Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Gazi Orman Çiftliği'nde incelemelerde bulunurken. (14.07.1929)

Photo source: Atatürk Gazi Mustafa Kemal. Photograph by Cemal Işıksel, Turkish Historical Society Press. Ankara 1969. Page: 45
Photographer: Cemal Işıksel
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While Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was inspecting the Gazi Forest Farm. (July 14, 1929)

How and Why Did Atatürk Establish Ankara Forest Farm?

Great Leader Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha wanted to add the agricultural revolution to the great revolutions he created and to guide the backward peasants and farmers, who constitute the main structure of the Turkish nation, in the ways of innovation in our age and to guide them by farming. For this reason, he envisioned establishing an exemplary farm around the city of Ankara.

However, the concerned, to His Excellency Gazi: “Ankara is an extremely different highland climate with dry summers, its soil is chalky, infertile, barren and barren. These soils, which are weak in food strength, are not suitable for successful agriculture and growing all kinds of plants, it will never be possible to run an ideal farm here and will result in loss. It would be better if you set up a sample farm in a fertile part of İzmir or Aydın. they were saying.

His Excellency, to those who say this:

- “You speak very well, but I am not going to live in Izmir or Aydın.” he was answering.

His Excellency Gazi was successful in many reforms and innovations that he initiated for the Turkish nation. He would certainly do whatever good he conceived and set his mind to. Difficult was not important to him and he liked difficult.

Disregarding what was said, at the beginning of 1925, a bare, treeless land of 20,000 decares with marsh and reeds, which is a steppe with the Ankara-Eskişehir railway line in the middle, five kilometers from Ankara, was purchased by Gazi His Excellency. He decided to set up a sample farm here, as the purchased place is close to the center of Ankara and its field is wide.

His Excellency, Gazi, started the farm business with two tractors on the fifth of May 1925, by setting up two large tents in the area called “Dark Derealtı” on the wide slopes of two hills.

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm.  (May 5, 1925)

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm. (May 5, 1925)

His Excellency, Gazi, brought as the manager to the business of establishing a farm, Tahsin (Coşkan), a valuable agriculturalist who had previously worked as a teacher at Bursa Agricultural School and a manager at Ankara Agricultural School, graduated from Istanbul Halkalı Higher Agricultural School and had many experiences in the field of agriculture. *

Agriculture was a very large and diverse business. Tahsin Bey would find and employ knowledgeable and distinguished personnel in the separate fields required for each branch. Everything would be done according to the plan, and the plan would be presented to His Excellency, and his approval would be obtained.

The purpose of the plan of the model farm that His Excellency was establishing was to do the following:

1 — To dry up the swamp on this land, which spoils Ankara's air, and to grow forests here and beautify the air.

2 — Experiencing some agricultural plants that are not planted due to malpractice although it is possible to grow them in the Ankara climate, and to show them to the public and the farmers, and to spread them.

3 — To improve the seeds in the farmer's hands.

4 — To plant fruit and fruitless saplings and distribute them to the public in order to afforest every part of Ankara, which is bare and treeless.

5 — To raise and reproduce some productive good breed animals and chickens that were not in that area until then, and give them as breeding stock to the villagers.

6 — To show the villagers how mechanized agriculture is done in order to make a broad and scientific agriculture, to encourage the villagers to use mechanized agriculture by explaining the benefits of mechanized agriculture, and to inform the villagers by opening courses in every field.

7 — To provide cheap and clean best quality food to the public by selling various crops produced by establishing every branch of agriculture, such as beekeeping, dairy farming, poultry farming, vegetable growing, fruit farming and viticulture on the farm.

8 — To build a large woodland and forest area as a recreation area, picnic and entertainment area in order to meet the fresh air needs of the people of Ankara.

9 — High school graduates who will enter the Higher Agricultural School opened in Ankara, work in this farm for one year and receive internships.

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm.  (May 5, 1925)

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm. (May 5, 1925)

Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who took up a great civilization case in Turkey, in one of his speeches: “Most of our nation is farmers. We must maximize the efforts of our peasants in farming with century and economic measures. For this reason, it is necessary to work on the use and production of knowledge, tools and technical tools that will increase the work of the farmer and make it fruitful, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is necessary to take economic measures that will ensure that they benefit from the results of their work to the maximum extent. he said.

His Excellency Gazi succeeded in establishing the Forest Farm, which he envisioned in a short time, by collecting agricultural staff who understand agriculture and farm works, working in a programmed and knowledgeable manner, and spending a lot of effort and money.

Just as His Excellency Ghazi achieved the goal that he set with firmness and perseverance in every reform work he initiated, he also knew how to adapt nature to his own desire in the agricultural business by fighting and struggling with nature, and experienced almost all branches of agriculture in the modern farm he established in this place where many people said that nothing would happen. obtained positive results and thus became a sample and guide for Turkish farmers.

