Cumhuriyet (The Republic) (1998)




Director:     Ziya Öztan.

Starring:     Rutkay Aziz (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk),  Kazim Aksar (Fethi Okyar),  Ayda Aksel (Halide Edip Adivar),  Hülya Aksular (Fikriye Hanim),  Yesim Aliç (Mevhibe Inönü),  Önder Alkim (Ret. Gen. Ali Fuat Cebesoy),  Ismet Ay (Doyuranli Ismail Hakki Bey),   Kenan Bal (Gen. Asim Gündüz),  Elvin Besikcioglu (Afet Inan),  Istemi Betil (Gen. Douglas MacArthur),  Yavuz Bingol (Capt. Yahya Hayati Bey),  Cevat Capan (Musa Kazim Göksu),  Savas Dinçel (Ismet Inönü).

foundation of Turkish Republic between the years of early 1920's to 1933



Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.


Episode 1. 

26 August 1922.  Time:  05:30 hours.  Kocatepe.  With their artillery, the Turkish army opens fire on the enemy below in a valley.  The soldiers advance past the barbed wire and some are shot down by machine gun fire.  A message comes:  "The resistance base at Kurtkalesi fell."  The Turkish cavalry attacks the enemy.  Mustafa yells:  "Alexi, come and save your armies."

Mustafa says his next step is to head for Izmir "to paralyze every precaution of the enemy."

September 18, 1922.  Izmir.  There is a big celebration going on.  Mustafa rides in a car in the parade.  He rides with Miss Halide and he tells her that Miss Latife refers to her as her teacher.  She even studied at her college.

Mustafa explains to the men around him that "There isn't even one Greek soldier left in Anatolia."  Their causalities are higher than 100,000 and there are 20,000 Greek POWs.  He also says that Turkish armies are marching towards Dardanelles and Istanbul.  They will be up against the British army. 

Mustafa and his guests toast to their victory.  He says he thinks that a peace will be declared and this National Struggle of some four years will finally end.  He would like to get rid of the old regime in Turkey.  So, says he, they must start the second stage of their National Struggle.  An man requests that they determine the depth of the Greek atrocities in the Aegean region. 

Someone asks about Miss Latife.  Miss Halide says that she is very attractive.  She wonders if Miss Latife and Pasha will marry.  She says:  "Miss Fikriye will be sad."  She has taken care of Pasha ever since he was two years old.  Miss Halide thinks that the woman is in love with Pasha. 

News comes that the revolution in Greece has started and they have driven King Constantin away.  An army officer asks Miss Halide why does she still wear the rank of corporal when he specifically made her a sergeant-major?  Order is order and she must wear the correct rank. 

The other news is that all the nations refused to accept Britain's offer to send military troops to the Dardanelles.   

Mustafa says that the Greeks have offered them an armistice, but if they don't return Thrace to Turkey, he will cancel the armistice.  He tells his staff that tonight they go back to Ankara.  Miss Latife tells Mustafa as he gets in the car to leave that he honored her house with his presence and she would like him to make it his headquarters.  Mustafa says alright. 

Miss Fikriye plays the piano and sings.  She is told that Gazi Pasha will be in Ankara tomorrow morning.  Miss Fikriye sys she will tell the good news to his mother. 

In Ankara a big crowd greets Gazi Pasha.  An opponent of his asks how can they get rid of this Mustafa Kemal Pasha?  One answer is to belittle the importance of the victory won by Mustafa. 

Mustafa goes in to talk with his mother.  She tells her son that both she and Fikriye are unwell.  Fikriye may even have tuberculosis. 

The next day Mustafa makes a speech before the Assembly. 

Mustafa says Britain wants to keep Thrace under their control.  If there is no change in this situation, then tomorrow send the armies on their way to Istanbul and the Dardanelles.  Let Gen. Harrigton know of their decision.  The British say their intelligence confirms that the Turks are headed toward Istanbul and the Dardanelles.  They will not let Thrace go.  Lord Curzon wanted Thrace to be left to the Greeks. 

The British diplomats talk about Turkey as an "anachronistic community".  Mustafa's enemies worry that Mustafa will overthrow even the sultanate as he increases his power and influence.  Mustafa says that Refet Pasha will take over Thrace on behalf of the Grand National Assembly government. 

Karabekir Pasha wants to overthrow the sultanate. 

Traveling on the train Mustafa says they have to get off at the coming stop because the Greeks destroyed the railway up ahead. 

At the residence of the sultan, the Grand Vizer,Tevfik, tells His Excellency that it is time to return the state to normalcy.  He wants to send Mustafa Kemal Pasha the following message. His Excellency doesn't want to read the note.  He tells the Grand Vizer to give the information to the British as well.   Mustafa gets the note and says the Grand Vizer is telling them that His Excellency is back in power and the nation should obey their orders.  His staff can't believe their naiveté.  "They must be living in a dream."  Mustafa says that in Istanbul he will tell them that only the Turkish Grand National Assembly represents Turkey anymore. 

A school trip comes in to greet Mustafa.  He is very happy to see them and tells them they are Turkey's future. 

