Kemal Ataturk

1881- 1938

Turkish Statesman

Ralph Abernathy

Ataturk was born Mustafa Kemal in early 1881 in Salonica part of the Ottoman Empire. He went to a private elementary and then went to a military high school. He studied at the Military Academy at Constantinople. He rose in the Turkish military, becoming one of its highest ranking officers. After the Ottoman defeat in World War I, Ataturk established the provisional government. After leading Turks to a victory over the Greeks in the Crisis of Chanak, he was elected the Turkish Republic's first President. Ataturk instituted extensive reforms in Turkey, creating the modern secular state of Turkey.