NE ARAMIŞTINIZ ?

19 MAY, MY BIRTHDAY

WHY DID ATATURK CHOSE 19 MAY AS HIS BIRTH DAY?

WHAT WAS THE BACKGROUND?

The year 1936.

The King of Britain VIII Edward wishes to celebrate Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s birthday. Therefore, the King needs to send a telegram to Ataturk containing his sincere and private sentiments. He gives the instruction and in order to fulfill the directive, the English Diplomat Monsieur Morgan asks the birthday of Ataturk from the Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister London Ambassador Ali Fuat Turkgeldi.

Our Ambassador Ali Fuat Turkgeldi does not have a definite information on the subject. Unfortunately, the others in the office do not possess the information either. Therefore, Ali Fuat Bey requests an official letter to be written and a document dated 10.XI.1936 in which Ataturk’s birthday was inquired and it is sent from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Secretariat General of the Presidency.

The letter arrives at the Presidency from the Foreign Affairs Office. However, nobody in the Presidency office knows Ataturk’s birthday.

Seeing that there was no other resource left to investigate, the Presidency Secretary-General of that time, Hasan Riza Soyak went to Gazi Pasha.

Sir, your friend VIII Edward enquires about your birthday. He wishes to send a private congratulatory letter. How do we respond sir, what is the date? Says him and hands the official document sent by the Foreign Affairs Office. The Pasha reviews the document.

Ataturk cannot decide what to say for a while. He does not know his birthday for sure, either.

Therefore, he contemplates into the past. However, he cannot possibly know the answer exactly. He thinks about his mother, Zubeyde Hanim and the President says the following:

‘My mother had always said that she gave birth to me on a spring day.’

The he adds:

Why can’t it be a 19th of May?

Hasan Riza Soyak and Ms. Afet Inan, who were in the company of Gazi Pasha listened to his words carefully. Therefore, the Secretary-General Hasan Riza Bey writes on the document dated 10.XI.1936 inquiring about Ataturk’s birthday:

‘I submit that the President Ataturk was born on the 19th of May 1881’

Upon receiving this information, the Presidency prepares a document indicating the birthday of Ataturk with an official letter dated 12.XI.1936 and notifies the Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Affairs Ministry conveys the same information to Monsieur Morgan.

Another event took place regarding the birthday of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The journalist and historian Enver Behnan Sapolyo ask about Ataturk’s birthday in an interview with Zubeyde Hanim. Zubeyde Hanim says that she gave birth to him during the ‘erbain’ cold. This time period roughly indicates the end of January or the beginning of February.

It can be seen that two separate pieces of information is present regarding Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s birthday told by himself and his mother.

However, the date indicated as the 19th of May by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk originates from his desire to highlight the importance of Samsun in The War of Independence and the National Struggle entirely. Samsun is the first step for him. The first step on the road to Independence and the Republic.

In the way that Ataturk pointed out the day he stepped foot in Samsun as his birthday, all of the people of Samsun internalize the Samsun city as ‘Ataturk’s City’ and ‘The City the Sun Rises.’

Another point of interest appears to be very meaningful.

The official letter the Foreign Affairs Office enquires about Ataturk’s birthday is dated the 10th of November, 1936. Ataturk would shuffle off this mortal coil exactly two years after, on the 10th of November.

Official Document: Riyaseti Cumhur Evraki: 3/7493