Ataturk's Quotes & Speeches

Father of Turkey

Atatürk's Quotes

  • Happy is he who says, "I am a Turk".
  • As they have come, so they will go.
  • One day my mortal body will turn to dust, but the Turkish Republic will stand forever.
  • There are two Mustafa Kemal's. One is the flesh-and-bone Mustafa Kemal who now stands before you and who will pass away. The other is you, all of you here who will go to the far corners of our land to spread the ideals which must be defended with your lives if necessary. I stand for the nation's dreams, and my life's work is to make them come true.
  • I have been able to teach many things to this nation, but I haven't been able to teach how to be lackeys.
  • Peace at home, peace in the world.
  • I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die.
  • This nation has not lived without her independence. She will not and cannot live without it. Liberty or death!
  • Turkey's true master is the peasant.
  • Do not be afraid of telling the truth.
  • To see me does not necessarily mean to see my face. To understand my thoughts is to have seen me.
  • The Turkish Republic will be happy, prosperous and victorious.
  • A healthy mind in a healthy body.
  • Armies, your first goal is the Mediterranean. Forward !
  • Our great ideal is to raise our nation to the highest standard of civilization and prosperity.
  • Culture is the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
  • Following the military triumph we accomplished by bayonets, weapons and blood, we shall strive to win victories in such fields as culture, scholarship, science and economics.
  • You will see my children, in the future everything will be done from the sky. All wars and civilizations will be in the skies above. That's why we must give great importance to the Air Force. The future is in the sky.
  • Liberty and independence are my character.
  • Victory is for those who can say "Victory is mine". Success is for those who can begin saying "I will succeed" and say "I have succeeded" in the end.
  • Sovereignty is not given, it is taken.
  • Authority, without any condition and reservation, belongs to the nation.
  • Every nation as the right to demand proper treatment and no country should violate the territory of any other country.
  • Teachers are the one and only people who save nations.
  • Teachers: the new generation will be your devotion.
  • The cornerstone of education is an easy system of reading and writing. The key to this is the new Turkish alphabet based on the latin script.
  • Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women.
  • Our true mentor in life is science.
  • The Turkish Nation consists of the valiant descendants of a people that has lived independently and has considered independence the sole condition of existence. This nation has never lived without freedom, cannot and never will.
  • We Turks are a people who, throughout our history, have been the very embodiment of freedom and independence.
  • Our nation has succeeded owing to the unshakable unity it has shown in its actions and endeavors.
  • Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives (at Gallipoli battles).. You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now living in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Ataturk's Address to Turkish Youth

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Turkish Youth, Your first duty is to preserve and to defend Turkish Independence and the Turkish Republic forever. This is the very foundation of your existence and your future. This foundation is your most precious treasure. In the future, too, there may be malevolent people at home and abroad, who will wish to deprive you of this treasure. If some day you are compelled to defend your independence and your Republic, you must not hesitate to weigh the possibilities and circumstances of the situation before doing your duty. These possibilities and circumstances may turn out to be extremely unfavorable. The enemies conspiring against your independence and your Republic may have behind them a victory unprecedented in the annals of the world.

It may be that, by violence and trickery, all the fortresses of your beloved fatherland may be captured, all its shipyards occupied, all its armies dispersed and every corner of the country invaded. And sadder and graver than all these circumstances, those who hold power within the country may be in error, misguided and may even be traitors. Furthermore, they may identify personal interests with the political designs of the invaders. The country may be impoverished, ruined and exhausted. Youth of Turkey's future, even in such circumstances it is your duty to save Turkish Independence and the Republic. You will find the strength you need in your noble blood.

Atatürk's Speech on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Republic

Turkish Nation,
It is now fifteen years since the War of Liberation commenced. Today is the day of celebration of the tenth anniversary of our Republic.
At this moment, as a member of the great Turkish Nation, I am very happy and excited that I have lived to see this great day.

My fellow countrymen,
We have accomplished great things in a short period of time. The greatest of these is the Turkish Republic, which is based on Turkish heroism and on our great Turkish culture. We owe this success to the determined forward march of the Turkish nation, together with her worthy army. We never think that what we have done is enough. We are determined and obliged to accomplish more and greater things. We are going to advance our country to the level of the most prosperous and the most civilized countries of the world. We shall make it possible for our nation to acquire the necessary resources and means for her to live in nation-wide prosperity.

We shall attempt to raise our national culture above the level of contemporary civilization. Therefore, we think and shall continue to think not according to the lethargic mentality of past centuries, but according to the concepts of speed and action of our century. We shall work harder than in the past. We shall accomplish greater things in a shorter time. We have no doubt that we shall succeed in them as well; because the character of the Turkish nation is worthy and noble, the Turkish nation is industrious and the Turkish nation is intelligent.

Because the Turkish nation has been successful in overcoming hardships through national unity and togetherness. And because the torch the Turkish nation holds in her hand and in her mind, while marching on the road of progress and civilization, is positive science.

I would like to point out with special emphasis that one of the historical characteristics of the Turkish nation, which is a society composed of worthy people, is to appreciate the fine arts and to advance in them as well. Therefore, it is our national ideal to support and to develop the worthy and noble character of the Turkish nation, her industrious quality, her intelligence, her dedication to science, her love of fine arts, and her feeling of national unity always and with every available means and measure. This aim, which is one very suited to the Turkish nation, will make her successful in fulfilling her obligation to cultivate real peace in the entire world.

Great Turkish Nation,
During the last fifteen years, I have made many promises to you to be successful in our undertakings. I am pleased that I have not failed my nation in any of them and given you cause to doubt me. Today, I speak with the same faith and assurance that, within a short period of time, the whole civilized world will once again recognize that the Turkish nation, moving unified toward the national ideal, is a great nation. I do not doubt that the long buried characteristics and abilities of the Turks will, as they progress, shine like a new sun on the horizon of the great civilization of the future.

Turkish Nation,
In every decade which passes into eternity, I wholeheartedly wish that you celebrate this great national holiday with ever greater honor, happiness, peace and tranquility. Happy is he who says "I am a Turk".