NB: A brief history of the life and policies of one of the most vehement enemies of Islam, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder of the secular Turkish state. It is an unfortunate thing that a lot of his policies are still being practised in Turkey until this day. Women are still not allowed to wear the hijab in Government buildings and schools as it is seen to be a sign of fundamentalism. May God bless those who follow His path.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in 1881 in a shabby quarter of Salonika. After resigning from his job as a petty Government clerk, his father, Ali Riza, twice failed in business, sought escape from his miseries in alcohol and died of tuberculosis when Mustafa was only seven years old. His mother, Zübeyde, in strict purdah and entirely illiterate, ruled the family. In contrast to her husband, she was a devout believer and a pious Muslim.
Like every other Turkish woman of her day, her entire life centred around her eldest son. With her deep religious convictions, Zübeyde wanted him to become a pious scholar. But the son had different ideas. He fought tooth and nail against any kind of authority and was openly insolent and abusive to his teachers. He was arrogant in the extreme in the presence of his fellow students and refused to join the other boys in their games which made him justifiably unpopular. If he were interfered with in any way, he fought them, preferring to play alone.
Once during one of these violent episodes, a teacher, blind with fury, intervened and beat the boy so hard that his honour was offended. Mustafa ran away and refused to return to school. When his devoted mother tried to plead with him, he stormed back at her.
Zübeyde was in despair, not knowing what to do. Finally, an uncle suggested sending him to the military cadet school in Salonika and making a soldier of him. Since it was subsidized by the government, it would cost them nothing; if the boy demonstrated ability, he would become an officer; if not, he would at least remain a private.
In any case, his future livelihood was assured.
Although Zübeyde did not approve, before she could stop him, twelve-year-old Mustafa persuaded one of his father’s friends to sponsor him with the college authorities. He took the examination and passed as a cadet.
Here, he found himself. He was so successful academically that one of his teachers bestowed upon him the name ‘Kemal’, which means in Arabic, “perfection.” Because of his brilliance in mathematics and his military subjects, he was promoted to a teaching position on the staff where he much enjoyed flaunting his authority.
After obtaining the highest grades in his final examinations, he graduated with honours in January 1905 with the rank of Captain.
During this period he joined a rabidly nationalistic students society known as the Vatan or “Fatherland.” The members of the Vatan prided themselves on being revolutionaries. They were bitterly hostile to the regime headed by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and condemned him for his suppression of all so-called “liberal” ideas which undermined the authority of Islam. They never wearied of blaming Islam as responsible for Turkey’s backwardness and vent their bitter spleen upon the allegedly antiquated Shariah and made the Sufi mystics the object of special ridicule.
The members of the Vatan were bound by an oath that they would oust the legitimate Sultan and replace him by a Western-styled government complete with Constitution and parliament, destroy the authority of the ulema or religious scholars, and abolish purdah and the veil, declaring absolute equality between men and women. Soon Mustafa Kemal became its chief.
Mustafa Kemal’s opportunity for extending his influence finally came when, just before the ousting of Sultan Abdul Hamid in 1908 by the Young Turks, its ruling party, The Committee of Union and Progress invited him to join them. However, being a late-comer, he was obliged to carry out orders when his nature demanded that either he control everything or take no part at all.
He grew increasingly restless and dissatisfied. He had no respect for the other members whom he regarded as beneath his contempt. He particularly hated such sincere Muslims as the Prime Minister, Prince Said Halim Pasha (1865-1921) and the Minister of War, Anwar Pasha (1882-1922), with whom he quarrelled incessantly.
For the next ten years, Mustafa Kemal Pasha distinguished himself in the military profession as he was a born soldier and leader. Gradually by dint of his domineering personality, combined with shrewdness, he assumed more and more political influence. He spent his evenings in secret meetings behind locked doors planning for the coup d’etat which would give him absolute dictatorial power.
A National Hero
His opportunity arose when at the end of the First World War, he took the lead in defending the territorial integrity of Turkey against the combined European powers who were intent upon dismembering “the sick man of Europe” and hastening his demise with all deliberate speed. By thwarting these sinister designs and whipping up the enthusiasm of the populace to fight to the death for their country, Mustafa Kemal Pasha became a national hero.
