Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, arguably one of the main figures of the XXth Century, perhaps left us much too soon…
I wonder if the Turkish people, all the Turkish people, understand what they owe to Ataturk…I do not really think that the majority of the Turkish population, especially the generation born in the mid to late fifties and sixties actually know the legacy of the Father of the Turkish Rpublic…most of the aspects of their lifestyle, which they take for granted, they have because there was a man like Mustafa Kemal who surged onto the world stage towards the end of WWI.
Without entering into a political or religious debate, the ideas espoused by Ataturk were modern, progressive and all criticism aside, Kemal Ataturk was a visionary. Among other things, he guided his country toward the future…not a future mired in backward Islamic, traditionalist obscurity that has inspired such leaders as the Ayatollah Khomeni, Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Ladin, but a future inspired by his love of peace, respect for human rights and desire for economic development, democracy and personal prosperity.
It seems that among the issues concerning the current Turkish administration is Human Rights…but is it human rights or a political agenda? Are the rights of all Turks being considered? And what about democracy? Do journalists, who have broken no laws, end up in jail for writing their option in a democracy? In a free country, are dissenters to be imprisoned? Are those the hallmarks of a democratic government? Who are the “humans” and what are the “rights?”
When the current administration speaks of women, are they also talking about single women? Are they willing to give the same rights and consideration to women who perhaps are not willing to toe the traditional line? Or are they only concerned with married women?
And the single most absurd attack I can imagine is the current Turkish government wanting to ban Cesarian Sections! The ban on abortion, which is in the “works” as abortion is still legal in Turkey, I can understand. I do not agree with it, but it is understandable…but a “C” Section? This to me is nothing more that the manipulation of the ignorants, and ignorance is “daring” as we say in Spanish, (“La ignorancia es atrevida”).
Ignrance is daring, meaning that the ignorant masses dare to proclaim stupidities and argue, ad nauseum against reason, knowledge and truth and resist education…Ataturk was very concerned with the education of his people. He taught them to use the Latin alphabet…he took away the fez for the men and the veil for the women…
Do the young generations understand that they are educated western style because of Kemal Pasha? If left to conservative devices girls, under a stric Islamic system, would only get an elementary education…after all, did not the current Turkish Prime Minister establish schools for the creation of Imams? And of course, girls cannot study there, so what do they have to consider as options? Marriage? If not…a life subservient to men…Ataturk would not approve…
On the contrary…Kemal Ataturk wanted a strong secular state that looked to the West for guidance and inspiration. Not to be the child of the West, but a partner…the idea of a religious country, anywhere in the world, is an atrocious idea! I, as a Christian would not like to be governed by a priest!
Democracy, liberalism, capitalist growth and development…western ideas, perhaps even advanced and supported ages ago by the “Golden Age” of Islam…but, nevertheless, concepts still found and still thriving in Turkey and the reason was Ataturk and the development of Kemalist thought…it is, in my opinion, contingent upon every Turk to learn and to teach each other the lessons of the great hero that shaped a lovely people and a great nation…Ataturk.