Turkey is going to attend the making of the peace.  Mustafa says he wants to send Ismet there as their representative.  Ismet wants a rest, but Mustafa insists he go to Lausanne.  Ismet becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Grand Vizer informs Mustafa that it is mandatory for Ankara and Istanbul to attend the Lausanne Conference together.  Mustafa doesn't like it because he doesn't want to go to the conference divided into two separate governmental groups.  Now he wants the Assembly to overthrow the sultanate. 

Mustafa presents the bill to abolish the sultanate.  He talks to the Assembly about why the sultanate should be abolished.  His enemies are afraid that Mustafa might abolish the Caliphate as well as the sultanate.  Mustafa says he wants to separate the sultanate from the Caliphate and do away with the sultanate. 

Mustafa's enemies request to transfer matters dealing with the Caliphate to the common committee where they can have a good chance to protect the Caliphate from abolition.  The request is accepted by the Assembly. 

Mustafa goes into the committee on the Caliphate.  Some people think that the Caliphate cannot survive without the sultanate.  Mustafa says the sultanate and the Caliphate were both established by the force of arms.  The Turkish nation got control of the government by rebelling.  This is the de facto situation.  "The point is, to express this de facto situation which is an inevitable process.  It would be proper for the ones gathered here, the Assembly and everybody to see the situation like this.  Otherwise, the truth still will be announced but possibly some will be beheaded!"

The common committee produced a statenent and two articles announcing the end of the Ottoman sultanate and the change that the caliphate belongs to the Ottoman family. From now on, the Caliphate will be appointed by the Assembly.  Almost everyone raised their hands in support of accepting the changes. 

On the street a newsboy shouts:  "The sultanate is overthrown!"  The sultan himself is not happy to hear the news.  Mehmed VI (Mehmet Vahdettin) is the 36th and last sultan of the Ottoman Empire.  So now Vahdettin is only the Caliph. 

Mustafa learns that Miss Fikriye went shopping and bought a lot of presents.  She sent some presents for Mustafa.  And he has a letter from Fikriye. 

Mustafa says they will have a big sendoff for Ismet.  This will let everyone know that the Assembly, the Army and the nation are united behind him. 

Complete with a musical sendoff, at the railway station Mustafa says goodbye to Ismet.  With Ismet is his small staff.  School children wave their Turkish flags as the train pulls out of the station. 

An opponent of the abolition of the sultanate named Aleko, wearing a red fez, sits down in the barber's chair for a haircut.  Two men in fur caps come into the barber shop and tell him to come with them quietly.  Aleko looks worried as he goes with the men. 

Mustafa's mother is very ill.  They had prepared the house for her, but now she can't go.  The news comes that Ali Kemal has been lynched in Izmir.  Mustafa says that the man should have been brought to Ankara.  He believes that his enemy Nurettin Pasha is behind this event. 

The last sultan says he is leaving Istanbul.  He comments that he doesn't think the British ". . . will leave the administration to the villains in Ankara."

Ismet buys a nice suit to attend the conference. 

A politician says that the Lusanne Conference was supposed to open today, but the delegates of Britain, France and Italy did not come.  Britain is having elections, so they postponed the conference to next week without informing the Turkish government.  The politician does not believe the elections are the real reason for the postponement.  The British Lord Curzon wants the conference to consist of only three countries. 

Ismet holds a press conference at which he says that Turkey was expecting the peace talks to be held after WWI, but instead of talks, Turkey was attacked along all its borders at the same time.  "Our struggle to get our independence and liberation back again has been very expensive for us.  Our big cities are in ashes today.  More than 1 million civilian Turks are homeless and hungry now."

News arrives that the sultan will take refuge in Britain.  He claims that his life is in danger and wants to be transferred as soon as possible. The request is approved. 

On a very rainy day, the sultan and his son with a small staff get into a red cross van and are driven away.  The van stops and the small group gets on a boat. 


Episode 2.

Mustafa says that the sultanate is lost, so they should strengthen the Caliph.  He wanst to choose a new Caliph to replace Vahdettin, who is in Britain now.    The speaker of the Assembly Hodjas says that there is a consultation committee and the head of that should be the Caliph.  An opponent of the new government gets up to say that the Assembly has no right to select the Caliph.  The Caliphs must have the power of the Sultan.  Mustafa gets up and says that the Caliphate belongs to the whole of Islam.  But the Caliph will have no power over the Turkish people. 

A new Caliph has been selected.  It's Abdulmecit and he wants to wear a caftan like the old sultans.   [A caftan is a full-length garment with elbow-length or long sleeves.]  Mustafa comments that ". . . we'll have to be very busy with this naive man."

Mustafa says that Lord Curzon is going to make a speech and then the Conference will be over.  The leader of Turkey tells his man to make sure that he, Mustafa, can make a speech after Curzon. 

At the conference, the head of the Turkish delegation makes a statement that Turkey will never make a concession. 

