Mustafa Kemal Atatürk listening to speeches at the opening of Ankara Law Faculty. (05.11.1925)

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk listening to speeches at the opening of Ankara Law Faculty. (November 05, 1925)

At the opening of Ankara Faculty of Law

November 5, 1925

Explaining the main ideas on which our legal revolution is based:

"The honorable ones here! Dear listeners!

The reason for opening a law school in the administrative center of the Republic has prepared our meeting today. The event we are witnessing today is of greater importance than the attempt to train high officials and sensitive scholars. The Turkish revolution, which has been going on for years, has embraced its existence and thoughts, to determine and confirm the new legal rules that are the source of its social life.

What is the Turkish revolution? This revolution, apart from the revolutionary meaning of the word, describes a wider change than it. The shape of our state today has been the most developed form that has destroyed the old forms that have been coming for centuries.

The common bond that the nation thought among its unity in order to maintain its existence has changed its form and content for centuries, that is, the nation gathered its members with the bond of Turkish nationality instead of religious and sectarian connection.

The nation has accepted as a fixed real principle that the climate and tool that will be the reason for life and the cause of strength in the field of international general struggle can only be found in contemporary civilization.

In short, the Masters considered it necessary that the general administration and all its laws should be inspired only by the needs of the world, as a natural and necessary requirement of the changes and revolutions that I consider as a nation. With the change and development of his needs, he considered an understanding of administration about the world, which is based on continuous change and development, as a reason for living.

If you examine your memories only six years ago, you will remember that we are on completely different foundations in the form of the state, in the joint bond of the members of the nation, in the pursuit of the path of civilization that will be the cause of strength, in short, in terms of all institutions and the provisions on which they base their needs. These changes in the life course of our great nation for six years are one of the greatest revolutions that are much higher than any revolution.

It has been seen that many nations are angry in the struggle for liberation and rise. But this anger is not like the conscious anger of the Turkish nation.

First of all, by ignoring the existence of the laws and works in the hands of the lawyers, first of all, the Turkish nation and state, in the effort that the Turkish nation has spent on the way to the great revolution I mentioned, and in the tireless and inexhaustible struggles against foreign enemies, during the implementation of the national will that destroyed the resistance, and in the hands of the lawyers. It has passed for the sake of revealing the form of existence with practice. Now it is time for the thought ration of this great work that has emerged, to create new legal rules and new legal scholars that will satisfy their needs.

I think that Ankara Law School has started to take measures to explain and protect the law of the Republic not only in the way it is seen and said, but also with its inner face that is understood and comprehended, with its laws and legal scholars.

The fact that the old laws of life and the old laws have been replaced by the new rules of life and the new law in Republican Turkey is an unhesitating fait accompli today. This fait accompli will be described and explained in your books and in your laws for enforcement.

Student Masters and Lawyer Masters!

While talking about the new rules of law and the laws demanded by our new needs, I do not point out the reason "Every revolution must have its own sanction", only for this reason. I say this by refraining from advocating for an empty system, but with full regret considering how painful and sad the efforts of the Turkish nation for at least three hundred years to benefit from the qualities and yields of modern civilization have vanished in the face of obstacles.

The negative and overwhelming force that has doomed our nation to collapse and has plagued the entrepreneurs, employees and laborers who have not been missing from time to time in the fertile bosom of our nation has been the law and its sincere implementers. I am sure that what I have seen in history, which may have been heavy and fearless, will not cause anyone's astonishment among your distinguished committee and among our esteemed officials and judges, whose services we are using today in the Government of the Republic. However, please allow me to explain the purpose a little more. Consider the 1453 victory of the Turks in general international history, namely the conquest of Istanbul.

Three hundred years of observance and hesitation by obsolete law and its jurists to allow the printing press to enter our country has caused a lot of power and might to be spent for and against.

Do not be deceived that I have chosen a very distant and very old period and its lawyers, which have no power to resurrect the old law. If I try to give an example of the difficulties that the old law and its lawyers have given me in our new revolution period, I run the risk of disturbing you. But you should know that at the time of the establishment of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, there were famous lawyers at the forefront of those who considered its current interior and situation contrary to the rules of law and science. When I made the proposal of the law stating that the sovereignty rests with the nation unconditionally in the Grand National Assembly, there were well-known lawyers who deceived the nation with their old and scientific knowledge, at the beginning of those who opposed because this law changed the Ottoman Constitution.

Respected Gentlemen!

I would like to portray a bad event that took place after the declaration of the Republic before our awakened eyes. The bar association committee of our biggest city, which consists of high experts who have learned knowledge in this country, maybe in Europe, has elected a person who openly declared that he is a caliphate and who is proud of declaring it, and made him its president. Isn't this event enough to explain the sincere and real situation and tendency of the outdated legal scholars towards the understanding of the Republic? All these events show that the reformers are the greatest but most insidious mortal enemy, the rotten law and its incurable supporters. The old legal scholars, who were obliged to suppress the old law rules during the nation's fiery revolutionary moves, As soon as the strength and fire of the toilers begin to slow, they immediately come to life and wait for the opportunity to condemn the rules of the revolution and its sincere followers and their venerable ideals. This opportunity is solid with the existence of old laws and the existence of old legal rules and the presence of headstrong judges and lawyers in preserving the old understanding from the heart and soul.

I hope to explain the reasons for our current legal activities.

We are attempting to dismantle the old rules of law by creating entirely new laws. And we are opening these institutions in order to raise a new generation of law who will start learning from the new alphabet with the new legal rules. Our basis in all these practices is the nation's ability and firm will. Our friends in these initiatives are our distinguished lawyers who have understood the new law with us in the context I have mentioned.

It will be the tireless and incorruptible force in our nation and its revolution, which provides the time to look at and implement the new legal rules in our general life and until they are realized.

Student Masters!

You, who started your education with the claim of being the founder and strengthener of the new Turkish social life, will be the real legal scholars of the Republican era. The nation is waiting impatiently for you to grow up as soon as possible and start to meet the nation's wishes practically. I am sure that they will do the duty of the professors who will raise you properly. I have never felt the happiness I felt at the opening of this great institution that will strengthen the Republic, and I am happy to explain and explain this."

Source:  Hakimiyet-i Milliye: 06.11.1925

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk listening to speeches at the opening of Ankara Law Faculty. (05.11.1925)