” I am not leaving a spiritual legacy of dogmas, unchangeable petrified directives. My spiritual legacy is science and reason. People who will follow us will realize that upon challenging and deeply entrenched obstacles, even though we may not have fully achieved all our goals, we never made a concession and always took science and reason as our guide. Time is passing by so quickly; nations’, societies’, and people’s perception on even welfare and misery changes. In this world, claiming to bring never changing judgment means denying progression of reason and science. What I wanted to do and what I tried to achieve for the Turkish nation is quite evident. If those people who wish to follow me after I am gone take the reason and science as their guides they will be my true spiritual heirs.”

M. Kemal Atatürk, 1933


Today marks the 80th anniversary of the passing of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a revolutionary leader in times of war and peace, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938.

Atatürk was no ordinary leader. After leading the Turkish people to independence from the occupying forces, following the Ottoman defeat in 1919, and establishing the Turkish Republic in 1923, Atatürk forged a cultural, social, educational, political and economic revolutions that catapulted the Turkish Republic and Turkish people into the community of global leaders. His reforms included social, legal and political rights for women, the abolition of all Ottoman institutions, introduction of Western legal codes, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one and most importantly introduction of a sovereign and secular state.

Atatürk’s final wish for Turkish people was to practice democratic and secular civic engagement for the betterment of themselves, the country, for humanity and the world peace; always to accept the guidance of science and reason, compassion and common sense; and always to carry themselves with confidence.

The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) wishes you this special moment of meaningful reflection.


World leaders pay tribute to Atatürk

“I obtained information concerning Mustafa Kemal from someone who knows him very well. When talking with Foreign Minister Litvinov of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he said that in his opinion, the most valuable and interesting statesman in all of Europe does not live in Europe today, but beyond the Bosphorus, he lives in Ankara, and that this was the President of the Turkish Republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America

“The name of Atatürk reminds people of the historical successes of one of the great individuals of this century, the leadership that gave inspiration to the Turkish nation, farsightedness in the understanding of the modern world and courage and power as a military leader. It is without a doubt that another example can’t be shown indicating greater successes than the birth of the Turkish Republic and ever since then Atatürk’s and Turkey’s broad and deep reforms undertaken as well as the confidence of a nation in itself.”

John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America

“He was a military-statesman, one of the greatest leaders of our era. He ensured that Turkey got its rightful place among the most advanced nations. Also, he gave the feeling of support and self-confidence to the Turks that form the foundation stone of a nation’s greatness. I take great pride in being one of Atatürk’s loyal friends.”

General Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of the Far East Forces, USA

“In connection with the permanent memorial facility for Kemal Atatürk, I take pride in presenting my congratulations to Turkey. Your great country that is advancing on the course that he demonstrated has obtained very significant successes. This ceremony that is being held to commemorate the memory of Atatürk, the architect of progress and Turkish unity, is a very appropriate respect to a person who became a source of inspiration to free peoples throughout the world.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America

“Atatürk’s death is not only a loss for the country, but for Europe is the greatest loss, he who saved Turkey in the war and who revived a new the Turkish nation after the war. The sincere tears shed after him by all classes of people is nothing other than an appropriate manifestation to this great hero and modern Turkey’s Ata”

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of United Kingdom

“The centuries rarely produce a genius. Look at this bad luck of ours, that great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation.”

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Atatürk was one of the greatest statesmen of everyone who has lived and died throughout history. At no time did he dwell on the period in which he lived, he would see the future and accordingly would carry out a task. Thus, this quality of Atatürk’s is the point that separates him from administrators such as Hitler and Mussolini. They were acting in everything that they did by thinking of themselves. Atatürk would act beyond himself by seeing 20-30 years into the future.”

Lord Kinross, English Statesman

“Fifty years before this we heard the name of Mustafa Kemal as a distinguished Turkish Commander. Later, with the establishment of peace, he got the opportunity to put forth his characteristics as a statesman and as one of the great national leaders, he gained one of the most eminent ranks in history. We remember that courageous and heroic soldier with respect and that statesman, the true father of modern Turkey with praise and gratitude.”

