MUSTAFA KEMAL AS AN ARMY COMMANDER
In 1906, he was sent to Damascus (Sam). Mustafa Kemal and his
friends founded a society which they called "Vatan ve Hürriyet"
(Fatherland and Freedom) in Damascus. On his own initiative, he went to
Tripoli during the war with Italy in 1911 and took part in the defence of
served in the Balkan War as a successful Commander (1912-1914). At the
end of the Balkan War, Mustafa Kemal was appointed military attache in
When Mustafa Kemal was in Sofia, the First World War broke out. He
was made Commander of the Anafartalar Group on 8th of August, 1915. In the
First World War he was in command of the Turkish forces at Anafartalar at
a critical moment. This was when the Allied landings in the Dardanelles
(Çanakkale Bogazi) took place and he personally saved the situation.
During the battle, Mustafa Kemal was hit by shrapnel above the heart, but
a watch in his breast pocket saved his life. Mustafa Kemal explained his
state of mind as he accepted this great responsibility: "Indeed, it was
not easy to shoulder such responsibility, but as I had decided not to live
to see my country's destruction, I accepted it proudly." He then served
in the Caucasus and in Syria and just before the armistice in 1918 he was
placed in command of the Lightning Army group in Syria. After the
armistice (peace agreement), he returned to Istanbul.