Atatürk's principles can be summed up in six fundamentals:
Republicanism: The Kemalist reforms represent a political revolution; a
change from the multinational Empire to the establishment of the nation
state of Turkey and the realisation of national identity of modern Turkey.
Kemalism only recognises a Republica n regime for Turkey. Kemalism
believes that it is only the republican regime which can best represent
the wishes of the people.
Populism: The Kemalist revolution was also a social revolution in term of
its content and goals. This was a revolution led by an elite with an
orientation towards the people in general. The Kemalist reforms brought
about a revolutionary change in the status of women through the adoption
of Western codes of law in Turkey, in particular the Swiss Civil Code.
Moreover, women received the right to vote in 1934. Atatürk stated on a
number of occasions that the true rulers of Turkey were the peasants. This
was actually a goal rather than a reality in Turkey. In fact, in the
official explanation given to the principle of populism it was stated that
Kemalism was against class privileges and class distinctions and it
recognized no individual, no family, no class and no organization as being
above others. Kemalist ideology was, in fact, based on supreme value of
Turkish citizenship. A sense of pride associated with this citizenship
would give the needed psychological spur to the people to make them work
harder and to achieve a sense of unity and national identity.
Secularism: Kemalist secularism did not merely mean separation of state
and religion, but also the separation of religion from educational,
cultural and legal affairs. It meant independence of thought and
independence of institutions from the dominance of religious thinking and
religious institutions. Thus, the Kemalist revolution was also a
secularist revolution. Many Kemalist reforms were made to bring about
secularism, and others were realised because secularism had been achieved.
The Kemalist principle of secularism did not advocate atheism. It wa s not
an anti-God principle. It was a rationalist, anti-clerical secularism. The
Kemalist principle of secularism was not against an enlightened Islam, but
against an Islam which was opposed to modernisation.
Reformism: One of the most important principles that Atatürk formulated
was the principle of reformism or revolutionism. This principle meant that
Turkey made reforms and that she replaced traditional institutions with
modern institutions. It meant that traditional concepts were eliminated
and modern concepts were adopted. The principle of reformism went beyond
the recognition of the reforms which were made.
Nationalism: The Kemalist revolution was also a
nationalist revolution. Kemalist nationalism was not racist. It was meant
to preserve the independence of the Republic of Turkey and also to help
the Republic's political development. It was a nationalism w hich
respected the right to independence of all other nations. It was a
nationalism with a social content. It was not only anti-imperialist, but
it was also against the rule of a dynasty or of any particular social
class over Turkish society. Kemalist nat ionalism believes in the
principle that the Turkish state is an indivisible whole comprising its
territory and people.
Statism: Kemal Atatürk made clear in his statements and policies that
Turkey's complete modernisation was very much dependent on economic and
technological development. The principle of statism was interpreted to
mean that the state was to regulate the country's general economic
activity and the state was to engage in areas where private enterprise was
not willing to do so, or where private enterprise had proved to be i
nadequate, or if national interest required it. In the application of the
principle of statism, however, the state emerged not only as the principle
source of economic activity but also as the owner of the major industries
of the country.