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm.  (May 5, 1925)

At Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm. (May 5, 1925)

His Excellency Gazi wanted the establishment of cooperatives in order for the farmers to rise economically and to protect the goods they produce and sell them at their worth, and he registered himself as a member of the Agricultural Credit Cooperative as an incentive.

In 1927, I was working in the Nursery Office of the Ankara Municipality Gardens Directorate. One day, Tahsin Bey, the Director of Ankara Gazi Forest Farm, came to the Gardens Directorate to buy flowers. The Gardens Manager, Salih Bey, introduced me to Tahsin Bey, whom he taught while studying at Bursa Agricultural School. After talking for a while, Tahsin Bey invited me to the farm.

A week later, I took the train to Gazi Orman Çiftliği to talk to Tahsin Bey and see the farm I was wondering about. When I entered the farm, I came across not very big green trees and newly built modern buildings. I found Tahsin Bey in the public administration building. He was glad that I came. While talking to Tahsin Bey, he went to Ankara in 1921 during the time of the Grand National Assembly Government, after staying for a while in the cities close to the places where the war was fought in Anatolia with my stepfather and mother, who were officers at a time when the War of Independence was going on fiercely. I told him that we had come and lived in these places, which are now farms, when I was a 15-year-old student, as a steppe with nothing planted on it. Mr. Tahsin, to me: "Come now, let's tour the farm together, and then see what happens to the places where there is nothing cultivated by working." said.

We started to tour the farm with Tahsin Bey. Tahsin Bey first showed me the towered mansion with a flower garden and a pool in front of it:

- “His Excellency, when he comes to the farm, stays in this mansion.” said.

Then, pointing to the flat and acacia saplings planted in the north of the farm, he said that this was a swamp and reed area before, that after the swamp was dried and the reeds were removed, they planted acacia saplings from agricultural schools in some provinces and this area would be turned into a forest. Tahsin Bey continued his speech as follows:

-“At the farm, tree planting is our primary goal. Because the acacia tree grows easily in almost any climate and soil conditions, His Excellency Gazi wanted the first plant to grow on the farm to be acacia.” said.

While continuing to tour the farm, Tahsin Bey showed the fruit saplings planted somewhere:

- “After cultivating these lands deeply and reclaiming them with plenty of farm manure, we planted 3000 various fruit saplings, this will be the orchard of the farm.” said.

The saplings that were planted grew in height and some of them began to bear fruit, albeit a little. The lands in a part of the farm facing south of the farm were made with chrysism and American vine rootstocks that are resistant to lime and phylloxera were planted and the best kind of local grape varieties were grafted on them and a large vineyard was established.

In the farm, thousands of forest saplings were planted on bare treeless ridges, and the planted saplings grew in size, gave branches and leaves, and formed wide greenery. A few years later, these saplings would turn into trees and become an artificial forest, giving shade to those who sit under them and those who come for picnics. Golden ears of wheat fluttered in the vast fields of the farm.

On a tractor in Gazi Orman Çiftliği.  (July 14, 1929)

On a tractor in Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm. (July 14, 1929)

The farm was mechanized, farming was done using the most modern tools and equipment. Scientific coops were built on the farm to raise breed chickens. When we went to the poultry houses with Tahsin Bey, the officer who looked after the chickens greeted us. As soon as I saw this officer, I immediately recognized him. The officer named Saim was my colleague. He recognized me and was surprised when he saw me. I told him that I came to see the farm upon the invitation of Tahsin Bey and that I was working as a nursery officer in Ankara Gardens Directorate. Mr. Saim gave me information about chickens and explained that they produced Legorn and Rodeylant chickens that lay 200-250 eggs a year.

While continuing to show the farm, Tahsin Bey spoke as follows about the work they will do:

- “Ankara's honey has been famous for a long time. We will attach great importance to the development of beekeeping. We will bring and breed cow breeds such as Dutch and Simental, which give 3000 kilos of milk a year for dairy, cheese and butter making, and we will also work on domestic and Arabian horses and various sheep and goat breeds.” said.

I was fascinated by the work done on the farm in a short period of three years and appreciated the scientific work. Before leaving the farm, I thanked Tahsin Bey very much, congratulated him for his successful work on the farm, which is a great work of the great Gazi, and asked him when his nibs came to the farm.

Mr. Tahsin:

He said: “His Excellency Veteran comes to the farm frequently, he travels all around and examines it sensitively, he is closely involved with everything on the farm, and he sometimes stays at the farm and holds meetings.”

-As I was leaving, asking Tahsin Bey's permission, he said to me: "I'll wait again, summer and winter, the farm is always open to everyone." said.

Quite a while had passed. I went to Gazi Forest Farm again one day in the hope that I might meet Gazi, whom I love very much, and maybe see him. But I could not find the farm manager Tahsin Bey. Odacı said that His Excellency Gazi came to the farm and that he had guests with him, and Tahsin Bey was with them. I couldn't go to them. Because talking to Gazi and being accepted by him was not an easy task.