When the Greeks were defeated and Turkey’s victory assured, the Turkish people went delirious with joy. They hailed him as their Saviour and bestowed upon him the honorific title ‘Ghazi’ or “Defender of the Faith”.
Invitations from diplomats now overwhelmed him urging him to become their champion of the East against the West.
To the Arab statesmen, he replied in the State Assembly:
“I am neither a believer in a federation of all the nations of Islam nor even in a league of all the Turkish peoples under Soviet rule. My only aim is to safeguard the independence of Turkey within its natural frontiers — not to revive the Ottoman or any other Empire. Away with dreams and shadows! They have cost us dear in the past!”
To the Communist delegations seeking his support he expressed himself even more bluntly:
There are no oppressors nor any oppressed. There are only those who allow themselves to be oppressed. The Turks are not among these. The Turks can look after themselves. Let others do the same. We have – but one principle – to see all problems through Turkish eyes and guard Turkish national interests.
H. C. Armstrong, The Grey Wolf (Capricorn Books, New York, 1961)
Mustafa Kemal Pasha declared policy that was to make Turkey within its natural frontiers a small, compact nation and, above all, a prosperous, modern state respected by all the other nations of the world. He was so convinced that he and he alone was qualified to accomplish this task that he claimed:
I am Turkey! To destroy me is to destroy Turkey!
ibid., p. 227
Abolishing The Caliphate
No sooner had he assumed power than he made bold to declare that he would destroy every vestige of Islam in the life of the Turkish nation. Only when the authority of Islam was utterly eliminated could Turkey “progress” into a respected, modern nation. He made speech after public speech, fearlessly and brazenly attacking Islam and all Islam stands for:
For nearly five hundred years, these rules and theories of an Arab Shaikh and the interpretations of generations of lazy and good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and criminal law of Turkey. They have decided the form of the Constitution, the details of the lives of each Turk, his food, his hours of rising and sleeping the shape of his clothes, the routine of the midwife who produced his children, what he learned in his schools, his customs, his thoughts-even his most intimate habits. Islam – this theology of an immoral Arab – is a dead thing. Possibly it might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for a modern, progressive state. God’s revelation! There is no God! These are only the chains by which the priests and bad rulers bound the people down. A ruler who needs religion is a weakling. No weaklings should rule!
ibid., pp. 199-200
When Abdul Majid was elected as Caliphate, Mustafa Kemal Pasha refused to allow the full traditional ceremony to be performed. When the Assembly met to discuss the matter, Mustafa Kemal cut the debate short: “The Khalifa has no power or position except as a nominal figurehead.”
When Abdul Majid wrote a petition for an increase in his allowance, Mustafa Kemal replied thus:
The Khalifate, your office is no more than a historical relic. It has no justification for existence. It is a piece of impertinence that you should dare write to any of my secretaries!
ibid., p. 201
On March 3, 1924, Mustafa Kemal Pasha presented a Bill to the Assembly to oust the Caliphate permanently and establish the Turkish nation as a purely secular state. However, before this Bill was even introduced and made known, he had prudently made certain to muzzle all opposition by declaring it a capital offence to criticize anything he did:
At all costs, the Republic must be maintained…The Ottoman Empire was a crazy structure based upon broken religious foundations. The Khalifa and the remains of the House of Usman must go. The antiquated religious courts and codes must be replaced by modern scientific civil law. The schools of the priests must give way to secular Government schools. State and religion must be separated. The Republic of Turkey must finally become a secular state.
ibid., pp. 207-208
Consequently, the Bill was passed without debate and the former Caliph and his family exiled to Switzerland. Through a series of highly controversial and Machiavellian manoeuvres, Ataturk was, in the end, successful in getting the Caliphate abolished:
“Although liberals and conservatives alike in the assembly increasingly argued ‘in favour of the Caliph playing an important role in whatever political system ultimately was established,’ they were undermined by political intimidation (for example, the brutal murder of a vocal pro-caliphate assembly member in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal’s lead bodyguard), Mustafa Kemal’s modification of the 1920 High Treason Law on April 15, 1923, (making it crime to campaign for the return of the sultanate broadly defined, i.e., any temporal power for the caliph), and his adroit arrangements for a more loyal second assembly. Following the isolation of the army politically and during an absence of highly regarded opposition figures from Ankara, the rest of the personally vetted assembly moved on March 4, 1924, to abolish the Ottoman Caliphate along with the religious foundations of law and education. The centuries-old institution was struck down by a legislative act of the Grand National Assembly, and all members of the Ottoman dynasty were expelled from the newly formed Turkish Republic.”
