Peace at Home, Peace in the World
"Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness."
A military hero who had won victory after victory against many foreign invaders, Atatürk knew the value of peace and, during his Presidency, did his utmost to secure and strengthen it throughout the world. Few of the giants of the modern times have spoken with Atatürk's eloquence on the vital need to create a world order based on peace, on the dignity of all human beings, and on the constructive interdependence of all nations. He stated, immediately after the Turkish War of Independence, that "peace is the most effective way for nations to attain prosperity and happiness." Later as he concluded treaties of friendship and created regional ententes, he affirmed: " Turks are the friends of all civilized nations." The new Turkey established cordial relations with all countries, including those powers which had tried a few years earlier to wipe the Turks off the map. She did not pursue a policy of expansionism, and never engaged in any act contrary to peaceful co-existence. Atatürk signed pacts with Greece, Rumania and Yugoslavia in the Balkans, and with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan in the East. He maintained friendly relations with the Soviet Union, the United States, England, Germany, Italy, France, and all other states. In the early 1930s, he and the Greek Premier Venizelos initiated and signed a treaty of peace and cooperation.
In 1932, the League of Nations invited Turkey to become a member. Many of Atatürk's ideas and ideals presaged the principles enshrined in the League of Nations and the United Nations." As clearly as I see daybreak, I have the vision of the rise of the oppressed nations to their independence... If lasting peace is sought, it is essential to adopt international measures to improve the lot of the masses. Mankind's well-being should take the place of hunger and oppression... Citizens of the world should be educated in such a way that they shall no longer feel envy, avarice and vengefulness."
In recognition of Atatürk's untiring efforts to build peace, the League of Nations paid tribute to him at his death in November 1938 as " a genius international peacemaker". In 1981, on the occasion of the Centennial of his birth, the United Nations and UNESCO honored the memory of the great Turkish Statesman who abhorred war - " Unless the life of the nation faces peril, war is a crime," - and expressed his faith in organized peace:" If war were to break out, nations would rush to join their armed forces and national resources. The swiftest and most effective measure is to establish an international organization which would prove to the aggressor that its aggression cannot pay."
His creation of modern Turkey and his contribution to the world have made Atatürk an historic figure of enduring influence.