The news is that the Rebel Ethem and his friends went to Switzerland.  And Britain is sending thousands of Greeks with Turkish citizenship, as well as Armenians, from Istanbul to the Dardanelles.  In addition, a messenger says the Swiss police have uncovered a plot by some Armenians to kill Ismet. 

Mustafa protests against a proposed new bill that would in essence deprive Mustafa of his rights as a citizen.  The bill asks that to be a deputy, a man has to have been born in today's Turkey or to have stayed in a specific place for at least five years.  Mustafa was born outside the borders of present Turkey.  And, he says, he couldn't stay in one place for five years because of his duties.  Deputies rise to say it was not their intention to deprive Mustafa of his offices. Another man says that Mustafa is in the heart of every Turkish citizen.  Mustafa rejects this flattery and says the article is very clear.  Another deputy gets up and says that Mustafa is an exception in the bill.  Mustafa says there is no law saying that he is an exception.  "And I can't be an exception."

Miss Latief tells the people in the house that tomorrow Pasha's mother will be coming.  They pick up the older lady at the train station. 

Mustafa checks that his two boys have done their homework.  They have.  Miss Fikriye is now in a sanitarium in Munich, southeast Germany.  She looks rather bored sitting on the veranda. 

Le Chateau de Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland.  The speaker says that Turkey must give the foreigners a guarantee that that it will conform to the interests of both Turkey and the Allies.  Ismet says:  "We want our independence and liberty.  We cannot accept any constraints, any specification, any privileges.  So, we will participate in this commission only if it pursues the negotiations in this framework."  The speaker strikes back with:  "Without judiciary capitulations, no one can live in the Ottoman Empire. "  Ismet stands firm on his original statement. 

Ismet writes that no consensus can be reached at the conference about Mosul, capitulations, fiscal matters, the border of Thrace and Greek compensation. 

Mustafa learns that Britain is encouraging Greece to make war on Turkey with the intent to make Turkey submit in Lausanne.  Britain is already sending the Greeks weaponry.

Lord Curzon says that he is returning to Britain if Turkey will not compromise and say yes. 

Mustafa says he is going to marry Miss Latife.  On his trip to Izmir, he gets a telegram saying that his mother has passed away.  Mustafa insists that he finish his inspection of the troops before concerning himself with his mother's death.

Lord Curzon says to Ismet that he has not liked any of the proposals of the conference related to Turkey.  But when Turkey comes begging them for money, they will take out the rejected proposals one by one and show them to Izmet. 

January 15, 1923 in Eskisehir.  Mustafa speaks about the many problems of Turkey as an underdeveloped nation:  an unhealthy economy, primitive agriculture, almost no industry; a literacy rate of only 7% and most of its people sick from either malaria or tuberculosis.  Turkey cannot continue like this. 

More trouble with stubborn Turkey at the conference. 

Mustafa arrives in Izmir. 

Lausanne Palace.  Ismet still works on the business before the conference, but now he has a large staff with him. 

An enemy of Mustafa says that Mustafa married in a new kind of  ceremony where the bride actually is present (instead of a male representative) at the wedding ceremony.   The man wonders what other novelties may Mustafa come up with next? 

The new bride wakes up in the morning to find herself alone in bed.  She gets up and goes down to find her husband, who is busy working on state business. 

Ismet has been wrangling at the conference now for four hours.  A delegate says:  "If it goes on like this, the conference will capsize."  Lord Curzon says Ismet "definitely refuses to sign our plans."  He says it's over and they will return to Britain tomorrow. 

The Turkish military says that they will lay mines to close the gulfs of Izmir and Izmit.  The army will march towards Istanbul and the Dardanelles.  Mustafa tells them to wait for the government to give the order to move. 

Ismet is questioned by the press as to what is his interpretation of why the other delegates departed without any explanation?  He says he thinks that the conference is just postponed.  A woman of the press asks if the war will recommence? 

Mustafa tells his wife and mother-in-law that the peace negotiations have stopped.  He is going to Ankara because the place must be in a state of chaos.  The new bride will be coming with Mustafa to see Ankara.

There is a bit of a scandal in Turkey because women workers are permitted in the Congress balcony. 

Mustafa is asked if the war will recommence?  The pasha says he will evaluate the situation with Ismet Pasha in Eskisehir.  His wife comes in to say that the women workers have invited them to the Congress.  Mustafa is happy about this. 

Ismet tells Mustafa that Britain has transferred the Mosul issue to the League of Nations.  [Mosul is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Nineveh Province.] 

Mustafa and his wife travel to an old vineyard cottage where the ceiling leaks when there is a heavy rain.  His son is already at the cottage.  His step mother asks him about his background and he says that Pasha adopted him when he was just three years old.

Fikriye is still at the sanitarium. 

Mustafa tells his wife that she can sit up in the balcony in the Assembly.  This causes a stir among some of the deputies.  One asks:  "How can a woman enter here?"  Her husband tells the Assembly that this is the fourth year of the Assembly.

In the carriage on the way back home Mustafa tells his wife that someday there will be equality between men and women.  Letief also believes this, but for right now she is bored.  He tells her to redecorate the house.  She likes the idea. 