Mona Hassan, Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History (Princeton University Press, 2016), pp. 12-13
The new regime then enacted the following:
The preamble of the new (Turkish) Constitution speaks of full dedication to the reforms of Ataturk. Article 153 prohibits any retrogression from these reforms. It said:
No provision of this Constitution shall be construed or interpreted as rendering unconstitutional the following reform laws which aim at raising Turkish society to the level of contemporary civilisation and at safeguarding the secular character of the republic which was in effect on the date this constitution was adopted by popular vote:
1. The law of the unification (and secularization) of education of March 3, 1924
2. The Hat Law of November 25, 1925
3. The law on the closing down of dervish convents and mausoleums and the abolition of the office of keepers of tombs and the law on the abolition and prohibition of certain titles of November 30, 1925
4. The conduct of the act of (civil) marriage of February 17, 1926
5. The law concerning the adoption of international numerals of May 20, 1928
6. The law concerning the adoption and application, of (the Latin letters for) the Turkish alphabet (and the banning of the Arabic script) of November 1, 1928
7. The law on the abolition of titles and appellations such as Efendi, Bey or Pasha, of November 26, 1934
8. The law concerning the prohibition against the wearing of (indigenous) garments of December 3, 1934
Complete denial of Ataturkism remains impossible and inconceivable. It is impossible because the Constitution prohibits it and inconceivable because old and young have accepted many of the consequences of the reforms and Westernization retains its popular magic as the promise for a richer life.
Nuri Eren, Turkey Today and Tomorrow: An Experiment in Westernization (Praeger, New York, 1963), pp. 100-102
Kemal Pasha Secularises Turkey
Atatürk and his colleagues even wanted to Turkify Islam. They ordered the Muslims to use the Turkish word “Tanri” instead of Allah for God and use the Turkish language in the salah (the Muslim daily prayers) and adhaan (the call to prayers).
These preposterous changes deeply disturbed the faithful Muslims and caused widespread resentment, which led in 1933 to a return to the Arabic version of the call to prayer.
After some time, the Atatürk regime moved towards more extreme measures. Ataturk prohibited religious education. The existing mosques were turned into museums or used for the regime’s secular purposes.
During the period these reforms were being enforced, Mustafa Kemal Pasha married a beautiful, European-educated lady named Latifa, who, during the struggle for Turkey’s independence, was encouraged by him to dress like a man and demand for women absolute equality. But the moment she grew self-assertive and insisted upon being treated as a respectable wife instead of trampled upon like a doormat in his unfaithfulness, he furiously divorced her and sent her away.
The irony was that earlier, Kemal was responsible for annulling the Islamic form of divorce, and yet he pronounced the talaaq when he divorced his wife. A few months after his divorce, the annulment of the Islamic divorce was lifted.
After his divorce from Latifa, his shamelessness knew no limits. He drank so heavily that he became a drunkard and a confirmed alcoholic. Venereal disease wrecked his health. Handsome young boys became objects of his lust and so aggressive was his behaviour toward the wives and daughters of his political supporters that they began sending their womenfolk as far as possible out of his reach.
Indeed, a close associate of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk observed that:
Our respected leader has one habit. He loves women. He has to change them rapidly. He must be the chief court-taster.
As cited in ibid., p. 28
Atatürk The Absolute Dictator
In describing his character, H. C. Armstrong writes:
Mustafa Kemal Pasha had always been a lone man, a solitary, playing a lone hand. He had trusted no one. He would not listen to opinions that were contrary to his own. He would insult anyone who dared to disagree with him. He judged all actions by the meanest motives of self-interest. He was insanely jealous. A clever or capable man was a danger to be got rid of. He was bitterly critical of any other man’s ability. He took a savage pleasure in tearing up the characters and sneering at the actions even of those who supported him. He rarely said a kind or generous thing and then only with a qualification that was a sneer. He confided in no one. He had no intimates. His friends were the evil little men who drank with him, pandered to his pleasures and fed his vanity. All the men of value, the men who had stood beside him in the black days of the War for Liberation were against him.
