The founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said
on October 29, 1923: " There may be a many great countries in the world, but there is only one civilisation (the West) and if a nation is to achieve progress she must be part of this one civilisation. The Ottoman empire began to decline the day when it cut ties that bound her to the european nations. We will not repeat this mistake."
quoted in Bozdaglioglu, Turkish Foreign policy and turkish identity P. 51.
(This view is opposite of that held by turkish islamist, to the leaders of the ideologic group the once-glorious ottoman empire began to decline and disintegrate when it started to imitate the West (Hale and Özbudun, Islamis, Democracy and Liberalism in Turkey p.6.)
[Source: "The Clash of Ideologies" by Mark L. Haas, p 202]
As many hope that modern Turkey can be a bridge between ideologies and between East and West this may be interesting
Here some further opinions held by Atatürk, who is "adored" by turkish people.
- Religion is an important institution. A nation without religion cannot survive. Yet it is also very important to note that religion is a link betweenAllah and the individual believer. The brokerage of the pious cannot be permitted. Those who use religion for their own benefit are detestable. We are against such a situation and will not allow it. Those who use religion in such a manner have fooled our people; it is against just such people that we have fought and will continue to fight. Know that whatever conforms to reason, logic, and the advantages and needs of our people conforms equally to Islam. If our religion did not conform to reason and logic, it would not be the perfect religion, the final religion.
- As quoted in Kemalizm, Laiklik ve Demokrasi [Kemalism, Laicism and Democracy] (1994) by Ahmet Taner Kışlalı
- "I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea. He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science.Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men."
- Quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey, by Andrew Mango; "In a book published in 1928, Grace Ellison quotes [Atatürk], presumably in 1926-27", Grace Ellison Turkey Today (London: Hutchinson, 1928) [ found https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mustafa_Kemal_Atat%C3%BCrk]