Mustafa Kemal in France

Mustafa Kemal in France
Character Size

Mustafa Kemal in France

Mustafa Kemal becomes a burden for the committee men, a hard to bear, always threatening. They send him on autumn maneuvers in France, to make sure he can get away for a few moments.

The late Abidin Daver 1  described a memory of Atatürk as follows:

“I saw Atatürk for the first time in the summer of 1908, when he was Kolağası Mustafa Kemal Bey, in a small casino in Thessaloniki. This young, handsome and enterprising staff officer, whom I do not know, had drawn my soul to him with a talismanic charm.

I met him for the second time, in September 1910, at the Amusement Park in Paris. Fethi (Okyar) Bey was with him. They were both wearing tuxedos.

Since Mustafa Kemal was involved in the maneuvers of the French army in Picardie, I asked him about his impressions of the maneuvers out of the military curiosity that has existed since my childhood;

-'Airplanes will play important roles in the war. The French field artillery was excellent. But the French infantry makes a very good target with their red underpants. The French army was brought up in a spirit of aggression, which was too hot and impulsive.'

Aviation was only just beginning then. It was only used in reconnaissance services when the weather was very favorable. Let's face it, I didn't believe his views on aviation were correct, because in those years the airplane was still nothing more than a perpetually empty death toy like a baby bird.

When the First World War broke out four years later, all his views proved correct.”

When Mustafa Kemal returns from France, the situation is completely bad. The fact that he seems contrary, that he pours out petitions unceasingly, and especially that he wants order in the army, is extremely disturbing to those in power. What would our situation be if we were to act after every word? I guess talking would be stopped then, and everything would be settled with mere action.

As if all these events were not enough, according to a news report from Thessaloniki by the committee agents, “Mustafa Kemal has acquired a circle in Thessaloniki. Those who continued here consisted only of regimental officers.” It was necessary to admit that he was preparing the garrison officers against the Young Turks because of his sharp criticism. This eternal rebellious human could not be fought outright. But it was necessary to show him what it meant to speak out against the committee. 2

1 Abidin Daver (1886-1954) is one of the founders of Galatasaray club.

2 Niyazi Ahmet Banoğlu, Yayınlanmamış Belgelerle Atatürk’ün Siyasi ve Özel Hayatı, İlkeleri, 2. Baskı, İstanbul 1981, s. 38-39.

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

Share this post
Mustafa Kemal in France