Mustafa Kemal at Military School

Mustafa Kemal at Military School
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Mustafa Kemal at Military School

Alright what now? There is no other high school in Thessaloniki, which cannot be sent to Istanbul. Where will they find the money? Should poor people say goodbye to everything? Is this logic compelling? There was only one thing left to do, and that was to go back to his uncle, clean the barns, herd the sheep and live as a poor farmer until he died.

However, you want to be a great man, don't you, Mustafa?

In spades! He went outside without making a sound. He's just a twelve-year-old boy.

Their next-door neighbor, the elderly Major Kadri, was not in the least surprised to see the late Ali Rıza's son in front of him. He had come to beg solemnly and gracefully that he be enlisted in the military school. Major Kadri loved Mustafa from afar. Now she was appealing to him alone, incessantly, standing upright in front of him, declaring her desire.

From the old man; “This boy is a man who will be a full soldier,” he said. He got very clear answers to a few questions he asked. Kadri now understands well, this baby will enter military school at any cost. Well, he will not spare his help to be accepted for the exam.

Is it an exam? This hard work has become something like a conversation. Mustafa was giving his answers as if he was unloading a bullet from a gun.

Teachers look at each other. If this boy keeps what he promises, the military school in Thessaloniki will have a student he can be proud of.

When Mustafa came to inform his mother that he had been accepted to the military school one day, Zübeyde Hanım started to cry again. He wanted his son to become a scholar, whereas he was a soldier in the Ottoman Army, right? The sultan is also fighting non-stop.

Were the sacrifices he made for this? Was it his purpose for his only child to spend his life in the deserts of Arabia?

To keep the savage Arab nomads under the Caliph's rule?

However, Zübeyde Hanım understood very well that she was obliged to consent to fate and that she could not oppose this strong will. But when she heard that Mustafa and the school were proud, she couldn't help but rejoice.

Here, his son obeys, subordinates, and invites his friends to discipline. There is a lesson in a short time. In other words, he listens to the students' lectures and explains them from the beginning to those who do not understand. Mustafa's favorite subject was mathematics. Mathematics was an ideal for him. There, logic and immutable rules dominated everything. Everything was bright and precise. It was a manly burden of knowledge, mercilessly training the soul. Mustafa is busy for hours to solve the most difficult problems. The more difficult the solution, the more pleasure the homework gave him. No one had ever seen him let go of his pen without solving a problem. His teacher was very pleased with him. His name was Mustafa, too.

One day his teacher said to him:

“There has to be a difference between us,” he says. From now on, your name will be Mustafa Kemal." 1

1 Niyazi Ahmet Banoğlu, Atatürk with wit and jokes, Volume I, Istanbul 1967, p. 19–21.

Kaynak: Atatürk’ten Gençliğe Unutulmaz Anılar, Ahmet Gürel, Mayıs 2009

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Mustafa Kemal at Military School