Ataturk: Turkey’s Hero, Behind the Bronze Veneer





After nearly a century of looking serious, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, has started to smile.

Ataturk — a war-hero-turned-statesman who defended Turkey during the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire — is the subject of what is perhaps the world’s longest personality cult.

His portrait hangs in every tea shop, government office and classroom. Insulting his memory is a crime under Turkish law. And every Nov. 10, Turkey observes a moment of silence to commemorate his death in 1938.

But the ironclad official version might be softening. Last month a documentary on Ataturk was released that looks at his human side. That might not sound like much, but in a country where official history is kept under lock and key, the film, “Mustafa,” was a brave endeavor.



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