THE REFORMS OF ATATÜRK
Atatürk was a military genius, a charismatic leader, also a
comprehensive reformer. It was important at the time for the Republic of
contemporary civilizations and to be an active member of the culturally
developed communities. Mustafa Kemal modernised the life of his country.
Atatürk introduced reforms which he considered of vital importance for the
salvation and survival of his people between 1924- 1938. These reforms
were enthusiastical ly welcomed by the Turkish people.
The Reform of the Alphabet
One of the most important reforms of Atatürk was the abolition of the use
of the Arabic alphabet and the adoption of the Latin alphabet. On the 3rd
of November 1928, the new Turkish Alphabet was adopted.
The Clothing Reform
With the clothing reform, women stopped wearing veils; they started to
wear modern women's clothing. Men started to wear hats rather than the
The Secularisation of the Legal System
The new Turkish State founded in 1920 required a new legal system. Atatürk
adopted the Swiss Civil Code as a substitute for Canonical Law (Seriat
Kanunu) and instead of the penal code then in force, introduced the
Italian Penal Code of that time. The Tur kish Legal System was modernised
in accordance with contemporary requirements.
The Secularisation of Education
Until the beginning of the 19th century, several educational systems were
used in the Ottoman Empire. Atatürk observed that the systems used in
Muslim seminaries school did not meet the needs of the new society. It
was essential to establish a new educa tional system similar to the
western models. Thus, the existing system was changed. In 1933 a
university reform was introduced.
Civil Rights for Women
With the reforms of Atatürk, Turkish women, who for centuries had been
neglected, were given new rights. Thus with the civil code passed, Turkish
women would now have the same rights as men, could be appointed to
official posts, would have the right t o vote and to be elected to
Parliament. The monogamy principle and equal rights for women changed the
spirit of Turkish society.
Atatürk's Works on Turkish History
Following the reform of the script, which was meant to be a kind of
nationalism in the cultural field, Atatürk concentrated his attention on
history. He established the Turkish Historical Society in 1931. Here,
Turkey's history was thoroughly examined an d evaluated.
The New Calendar, Weights and Measures, Holidays and Surname Laws
Many other reforms were achieved as well. An example of this is the
Weekend Act of 1924, the International Time and Calendar System of 1925,
the Obligation Law and Commercial Law of 1926, the System of Measures 1933
and the Surname Act, 1934. According to the law passed by the Grand
National Assembly in 1932 Turks took surnames and the Nation's leader was
given the surname of Atatürk, "Father of the Turks".