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Father of the Nation, Builder of the Capital
March 8, 2000

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He doesn't look soft and fuzzy!
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A: Ankara is a city named after the soft hair of Angora goats. Angora....Ankara. Have you ever felt an Angora sweater or scarf? I haven't, but I hear it's really fuzzy. The story of Ankara's modern beginnings as a city isn't fuzzy though. That story intertwines with the story of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the proud and strong-willed "father" of modern Turkey.

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T: Turkey's modern capital city of 3 million started out as a small town of 30,000 on a railroad junction. Atatürk, Father of the Nation, was born in 1881 in Salonica which is now a town in Greece. Back then it was part of the Ottoman Empire

A: Academy was where Mustafa trained his mind. Kind of like school, where you guys are at perhaps right now. Math was his big subject, and he became so good at it that his teacher nicknamed him Kemal, meaning "excellence," or "the complete one."

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Symbol of a proud new nation
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T: Türkiye, or the "Land of the Turks," was Mustafa Kemal's dream. He followed his dream by volunteering for duty to fight for the country he loved. His dream was realized and he was promoted to general and rose to become the only undefeated general in Turkey at the time.

Ü: Under the agreements after World War I, the final blow struck. Greece tried to reclaim Turkish territories all for themselves. Within a year, Mustafa Kemal called together the Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920, in Ankara, the small town in central Anatolia. The Assembly resisted the idea of foreign powers in Anatolia.

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Standing guard at the mausoleum
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R: Refusing to submit, Mustafa Kemal devoted all his energy to the 2-year War of Independence. His troops fought off the Greeks, as well as French soldiers, Armenian and Georgian forces, and the Italians, all of whom withdrew Finally, Kemal, his advisor Ismet Inönü and their supporters announced the new Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923: it was time to build the nation.

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Ataturk's mausoleum in Ankara
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K: Kemal's base was to be Ankara. He developed Ankara into a planned city. It is a center of government, kind of like Washington, D.C. in the United States. There are ministries, embassies and universities, and it is arranged into long boulevards. After being elected Turkey's first president and leading many new reforms, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died on November 10, 1938. He's now buried at the huge park of Anit Kabir (Monumental Tomb) on a hill in central Ankara.

Monica

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...monicaflores@bigfoot.com
 


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