Amerikali Turk


10 Kasım

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November 11, 2013 9:41 AM

On Sunday evening, November 10th, I attended a wonderful program at Turkevi in Manhattan, organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations (TADF-headed by Ali Cinar) and other Turkish-American organizations to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the passing of one of the world's great visionaries, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.


The evening's program was profound as well as enjoyable, with meaningful remarks as well as wonderful songs and the showing of a documentary about Atatürk. It is clear that Atatürk was the man who came to the rescue of Turkey when it was in utter peril. In addition, Atatürk, the father of the Turks, was the person who, according to Garrett Ward Sheldon, author of "Jefferson and Atatürk", "won his country's independence; he established a modern Western-style republic; he promoted religious freedom and liberty of conscience; he advanced an industrial economy and public education in Turkey; he caused his homeland to receive honor and respect around the world". President Eisenhower said of Atatürk that he "was an inspiration to free peoples throughout the world".


The program included the singing of Atatürk's favorite songs by the Atatürk Chorus as well as recitations in Turkish by the very gifted students of the Atatürk School.


Atatürk is the person who in his letter to the Anzac (1934), following the decisive battle at Canakkale (Gallipoli) showed amazing compassion to the families of the Anzac soldiers who perished in the battle. He also made sure in his last will and testament that the higher education of the children of Ismet Inönü would be taken care of.


It is also true that, as Andrew Mango has written in his biography of Atatürk, while there are many monuments to Atatürk, "it is the Republic of Turkey, which he founded and shaped, which is the main monument". Or, as Atatürk himself said, "one day my mortal body will turn to dust, but the Turkish Republic will stand forever".


In history, few men like this come along and shape the destiny of a nation. The evening's program highlighted so much about Atatürk, but to me, most important was the personal impact Atatürk had on all who were assembled to commemorate his passing. It was truly a privilege to attend this event and to join in such a fitting commemoration for a leader who literally saved Turkey and shaped and envisioned its great future.







Mark Meirowitz