Kemal, Gorbachev not recognized at home
The Athens News
July 24, 1996

By Yannis Horn

MIKHAIL Gorbachev engineered a successful bloodless revolution to save his country and afterwards the whole world throughout the fall of the communist ideology. A communist himself, he studied and was nurtured to reach the highest office of the general secretary of the Communist Party but he was justified by history for the change he brought to his country and to the rest of the world.

- For these reasons he received the Nobel Peace Prize which failed to be applauded within his own country.

- Gorbachev remains an internationally recognized personality throughout the entire world but his country. Of course, the day will come when history will justify him and all Russians will swear on his name.

- Another great man, Turkey's Kemal Ataturk, is roughly in the same situation. Ataturk is not a simple winner of a war which saved Turkey from catastrophe but something more important -- the reformer of New Turkey.

- Kemal had many reforms to his credit -- education, peace with Turkey's enemies, the Greeks, substitution of the old eastern system with the new European system, the persecution and punishment of the people who had brought Turkey to the edge of the cliff and whom he exiled, event the Sultans, viziers, etc. He was the man who saw that the destruction of his country was the perennial fight with the Greeks -- and saw that the real threat was coming from a lot farther away. The Greeks and the Turks were being led like pawns by the great powers, according to their interests -- this was what the Turk and philhellene saw to save his country for good. There was no profit to be had from Greeks being the enemies of the Turks and Turks the enemies of the Greeks.

- There is much more to Kemal's life but Turks do not always see it this way. This is why Kemal is considered by the Turks to be nothing but the winner against the Greeks and they simply bow before a victorious general, making his statues and sometimes praying on his grave. This is Kemal for the Turks. But the moment will come, like with Gorbachev, when this great reformer -- the man who made the Turks the people of Europe -- will be recognized.

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