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The New York Times ATATÜRK haberleri İngilizce

Konusu 'Yabancı Dil Eğitimi-The Foreign Language Education' forumundadır ve dderya tarafından 2 Haziran 2015 başlatılmıştır.

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    ISTANBUL — After nearly a century of looking serious, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, has started to smile.

    Ataturk — a war-hero-turned-statesman who defended Turkey during the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire — is the subject of what is perhaps the world’s longest personality cult.

    His portrait hangs in every tea shop, government office and classroom. Insulting his memory is a crime under Turkish law. And every Nov. 10, Turkey observes a moment of silence to commemorate his death in 1938.

    But the ironclad official version might be softening. Last month a documentary on Ataturk was released that looks at his human side. That might not sound like much, but in a country where official history is kept under lock and key, the film, “Mustafa,” was a brave endeavor.

    The film is by no means an effort to tear the leader down. It is a largely sympathetic portrayal. But the mere fact that its director, Can Dundar, was able to show Ataturk looking less like a bronze statue and more like a man with a bad drinking habit who sometimes got bored, says a lot about how far Turkey has come in the past 10 years.

    “Can Dundar opened the gates of an ivory cage that we have locked ourselves in,” Mehmet Ali Birand, a journalist, wrote in the daily newspaper Posta.

    Founded in 1923, modern Turkey in its early years was monochromatic, as authorities scrubbed the country of differences to forge a national identity. But as wealth and democracy have increased, so have efforts to re-evaluate the past, bringing some of those differences, ethnic and religious, into focus.

    Turkish intellectuals like Mr. Dundar have begun to question the official line, opening up painful debates on topics that have long been considered closed. Ataturk, whose name means father of the Turks, was one of the most important figures of the 20th century, but his story is not broadly known in the West, in part because his godlike status in Turkey has made it too politically prickly to tell.

    Previous attempts to tell it on film have failed. In an article last year titled “The 56-Year Story of the Unmade Ataturk Film,” an English-language newspaper, The Turkish Daily News, said, “Actors have grown old waiting for the role,” citing reported efforts by Antonio Banderas, Kevin Costner and Yul Brynner.

    “Turkey would never want to see its founding father, which it sees as a holy person, be portrayed as a person with human weaknesses,” the paper said.

    That trait is at the heart of many of this country’s problems. Turkey has a tremendous capacity for denial, which includes the Armenian genocide early in the last century and a large Kurdish minority whose existence the state is only beginning to acknowledge. Without facing that history, intellectuals here argue, Turkey will never be able to move beyond it.

    “Ataturk is used as a shield by those who are blocking discussions on many deformities in this country,” wrote Ahmet Altan, one of the country’s most prominent intellectuals and a columnist for Taraf, a liberal daily newspaper. “They attribute godlike status to Ataturk and then hide behind it.”

    Mr. Dundar drew on a wide selection of Ataturk’s diaries and letters that had been closed in military archives for decades. The man who emerges in the film is even more radical in his beliefs than Turks have been taught, Mr. Dundar said.

    Ataturk was determined, for example, to subordinate Islam and to force Turks to look and behave as Westerners. In 1914, Mr. Dundar said, the 33-year-old Ataturk attended a ball in the Czech spa of Carlsbad with a Turkish diplomat and his wife, who remarked that she could not imagine such a scene — the dancing, the dress — in her home country.

    In a later entry in his diaries, Ataturk wrote that “it would not be difficult at all,” Mr. Dundar said. “If I would be given the power, I would do it overnight,” Ataturk wrote.

    “Ataturk didn’t believe it should happen over time,” Mr. Dundar said. “He thought it should be abrupt.”

    Mr. Dundar said he could use only a small fraction of the material he sifted through that revealed something about Ataturk’s thoughts on Islam. The rest was too explosive, he said.

    There were a few sharp divergences from the official history, though the film veered close. In one scene, Ataturk says, just before an address to an early Parliament, that he believes the areas populated predominantly by Kurds should have a special status. The concept is extremely controversial in Turkey, which fears that its largely Kurdish southeast will want to secede, and discussions of special status for the region are strictly taboo.

    The film, which opened on Oct. 29, National Day, and is being shown in more than 200 theaters around Turkey, was praised by intellectuals but drew a frenzy of angry reactions. (Mr. Dundar, knowing the delicacy of the topic, preferred to speak in his native Turkish for the interview for maximum precision of language, though his English is fluent.)

    “Your production is a priceless source for people who want to tarnish young minds with their dark thoughts,” wrote a viewer on the movie’s Web site who identified herself as Tulay. “Surely, you would also qualify for a Nobel Prize,” he wrote in a reference to the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who was spurned by the Turkish establishment after discussing the Armenian genocide.

    “I denounce you.”

    Nevertheless, the kinder, gentler Ataturk seems to be a turning point of some sort for Turkey. Even the Turkish state seems to feel the need for some adjustments: New bank notes planned for circulation in 2009 picture the leader smiling, not scowling.

    Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting.

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: November 19, 2008
    The Istanbul Journal article on Thursday, about the mixed reaction in Turkey to an unflattering documentary film about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, referred incorrectly to a viewer who criticized the film in a posting on the film’s Web site. The viewer, who signed the posting as Tulay, is a woman.


    More Articles in World »A version of this article appeared in print on November 13, 2008, on page A10 of the New York edition.
     
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    An Istanbul street reflected in the window of a gallery with a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish republic.

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE
    Published: January 16, 2008

    ANKARA, Turkey — Looking dapper in a bow tie and a crisp suit, the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, stared fiercely into a dark room. He was made of wax and standing in a museum, but for some visitors last week, he might as well have been alive and breathing.

    Almost 85 years after Ataturk formed the modern state of Turkey from the remains of the Ottoman Empire, millions of Turks still flock to the mausoleum that contains his grave here in the country’s capital. So many that 2007 was a record year for visitors, according to the Web site of the mausoleum, called Anitkabir.

    Last year, a total of 12.7 million people visited the monument, a figure lifted by a large demonstration in the spring, but still a 50 percent rise over the previous year and more than in any other year in the 54-year history of the monument, according to the Anka news agency.

    Why the surge in visits to the grave of a man who died in 1938? For one, Ataturk is no ordinary man. He is referred to as the “immortal leader and unrivaled hero,” in the preamble to the Turkish Constitution. Insulting his memory is a crime in the penal code. The entire nation stops to mourn on the minute, each November, when he died.

    Perhaps more to the point, 2007 was one of the more turbulent years in Turkish history, with secular Turks standing off against the rising power of a pious class of politicians, and people may have been reaching back to what was familiar. A political crisis over the selection of a president paralyzed the government and prompted an early election. The military seemed on the verge of carrying out its fifth coup. And the religious politicians now control the Parliament, the government and the presidency.

    “There are some people in Turkey who sincerely believe the republic is coming to an end,” said Guven Sak, managing director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, a private organization here.

    In these confusing times, Ataturk is apple pie, Washington and Jefferson all in one. A brilliant military strategist, he led the Turkish uprising against occupying European powers at the end of World War I, driving them from the land they had seized from the dying Ottoman Empire.

    He was also a statesman, imposing a radical secular revolution on a poor, devout country. He changed the language, dress and even the cultural habits of his compatriots, severing ties with the Muslim world.

    On Friday, a gaggle of men from the central Turkish city of Malatya made their way through the museum. Hundreds of Ataturk’s personal items were on display: cigarette holders, canes, daggers, pens, shoes, hats, capes, cars, boats, even a hairbrush.

    “Look at the shoes,” said one of the men as the others peered into a glass case that contained some of Ataturk’s clothes. Other visitors passed: a small girl in a pink coat who looked scared; three shy high school students.

    “He’s a male beauty,” the man said, turning his attention to the wax figure. “What a chic man.”

    The exhibit uses a giant map to remind viewers just how tiny Turkey would be if the borders that the Europeans wanted had been allowed to stand. A slender strip of land along the southern coast of the Black Sea. No Mediterranean Coast. No Aegean.

    That threat has been embedded in the Turkish psyche, and is the root of a conspiracy vivid in the minds of nationalists, but baffling to outsiders, that has Europe and America secretly plotting to divide Turkey.

    “We owe everything to him,” said one of the men from Malatya, Hasan Meseli, 52. “He’s God’s gift to the Turkish nation.”

    Turkey is in the midst of a broad transformation. An economic boom has jolted prices. Plans are under way to enter Europe. Some secular Turks are suspicious of the devout politicians now running things. In this atmosphere, nationalist fervor has gained momentum.

    Newspaper headlines last week told of a group of high school students who painted a Turkish flag using their own blood and sent it to the commander of the military. Last year, the authorities were forced to discontinue a lottery scratch card because its design was an outline of Turkey, and scratching off the eastern part was seen as an act of sedition. (Turkey fights separatist Kurds in its east.)

    History is tricky in Turkey, and the museum presents the official view, avoiding detail on the contributions and accomplishments of Turkey’s patchwork of sects and ethnicities, which were fused into one new Turkish identity as the state was being created.

    A couple visiting from Thailand looked skeptical. The museum’s heavy military theme had struck them as odd.

    “We don’t know if this is true,” said Narumon Saardchom, gesturing at a wall of photographs and explanations of Ataturk’s cultural reforms.

    “It’s different from our country,” her husband said. “We have a king, and it’s very peaceful.”

    Some liberals criticize Ataturk’s godlike status, saying he was an important figure of the 20th century but should now be allowed to rest, so that new thinking can take hold.

    The visitors, or most of them, are the other side in that debate. Arife Tunar’s eyes welled up when asked about the museum. She was visiting from Germany, and had come twice. “I’m 52 years old and I don’t remember any other occasion that made me so emotional,” she said, picking out an Ataturk magnet. “My love for him is hard to explain.”
     
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    Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 14:08 GMT

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    Ataturk diaries to remain secret


    Turkish officials have decided against making public the letters and diaries of the wife of modern Turkey's revered founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
    The issue over Latife Usakligil's documents had been hotly debated in the Turkish media as a 1980 court ban on their publication drew to an end.

    Some Turks argued that the works would shed a more personal light on Ataturk and his short-lived marriage.

    But others feared it might tarnish his image as a national hero.

    The head of the Turkish History Foundation said Latife Usakligil's family have demanded that the documents continue to be kept secret.

    "The issue is over. It is impossible for us now to release them," Yusuf Halacoglu told Anatolia news agency.

    Much is known about Ataturk's public life - how he founded the Turkish Republic in 1923 and drove through an ambitious programme of Westernisation over the next decade.

    He introduced the modern parliamentary system, made secularism the cornerstone of the Turkish state and gave full political rights to women.

    Inspiration

    But relatively little is known about his wife of just two years and their reportedly stormy marriage.

    Latife Hanim, as she was known, was in her 20s and two decades younger than her husband when she married.

    Memoirs of some of Ataturk's aides depicted her as an argumentative woman who was exasperated by her husband's drinking habits and would chide him in public.

    However, her Western education, fluency in several languages and never wearing the veil is believed to have inspired many of Ataturk's reforms.

    He divorced her in 1925. Although she lived until the 1970s she never spoke publicly about their marriage.

    Ataturk died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1938.

    The decision not to release the letters and diaries is a relief to those who feared they would be used to tarnish Ataturk's image.

    "No-one in this country will have the power to make media monkeys out of Latife and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk," wrote columnist Emin Colasan in the Hurriyet newspaper.
     

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