H. C. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 213-214
And since no dictator can tolerate any rivals, Mustafa Kemal Pasha lost no opportunity in crushing all political opposition.
The secret police did their work. By torture, bastinado, by any means they liked, the police had to get enough evidence to incriminate the opposition leaders who were all arrested. A Tribunal of Independence was nominated to try them. Without bothering about procedure or evidence, the court sentenced them to be hanged. The death warrants were sent to Mustafa Kemal for his signature in his house at Khan Kaya. Among the death warrants was one for Arif who, after a quarrel with Mustafa Kemal, had joined the opposition. Arif, his one friend, who had stood loyal beside him throughout all the black days of the War for Independence – the only man to whom he had opened his heart and shown himself intimately. One who was there reported that when he came to this warrant the Ghazi’s grey mask of a face never changed; he made no remark; he did not hesitate. He was smoking. He laid the cigarette across the edge of the ash-tray, signed the death warrant of Arif as if it had been some ordinary routine paper and passed on to the next… He would do the thing properly. He would give a ball at Khan Kaya that night also. Everyone must come–the judges, the Cabinet, the Ambassadors, the Foreign Ministers, all the notables, all the beautiful ladies. All Ankara must celebrate…The dance began quietly. Dressed in immaculate evening dress cut for him by a London tailor, the Ghazi stood talking in a corner to a diplomat. The guests moved cautiously watching him. Until he showed his mood, they must step delicately and talk in subdued tones; very dangerous to be merry if he happened to be morose. But the Ghazi was in the best of spirits. This was to be no staid state function. It was to be a night of rollicking fun. “We must be gay! We must live, be alive!”, he shouted as he caught hold of a strange woman and fox-trotted on to the dance floor with her. The guests one and all followed him. They danced – if they did not, the Ghazi made them. The Ghazi was at his best, tearing his partners around at a great pace and giving them drinks in between the dance… Four miles away in Ankara the great square was lit up with the white light of a dozen arc-lamps. Round it and into the streets had collected a vast crowd. Under the arc-lamps below the stone walls of the prison, stood eleven giant triangles of wood. Under each were a man, his hands pinioned behind him and a noose around his neck-the political opponents of Mustafa Kemal about to die. In the great silence, each of the condemned men spoke in turn to the people. One recited a poem, another said a prayer and still another cried out that he was a loyal son of Turkey… At Khan Kaya most of the guests had gone. The rooms were stale with the stench of tobacco smoke, of spilt liquor and the foul breaths of the intoxicated. The floors were littered with cigarette butts and the tables strewn with cards and money. Mustafa Kemal walked across the room and looked out of a window. His face was set and grey; the pale eyes expressionless; he showed no signs of fatigue, his evening clothes as immaculate as ever. The Commissioner of Police had reported that the executions were finished. The bodies below the triangles had ceased to twitch. At last he was supreme. His enemies were banished, broken or dead.
ibid., pp. 229-236
Meanwhile, the rumble of opposition from the Turkish people became a roar. The volcano finally erupted in 1926 when the Kurdish tribes in the mountains staged an open revolt against the Kemalist regime and all that it stood for. Mustafa Kemal lost no time in taking action. Ruthlessly all Turkish Kurdistan was laid to waste; villages were burned, animals and crops destroyed, women and children raped and murdered. Forty-six of the Kurdish chiefs were sentenced to be publicly hanged. The last to die was Shaikh Said, the leader. He turned to the executioner and said: “I have no hatred for you. You and your master, Mustafa Kemal, are hateful to God! We shall settle our account before God on the Day of Judgment!”
