Mustafa Kemal Atatrk was one of the most significant political leaders of the twentieth century. He rose from obscure origins to become the founder of the new Republic of Turkey out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire and go on to radically transform Turkish society. How should one understand Atatrk and his legacy?
In this book, George Gawrych studies Atatrk's career in detail, showing how Atatrk married the traits of the classic military man-of-action with those of the intellectual, theorist and pragmatist as a statesman. Gawrych places Atatrk in the context of his times to reveal how he harnessed wider forces to set Turkey on a path of secular nationalism and comprehensive modernization. His legacy can be seen everywhere in Turkey today, from the role and rights of women in society to the struggle for developing a democracy in the Republic. Gawrych addresses the costs of Atatrk's policies, including the suppression of minorities and the imposition of a cult of personality and authoritarian rule in the name of 'Turkification'. The book presents a nuanced analysis of a complex figure who consciously created a living legacy that still casts a shadow over Turkey's political and intellectual discourse.