I went to the coops where my farmer friend, who takes care of the chickens, is located. Saim Bey, the officer who takes care of the chickens, was there and greeted me as "welcome". While I was talking here and there with Saim Bey, who was glad that I had come, we saw that His Excellency Gazi was coming towards the coops with his aides, the farm manager Tahsin Bey, and four or five other people behind him. I immediately jumped up with joy to see His Excellency Ghazi closely and meet him. But Mr. Saim was very alarmed and regretfully said to me:

-“There are four sick chickens in the henhouse. If His Majesty sees these sick chickens now, they will scold me for not taking good care of the chickens and maybe put me out of business.” said.

His Excellency Gazi came in front of the coops with those behind him. Mr. Saim, myself and the two workers working in the coops lined up to greet Gazi and bowed respectfully to him. His Excellency entered the promenade of the chickens, which was surrounded by wide wires. Then the farm manager Tahsin Bey followed Saim Bey Gazi, who was taking care of the chickens. The chickens were roaming the promenade out of their coops. While examining the chickens, His Excellency immediately noticed the four chickens that were sick inside. Sick chickens had a cold. They had their heads down, snot-like water running from their nostrils and mouths. Chickens that looked debilitated weren't even eating feed.

After looking at the condition of the sick chickens with attention and curiosity, His Excellency Gazi called Saim Bey to his side and said:

"What happened to these chickens?" said. Saim Bey was very scared, he rubbed his hands and said in a shaky voice:

-"Pasha, something happened, something happened," he stammered and was speechless. Saim Bey could not say anything, the words that came out of his mouth as a whisper could not be understood and sweat was pouring from his temples in desolation.

When his veteran niece Saim Bey saw that he was very afraid, he did not say anything to him anymore. Turning to Tahsin Bey, the farm manager standing behind him, he said:

-“Don't you know about the disease of these chickens? Didn't Mr. Saim not inform you of their condition?" asked.

Mr. Tahsin:

- “No, His Excellency Pasha, he did not report it. Maybe the chickens just got sick.” he replied. Your Excellency, again to Tahsin Bey:

"It is not to be neglected, always check everything, separate these sick chickens from the healthy ones and show them to the vet immediately and have them treated," he said.

Mr. Tahsin:

He immediately reserved the sick chickens by saying “You are welcome, Your Excellency Pasha” and sent Saim Bey to the phone and asked him to call a veterinarian. Tahsin Bey, who saw me in this rush, said to me:

-"Welcome, His Excellency Gazi has guests, I'm busy with them, we can't talk today, I'll wait another time," said Gazi His Excellency, who was walking away, and ran after his group to catch up with them.

His Excellency, Gazi, as in his other reforms, was sensitive to farm works.

In the following years, a Beekeeping Branch was established based on science, giving great importance to beekeeping on the farm, and the Dadan system built many beehives to feed bees, produce honey, and establish a brewery to produce beer. It was obtained and distributed to the farmer. Cows such as Holland, Jersey, Simental, Karaman, Merinos, Kıvırcık, Türkistan Karagül sheep breeds and Legorn, Faverol, Rodeylant chickens that gave a lot of eggs were raised and produced and given to the farmer as a breeder.

While examining the water channels at Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm.  (July 14, 1929)

While examining the water channels at Atatürk Gazi Forest Farm. (July 14, 1929)

His Excellency Gazi wanted to make some of the plows and agricultural tools brought from abroad every year so that our money would not go abroad and to teach art to Turkish children. His Excellency Gazi, who wanted to remove the plow, which had been used by Anatolian villagers for centuries, and to use plows instead, started the production of plows and some agricultural tools by establishing a plow factory on the farm in 1930 and provided cheap plows to the farmer.

His Excellency Gazi had two pools built on the farm, called Marmara and Black Sea, in order to cool off and meet the beach needs of the people who came to the farm to have a picnic in the summer, tired of the hot weather of Ankara, and he opened casinos and restaurants for the people to eat.

Pasteurized milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, eggs, honey, grapes, wine, various fruits and all agricultural crops obtained from various branches of the farm were put up for sale in stores opened in Ankara, thereby providing cheap and clean food to the public.

A zoo was established in the farm, which meets the recreational needs of the people of Ankara, for the children to have fun and to get to know the animals.

High school graduates, who came to study at the Faculty of Agriculture and will work in various agricultural jobs in the country in the future, did their farm practice and internship at the Forest Farm.

The agricultural system made on the farm, which was established based on the latest economic management methods, has become an agricultural method sample for the Central Anatolian farmer.

If we look at the undeniable present existence of the Forest Farm created by His Excellency, we can better understand the magnitude and value of the efforts and efforts made in the past.


* Tahsin Coşkan also served as Kastamonu Deputy and Ministry of Agriculture for a while.

Source:  Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi Dergisi, Sayı:11, Cilt IV, Mart 1988

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Gazi Orman Çiftliği'nde incelemelerde bulunurken. (14.07.1929)