Polycarpe Joaillier 1848-1904
By Ismail Veli……..
The friend of Northern Cyprus shares its Daily News of Life and Times around the world
Jean Pascal Sébah
By Ismail Veli……..
Pascal J. Sébah born in 1823 was of Syrian/Armenian origin. His father Hanna Sébah went to Constantinople (Now lstanbul) in order to find work, and eventually married Lisa Hichaftadjan. Their fourth child Pascal J. Sébah, grew up to become a great photographer of the period.
By Ismail Veli………
Tancrède R. Dumas 1830-1905
Ottoman society was as racially mixed as Europe is today. Society was fluid and advanced on merit. Unlike Europe in the 1800’s who were generally more prejudiced against individuals from other communities, this was generally on a smaller scale in the Empire.
By Ismail Veli………
Like Mustafa Kemal, Fikriye was born in Salonika in 1887, but was 6 years younger. Her uncle Galip Bey was Mustafa’s stepfather. Mustafa and Fikriye’s relationship eventually took on an intimate nature, but only after she was married off to an Egyptian bey.
By Ismail Veli……..
There are many great people and leaders in history. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was one such person, his political and military career are well known but what of his personal or more to the point his love life.
By Roger L Jennings…….
You know the Gazi. After the Turkish forces defeated the Greek Army at the Sakarya River using the same defense he had used at Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal returned to Ankara in triumph and was awarded by the Grand National Assembly the rank of Field Marshall of the Army and title of Gazi.
In the thousands of documents left to history by my Grandfather Asa K. Jennings and Father Asa W. Jennings from their many meetings with the great leader, he was always referred to as Gazi, and never Field Marshall, General, President or even Ataturk.
In 1931 the Gazi presented my Grandfather with the photo in appreciation for my Grandfather’s service to the Turkish people. Notice the date. The Gazi was President. Notice the monogram GMK. And see how he signed the photo: Gazi M. Kemal. Turkey would have many Presidents, but only one Gazi.
The Gazi took control of Turkey at a critical moment in history and pulled it out of antiquity into modernity in a few short years. All that he did was for the benefit of the Turkish people. He risked his life repeatedly, but never accumulated any wealth for himself unlike the Shah of Iran, Putin and so many others.
Some credit has to be given to the Greeks. After the Ottoman Turks withdrew from Greece, Greece declared its independence in 1821. Greece was formed by conquest and negotiation with neighboring lands. King Otto and Prime Minister Kolettis promoted the ancient Megali Idea as a way of unifying the peoples of their new Greek nation. The Megali Idea was, and is to this day, the unifying theme of Greek foreign and domestic politics. Crete was incorporated into Greece in 1913 largely due to Prime Minister Venizelos. He was the leader who had Greece enter WWI late in the War so Greece could share in the spoils of war. Venizelos ordered the Greek Army to land in Smyrna (Izmir) Turkey in 1919.
The Greek Army started killing innocent Turks on the very first day of the occupation, and continued as the Greek Army pushed inland far beyond the territorial limits set by the Treaty of Sevres. The crimes against humanity by the Greek Army are described in the Inter-Allied Commission Inquiry on the internet.
The Turkish people were poor, uneducated and unorganized. However, stories of the killing and destruction by the Greek Army spread very quickly throughout Turkey. The nationalist spirit of the Turks was ignited. The Turkish people followed General M. Kemal’s leadership reverently. Without the heinous crimes by the Greek Army, it is questionable that the Turkish people could have been brought together in a massive effort to eject the Greeks, French, Italians and British from Turkish soil.
If the legendary hero had not been created, the Gazi would not have enjoyed the national support for the many historic changes he made. He wanted the Turkish people to be prosperous. So every man and woman would have to have their shoulder to the wheel that drives the Turkish economy.
Women were given equal rights. Koranic Law was replaced. Mustafa Kemal’s mother had always stayed in the home in Thessaloniki where she was seen by her family, but not in public. Asa K. Jennings started day care for children in Izmir so mothers would know their children would be safe when their mothers were working in the packing plants earning money for their families and contributing to the economic growth of Turkey. Jennings and his American Friends of Turkey, which was staffed by Turks, started vocational training programs, hygiene and health education for new mothers, playgrounds and more all over Turkey – with the approval and encouragement of the Gazi. The purpose of the playgrounds was to provide competition while teaching tolerance and good sportsmanship, a concept foreign to Ottoman Turks.
The first playground in Turkey was built in Izmir. At first women would not participate in sports. The religious authorities argued this was an evil idea from corrupt Western people to have women engaged in sports. The Gazi concluded that religion and politics were a toxic cocktail. The Caliphate was abolished, the mosques were closed, and the mullahs were banished. The Greek most hated in Smyrna in 1922 was the Greek zealot Archbishop Chrysostomos. He encouraged the Greek Army to commit their offenses. The Turks dealt him a savage death. The most influential Greek Cypriot standing in opposition to reconciliation in Cyprus is Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The Greek Cypriot version of the Megali Idea is enosis. The Greek Cypriots have not learned from the terrible lessons of the Greek Army in Turkey. How better off Greece would be today, if Venizelos had offered the Turkish people the hand of peace and offered to be partners in the development of the Turkish economy. It is true there was an epidemic of violence that led to the deaths of Turks, Armenians and ethnic Greeks – by the hundreds of thousands – from 1912 to 1922. It is also true that Turkey did not have police departments in nearly all of Turkey. The police academy was not established until 1938. In 1919 the Greeks could have proposed police departments to prevent violence. Greece under Venizelos took the road to war rather than the road to peace.
