Mustafa Kemal Ataturk statue

Ataturk statue, Albany, public art

Public Art : Mustafa Kemal Ataturk statue (also known simply as the Ataturk statue)

Sculptor: © Burhan Alkar

Description : A bronze statue of Mustafa Kemal Pasha 'Ataturk', the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President standing atop a limestone dome representing a globe. Dressed in a suit (European attire), he clutches in his right hand the poignant speech he delivered to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields in 1934. Written across the dome is his motto "Peace at Home, Peace in the World"

Date Unveiled: 25th April, 2001.

Location : You have to put on comfortable shoes for this adventure as the memorial is found along the path overlooking the Princess Royal Harbour near the old lighthouse ruins, Albany, Western Australia.

Inscription :

In memory of
KEMAL ATATURK 1881-1938
Founder and President of Modern Turkey
Against whose brave forces
Australian and New Zealand Troops
Fought so gallantly at Gallipoli.
The entrance to Princess Royal Harbour
from which many of those Australian troops sailed.
is named
ATATURK ENTRANCE

ANZAC Day - April 25 1985

 

The above plaque was unveiled by

The Hon.Ken (unreadable) M.L.A.
Minister For Works and Lands And Surveys

and
Mr Sahir H. (unreadable)
Consul General of the Republic of Turkey

On April 25, 1985


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938)
Founder of the modern Republic of Turkey. Commander in Chief of the
Turkish forces in Gallipoli.
His famous words are:
PEACE AT HOME PEACE IN THE WORLD
At a dawn service in 1934 in Gallipoli referring to the ANZAC troops
He said :
" Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the
Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side ....
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away
countries. Wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in
our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives
they are now our sons as well."

Sculpture by Burhan Alkar
Architects : Howard and Associates
Supported by : Turkish Prime Ministerial Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey,
City of Albany and Australian Government.
Donated to the City of Albany by Turkish Australian Culture House.Inc. Perth, 25 April. 2001


So Who Was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk? : Often referred to as 'the father of the Turks' Mustafa Kemal Pasha 'Ataturk'  (1881–10th November 1938) was a Turkish nationalist leader and founder and first president of the republic of Turkey. His rise to prominence began in World War I, during the Battle of Gallipoli,  when  he lead his Turkish troops to victory over allied forces. A bloody 8 month battle which resulted in massive casualties on both sides. The victory became a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people and lead to a push by Ataturk to gain independence for Turkey. It should also be noted that this battle became a defining moment for Australian and New Zealand troops as it was on this battleground that the ANZAC spirit was born.

When allied forces eventually captured Constantinople and Izmir (the two largest Turkish cities at the time) in 1918, the 623 year sultanate reign of the Ottoman Empire was all but over. In a push for independence Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established and lead the Turkish national resistance  movement to several unlikely victories against the occupying forces (Turkish War of Independence) resulting in the eventual establishment of the Republic of Turkey on the 29th October 1923. Ataturk was to become the country's first president and with this new found power he was determined to introduce a broad range of swift and sweeping reforms.

.... 'by complete independence, we mean of course complete economic, financial, juridical, military, cultural independence and freedom in all matters. Being deprived of independence in any of these is equivalent to the nation and country being deprived of all its independence."

These new reforms included moving the capital city to Ankara, banning the wearing of the fez and discouraging women from wearing the veil, new legal codes based on European laws, allowing women to vote, allowing the use of surnames, allowing religious freedom for all and seeking reconciliation between former enemies such as Greece.

When Ataturk died in 1938 the world mourned the death of one of its greatest leaders of modern time and a pioneer of national liberation. Few could claimed to have achieved so much in such a short period, transformed the life of a nation as decisively, and given such profound inspiration to the world at large.

His motto, which the Republic of Turkey has also adopted, was  "Peace at Home, Peace in the World"

Connection between Albany and Ataturk : Some people, upon stumbling across the Ataturk statue in Albany, would question why a grand  memorial would be erected in honor of a man who fought against Australian troops during the Battle of Gallipoli.

Well, things changed for both the ANZACS and the Turks on a day in May. Prior to this both sides had been fighting faceless enemies.  However, on the 19th of May, 1915, things changed when 40,000 Turks decided to attack 13,000 ANZACS in a counter attack. 10,000 bodies of mainly Turkish soldiers lay strewn across the battlefield. It wasn't long before the stench of rotting corpses became unbearable and both sides agreed on a several day truce so they could bury the dead. During this time the enemies mingled and a bond was formed. Surprisingly the Australian and New Zealand soldiers discovered their enemies, the Turks, had similar traits and attitudes as themselves including a good sense of humour, mateship and bravery (the ANZAC Spirit). As a result, despite the continuation of the war, the ANZACS now treated their enemy more like sporting rivals.

Through shared misery and mutual respect for each other it has been rumored the ANZACs and Turks each took a daily coffee and smoke break during fighting. Allowing the soldiers to climb out of their respective bunkers to stretch their legs and take a breather without fear of being shot at. However, when the smoko was over the shooting resumed. Another story retold how the Turkish solders would throw boxes of hand rolled cigarettes to their enemies and in return the ANZAC soldiers would throw back tins of food.

By the end the Battle of Gallipoli over 130,000 soldiers (from both sides) would lose their lives.

In 1930,  15 years after the Battle of Gallipoli, President Ataturk received a letter from the mothers of the fallen ANZAC soldiers requesting permission to visit the graves of their sons. In response he sat down and wrote this poignant letter to the women. Ataturk later used these same words in a speech to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields.

"Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

Following this reply an unbroken kinship between the two countries was forged.

Today the definition of the "Anzac spirit"  includes the Turks.

Albany was the last port of call for soldiers heading off to fight during World War I. It was also the location of the First Dawn Service on the 25th April 1930, conducted by Chaplain Arthur White on top of Mt Clarence. Today the city has become a popular  place to celebrate and pay homage to the ANZACS.

Trivia :

It was Winston Churchill's (the then First Lord of the Admiralty) idea for troops to sail up the Dardanelles to take control of Instanbul and strike Germany from its weakest point. Churchill lost his job over that decision!

Mustafa Kemal, was given the name Atatürk by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1934.

The clock in the palace bedroom where Ataturk died is still set to the time of his death, 9:05 in the morning.

Atatürk statues have been erected in all Turkish cities by Turkish Government, and most towns have their own memorial to him.

In 1951, the Turkish Parliament issued a law prohibiting anyone from insulting, criticising or destroying objects representing Ataturk. In 2007 a Turkish court blocked several websites including Youtube and Geocities for violation of this law.

Albany is a brother city to Gallipoli.

 

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ataturk statue, Albany, Western Australia

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ataturk statue, Albany, Western Australia

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ataturk statue, Albany, Western Australia

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ataturk statue, Albany, Western Australia

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