The Last Stand?
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founder of modern Turkey.
At the end of the First World War the slow decline of the Turkish Ottoman Empire had finally come to an end. Defeated and destroyed, the nation was in need of resurection and it was Ataturk’s vision and politcal ability that was the unifying factor that guided a broken country into a modern and secular republic.
Although he died over 70 years ago he is reveared as an iconic father of a nation that stands geographically in both Asia and Europe. His image is protected by law, making any effort to discredit his character a criminal offence. However, today this iconic status is being challenged.
In recent years there have been documentaries produced and books written that investigate who Ataturk really was. As the political landscape changes in Turkey due to the present government led by Erdogan and its support from the more traditionally religious elements of society, Ataturk’s authority and place in society is being questioned. Although his legacy is very much alive his authority is slowly eroding. Portraits of this polical grandee hang in every public space but many worry that Ataturk’s image from every day life will no longer be omnipresent.