Atatürk and İzmir
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey loved İzmir very much and vice versa. Here is “İzmir in the life of Atatürk."
According to the information compiled by Dr. Eren Akçiçek in his work titled "İzmir in the Life of Atatürk", Mustafa Kemal came to İzmir for the first time in February 1905. In his speech addressing to the public from the Izmir Municipality Balcony 20 years later, Atatürk would explain the day he met the city with the following words:
"The first day I saw İzmir was the day I left exile, leaving the school. In this beautiful land, I spent a few hours on the way to exile. Then I saw this beautiful dock full of the members of a foreign race that was an enemy to us. It was the day I understood that the city had left the noble Turks of İzmir."
Atatürk came again to the city during the Liberation of İzmir, which has a critical place in the Turkish War of Independence.
Mustafa Kemal arrived at Belkahve with his headquarters on Saturday, September 9, 1922, and watches İzmir from under a fig tree. The next day, Atatürk entered the city center with Marshal Fevzi (Çakmak), Commander of the Western Front, İsmet (İnönü) Pasha, Head of the Western Front Staff, Asım (Gündüz) Pasha and went to the Government House. People of İzmir welcomed their savior with joy and enthusiasm.
Respect for the enemy flag
Mustafa Kemal arrived at his home in Karşıyaka after the ceremony. After climbing on the marble roof of the house, he sees a Greek flag laying on the floor in front of the door. The flag is spread like a road rug to be stepped on. When he was told that the Greek King entered the house by stepping on the Turkish flag, Atatürk replied:
"He did wrong. The flag representing a nation can’t be stepped on. I cannot repeat his mistake."
Having the flag removed from the ground, Atatürk entered by walking on the white marble.
Atatürk, the citizen of İzmir
The citizens of İzmir offered Atatürk on September 14, 1922, and this offer is accepted. In his letter addressed to İzmir Reverend Hamiyetli Ahal on September 24, 1922, Atatürk said, "It has been an eternal joy and pride to be counted among the citizens of İzmir,
which has been the light of our country against the Mediterranean, and suffered for a long time in order to survive the enemy invasion."
After the War of Independence, Atatürk visited İzmir 13 more times.
İzmir Atatürk Museum
You can visit the İzmir Atatürk Museum to learn more about the relationship between İzmir and Atatürk.
In the İzmir Atatürk Museum, which is one of the most magnificent structures in Kordon and which has witnessed the most important events in the history of the city, information and documents about Turkish Republic’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life and his visits to İzmir are displayed.
The building, which Atatürk stayed when he came to the city between 1930 - 1934 and used as an office, has been serving as a museum with different names since 1941. Today, in the museum, the meeting room, study room, bedroom, guest room, barber room, aide room, waiting - reception room, library, dining room, and bathroom that Atatürk once used can be seen
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