IB SL/HL History Year 1IB Internal Assessment Zakaria Arale Hour 7 2 Dec 2017 Historical Investigation: Part B Research Question: To what extent did Mustafa Kemal modernize and advance the political , social , economic and governmental situation of Turkey ? Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the defining figure of change that many historians associate with the modern image of turkey. Ataturk was a distinguished soldier and reformer and founder of the first republic of Turkey. His efforts to reform and recreate the Image of Turkey was extremely significant because it turned Turkey from the Center of the Religious Ottoman Empire to a more modern , secular and more democratic and modernized Turkish republic. By the time of his death in 1938 he was greatly compared to many other visionary statesman of the post -versailles era. Outside of Turkey, his name was synonymous with bold leadership and ambitious reform. Atatürk’s reputation as a man both progressive and iconoclastic greatly augmented his already lofty status as Turkey’s premier general and war hero. Yet historians also argue that there were some aspects of his life presidency that tempered contemporary admiration for Mustafa Kemal.
One of the most significant and primary gestures of radicalized reform Ataturk took part in was the abolishment of the sultanate government. The importance of creating a republic was to modernize the state of Turkey and advance the countries political situation. The creation of the new homogenous state was in stark contrast to the multi-ethnic ottoman empire because of the introduction of ataturk’s kemalism. This new turkish ideology introduced principles that express republican forms of government representing the power of the electorate, integration of secular administration, creating a mixed economy with the participation of the state in many vital sectors and modernization. These ideological reforms introduced turkey to the process of participatory and parliamentary democracy.
Legal transformation was key in the change of the Turkish republic. In the time between 1926-1930 Ataturk managed to abolish religious laws, established a secular system of jurisprudence and introduced laws that were more in sync with a more progressive approach to radically modernize turkey. Among the new changes in law were the new civil code, penal code and business laws that were relatively based off of the swiss italians and german models of government. Ataturk believed that in order to progress as a nation ,the country must liberate its concept of justice , there laws and there legal institutions from the grip of the old and dysfunctional religious society which in reality would be incompatible with the needs of the century. The new reformed legal system made all citizens rich or poor , man or woman equal before the law which in turn gave turkey a strong foundation for a society of justice and equal rights Ataturk’s main goal in his effort for social reform is to give his nation a new sense of equality , happiness and nationalistic pride. During the reign of the ottoman empire for three centuries (17th-Early 20th century) the Sultans and the caliphate presided over a deteriorating state unequipped and outclassed for the new era. In Ataturk’s efforts of the modernization of Turkey , secular government and education played a significant role.
Making religious faith a matter of the individual rather than the government. As a result he has created a truly secularized system in which cultural and religious obligations(Sharia Jurisprudence) no longer are forced upon the individual. Ataturk also established populist and egalitarian systems to aspire for equality and same rights for all. He wanted the people to see Turkey as a classless nation and eliminated special privileges amongst certain people. While the Ottomans used to disregard the working class. Ataturk commended them regarding them as the “True masters of Turkey”.
Respecting the proletariat class as working members of society. Furthermore to give his nation a more modern and secular outlook. Ataturk implemented many reforms such as requiring a surname , women not wearing the veil and replacing the fez with more european styled hats.
When the Republic of Turkey was created it lacked a strong economy, Industry and capital. Because of the constant wars and the lack of manpower , economic production was very minimal and the country took on the immense foreign debt of the Ottoman Empire. But Ataturk was determined to raise its capital and quickly initiated a plan for economic growth and development. with extremely hard work and vigor Turkey’s economy evolved drastically and undertook agricultural expansion , staggering industrial growth and technological advancements. The economy expanded with many fields of income and within the decade the national GDP Increased five fold.During Ataturk’s presidency the economic development was extremely impressive and became the basis of economic structures in many other countries.
One of the most difficult reforms to instill is the changing of a language. Most Countries usually don’t attempt a reform on that scale. And even if its done the language change is minimal and gradual. Under Ataturk’s presidency the country went through the most swiftest and extensive language change.
In 1928 Ataturk decided to use the latin script instead of the traditional arabic script which has been used by the ottomans for over thousands of years. When he asked experts on how long it would take the general population to adjust to the new language. a lot of them replied around five years. He proposed he would do it in under five months. As the decade came to a end Ataturk managed to implement the new 29 letter alphabet with 8 vowels and 21 consonants with none of the complexities that came with the arabic script. Which was originally not really suited and correct with the turkish language. The language reform enabled children and adults to be able to read and write within a few short months and to study western languages with greater success rates Ataturk identified education as the pinnacle force that would galvanize the nation into social and economic development. As the President of the republic he spared no effort in order to expand and stimulate education at all levels for all segments of society.
Ataturk himself once stated that after the wars of independence he would have like to have been the prime minister of education in order to be a part of “The most influential and necessary development of the nation”. The republic of Turkey integrated a most ambitious program of schooling for both adolescents and adults. The secularized schools were free and education up until grade school was made compulsory. Ataturk also implemented literacy in which he himself personally instructed Children and adults in parks, school rooms and other places.
The republic went from nearly completely illiterate (9%) to 40% in 1938 which is an accomplishment he described as to “further increase the intellectual standpoint of the nation producing tomorrow’s scholars”.Although historians argue about the long term effects of ataturk’s radical reforms such as the autonomy of the Kurdish people His efforts to limit the repercussions of his actions of modernization subdued conflict and garnered for an era of peace and stability. Above all the hard work and determination of Mustafa Kemal, His creation of modern Turkey and his contribution to the world have made Atatürk an historic figure of enduring influence.