At home she tells her male assistant Sgt. Ali to get rid of the piano (because it belongs to Fikriye and she doesn't want to be reminded of her). 

In the sanitarium Fikriye is shown the news in the newspaper that Ghazi Pasha married a lady from Izmir.  This upsets Fikriye and she runs out of the living room.  And now she is traveling back to Turkey by railway.  When she arrives two agents pick her up and take her to speak with one of Pasha's men.  He asks her:  "Is it appropriate to go to Ankara?" 

Mustafa reads in the paper that the majority confirmed the government's peace policy.  Letief asks if they will go to Lausanne again?  Mustafa says it depends on whether or not they are invited to the conference.

Mustafa, the boy and Letief go on a speaking tour of six cities in twelve days. 

Mustafa gets a telephone call saying that Ali Sukru has been missing for two days now.  He was last seen with one of the men of his friend Lame Osman Agha.  And now Agha is missing, too.  Mustafa is told that Sukru's friends think he may have been assassinated for political reasons.  Some Assembly deputies use this to say that the government is incompetent and should be shut down. 

Mustafa tells his wife that Sukru was found dead and they think Osman Agha is responsible for this.  The family leaves the cottage to go into the town center.  As they are pulling out, Mustafa stops to tell a commander to surround Agha's house and tell him that he is under arrest. 

The commander, Ismail Hakki, shouts at the house for Agha to come out because there is a warrant for his arrest.  Agha comes out with his pistol and fires at the commander, who gives the order to fire.  A fire fight starts between Agha's guards and the commander and his men.  Agha is shot and goes down. 

Mustafa reads a note from Hakki saying that Osman Agha is dead. 

Mustafa and Ismet meet at Mustafa's place.  Mustafa tells Latife that they are once again invited to Lausanne.  The peace negotiations start April 23.  Ismet says first he will go to Izmir to see his wife.  He hasn't seen her in a long time. 

In Izmir, Ismet tells his mother-in-law that he wants to take his wife with him to Lausanne.  The wife is shocked, but happy to go. 

On the train the wife asks Ismet what is the difference between the women like her and the women of the West?  He says that the women in the West are freer because they struggled for their rights.  His wife asks how she can fight for women's rights in Turkey?  The reply:  "By breaking the old rules which have been forced on the women for ages."

Lord Cruzon will not be attending the negotiations.  Rumboldt will represent Britain.  General Pele will represent France. 

This time things get rough at the peace talks almost instantly.  When Ismet comes home at night he tells his wife that the day was a horrible one.  "These men can sell the whole nation for their smallest benefit."


Episode 3.

On a large boat Ismet and his wife attend a cocktail party thrown by the Swiss delegation on the back deck.  Ismet gets invited to dinner with Mr. Venizelos. 

Ismet writes a rejection of the idea that Turkey must pay the interest on the debts in gold of the old Ottoman Empire.

Ismet and his wife go for a walk in Laussane.  She is amazed to see women driving cars.  Her husband tells her that there are women doctors and lawyers as well.

Mustafa is also concerned about the old debts of the Ottoman Empire, which had borrowed 210 million liras in 70 years, mostly from France.  30 million went for construction, paid off the deficit in the budget and built magnificent palaces.    He adds that if they have to pay off the debts in gold it will hurt Turkey's financial position and ". . . we will be slaves again."

News comes that the Soviet delegate Vorovsky has been shot.

The head of the Greek delegation, Venizelos, talks with Mustafa.  He wants Greece and Turkey, the smaller countries, to combine against the large countries.  Ismet's wife wants to go home because she is not feeling well.  They have been in Lausanne for almost two months now.

Greece and Turkey work out a deal.  Greece will give back to Turkey Karaagac to settle the Turkish demands for compensation.  The most important problem now is the demands that Turkey pay its debts in gold. 

Mustafa is working late into the night and his wife comes to complain to him.  Since Mustafa is not going to come to bed, she says that she is going to sleep now. 

Ismet says that the peace conference has ended and he wants the government's okay to sign the agreement.  The okay is taking a long time, so Ismet turns to Mustafa for help and he gets it. 

July 24, 1923, Rumini Palace, Lausanne.  Ismet is the hero of the conference and people line up on the steps and applaud him for his accomplishments.  Ismet signs the peace agreement to great applause.  Mustafa celebrates with a fireworks display. 

In the Assembly Mustafa is elected as the Chairman of the Assembly, 196 votes out of a total of 197. 

When Ismet returns to Turkey he is again greeted with great applause.  Mustafa and his wife pick him up at the train station and drive him to their place.  Ismet says the big countries think that Turkey will end up begging them to save the country.  The problem is that they still think of Turkey as uncivilized. 

Mustafa asks Ismet if Mr. Fethi should be the first prime minister?  Yes. 

The peace agreement is accepted in the Assembly by a vote of 213 versus 14.  The last of the Allied forces are leaving Turkey.  The Turkish army now will enter Istanbul in a great celebration. 

In the Assembly they agree to move Turkey's capital to Ankara. 

