There are so many answers to this question and we cannot just put one phrase for such a great person. The key to his greatness was “logic” which can substitute for the word “greatness”. It is worth to mention that Ataturk understood the downsides of the time and the Ottoman Empire and solely used his own logic, measurement, knowledge in order to find a solution to the problems of his beloved country.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born on May 19, in 1881 in the city of Salonica (now Thessaloniki, Greece). He was studied at the War College in Istanbul. Seeing his country in a severe condition he wanted to help his nation. He fought against the Italians in Libya and then in the Balkan Wars (1912 – 1913). He gained his military reputation opposing the Allied forces at the Dardanelles in 1915. In this year Mustafa Kemal started Gallipoli campaign, where he stopped a large British and French forces from taking Istanbul. To know how big was the Gallipoli fight we can state the combatants which fought against Turkish troops. They were United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Austria-Hungary, Dominion Newfoundland, German Empire, French Third Republic, British Raj and etc. If Ataturk lost the battle in the Gallipoli, we could not see Turkey today. I should mention that the money and the arms all came from the Soviets which Ataturk gave his word that he would also establish a communist regime. Turkey could overcome all the difficulties and time came for the consensus.
After boycotting the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 which was not recognised by the Republic of Turkey and demanded all the territory by the allies (British Empire, France, Italy, Greece and so on.) During 3 year of debates and negotiations, the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923 that ended the conflict and defined the borders of the modern Turkey.With this treaty, the allied countries recognised the borders of Turkey and it was became known as an independent country. The treaty came into force on 6 August 1924.
Mustafa Kemal not only fought in the battlefields for his country but also in the conference rooms that was an instance of his grand intelligence. In my opinion, the best part of the testimony of his nobility begins when he commenced constructing Turkey within a few years. The Turkish Geologist Professor Celal Şengör in his book named”Dahi Diktatör” – (Genious Dictator), denoted the information about Ataturk’s knowledge, logic more precisely. Actually, his book encouraged me to write the article about this theme. His book is very interesting and realistic book which derives not a novel or tales. This book presents a pure history that fully portrays Mustafa Kemal.
The notable professor Celal Şengör writes in his book that when Ataturk won all battles and declared independence, the country was in a critical condition. When I read the book I gave myself a question about how the Ottoman Empire ruled the Middle East? Because there was no universities, schools, scientist, even a time calculation, metric system and etc. that could help authorities to rule the areas. Therefore, I believe Ataturk made years of investigations and was quite aware that the education is the key to the success and the development. He ordered to chose the best students and send them to Europe in order to give them education and after their graduation, they can come to the country and teach the people. There was even a question that what they will do after returning to the country and he only thought they will be teachers who will enlighten the nation. Ataturk said to the young students who were going to study in Europe: “I am sending each of you as a sparkle, come as a volcano.”I should also mention that at that time Hitler imprisoned the best scholars who were Jews and who did not obey or acknowledge Nazi regime. This situation also helped Ataturk to build the country. He welcomed all of them and that scholars build a surplus of faculties, fields of studies, universities and so on.
Ataturk worked for the country and differed that feeling for all people in order to raise Turkey. Afterward, he arranged Turkish people to get involved in a business. He even got angry that not any Muslim was working in the business sphere because they thought it is haram and against the Islam. That angered him so much and he wanted to see Turkey a modernised and industrialised country. He reached an agreement that people can work and bring machines in order to build fabrics in Turkey. Even Celal Şengör’s grandfather became millionaire businessmen during Ataturk ruling. When they able to construct fabrics and begin to work Ataturk came to visit and asked when that can be ready. The owner said I am producing it now. Ataturk surprised by this fast production but people were zealous for helping the country. They were even ready to suicide if they failed in their work or words. It is visible when manufacturer gave word to Ataturk and he said at home that I gave my word to Ataturk and I prepared my gun to kill myself if I could not make it ready.These people helped each other in order see Turkey as a modernised and developed country. Professor writes that his grandfather allocated his earnings to the CHP party. When his grandmother condemned his husband he said that Ataturk did not give us for sitting and eating all of them. He helped us to earn this money in order to help the nation. These words show how people felt the cohesion and help to each other. That was spread by Ataturk.
Moreover, Ataturk raised the reputation of the nation. When Commonwealth of Nations said that Turkey can join if they would apply. Ataturk said no if you invite we will join. They said again that you should apply for it. But Ataturk again insisted saying if you invite we will definitely come. After that, The Commonwealth of Nations invited Turkey for joining. That showed how Ataturk used self -respect and lifted the reputation of the nation.
He never wanted to see his nation for seeking some leader. He said that make it yourself and never seek someone else. He even did not want to see some inherited leader. When he died the government officials asked whom do you wish to come after you? He said: No one! Let the people chose!
Was he a dictator? Definitely yes! He was a dictator who tried to cure the nation who engaged with religion and forgot the enemies, time, development and zeitgeist of the world. However, Ataturk always tried to put the signature of the parliament in every charter which means the order is a deliberate conclusion of the TBMM (Turkish Great Nation Parliament). Ataturk inherited one thing for all who aim to achieve something in life: Use your knowledge! Using knowledge and logic made him great, but patriotism and enthusiasm made him unique and irreplaceable in the world.
P.S: I advise reading the book of Celal Şengör – “Dahi Diktatör” (Genious Dictator) in order to get detailed information and fully acknowledge Ataturk’s greatness!