|"This nation has never lived without independence. We cannot and shall not live without it. Either independence or death."
Mustafa Kemal Pasha emerged as the national liberator of the Turks when the Ottoman Empire, carved up by the Western Powers, was in its death throes. Already a legendary hero of the Dardanelles and other fronts, he became in 1919 the leader of the Turkish emancipation. With a small and ill-equipped army, he repelled the invading enemy forces on the East, on the South, and on the West. He even had to contend with the Sultan's troops and local bands of rebels before he could gain complete control of the Turkish homeland. By September 1922, he had received one of history's most difficult triumphs against internal opposition and powerful external enemies.
The liberator ranks among the world's greatest strategists and holds the rare distinction of having maintained a perfect military record consisting of only victories and no defeats.
As the national struggle ended, the heroic leader proclaimed:" Following the military triumph we accomplished by bayonets, weapons and blood, we shall strive to win victories in such fields as culture, scholarship, science, and economics," adding that " the enduring benefits of victories depend only on the existence of an army of education."
It is for his military victories and his cultural and socio-political reforms, which gave Turkey its new life, that the Turkish nation holds Atatürk in gratitude and reverence.