Now Mustafa wants Turkey to become a real republic.  He meets some opposition from influential men, some of them in the military.  He has written out a number of articles involving the republic.  The motion passes in the Assembly on October 29, 1923.  Mustafa is unanimously elected as Turkey's first president.

Mustafa introduces some reforms:  abolition of the veiling of women; hats will be worn; and the Latin alphabet will be used. 

In the Assembly Ismet Pasha, the deputy from Malatya, is named the prime minister.

There are still those who want the old system.  They want to strengthen the Caliphate.  Ismet is angry and asks:  "Why does Refet Pasha often come together with the Caliph?  What do Karabekir Pasha and Mr. Rauf mean by visiting the Caliph, right now?  Why do they try to weaken the republic in these first steps?"   The atmosphere changes when Ismet receives a telegram that his son has been born in Izmir. 

Mustafa says the opponents of the republic are the supporters of the caliphate, those who are afraid of loosing their benefits, as well as their old civilization, religious people and collaborators.  "Even now we are shaken by the disputes on the caliphate."

A closed session of the Assembly is held.  Ismet gets up to speak.  He speaks out against those pushing the idea of a caliphate.  Ismet accuses Britain of butting into Turkish politics by pushing the idea of the caliphate.  "Britain is planning various conspiracies against our country."  They print papers in Rhodes and distribute them; they try to provoke problems in the East; and they interfere with the problem of the Kurdish minority in Turkey.  To help stop this, the government is sending the Supreme Court to Istanbul to find out what's really going on behind the scenes. 

The Supreme Court arrests the owners of the newspaper who published the letter of Agha Khan and seven people accused of being sultanate supporters and assassins. 

The doctors have told Mustafa that he needs some rest.  He has been having some chest pains.  Letife and Ismet agree that he should go to Izmir because he won't be able to relax staying in Ankara.  Mustafa asks for news from Ismet and the prime minister says that the sultan is actively working to get some power in the government. 

Mustafa tells some of his supporters that they can't have a two-headed state.  After the meeting Ismet tells Mustafa that the police have learned about an assassination plot against the president.  He asks Mustafa to return to Ankara quietly. 

In the Assembly Mustafa talks about keeping politics out of religion.  The Assembly passes a bill to abolish the Caliphate.  Ismet tells Mustafa:  "The representative of Religious Affairs is abolished along with the Caliphate."  They will replace this with the Department of Religious Affairs.  And the school systems have all been united under the Ministry of Education.  Mustafa is especially pleased by the last change.  "We have to give our children a national and contemporary education."

Representatives of the republic tell the caliph that the Caliphate is abolished.  The representatives are here to put the caliph on a train.  The caliph says he will not let them force him out of Turkey.  The representatives says the palace is surrounded by literally hundreds of soldiers.  The caliph resigns himself to exile. 

Two men talk with Mustafa saying that there are those who reject the rights of abolishing the Assembly and vetoing laws to be given to the president.  Mustafa says that there are now so many political parties in Turkey that they present the danger of not having a government at all.  And these parties will increase the tendency for reactionary attitudes to spread. 

Mustafa takes Letife out to show her where he wants to build a ranch.  She says the land is too barren, but Mustafa says he can change that.  He also tells her that the new constitution was accepted with a majority of the votes.  But they lost on the abolishment issue and veto rights.  They also didn't approve the women's right to vote. 

At a parade the young women becoming teachers march with full burkas on.  This is upsetting to Mustafa. 

Miss Fikriye is back from her stay in the sanitarium.  Letife demands that she be sent away.  Muzaffer is given the task of sending Miss Fikriye away.  Fikriye is very sad but she does leave.  In the carriage she shoots herself in the chest with a pistol. 

Mustafa is very upset.  He goes outside to smoke and think  Letife watches him from a window.

On a railway tour of 20 cities in 50 days Mustafa stops to make a speech.  He announces that from now on women will also be educated in the sciences.  The women seem very pleased at this announcement. 

Mustafa wants to make a national economy in Turkey.  To help with this he wants to establish a national bank for Turkey.   

The new parliament building is finished.  Now the first meeting of the next year is held in the new building.  In the assembly some of Mustafa's opponents talk about an opposition party being formed with leaders such as Fevzi Pasha, Karabekir, Ali Fuat and Refet Pasha.  The president comes in to loud applause. 

Mustafa is informed that Ali Fuat Pasha is forming a new political party.  This is why Rauf, Dr. Adnan and Refet Pasha resigned.  The new party will be called the Progressive Republic Party.  Mustafa takes the news in stride saying it's good to have an opposition party. 

Ismet caught dysentery on his way back from Syria.  The treatment for this takes about two months time.  Later, come worse news.  The doctors advised Ismet to resign from the government on concentrate on getting better.  Mustafa sends Ismet the money to get him to treatments in Istanbul. 

Karabekir Pasha is the new party leader for the Progressive Republic Party.  Refet Pasha wants Istanbul to be the capital of Turkey again.  One of the more conservative deputies, Hodja, complains that in Istanbul they let women dance, swim in the sea and go on stage.  He wants these things banned.  The deputy he is complaining to replies:  "The reign of Murad IV has long gone, Hodja!"

