Monday, December 8, 2008

"Why I Love Turkey's Smoking, Drinking Founding Father"

From Aslı Aydintasbas in Forbes:
It felt like treason, and it probably was.

I was betraying my country in that dark seedy room, afraid someone would recognize me in the very act of selling out the republic. Ah, the republic that emerged from the ashes of a bankrupt empire, as we were reminded every day in school, with amazing human sacrifice and collective determination to create a fresh new order.

That would be the Republic of Turkey, my homeland. And I was about to betray it by attending the noon showing of a controversial film about the life of its founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Mustafa opened in theaters on Oct. 29--the 85th anniversary of, well, the republic--to the delight of an eager crowd. A general-turned-statesman, Ataturk not only led an epic war of independence against the invading Western powers in 1919, but also transformed a declining Ottoman Empire to a modern republic by abolishing the sultanate, the caliphate and establishing a secular democratic system. His radical reforms--ranging from adopting the Latin script to equality for women--revolutionized Turkish society and anchored the young nation to the west.
For full article, click here.

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