Sir Alexander Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Mustafa Kemal was not a socialist. But it can be perceived that he is a good organizer, with great understanding, progressive, with good thoughts and an intelligent leader. He is carrying out a war of independence against those plunderers. I believe that he will break the pride of the imperialists and that he will beat the Sultan together with his friends.”

Vladimir llyich Lenin, Leader of the Russian Revolution

“We are indebted to him for the birth of the first republic in the Near and Middle East. This Republic showed the way for the wars of national freedom for many nations. Under Atatürk’s administration, Turkey’s international authority advanced and his country started to play an important role in world politics.”

Nikita Khrushchev, President of the Soviet Union

“Because of the 25th year of Atatürk’s death, I want to express the feelings of loyal friendship felt for the Turkish nation by the French nation. Today, Turkish history even more than ever is inseparable from Western and European history. Atatürk’s efforts in this direction were not left without results. The friendship between our countries that has surpassed hundreds of years, has formed the foundation for this development.”

Charles de Gaulle, President of France

“Pasha, how can I not admire you? I established a secular government in France. This government was overthrown by the priests with the help of the Pope’s representatives in Paris. While you got rid of the Caliphate and established a secular state in the true sense of the word. Within this fanaticism, how did you make this society accept secularity? The great work of your genius was to create a secular Turkey.”

Edouard Herriot, Former Prime Minister of France

“On 10 November, the entire world and we Germans as well, remember with praise the life and works of a person to whom we are attached with friendship and respect. Atatürk always tried to establish firm ties between Turkey and Europe.”

Ludwig Erhard, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany

“I am the child of a generation that knows closely Turkish-German friendship. At an early age I saw a man’s heroism’s, the services he carried out and the self-sacrifices he undertook for his country. This man was Mustafa Kemal. Today I comprehend even better that this person was a great statesman. He was great, because he used all his courage for his nation, his country to save his homeland at an unlucky moment. He was great, because he directed his nation towards the absolute necessity of adjusting them to the necessities of history. He was great, because he always knew how to defend suitable limits and he did not go beyond the limits that would put his work into danger. Courageousness and his own courageousness was intelligent enough as well to be able to draw the limits.”

Kurt Georg Kiesinger, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany

“In our times, it is Atatürk who brought Turkey to its current status as a modern republic with his farsighted and courageous political, social and economic reforms. At the same time, it was also he that prepared the foundation of the modern economy that will ensure today Turkey’s attaining the strength to be able to enter the European Economic Community.”

Joseph Luns, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

“We feel a great admiration for Atatürk in his efforts towards ensuring the modernization of Turkish society by separating religion and politics from each other and by carrying out the Turkish Language Reforms.”

Hayato Ikeda, Prime Minister of Japan

“In the life of a nation it is very seldom that changes to such a radical degree were carried out in such a short period of time.. Without a doubt, those who have done these extraordinary activities have earned the attributes of a great man in the complete sense of the word. And because of this, Turkey can be proud of itself.”

Eleftherios Venizelos, Prime Minister of Greece

“Kemal Atatürk or Kemal Pasha by which name we knew him in those times, was my hero during my youth. I was very moved when I read about his great reforms. I met with great praise the general efforts made by Atatürk on the course of modernizing Turkey. His dynamism, undauntedness and unawareness of fatigue created a great effect on people. He was one of the builders of the modern age in the orient. I continue to be among his greatest admirers.”

Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India

“In my own name and on behalf of the Egyptian people, I have the pleasure of expressing sincere congratulations on the occasion of the Century of the birth of the great leader Kemal Atatürk who, under extreme difficult circumstances, secured for his people their liberty and independence.”

Anwar El-Sadat, President of Egypt

“The Sakarya Battle, the Sakarya Victory became the strongest recollection when I was twenty. At that time I said to myself, I wonder whether or not I can mobilize my country like this? Can I not instill in his spirit this delivering attack, this unreined passion?”

Habib Bourguiba, President of Tunisia

“Kemal Atatürk is not only one of the greatest leaders of this century. We in Pakistan see him as one of the greatest men of all times who has lived and died. He is not only the beloved leader of your country. All the Moslems in the world have turned their eyes to him with feelings of love and admiration.”

Mohammed Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan