Born: Thursday, 19 May 1881
Died: Thursday, 10 November 1938
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a politician, military leader, and Freemason who established equal civil and voting rights for men and women in Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal-Ataturk was born on the 19th of May, 1881 at the tail end of the Ottoman Empire's reign. A soldier in the Ottoman Army during World War One he successfully defended Gallipoli against the invading forces of the British Empire and was catapulted to leadership of the military as the Ottoman government collapsed. He rose up and seized the reigns of power in time to throw back the British and French forces seeking to occupy his homeland. Not content with merely establishing himself as a military dictator, like so many in similar positions have done throughout history, Ataturk set out to reform his beloved Turkey into the equal of the greatest powers of the day.
Ataturk was first and foremost a man of duty. Always an opponent of hereditary monarchies and complex bureaucracies, he was disciplined many times as a young man for sticking up for his convictions despite the consequences. An opponent of fanaticism, ignorance, and tyranny, Ataturk was a dictator in an age of dictators, but unlike a Mussolini or a Hitler or Stalin, who led their countries to ruin, Ataturk wisely and judiciously used the force at his command to forge a better country for all of it’s citizens.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was initiated into Freemasonry in 1907 in Macedonia Risorta Lodge #80 under the charter and constitution of the Grand Orient De France. It was likely his involvement at a young age in Freemasonry that inspired his idealistic tendencies in life and gave him the inspiration necessary to acheive victory in the great work he would undertake later in life. He established equal civil rights for men and women, reformed the complex Ottoman alphabet to boost literacy, and established universal suffrage ahead of many Western governments. He reformed the government from an old bureaucratic system to a representative republic, and established free primary education for all citizens. He was given the name “Ataturk” by the Turkish parliament, which means "Father of the Turks" Though he died young in his 50’s, his legacy of reform and secularization lasts to this day and serves as an inspiration to Freemasons around the world in the cause of civic duty.
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