National Education

Our most important and promising responsibilities lie in the task of national education. It is a prerequisite to be successful in the task of national education. The real salvation of a nation can only be achieved in this way. 1922

The center of scientific and technical initiative is the school. It is therefore a necessity. We should always remember the name of the school in deep respect. School teaches the young brains to respect humanity, to love the nation and the country and it teaches honor and freedom. It teaches the best ways to preserve freedom whenever there are threats at large. Those who endeavor to save their countries must be honored experts in their professions and hard working scientists. School provides these. Only with the help of schooling will all attempts achieve logical solutions. 1922

In the intellectual discipline as well as in the political and social life our guide will be science and technology of our nation. The Turkish nation, its art, its economy, its poetry and literature will develop only with science and technology obtained from the school. (1922)

We need two armies to take our society to the final end of happiness. The first one is the military army that saves the life of the country, the second one is the cultural army that kneads the future of the nation. Both these armies are respectful, productive and of great value. Which of these two armies is more valuable, which should dominate? No such choice can be made, both these armies are of vital importance.

In order to express the value and sacredness of their army, I must refer to the members of the cultural army and say that it is they who teach the soldiers of the first army who kill and die the cause for doing so. 1923 (M.E.I.S.D, page 17)

If a nation does not have a cultural army, no matter how glamorous victories its armies achieve on the battlefield, sustainable results of these victories depend solely on the presence of the cultural army. The productive results of the first a army will disappear if the second army does not exist. (M.E.I.S.D.I, page 17)

The only ones who save nations are teachers. A nation without teachers and tutors does not deserve the title of a nation. It might be called an ordinary crowd, not a nation. It is a must for a population to have teachers and tutors in order to become a nation. 1925 (M.E.I.S.D.I, page 25)

It is necessary to evaluate the country in terms of science, culture, economy and public enterprises and it is a must to develop the skills of our nation in many fields in order to give a strong, constant and positive character to forthcoming generations. Teachers stand foremost front among the forces that fight for these sacred aims.1923 (Atatürk’s T.T.B. IV, page 487)

In order to hand over the education in schools to trustworthy and skilled staff, in order to educate the children of the nation decently, teachers should be given a high social status like all other professions so that the esteemed and respected teachers will take teaching both as a profession and as an ideal. All around the world, teachers are the most devoted and respected components of societies. 1923 (Atatürk’s S.D.I, page 289)

The new generation will take their most important lesson in being a republican from the teachers that will be trained by this group of teachers. 1924 Great History At Trabzon, page 11)

Teachers! The devoted teachers and tutors of the republic, you will be teaching the new generation. And the new generation will be your masterpiece. The value of this masterpiece will be related to your skills and devotion. The republic requires protectors of high character with strong scientific, technological and physical skills! It is totally up to you to train the new generation in such required skills. 1924 (M.E.I.S.D. page 19)

Primary and secondary level education should provide the students with the scientific and technological knowledge that humanity and civilization require. But these must be given in a practical manner so that the child may be sure that he will not starve after graduation. (1931)

It is education that either deserts a nation to slavery and poverty or enables the nation to live in freedom and independence as an esteemed society. (1925)

No matter what the premises of the education that we will give to our children, we have to teach them to fight the enemies of: 1- Their nation, 2- The Turkish State, 3- The Great National Assembly of Turkey. The nations whose individuals are not equipped with these required facilities have no right to survive. It is a must to fight in this respect. 1922 (M.E.I.S.D.I, page 9)

I would suggest to the children of this country preparing themselves for the future to work with patience and endurance and I would suggest to the parents of these children at education stage to devote themselves to the education of their children.

History approves the determination of the awakening nations against great threats. Our nation has to fight with its weapon and its brains. I have no doubt that our nation will prove its power in the latter as it has proved its power with the first. 1921 (Atatürk’s M.A.D, page 4-5)

In bringing up our children and youth we should equip them with an understanding of a strong and devoted defense against all kinds of adverse ideas of foreign components referring to the presence, rights and the unity of our nation. It is important to inject this characteristic and skill to the spiritual power of the new generation. The philosophy of the nation’s existence that appears as a continuous and great war require these characteristics desperately for every nation that desires to remain free and happy. (1921)

Science and Technology

Considering the world as a whole, be it civilization, life or success, science is the only real leader. Looking for a leader other than science is somnolence, ignorance and straying from the true path. But it is necessary to understand the developments and progress of science at all its levels and to follow up on its developments in time. After thousands of years, today pursuing completely the rules, ordered by the science one thousand, two thousands, thousands of years ago, naturally does not mean we are in the realm of science. 1924 (5-197)

We cannot only close our eyes and think we are the only human beings. We cannot isolate our country from the outer world….To the contrary, as a civilized nation that has achieved progress, we must live above a certain level of civilization. This life is only possible thanks to science. Wherever science will be, we will live there and this shall be embedded in the minds of the individuals of our nation. There are no restrictions and conditions for science.