Mustafa complains that the opposition party has attracted all the supporters of the Caliphate, sultanate and religion.  These people love to slander the liberals saying that they are atheists who want to push religion out of all politics.  He adds that in the national struggle they  not only had to fight the foreign invaders but the fatwas too.  [A fatwa is a non-binding judgment on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized religious authority.]

A group on horseback attack a group of soldiers and kills them all. 


Episode 4.

The  massacre of the soldiers was the first sign of a rebellion starting in East Anatolia.  Ismet is back in good health and is the prime minister again. 

Nurses and soldiers jump on the train.  Meanwhile, the rebels torch government buildings in East Anatolia. 

Mustafa and Ismet talk about how the enemies of the republic will never give the republic a break.  They are always busy trying to tear down the republic. 

Ismet tells Mustafa that he has this feeling that his friend just isn't happy.  Mustafa says:  "I am not, Ismet.  It had started nicely but it didn't go on well.  She hurts my friends, the people around me.  Even Sgt. Ali couldn't stand her and returned to his village."  He adds that his wife always tries to dominate him.  He just doesn't know how long this marriage can go on. 

Ismet tells his staff that the rebels came near Diyarbakir after they looted Elazig.  They attacked the city with all their forces.  Thank goodness, they were forced to retreat with considerable losses. 

Before the Assembly, Ismet says since the rebels couldn't take Diyarbakir, they attacked Silvan.   In fact, in all they attacked fourteen cities.  The rebels retreated into the Genc Mountains and now they are surrounded by government troops. 

Sheik Sait, the sheiks and aghas will surrender to the army.  They will be sent to Diyarbakir.  Sheik Sait says he rebelled because the religious rules are not being applied by the government.  And he also was concerned about the new freedoms women have been given.  Sait says he made two big mistakes.  One was thinking that the public would join in on his side and two not realizing that Ankara would send out soldiers so soon.  But now, he says, he is regretful over what he did and he expects forgiveness and mercy from the government. 

The newsboy yells out:  "Sheik Sait was surrendered.  The rebellion was suppressed.  The Progressive Republic Party was closed down."  Investigations and trials were held.  They lasted around two months.

The opposition now talks more often about assassinating Mustafa Kemal.  Some say that the government should be overthrown at the same time.  Abdulkadir says this fellow Sukru, who was a deputy of the Progressive Party, should be of great help to them.  An for an assassin they can use the brave ex-convict named Laz Ismail. 

Ismet's wife warns Letife about being too dominating over her husband.  Letife justifies it saying that she has to watch out for his health.  Her friend says she hopes that Letife will not come to regret her choices. 

Letife again embarrasses her husband, this time in front of a soldier and the guards.  He's not happy about this.  As he goes into the house he tells a guard to go get Salih and Kilic Ali for him at once.  When they arrive, he tells them:  "It is over.  I will go and stay in the station house tonight.  He assigns one of the men to tell Ismet and the other, Salih, will tell Letife.  "See her off in an honorable manner to Izmir, tomorrow morning."

Ismet's wife comes over to console Letif.   Mustafa and she were married for two years. 

Ismet and his wife come out to talk with Mustafa at his ranch.  He says that he is going to Kastamonu next week to hear from the people.  In Kastamonu he speaks again about the need to progress forward in order to join the civilized world and to escape from being an underdeveloped country.  And now he says he wants the people to dress more like the people in the civilized, developed world.  And he wants the men to wear a Western style hat.  Then he says about the women and their veils and burkas:  "Let them see the world with their own eyes, too."

The government has closed down and forbidden all the dervish lodges. [A dervish is a member of any of various Muslim orders of ascetics, some of which ( whirling dervishes ) are noted for a frenzied, ecstatic, whirling dance.]

The assassin is handed a pistol with which to kill Mustafa Kemal.  Now they need to find the right opportunity.

After hearing the sad story of a cute girl, Mustafa says he will adopt her and take her to Izmir.  Her name is Sabiha and she really likes the idea of being adopted by Turkey's great leader.   In Izmir Sabiha can play with her father's adopted son and two little girls who now also live there in the house.  He sends his adopted son off to boarding school to be a man of the future and not the past, as his father says. 

Mustafa speaks at the seventh opening of the Assembly.  He says that the army is out putting down the little rebellions of the fanatics. 

Mustafa was worried about the girls not learning anything at school.  He sent one of the guards, Rusuhi, to find out why.  He returns saying the teacher doesn't make them study.  Instead he teaches them plays.  Mustafa now tells an aide to have that teacher fired and get one that will teach his girls what they need to know in a modern world. 

Mustafa gets an update report.  The Assembly will take up the matter of the creation of a war industry in Turkey.  And in a speech Mussolini referred to the Mediterranean Sea as "our sea".  Mustafa says that Mussolini is going to cause a lot of problems for Italy.  He also thinks that Mussolini could cause even him some big problems in Turkey. 

