Creating Peace Out of War

Kemal Atatürk, the founder and architect of modern Turkey, took his just and due place in history as a senior soldier who fought against the Italians in Tripoli, British, French, Australians and New Zealanders in the Çanakkale Strait, Russians in Eastern Anatolia, and against the Greek armies in Western Anatolia, and as an experienced statesman. Therefore, 69 years after his death, the Mausoleum, his eternal resting-place a little far from Turkish General Staff where we are now, was visited by 4 million Turkish and foreign visitors in 2005 and 8 million in 2006.

The charismatic personality and philosophy of the Great Commander still remains alive in the minds of the Mausoleum visitors ranging from the ordinary citizens of his country to the distinguished representatives of the world nations.

I believe you, do all know how that particular soldier, the founder of a modern nation and a secular republic in the East-Mediterranean geography has defined the concept of “war”.

However, once again, I would like to quote this definition by which I am fascinated just like many of his admirers.

According to the eternal Commander-in-chief of the Armies of the Turkish Republic:

“War is a murder unless it is unavoidable.”

In other words, he asserts that “war” should be “unavoidable” in order not to be conceived as a murder.

I do not know if it is possible to make any other stronger and humane definition than this.

Besides, the persona who made this definition was a military genius, and a hero who fought bravely in the battlefields.

He called on to his soldiers saying, “I am ordering you to die!” in Gelibolu, at the dawn of a very hot August night in 1915.

I have always wondered:

Why would a commander make such a definition of “war”?

What made him say, “War is a murder unless it is unavoidable”?

Kemal Atatürk was a soldier who conducted battles and wars against the armies of other nations.

Having observed the world of other nations’ armies with whom his own sons fought in the Balkan War, the Great War, and in the Turkish War of Independence, he made this definition.

It is a definition based thoroughly on comparative and minute observations of battles.

I would like to point that:

The foundation of the Turkish Republic on the remaining soil of an empire that expired its 600-year life in 1923 is the consequence of this particular definition.

This definition was made as a result of the unjust stipulations of the Mondros Armistice that brought the four-year bloody war to an end in 1918.

Thus, under the leadership of Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nation founded a parliament and armed forces in Ankara, and fought the war because it was “unavoidable”.

The Commander, winning the military victory at a historical moment, pointed to a new and ever lastingaim for his army and nation.

“Peace at home, peace in the world!”

This aim is still pursued by the Turkish Republic as the permanent state policy…

I name this stage as “creating peace out of war.

At this new stage, the Commander Atatürk did not want to leave the Turkish nation alone with the unbearable tragedies of the Balkan wars, the World War I, and the Turkish War of Independence forever.

The Triumphant Commander defined it as an aim to be pursued by the every single individual of the nation, who survived through the period of disasters, in reaching and exceeding the contemporary level of civilization.

He wanted all the Turks, be it men or women, to contribute to the common heritage of the humanity, and serve to the peace in the region, and around the world.

This Brave Soldier and His Nation took the first concrete step in realization of this aim at the Lausanne Peace Treaty.

He made peace with the people of a neighbor country against whom he had fought severely in Western Anatolia in the war of 1919-1922.

On March 18, 1934, he called on to the mournful mothers of the British, French, Australian, and New Zealander soldiers who lost their lives in their fight against the Turks in the Gelibolu Peninsula during the Great War.

This Great Man said the following for the soldiers of the Entente Powers who had disembarked on the Gelibolu Peninsula in order to seize Istanbul, the Turkish capital since 1453:

“Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives on this land!

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Jonnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours.

You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, don’t cry for them any more.

Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.

After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

The republican generations of the new Türkiye have never nourished themselves on the old controversies with their neighbors, world nations, and armies.

The new generations have not been raised as individuals feeding on hatred, anger, revenge, or as individuals displaying an everlasting aggressiveness.

Still, I have been observing in deep grief that no nation, state, or a leader in our world had considered the post-Great War relations, and peace as Atatürk did.

Today, the Turkish Nation is faced with the revengeful agitations and provocations of an unfortunate inhumane conception discriminating between the nationalities of military and civilian casualties of an incredible disaster, the Great War which destroyed humanity 90 years ago.

This new type of aggression, which I define as the distortion of the realities by the Inquisition decisions in the world history, has awakened the haunting mentality of the Dark Ages once again.

As an academician deeply convinced of the values of the civilized world, I feel deep humane reaction against the claims and of acceptance of the term “genocide” for the “events of 1915” by the parliaments of some allied states, just as all the individuals of my nation do.

However, as a Turkish citizen, I have to curb my rightful humane reaction against those decisions taken.

I am here to make an evaluation of a continuing non-historical, irrational, unscientific, illegitimate, and aggressive Inquisition directed against the Turkish Nation and its reliable friends.

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