1881 – November 10, 1938
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – November 10, 1938), army officer, revolutionary statesman, the founder of the Republic of Turkeyand its first President. Mustafa Kemal established himself as a successful military commander while serving as a division commander in the Battle of Gallipoli of World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the hands of the Allies, and the subsequent plans for its partition, Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish national movement in what would become the Turkish War of Independence. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal implemented what are known as Atatürk’s Reforms which led to sweeping changes in the political, economic and cultural sphere of the Kemalist state, striving to create a modern, democratic and secular state based on Western principles of governance.
Mustafa Kemal or commonly “Kemal Pasha” was his name until his resignation from his post in the Ottoman Empire. During the independence war the Turkish National Assembly assigned him the title Gazi, hence Gazi Mustafa Kemal. After the establishment of the republic, he chose ‘Öz’ as his surname.
He is revered by the people of Turkey as the Father of the Nation, and, on November 24, 1934 he was presented by the Turkish National Assembly with the surname “Atatürk” (meaning “Father Turk” or “Ancestor Turk”), hence Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. His portrait also appears on all current Turkish coins and banknotes.