The new teacher at the school scolds the three girls for being lazy and not learning.  She tells them to leave the school.  So the girls leave.  They think their father will get the new teacher in trouble, but dad backs up the teacher, saying they do have a gap in their education and they need to work hard to make it up.  And this is exactly what the teacher is doing.  He asks them:  "Is there any higher position than teaching?"  So he tells Rusuhi to take them back to school where they can tell the teacher they are sorry and Rusuhi will tell the teacher that Mustafa Kemal appreciates her doing her teaching duties as she should. 

Mustafa and one of his daughters come to a neighbor's house for a celebration of the recognizing the Civil Law.  There Mustafa talks to them about his great ideas for improving the culture and education of Turkey and its citizens.  He has lots of good ideas. 

Mr. Rauf is getting on a train headed to Austria for some medical treatment, but he will also go to London to visit Dr. Adnan and Mrs. Halide. 

Mustafa and Ismet learn that last year Mussolini had a plan prepared for an invasion of Turkey.  As a result of this, the government declares a partial mobilization. 

The conspirators continue making plans to kill the president.  A small team led by Ziya Hursit will go to Izmir before Mustafa's arrival.  They will try to kill him in the Gaffarzade coffee shop. 

June 16, 1926.  The president arrives in Izmir.  Ismet tells two men that Ziya Hursit confessed everything.  Now they are to go to Izmir because Mustafa wants them to assess the current situation. 

About 30 men had to appear in court handcuffed.  They are all sent out of the room except for Ziya Hursit.  Ziya admits that he went to Izmir for the purpose of assassination and the overthrow of the current government. 

The newsboy yells:  "Read about the death sentences of the Supreme Court.  Pashas were acquitted."

Mustafa is working on his memoirs. 

After Mr. Rauf came back to Turkey he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  But there is to be a new trial. 

July 1, 1927.  After eight years, Mustafa returns to Istanbul.  Mustafa is very pleased with the overwhelming joy with which he was greeted by the huge crowds.  On the other hand, poor Mustafa has to hear of another assassination attempt that was thwarted by the police.   This attempt originated in Athens.

Mustafa is pleased to hear that Mussolini has decided not to attack Turkey.  Mussolini seeks other countries to attack Turkey.

October 15, 1927.  Mustafa is elected as president unanimously. 

Ankara Palace is finished and ready to receive visitors.  Mustafa asks Ismet to come with him to view the palace. 

Mustafa brings one of his three adopted daughters to see the palace.  From her Mustafa learns that Sabiha is not well.  She has a continuous fever. 

The next day Mustafa takes the day off and they walk down by the beach.  They stop and sit with a group of men having lunch.  Two government vehicles arrive nearby.  The men run to Mustafa. 


Episode 5.

By now they have come up with an easy alphabet using Latin letters. 

August 25, 1928.  Dolmabahce Palace.  The new Latin alphabet is introduced to the public.  Later Mustafa is out talking to crowds introducing the Latin alphabet to them. 

October 29, 1928. Ankara Palace.  Always the show-off, Mustafa dances with Ismet's wife.  They are the first couple to come onto the dance floor.  Now lots of other couples come onto the dance floor.

In the Assembly Mustafa says he wants to get land for every farmer in Turkey.  He also wants to encourage everyone to adopt the new Latin alphabet.  Even adults go to school to learn the new alphabet. 

Sabiha is well now and she comes home to visit father.  And she has become a female aviator.

The three sisters are united again and they talk about old times.  Sabiha goes out riding with her father.  He gets lost and asks a shepherd boy how does he get to the ranch.  The boy tells him.  Now Mustafa wants to give the boy some money.  The boy will only take the money if Mustafa will take some of his walnuts.  So they exchange money and walnuts.  The boy's name is also Mustafa and the president says they have the same name, except that his last name is Kemal.  The boy recognizes the name and starts kissing the President's right hand. 

Mustafa befriends the boy and gets permission to send him to boarding school.  The shepherd boy now gets to go to  many fancy events and be welcomed by the President's admirers. 

His daughter Afet starts teaching school.  She gets mad when a girl is voted to an important student government position just to have it overturned by a male student who says that the females have no rights to be elected members of the student government.  She tells her father:  "I felt very sorry and ashamed.  I won't teach there unless I will be given equal rights with that male student of mine." 

He takes his daughters to show them another building.  He uses the opportunity to praise Turkish women.  And he encourages Afet to fight for her rights.

Afet makes a speech making her case for women's rights.  After the speech Mustafa tells Afet that he is proud of her.

Mustafa wants to create a multi-party system in Turkey.  He asks various leaders if they want to establish another party?  His only requirements is that the party or parties be pro-Republic and that they don't let religion be used for political aims.  With Mustafa's encouragement, the Liberal Party is founded.  Mr. Fehti, the leader of the Liberal Party, sends a note to Mustafa saying that the governor of Izmir is hindering his right to speak to the public.  Mustafa writes a note back saying that he will help him with his problem.  He also sends copies of his reply note to all concerned. 