The Gazi wanted peace and prosperity. He wanted to liberate all Turks. He banned the fez and shah in buildings. Women need head protection when working in the fields, but the Gazi thought he had eliminated the caste system the shah imposes. Oh, how he would oppose the Islamization of Turks today, because religion as a public display is an impediment to progress.
Today, the people of the TRNC are at great risk. Only the leaders of the TRNC can bring peace to all Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots want to become part of the disaster in Greece rather than brothers with the Turkish Cypriots. The leaders of the TRNC will not listen to reason – or even the Gazi – and are squandering the last chance at peace. This is not what the Gazi wanted for Turks and Greeks. Cyprus is heading towards war over gas rather than using gas to create many products, prosperity and peace.
“The opinions, advice or proposals within the article are purely those of the author and do not, in any way, represent those of Cyprusscene.com”
By Ismail Veli…….
There have been many great leaders in history who have made an impact. Some are rated as great reformers, military, politicians, scientists etc. Mustafa Kemal better known as Ataturk (father of the Turks) was such a leader. His achievements in saving his country from the chaotic ashes of the Ottoman empire into a forward thinking modern society is something that few dispute. We only need to look at the situation and mind set of today in order to truly appreciate such great leaders of the past. Lets ponder the question?
We are now in the space age, can we imagine a leader coming forward in countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and countless others in the hope that they can not only bring about the necessary reforms, but above all convince the vast majority of the population that they are essential in helping to break away from the past? We may be in 2016, but let’s go back to the conditions prevailing in Turkey in the immediate aftermath of foreign occupation, and virtual dismemberment by the major powers after world war one. The conditions in those days were far removed from what we can imagine today.
Between 1860 and 1922 the Turks had lost at least 4 possibly 5 million people in endless wars, disease and starvation. The bad behaviour of the Ottoman empire at that time is often spoken about, but rarely do western writers concentrate on the plight of the ordinary Turkish people, who themselves were on the receiving end of countless massacres. The behaviour and retaliation inflicted on others by the retreating Ottomans cannot, and should not be dismissed, but people who make the accusations, rarely, if ever concern themselves with the human suffering of ordinary Turkish people. Therefore their argument is often based on prejudice, bias and even hatred. But this article is not about the endless rights and wrongs of the Ottomans or their opponents. It’s about a man who finding his country dismembered with no hope of saving itself in the aftermath of the first world war. by 1919 Constantinople (as it was called at the time) was occupied by the British empire, the Aegean and south west by the Italians, central southern Turkey by the French, Trabzon Kars and Erzurum to the Armenian’s under the protection of the Russians and Izmir together with Western Turkey and Trakya/Thrace ceded to Greece in its own quest for reclaiming what it considered to be ancient Greek land with their dream of a greater Modern Greece.
With the whole Turkish army disarmed, 90% illiteracy, (only Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara registered over 20 literacy rates in 1927) no manufacturing base to speak of, and a country decimated and worn out by decades of war (as explained above) any hope of retrieving the situation seemed a pipe-dream. Mustafa Kemal thought otherwise. He retreated to the small provincial town of Ankara and began to organize some kind of resistance against impossible odds. With the advancing Greek army into the interior, the future fate of Turkey, (though not so obvious at the time) was decided at the battle of Sakarya. It was 1922 and the advance of the Turkish forces onto Izmir in 7 days completely reversed the 3 year occupation by the Greek army. But it was not in victory that Mustafa Kemal showed his greatness, on finding one of his officers trampling on a Greek flag in the belief that it would impress M. Kemal, he found himself being on the receiving end. Mustafa Kemal picked up the flag and reminded his officer that being the flag and pride of a nation he should show a lot more respect for it.
This was followed by his advance onto Constantinople under British military control. Once again Kemal’s genius came into action. Knowing that a confrontation with the powerful British empire would be doomed, he ordered his soldiers to hang their rifles upside down on their shoulders as a sign that it was not confrontation that he sought but his own country back. This gesture not only confused the British who had a grudging admiration for the spirit of the ”Johnny Turk” but convinced them that the British people themselves tired of warfare after the butchery of WWI finally accepted to withdraw. The other allies followed the British, With Russia in revolution they had already decided enough was enough the previous year. The above however is only a small part of the story.