Mustafa Kemal was now an absolute dictator. The Turkish people accepted such anti-Islamic reforms as the banning of the fez and turban, compulsory wearing of Western clothing, the Latin alphabet, the Christian calendar and Sunday as a legal holiday, only at a dagger’s point. Thousands of ulema and those who sympathized with them sacrificed their lives rather than submit to the destruction of all they held sacred. Nothing can be further from the truth than the delusion that the Turkish people wanted any of this. The intensity of resistance can be imagined from the fact that Ataturk imposed martial law nine times. So despised is this Dictator by millions of Turks, particularly in the villages and small towns, that the mere mention of his name is cursed.
In 1932 Mustafa Kemal decreed that every Turk must adopt a family name as it is customary in Europe and America. He chose for himself the surname “Ataturk”, which means “The Father of the Turks”.
Death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Six years later, his health completely ruined, he died of cirrhosis of the liver which is caused by alcoholism.
The category “psychopathic personality” has been called the wastebasket of psychiatry. Into it are dumped all those men who are not psychotic, not psychoneurotic, not feeble minded-yet there is something very much wrong with them…..The psychopath is not psychotic, not “insane.” He knows where he is and who he is and what time it is; he dwells in our world, not the fantasy world of psychosis. But the psychopathic syndrome engulfs his whole personality as much as psychosis. The psychopath is not deficient in intelligence. Indeed he may be of above-average intelligence. It is his emotions that are out of kilter, his moral development, his “character.” He is cold, remote, unreachable, indifferent to the plight of others, even hostile. He “knows” intellectually the consequences of his criminal acts to himself and to his victims but he is unable to “feel” these consequences emotionally and so he does not refrain from them. He never feels remorse or shame. If he is a murderer captured, he is never sorry that he killed but only that he got caught. He is the hired killer for the mob; for him to kill is nothing. He rejects society. He rejects any obligation to it…He is in perpetual rebellion. He cannot form permanent emotional ties to anyone. His sex life is random, chancy, for what he wants is sexual satisfaction and the partner matters not….No reliable statistics exist on the number of psychopaths incarcerated but nobody doubts that among them are the most dangerous humans alive. That is why the prisons are filled with them.
John Bartlow Martin, Break Down The Walls: A Study of the Modern American Prison (Ballantine Books, New York, 1953), pp. 259-261
Word for word, this is an accurate description of the personality and character of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The only difference is that instead of being recognized for what he was, as an absolute dictator, nothing could inhibit him from committing his crimes on a national scale.
None welcomed the dictatorship of Kemal Ataturk more than the intellectuals and politicians in America. The Jews among them accorded him the most enthusiastic praise of all.
How the traditions of political freedom and democracy America claims to champion can be reconciled with the atrocities committed under this dictatorship is an unsolved mystery until the reader understands that the democratic West regards these human rights strictly for home consumption. Under no circumstances can they be exported to any Muslim land.
Official publications from the American Information Service did not hesitate to support such authoritarian regimes so long as they were not openly affiliated with the Communist bloc. Dictatorship, according to this view, is justified if it effectively implements the modernization of the country.
The peoples of these “under-developed” places are too backward, tradition-bound, ignorant and illiterate to be allowed to choose their fate. Only the all-wise Government can decide what is best for them. Westernization is the supreme virtue and no sacrifice of moral scruples is too great to attain this end.
Therefore any means, including the most ruthless tyranny, is sanctioned with the full blessings of America and the other Western democracies if it accelerates the disintegration of the Islamic way of life.
The fact that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk laknatullah alaih was a despot and dictator cannot be denied. It was his cruelty and sadistic treatment of Muslims that makes him stand out as one of the worst enemies of God. Ataturk was truly the enemy of Islam. The above was only what was reported and recorded by mostly Western observers. The extent of what actually went on in the new Turkey by the direct policy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Kemalism was heinous, to say the least.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was truly an enemy of God and Islam, to the core. And only God knows best.
Appendix: Documentation On Atatürk
January 9, 1933, p. 64
Squinting skyward last week, Turks looked for the new moon. When they should see it Ramadan would begin. Ramadan the mystic month in which the Koran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed. This year the first glint of the new moon had a special, dread significance. Turks had been ordered by their stern dictator, Mustafa Kemal Pasha who made them drop the veil and the fez (TIME, Feb. 15, 1926 et. seq.), that beginning with Ramadan they must no longer call their god by his Arabic name, Allah.
