Turkish Embassy in Skopje

Speeches

Honoring the 113th Anniversary of Ataturk’s High School Graduation, 13.03.2012

State Minister Mr. Hadi Nezir,
State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Macedonia Mr. Petar Esmerov
Deputy Chief of Macedonian General Staff, Major General Naser Sejdini
Brigadier General Mr. Ali Şahin İşleyen
Ambassadors, Military Attaches, Honorary Consuls, Members of the Parliament, Major of Bitola Mr. Vladimir Taleski,
Distinguished Guests,

I am greatly honoured to be here once again, at this historic building of the Military High School, from which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, was graduated 113 years ago, and I would like to express my gratitude to all participants who share the same feelings with us.

Founded in 1850’s, Manastery Military High School is an educational institution which raised many dignitaries who took part in the establishment and enlightenment of the Republic of Turkey This fertile land, Bitola and this high school have had significant impacts on the development of the ideals which constitute the basis of the Republic, and on the modern thoughts that would guide Atatürk during his entire life.

After graduating the military secondary school in Thessaloniki in 1896, Atatürk decided to continue to his education in Bitola upon his teachers’ advises. As it is today, the purpose of the military high schools at that time was to prepare the students for the military academies. Therefore, these high schools had a quite intensive curriculum. His friends at this high school were not only from Thessaloniki, but also from Skopje, Shkodra and Janina, and they all had different natures, characters and personalities. Even so, Mustafa Kemal adopted to this school, his classmates and teachers and to the city very quickly.

The military high school was a source of inspiration and seminal for Mustafa Kemal.

While he was continuing his education successfully, Mustafa Kemal acquainted with the contemporary thought and ideas of that period by reading the books of the Ottoman intellectuals like Namık Kemal. It is also well-known that in those years Atatürk was having intellectual conversations with his teachers and friends at the high school.

He learned the French Revolution at this building, he read Jean Jacques Rousseau and his social convention here too. He became interested in Turkish history, similarly he developed his rhetorical and oratorical skills here. His concerns about the problems of the country and the nation as well as their future took root here. The saying of Mustafa Kemal at that shaping period is as follows: “I have found the first expression that would fill me with pride of my national identity at the poet of Mehmet Emin Yurdakul beginning with the verse that “I am a Turk, my religion and my race are noble”, which I read for the first time when I was a student at the Monastery Military High School”.

At a time when the ideas of Mustafa Kemal was sprouting, Bitola city together with Thessaloniki, was one of the most important cultural and commercial centers in the Ottoman period. Railway was built in Bitola just in 1870’s, the clock tower constructed by II. Abdulhamit had encouraged punctuality and orderly life in the people of Bitola for many years. At this city which was also called the city of Consuls, several foreign languages were used in daily life.
Today Bitola, where the active and honorary consuls are mostly accredited, still maintains its characteristics.

Guided by the motto of Atatürk “Peace at home, peace in the world”, we wish Macedonia, which we consider as an example of peace and stability and culture of mutual coexistence in the Balkans, to improve in all fields in the family of states, strengthen its democratic life and become a multiethnic, multi-religious and prosperous country. It is our desire that Macedonians, Albanians, Turks and other communities live together equally and happily in this country. That’s why, we support this friendly and brotherly country to become a member state of the EU and NATO and to have a deserved respectful place within the world nations.

Finally, I would like to present my complements to you for attending this ceremony, to the people of Macedonia embracing Atatürk as a son of this territory, and to all my friends who love Atatürk.