January 22, 2018 3:27 am

On October 29, 1923, Ataturk declared the new Turkish State a “Republic”. He dispelled his country’s archaic beliefs and customs for it was essential for Turkey to Westernize to progress towards the level of contemporary civilizations. The series of reforms were welcomed by the Turkish people. The new Turkish State founded in 1920 requires a new legal system; thus Ataturk adopted the Swiss Civil Code as substitute for Canonical Law, and instead of the penal code then in force brought the Italian Penal Code. As a result of such a modification, secularism, one of the fundamentals of Kemalism, signifying the complete separation of government and religious affairs, was adopted. Also a university reform was introduced in 1933 since the Ottoman systems of education did not meet the needs of the society. One of the most important reforms of Ataturk was the abolition of use of the Arabic script and the adoption of the Latin script; in 1928 the new Turkish Alphabet was adopted. Also with the reforms of Ataturk, Turkish women, who for centuries had been left neglected, were given new rights. Thus with the civil code passed, Turkish women would enjoy equal rights with those of the men, could be appointed to official posts, would enjoy the right to vote and to be elected to the Parliament. With the reform on dress, women stopped wearing veils and “carsaf”; men started to wear western style hats rather than the “fes”. As a result of the reforms, Turkey’s economic structure was completely changed for the better. Ataturk’s foreign policy is based on, as he himself has underlined, “Peace At Home, Peace In the World”.

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