European Nationalism Project

How Turkey Became a Nation

In 1453 Turkey became a part of the Ottoman Empire. During World War I the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers and were defeated. After the war the country was invaded by Greece which led to the Turkish War of Independence from 1919-1922. It officially became the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923 in Ankara the country's new capital.


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The Republic Monument is located in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. It was designed by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica in 1928 to dedicate the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. During the Ottoman Empire public monuments were not allowed, so Kemal Ataturk wanted to show Turkey was a secular republic. The monument shows the founders of the Turkish Republic. They are Kemal Ataturk, General Ismet Inonu, and General Fevzi Cakmak.
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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born on May 19, 1881. He was a Turkish military officer during World War I. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, he led the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence. He became the founder of the Republic of Turkey and the first President of Turkey. He was given the surname Ataturk because it means Father of the Turks. His mission was to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state.


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Turkish Flag

The Turkish flag is red with a white star and a crescent. It is called al bayrak which means the red flag. The design is the same as the Ottoman flag, which was created in 1844. The red represents the blood of Turkey's soldiers during the Turkish War of Independence. The crescent and the star are pre-Islamic Muslim symbols and were put on the flag because of legends. These symbols were around before the beginning of the religion of Islam in the seventh century. One legend is the first Ottoman Sultan has a dream and a crescent and a star appear on his chest and expanded foretelling the dynasty's seizure of Constantinople.
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National Anthem

Istiklal Marsi or Independence March is the national anthem of the Republic of Turkey. It was made official on March 12, 1921 as motivation for the troops fighting in the Turkish War of Independence, and as an aspirational anthem for a Republic that was to be established.

A line from the national anthem

Korkma, sönmez bu şafaklarda yüzen al sancak;

Sönmeden yurdumun üstünde tüten en son ocak. Turkish lyrics

Fear not; For the crimson banner that proudly ripples in this glorious dawn, shall not fade, Before the last fiery hearth that is ablaze within my homeland is extinguished.

The nation's not fading or going anywhere. The Turkish flag will fly until the last house is destroyed.