‘Do I want to grow a rose in this field? Do I want to grow the most beautiful roses of the world in here? ’
“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future” as Theodore Roosevelt said.
Today, I will tell you a brief history of my country, how the Turkish Republic was established.
Ottoman Empire, stood tall for almost 600 years come to an end as it was defeated in the First World War, it was occupied and planned to be partitioned by several countries after the Treaty of Sevres. This was a devastating treaty that was leaving the country into pieces and leave as a dependent colony.
Group of soldiers led by Mustafa Kemal decided to assemble the Grand National Assembly to gather all forces of the nation and fight back for independence.
This is the Turkish Independence of War.
I would not give the details of this war, but only have to point out that, after four years of World War 1, people were tired, the country was very poor and they had to fight on several fronts in this 3 years- long independence war.
It was impossible.
But Mustafa Kemal said “ either independence or death” that symbolized this war. Ultimately the Turkish Independence War was successful and the Turkish Republic was established where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the first president.
Who was this man, this soldier who was able to gather the whole nation around a dream that they can be independent, they can fight back in all these impossible circumstances?
Millions of people including me, admire his vision, determination, courage and how he believed that this can be done.
He dreamt that Turkey is an independent, secular republic and he carried on his plan to realize these dreams. He believed that he can achieve this dream, together with the whole nation and he did.
If we look at him personally, he is a soldier, he is a leader, a teacher, and the father of a nation.
He achieved the impossible and afterward renovated the society to become a secular one and he aspired that Turkey is one of the developed countries. He gave the ultimate power to his nation, start to educate the nation, and establish policies that help Turkey be economically sufficient for itself.
I believe there are many quotes from him but the one that summarizes all his vision is that he said:
“If you want to grow these roses, you will get hurt by thorns, you will get burnt by the sun.
There will be people saying you will not be able to grow roses in this field.
Others will be saying, no you are doing it wrong, you should do this or that way.
You will only ask yourself this:
‘Do I want to grow a rose in this field? Do I want to grow the most beautiful roses of the world in here?’
If you want it enough, you won’t care about neither the thorns nor what people say.
The only thing that matters will be having this beautiful scent…”
Smelling the roses, and seeing Turkish nation secular and independent, was Ataturk’s dream. He paid the price for this dream as he is both the hero and villain in the history of Turkey.
There are as many people as others who think that he has been a dictator, irreligious...
But he only focused on the roses.
For me, the independence war of Turkey or any independence war that every country has fought for, related all of us on a personal level.
We all have our dreams, we all have our roses to grow.
Let’s say, you want to live your own life, have a family of your own. This seems a simple dream, right.
You have to have a proper education and work hard to find a job, fight even more to be good at it. Then you will decide where to live with whom?
There will be saying people that you are doing it to wrong way, you should have become a doctor or you should have married that other guy … Will you listen to them?
I believe every one of us has inside a voice that leads us to our dreams, our best version of selves. Some of us are deaf to it, others are tuned up to listen.
It is a matter of making choices, how you want to live your life?
Do you want to have a life that is your own? If you had a choice today, will you change the life you have now? Or do you want to live a life that was set by others, their rules, their rights, and wrong?
If you choose to follow your dreams, there is a price to pay.
The price is the constant struggle you will have,
you will be the hero and the villain at the same time,
you might be alone in the journey,
or hopefully, you will find people who share your vision by heart.
But there is a price to pay for mountaintop experiences, living a life that has your signature on it and you should ask yourself “do I want to smell the roses here, do I want it bad enough?”
Photo Credit: Ataturk and his adopted daughter Ulku 12.09.1936 Florya, Istanbul