What followed after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic on 29 October 1923 would astonish the world. Mustafa Kemal the hero of Gallipoli and the war of independence took off his military uniform, never wore it again, and began the task of dazzling reform that completely overturned 700 years of religious and military traditions of Ottoman rule. He abandoned the Caliphate which meant that the Turks were no longer defenders of the Muslim faith, brought in a secular constitution based on western style democracy, banned women’s head scarf’s, giving women equal voting rights long before some Europeans countries. With almost 90% illiteracy, and Ottoman writing being in the Arab script which was unintelligible to the masses, he invited intellects to rewrite a new Turkish script based on the Latin alphabet and more practical to the day to day usages of the spoken Turkish language. A law adopting the new alphabet was passed on 1st November 1928. The old tradition of using the father’s name as a surname was overhauled and based on a new surname system as in most modern countries.
Mustafa Kemal adopted the surname of ”Ataturk/father of the Turks. ” Within a few years women began to make inroads into Turkeys’ political and social system like never before. To pave the way he adopted his own daughters and encouraged them to help lead the way. His adopted daughter Sabiha Gokcen became not only the first female combat pilot in history but in the world. Today one of Istanbul’s main airports is named in honour of her achievement. While all the above was going on, 750.000 Turkish refugees flooded in from Turkey in a massive population exchange which also saw 1.5 million Anatolian Greek refugees leave for Greece under the supervision of an immensely humanitarian man called Asa K Jennings. Click here to read more of this subject.
Asa Jennings not only won the admiration of Mustafa Kemal but became the greatest awarded individual in Greek history for his immense humanitarian efforts. While this exchange no doubt caused immense suffering and sadness for people who had lost their ancestral homes it was also clear that Asa’s efforts saved the lives of many, for retribution and ill feeling among both people would no doubt lead to mass murder which would in effect prolong the agony for years to come. The added refugee flood from the Balkans and Caucasus must have been an immense burden for a new Turkish republic that only had about 13 million people, bankrupt, and no industrial base or means to invest. This did not deter Mustafa Kemal from his determination to modernize Turkey, if anything it spurred him to ever more determined efforts to ensure that the sons of Turkey would no longer be sent to guard wild frontiers in vain sacrifice of a corrupt and outdated empire that had no function in a modern world, while risking their mothers and sisters of mass rape and pillage on the retreat.
Ataturk went against history and declared his strategy of ”peace at home, peace abroad,” policy which saw Turkey and Greece sign a treaty in 1930. This was followed in 1934 by the Balkan pact in order to help bring co-operation and improve relations with countries that were previously in constant conflict. In 1934 The former Greek Premier Venizelos nominated Ataturk for the noble peace prize. Sadly years of hard work and alcoholism took its toll and on the 10th of November 1938 Ataturk closed his eyes to world. He was only 57 years old. The outpouring of grief was immense and dignitaries friend and foe alike flocked to his funeral to pay their respects to a man who had not only shown his greatness in adversity but above all in peacemaking.
In the immediate aftermath of his death the world was plunged into war. His followers tried to live up to Ataturk’s legacy. With Greece under Nazi occupation in 1941, Turkey became the first country to send humanitarian assistance to the famine stricken Greek population. Many Greeks fled to Turkey and made their way to Egypt to fight together with the British in the hope that the German occupation of their country would be reversed.
The Time magazine in 1999 chose Albert Einstein as the person of the century. Importantly Ataturk was chosen as one of the 15 most important leaders of the century. Strangely while Albert Einstein’s brilliance in creating the splitting of the atom led to misuse by the butchery of the second world war, thus creating destructive weapons never before witnessed, which led some to claim that his genius was no doubt misused, this resulted in some like John McLaughlin the host of ” McLaughlin group” to declare that Ataturk was ”the person of the Full Millennium”.
His view was that Ataturk was a visionary who turned a Muslim country into a Western leaning democracy, bringing in secularism and declaring that religion was something for the individual and not for the state to interfere or be interfered in. Professor Arnold Ludwig after a 17 year study into 300 leaders who helped shape the world chose Ataturk as the greatest leader of the 20th century.
A lasting legacy of Ataturk was the message he sent to the people of Australia and New Zealand who had sacrificed their sons during the Gallipoli campaign in WWI.
There is no doubt that many Turkish governments since the 1940’s have constantly used Ataturk’s message and legacy to fit their own aims, and they often use his name to pull the wool over ordinary people eyes. To say everything Ataturk did was correct or perfect would be stretching the imagination. He was after all a human being.
Looking at the situation in Turkey today, one wonders if the legacy of Ataturk is about take a new turn. The recent attempted coup of 15 July came as a shock to people who value democracy. The situation as it stands two weeks hence is one of uncertainty. Democracy is the most valuable asset to any country that aspires to modernity in the 21st century. Democracy should be about the creation of problem solving solutions, listening even when one disagrees, accepting that others will have a different vision, and above all freedom of speech that allows us to debate in a constructive manner.
In the final Analysis we are now scratching our heads and wondering where the recent events in Ataturk’s Turkey are now heading.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; (19 May 1881 (conventional) – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament.
Atatürk was a military officer during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish National Movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns led to victory in the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern and secular nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, and women were given equal civil and political rights, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. His government also carried out an extensive policy of Turkification. The principles of Atatürk’s reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.