No godly man, Dictator Kemal considers that there is no reason why Turks should not call Allah by his Turkish name Tanri. There is no reason except centuries of tradition, no reason except that Turkish imams (priests) all know the Koran by heart in Arabic while few if any have memorized it in Turkish. Strict to the point of cruelty last week was Dictator Kemal’s decree that muezzins, calling the faithful to prayer from the top of Turkey’s minarets, must shout not the hallowed “Allah Akbar!” (Arabic for “God is Great!”) but the unfamiliar words “Tanri Uludur!” which mean the same thing in Turkish. When imams threatened to suspend services in the mosques and hide the prayer rugs, the Government announced that it was holding 400 brand-new prayer rugs in reserve, threatened to produce “newly trained muezzins who know the Koran in Turkish and are ready to jump into the breach”.
Nearer & nearer crept the moon to crescent. Ramadan was almost upon Turkey when officials of the Department of Culture (which includes religion) screwed up their courage and told Dictator Kemal that he simply could not change the name of Turkey’s god – at least not last week. Already several muezzins had been thrown into jail for announcing that they would continue to shout “Allah Akbar!” The populace was getting ugly, obviously sympathized with the Allah-shouters.
Abruptly Dictator Kemal yielded “Let them pray as they please, temporarily” he growled. Beaming, his Minister rushed off to proclaim the glad respite only a few hours before the new moon appeared. “On account of the general unpreparedness of muezzins and imams,” they suavely declared, “prayers may be offered and the Koran recited in Arabic during the present month of Ramadan, but discourse by the imams must be in Turkish.”
During Ramadan, all Moslems are especially irritable because they eat nothing during the hours of daylight. After the fasting is over Turks will be more tractable, may accept from their Dictator a new name for their God.
February 20, 1933, p. 18
Word for God
A hard father to his people, Mustafa Kemal told his Turks last December that they must forget God in the Arabic language (Allah), learn Him in Turkish (Tanri). Admitting the delicacy of renaming a 1300-year-old god, Kemal gave the muezzins a time allowance to learn the Koran in Turkish. Last week in pious Brusa, the “green city”, a muezzin halloed “Tanri Uludur” from one of the minarets whence Brusans had heard “Allah Akbar” since the 14th Century. Raging at Kemal Pasha’s god, they mobbed the muezzin, mobbed the police who came to save him. Quick to defend his new word for God, quicker to show new Turkey the fate of the old-fashioned, Kemal the Ghazi, “the Victorious One,” pounced on Brusa, had 60 of the faithful arrested, ousted the Mufti (ecclesiastical judge) of the Ouglubjami mosque and decreed that henceforth God was Tanri.
February 15, 1926, pp. 15-16
“Turkey presents today the most promising and challenging field on the face of the earth for missionary service.” Thus wrote James L. Barton, missionary executive, in last week’s issue of ‘Christian Work.’ But first, he summarized the revolutionary changes in Turkey since 1923. The changes: For a hundred years Christian missionaries have struggled hopelessly to capture the hearts of the Calif-awed Turks. They had come, said Mr Barton, to suspect that “the Moslem was outside the sphere of the operation of divine grace.”
Emil Lengyel, 1941, pp. 140-141
During the early days of Kemal’s career, many of his followers were under the impression that he was a champion of Islam and that they were fighting the Christians. “Ghazi, Destroyer of Christians” was the name they gave him. Had they been aware of his real intentions, they would have called him “Ghazi, Destroyer of Islam.”
- Grey Wolf, Mustafa Kemal: An Intimate Study of a Dictator
H.C. Armstrong, 1934
He was drinking heavily. The drink stimulated him, gave him energy, but increased his irritability. Both in private and public he was sarcastic, brutal and abrupt. He flared up at the least criticism. He cut short all attempts to reason with him. He flew into a passion at the least opposition. He would neither confide in nor co-operate with anyone. When one politician gave him some harmless advice, he roughly told him to get out. When a venerable member of the Cabinet suggested that it was unseemly for Turkish ladies to dance in public, he threw a Koran at him and chased him out of his office with a stick.
- p. 241:
“For five hundred years these rules and theories of an Arab sheik,” he said, “and the interpretations of generations of lazy, good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and the criminal law of Turkey.”
