. Mustafa finally married Latife Ussaki/Usakizade (Ushaki in English) on 29 January 1923. Sadly it was a short lived marriage that ended in August 1925.
Mustafa Kemal and Latife first met at Latife’s family mansion in Izmir in the immediate aftermath of the recapture of Izmir from the Greek army. According to Andrew Mango ”he was impressed by her easy and direct manners and her European accomplishments”. Latife did her best to accommodate the Gazi during his 3 weeks stay at her family home. The first signs that she had more than just normal affections for the Gazi was when he had to leave Izmir for Ankara. She requested to go with him in any capacity possible, to work as a staff member, but without success. Latife did leave a great impression on Kemal however. Her confident, elegant and well spoken manner with a European education was something that Kemal hoped to see in the Turkish women of the future. In addition in-spite of her obvious infatuation with him she was definitely self controlled enough to resist his possible advances.
With constant meetings at Cankaya privacy was a rare occurrence. Latife was an independent and confident of her own ideas which Kemal admired, she was also a great host seeing herself as an equal.
Kemal often listened to her ideas about the emancipation of women in Turkish politics and every walk of life he found her advice useful and practical. But when she began to interfere in his lifestyle of almost nightly entertainment of his friends the strains began to show.
Mme Latife is preceding me to Ankara. I decided that it would be wrong for us to continue the trip together, as the experience of the last two years has convinced me that we cannot live together. I have informed her of my decision. She is desperately sad and may ask you or Fevzi Pasa to bring us together again, but my decision is final. However I do not wish to harm the honour and standing of herself and her family. for whom I retain my respect, and my feelings of true friendship. The manner of separation will be decided in Ankara. She must be made to agree to return quietly to Izmir.