The progress of nations which insist on protecting some traditions or beliefs that are not based on any logical proofs, will be difficult; perhaps it will never occur. Those nations which cannot overcome the restrictions and conditions of their traditions, will not perceive of life as a logic and real occurrence. They are condemned to live under the sovereignty and yoke of those nations who perceive of life philosophy from a wider perspective. 1922 (5-44)

To be successful, it is necessary to ensure a natural harmony between the mentality and goals of the intelligentsia and the people. In other words, the ideals to be suggested to the people by the intelligentsia should reflect the spirit and conscience of the people. 1923 (5-141)

To approach the people and integrate with them is a duty, which is mostly directed to the intelligentsia. At first, our young people and the intelligentsia should decide in their own minds why they are marching in this path and what they are going to do. Then they have to bring these ideas into an easily acceptable state. Only after this they should offer their ideas to the public. 1923 (5-141:142)

Fanaticism is based on ignorance. Therefore, he who has fanatic inclinations is ignorant. Science overcomes ignorance without doubt; thus it is necessary to enlighten the people. 1923 (37-73)

This nation and this country are in need of science and progress; besides protecting and promoting those who have been educated and gained a diploma, another quite natural issue is that we are obliged to send our children to Europe, America and all over the world so that they can be educated and trained and become acquainted with science and we will send them. Wherever there is science and specialization, wherever there is art we are obliged to keep up and study. For this reason patronage is no more valid. What is valid is necessity. 1923 (37-123)

I never give orders for tasks in the field of science, especially social science. I would like scientists to enlighten me in these fields. Thus, if you have confidence in your knowledge of science, culture, do tell me about it and show me the constructive sides of social sciences and I will pursue them. (28-316)

As a spiritual heritage, I will not leave any verses of the Qu’ran, any dogma or frozen and formed rules behind me. My spiritual heritage is science and the mind. Generations after me will confirm that perhaps we could not reach the goals completely because of serious and deep-rooted difficulties, but they will also confirm that we never gave way to compromises and that we have been guided by the mind and science. (129-13)

Sports And Health

To be successful, the true nature and value of sports has to be understood by the whole nation. They must display sympathy and consider it as a patriotic service rather than providing all kinds of support. 1926 (Atatürk’s B.N., P. 106)

All kinds of sports activities must be considered as the main elements of the national education of the Turkish youth. 1937 (Atatürk’s K.A.N., P.32)

A community can not change its color and strength only with sports. All the initiatives and measures aimed at providing many healthful, social, civilized needs and conditions controlling that field must be applied. 1926 (Atatürk’s B.N., P. 106)

The Turkish nation is by nature a sportsman. You even see village boys wrestling at the threshing field who just start walking. It is not only the Turkish men who best and most adeptly ride a horse; Turkish women can ride as well.

The sport I like most is free wrestling. Whichever Turkish soldier, villager you want, undress and put him on the arena. With straight up shoulders, well, perfectly developed muscles, sharp face lines, sun-tanned complexion and head physique, they refresh as a masterpiece giving confidence and joy to the human spirit. (Ferit Celal Güven, Yücel Magazine, Volume: X, Issue: 57, 1939, P. 130)

The letter he wrote to the wrestler, Kurtdereli Mehmet:

The wrestler Kurtdereli Mehmet,

I recognized you as a Turkish wrestler who became famous in the world. I also learned that you explain the secret of your bright successes with this remark:

“During every fight I think that Turkish nation is standing behind me and consider my nation’s honor.”

I like what you said at least as much as what you have done. For this reason, I note your valuable remark as a professional principal for Turkish sportsmen. By this you will understand how I appreciate your presence and remarks. 1931 (History IV, Republic Of Turkey, T.T.T.C., P.268)

Sports is not only considered as a superiority of physical capability. Perception, intelligence and morality assist it as well. The strong with less intelligence and comprehension can not cope with the less strong but with sufficient intelligence and comprehension. I like the sportsman who is intelligent, agile as well as morally upright. (Ferit Celal Güven, Yücel Magazine, Volume: X, Issue: 57, 1939, P. 130)

The ones who are in charge of organizing the sports activities in the Turkish social structure do not act to win in a competion just to show off while considering to improve the sports life of Turkish children. The basis is, to provide physical education for Turks of all age groups. Our ancestors did not make the statement “a healthy mind is found on a healthy body” for nothing. 1937 (Afet İnan, About Atatürk H.B., P. 86)

Here is our aim in health and social matters: protection and strengthening of the health of our nation, reducing deaths, increasing the population, neutralizing the contagious and epidemic diseases, in this way, raising the individuals of the nation to a healthy condition, energetic, vigorous and capable of working… 1922 (Atatürk’s S.D.I, P. 217)

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