“They had decided the form of the constitution, the details of the lives of each Turk, his food, his hours of rising and sleeping, the shape of his clothes, the routine of the midwife who produced his children, what he learnt in his schools, his customs, his thoughts, even his most intimate habits.
“Islam, this theology of an immoral Arab, is a dead thing.” Possibly it might have suited tribes of nomads in the desert. It was no good for a modern progressive State.
“God’s revelation!” There was no God. That was one of the chains by which the priests and bad rulers bound the people down.
“A ruler who needs religion to help him rule is a weakling. No weakling should rule..”
And the priests! How he hated them. The lazy, unproductive priests who ate up the sustenance of the people. He would chase them out of their mosques and monasteries to work like men.
Religion! He would tear religion from Turkey as one might tear the throttling ivy away to save a young tree.
- p. 243:
Further, it was public knowledge that he was irreligious, broke all the rules of decency, and scoffed at sacred things. He had chased the Sheikh-ul-Islam, the High Priest of Islam, out of his office and thrown the Koran after him. He had forced the women in Angora to unveil. He had encouraged them to dance body close to the body with accursed foreign men and Christians.
Emil Lengyel, 1941, p. 134
Kemal cared nothing about Allah; he was interested in himself and in Turkey. He hated Allah and made him responsible for Turkey’s misfortune. It was Allah’s tyrannical rule that paralyzed the hands of the Turk. But he knew that Allah was real to the Turkish peasant, while nationalism meant nothing to him. He decided, therefore, to draft Allah into his service as the publicity director of his national cause. Through Allah’s aid, his people must cease to be Mohammedans and become Turks. Then, after Allah had served Kemal’s purpose, he could discard him.
- Ataturk: The Rebirth of a Nation
Lord Kinross, 1965
For Kemal, Islam and civilization were a contradiction in terms. “If only,” he once said of the Turks, with a flash of cynical insight, “we could make them Christians!” His was not to be the reformed Islamic state for which the Faithful were waiting: it was to be a strictly lay state, with a centralized Government as strong as the Sultan’s, backed by the army and run by his own intellectual bureaucracy.
- p. 470:
The cleavage in his musical tastes emerged in Istanbul, where he once had two orchestras, one Turkish and one European, brought to the Park Hotel. He listened with constant interruptions, commanding one to stop and the other to play in turn. Finally, as the raki took effect, he lost patience and rose to leave the restaurant, saying, “Now if you like you can both play together”. Another evening, incensed by the sound of the muezzin from a mosque opposite, which clashed with the dance-band, he ordered its minaret to be felled – one of those orders which was countermanded next morning.
- Ataturk: The Rebirth of a Nation
Lord Kinross, 1965
Some confusion as to his identity persisted, however, for some years to come. Inspecting some soldiers in Anatolia, Kemal once asked, “Who is God and where does He live?” The soldier, anxious to please, replied, “God is Mustafa Kemal Pasha. He lives in Angora.” “And where is Angora?” Kemal asked. “Angora is in Istanbul,” was the reply. Farther down the line he asked another soldier, “Who is Mustafa Kemal?” The reply was, “Our Sultan.” – Irfan Orga: Phoenix Ascendent.
- When Kemal Ataturk Recited Shema Yisrael
“It’s My Secret Prayer, Too,” He Confessed
By Hillel Halkin, “Forward” magazine, New York, January 28 1994
ZICHRON YAAKOV — There were two questions I wanted to ask, I said over the phone to Batya Keinan, spokeswoman for Israeli president Ezer Weizman, who was about to leave the next day, Monday, Jan. 24, on the first visit ever made to Turkey by a Jewish chief of state. One was whether Mr Weizman would be taking part in an official ceremony commemorating Kemal Ataturk.
Ms Keinan checked the president’s itinerary, according to which he and his wife would lay a wreath on Ataturk’s grave the morning of their arrival, and asked what my second question was.
“Does President Weizman know that Ataturk had Jewish ancestors and was taught Hebrew prayers as a boy?”
“Of course, of course,” she answered as unsurprisedly as if I had inquired whether the president was aware that Ataturk was Turkey’s national hero.