There is trouble in Izmir.  The demonstrators, chanting "down with Ismet Pasha" start getting out of hand.  The demonstrators attack the Public Party's building, throw stones at the Anadolu newspaper and quarrel with the police.  The result is two dead along with many wounded. 

The next day Fehti gives his speech.  He says that the government's economic policy has been very tough on the people and there are many bankruptcies of businesses.  He also says they want to go back to wearing the fez instead of hats.  The crowd starts shouting:  "Down with the government!"  Some observers believe that the Liberal Party will bring the Caliphate back. 

Women are voting in the elections now.  In the Assembly Fehti speaks after Mustafa.  He calmly explained his positions, but he becomes very unnerved when deputies started objecting to the actions of some religious fanatics.  Fehti panicked and suddenly announced the abolition of the Liberal Party.  So this experiment with multi-parties has stopped after only three months. 

December 23, 1930.  Carrying the green flags of the rebellion, armed men head into a mosque.  They get a large crowd of men together.  They start pulling off the hats of passing citizens.  Army troops come out to stop the demonstration complete with shots fired into the air.  But  the soldiers only have blanks in their guns.  The officer tells the demonstrators that he will send the troops away and just talk to them.  As he approaches the crowd, someone shoots the officer in the chest.  Then one of the demonstrators decapitates the officer and show the head to the crowd.  The villain says they will do the same to Mustafa and Ismet.  The head is placed atop the flag of Islam and paraded around the town.  

Ismet says that the religious fanatics were so out of control that the government's troops opened fire on them.  The so-called Mahdi and two of his men were killed.  Some other men were wounded and anyone trying to flee the scene was arrested. 

The newsboys shout:  "Martial law was declared in Menemen, Manisa and Balikesir."

September 18, 1932.  Turkey now wants to join the League of Nation.  There is the remaining problem of land (their straits) that the Turks were supposed to relinquish and have not.  Mustafa says:  "Their time will come."

Gen. McArthur of the USA will be received by the Assembly, September 27. 

September 27, 1932.  Dolmabahce Palace.  Speaking to MacArthur Mustafa warns of the dangers of having a dictator in Germany who is building up a huge army.  He warns that with such an army, the Germans could take and occupy Europe, including Great Britain and the Soviet Union.  He says the ultimate benefactor of such an event will be the Soviet Union.  MaArthur listens mostly. 

At a New Year's Eve dinner a military officer dances with Sabiha. 

The next day Mustafa and two of his daughters attend the concert of the School of Teachers. 


This is a good film, but at times I felt bogged down on the minutiae of various political maneuverings.  That fellow Ataturk was really impressive.  Without him, I doubt they could have made Turkey into a modernized version of itself.  He really dominated Turkish politics and yet never really tried to become a dictator, which he probably could have done.  No, he encouraged the people in opposition to him and his own Liberal Party, to form new political parties.  He also seemed to be a very fair man, especially so seeing that there were so many conservatives in Turkey that did not want to become "civilized" like other European civilizations.  Ataturk had to be tough at times to resist the conservative calls for no rights for women.  He discouraged women from wearing the veil and other contraptions and encourage dhem to wear European style clothing and hats.  He fought for the right of women to vote and to be elected to office.  This was not easy because of the extreme conservatism of the opposition.  In fact, these people even tried to have Ataturk assassinated.

We should be thankful to Ataturk because he provided us with an example of a Muslim country that forced its people toward Western style and thinking.   Not all the Muslim countries are mired in the 12th century. 

The acting was good and there were a lot of actors in the film. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



Historical Background:

Pasha was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitariesPasha is equivalent to the British title of Lord.

1881  --  birth of Mustafa Kemal.

19th and early 20th centuries  --   the Ottoman Empire based in Turkey continued losing its territories, such as Greece, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and the Balkans in the 1912–1913 Balkan Wars.  The Empire starts allying itself to Germany.  They entered WWI on the side of the Germans. 

1914  --  Mustafa Kemal organizes and commands the 19th Division attached to the Fifth Army during the Battle of Gallipoli.

1918 (October 30)  --the Armistice of Mudros was signed.

1920 (August 10)--  the Treaty of Sèvres is imposed on the Empire by the Allied Powers.  The treaty was never ratified. Nevertheless the treaty broke up the Ottoman Empire and forced large concessions on territories of the Empire in favor of Greece, Italy, Britain and France.

The occupation of some parts of the country by the Allies led to the establishment of the Turkish national movement.  It was led by Mustafa Kemal, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was designed to revoke the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.

By 1922 (September 18)  --  the occupying armies were expelled.

1922 (November 1)  --   the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate ending 623 years of Ottoman rule.

1923 (July 24)  --  the Treaty of Lausanne led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey".

1923 (October 29)  --  the republic was officially proclaimed in the new capital of Ankara. Mustafa Kemal became the republic's first President of Turkey.

Mustafa introduced many radical reforms with the aim of founding a new secular republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past.

1934  --  the Turkish parliament presented Mustafa Kemal with the honorific surname "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks).

1938  --  death of Ataturk. 

1939  --  start of WWII. 


Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)