THE Treaty of Lausanne was signed July 23, 1923. A few months later, on October 29, 1923, the Grand National Assembly at Ankara proclaimed Turkey a republic, and Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected its first President. These two events marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another in the history of Turkey, indeed in the history of the entire Near East. The Treaty of Lausanne delimited Turkey's boundaries and determined her place among the nations; the constitutional changes of the following October transformed the country's internal organization.
Mustafa Kemal's appointment as President was the external symbol of these new developments. The capacities of this born leader -- full of energy, sure of his aims, without scruples -- were favored by the general trend of the times, so that he was able to bring about a complete change in the structure of the state, its laws, and its economic and cultural life. The same tendencies are at work everywhere in the east today; but in Turkey it has been possible to carry them into effect more thoroughly than elsewhere. For in Turkey the soil had been prepared by the persistent efforts of the intelligentsia for fifty years, whereas, up to the beginning of the twentieth century, the other countries of Eastern Europe can hardly be said to have been very amenable to western influence. Turkey's victorious campaign against Greece, an ally of the Entente Powers, and the tearing-up of the Treaty of Sèvres put the Turkish masses in a state of mind which made radical changes in the structure of the national life possible. For they not only had attained to a political liberty such as they had never known before; with it they had gained a new self-confidence and an implicit trust in the man who had been their leader during the war of liberation and who now set himself the task of modernizing the nation.
Just as in Italy since 1922, and as in Germany since early in the present year, Duce was permitted to satisfy the demands of his people in the sphere of foreign politics before he started work on his internal reforms, a fact to which he owes his surname Ghazi -- "the Victor." Another fact characteristic of the different social development in the three countries is that Mustafa Kemal belongs to the upper middle classes and is a member of the officer caste, whereas Mussolini and Hitler come from the people.
Loading, please wait...