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Mustafa Kemal Atatnrk, Father of the Turks

Finally, we will examine the four ideals for which the great leader devoted his life after he had attained the necessary power to do so.

In his excellent biography, Atatnrk: The Rebirth of a Nation, Lord Kinross tells us that Kemal's mind worked in a practical way. To bring his country into line with the west, Kemal up a democratic system in which, on a long-term view, he believed. It would be necessary to use dictatorial means for a time in order for democracy to become reality. "He stood by his Occidental Assembly. But it needed, on the short-term view, a President exercising some degree of autocracy--a power which, though he himself would not have admitted it, was in character Oriental. Kemal's political and economic policies were ones of expediency--the most effective means to political and economic reform . . . the ideologies behind such policies "could be shed after changing circumstances had divorced them from reality."

Kemal Atatnrk was often called a dictator by his contemporaries, and in a sense he certainly was. But, in saying this, one must remember that his rule was very different from that of other men, in Europe and the Middle East yesterday and today, to whom the same term is applied. Lewis gives us a three-dimensional portrait of Kemal in his book on the emergence of modern Turkey:


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