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Memorable Encounters with Atatürk

Edited By Gönül Bakay and Leyla Pekcan

The book is a collection of memoirs related to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The recollections of 27 people who met Atatürk in person reflect the environment in which they grew up. The accounts of their childhood during the founding period of the Turkish Republic provide a wealth of information enabling historians to reconstruct how the perception of Atatürk was transformed during a time of profound political change.

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“If anything happens to that child, I won’t be able to live any longer!” (Ülkü Adatepe)

Extract

Ülkü Adatepe

“If anything happens to that child, I won’t be able to live any longer!”

My mother was actually Bosnian; she was born in Sarajevo. She lost her mother when she was only one year old. Her father died during the war. Her grandfather took her with him when he moved to Thessaloniki. They lived somewhere near Zübeyde Hanım’s (Atatürk’s mother) house. When mother’s grandfather was no longer able to look after her, Zübeyde Hanım took my mother under her wings and raised her; that is, my mother and Atatürk’s sister grew up together. Some say that Atatürk had an adopted son. The truth of the matter is that Atatürk did not have an adopted son. Along with my mother, Zübeyde Hanım lent a hand and raised another child – Abdürrahim. She later sent him to be educated abroad. When Abdürrahim got married, he and his wife became protogés of Atatürk’s sister. However, Abdürrahim was not mentioned in Atatürk’s will.

“Name her Ülkü”

After Zübeyde Hanım passed away, Atatürk’s sister looked after my mother. Later, Atatürk took my mother to Ankara. Mother got to know Atatürk at about the time he was setting up the Gazi Orman Farm Complex and realizing his reforms. My father was a French teacher, but he was serving as Chief of the train station in Ankara....

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