Speaking to a full auditorium, Former Chief of the General Staff of Turkey talked about leadership, nation-building and exemplary leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Organized by Columbia University Saltzman Institue of War and Peace Studies, SIPA, Columbia Turkish Student Association and supported by Turkish Heritage Organization (THO), Gen. Basbug visited Columbia University in New York City, on November 17th to deliver a presentation based on his books titled "20th Century's Greatest Leader Ataturk".
In his presentation titled “The Unbelievable Story of a Leader Who Changed the Fate of a Nation: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.” Başbuğ informed students and faculty members and other distinguished guests about Atatürk’s revolutionary qualities and expressed that “Atatürk is among the twentieth century’s most successful transformative leaders”.
Exemplary Leadership both as a Commander and Statesman
Başbuğ said that Atatürk, who “One hundred years ago was the architect of the Republic of Turkey’s founding and development,” displayed “success in producing the twentieth century’s greatest revolution” and is an example for many countries.
İlker Başbuğ stated that from a monarchy to a republic, Atatürk changed almost the entire system. While Başbuğ specified that the objective of Atatürk in launching a revolution was to “create a nation-state,” he expressed that “Atatürk founded a nation-state from the ashes of a collapsing empire.”
“A Faithless Nation’s Continuity is not Possible”
Başbuğ, who in his speech provided quotes from Atatürk extolling Islam, reminded others of Atatürk’s following words: “Faith is a needed establishment. Faithless nations’ continuity is not possible. However, it has its place in that faith is the bond between God and the individual.”
A Leader that Struggled Against Imperialism
Başbuğ reminded the audience that UNESCO accepted Atatürk “as a leader that was among the first to struggle against imperialism.” Former Chief of the General Staff pointed out that Atatürk’s whole life was a struggle yet he continued until he succeeded. Drawing from one of Atatürk’s quotes, “Life is a struggle, you will not abandon the struggle, you will continue the struggle until you succeed” Başbuğ encouraged the young generation to not to give up and be hopeful.
“FETÖ Always Wanted to Abolish the Country’s Secular Structure”
Başbuğ, spoke about Atatürk’s domestic and foreign policy principle “Peace at Home, Peace in the World,” and reminded the young audience that the Fethullahist Terror Organization known as (FETÖ) had been systematically infiltrating the Turkish military for years to undermine this principle and abolish the secular structure.
Başbuğ said that the coup attempt showed the extend of FETÖ members’ infiltration and how they received orders from their leader who has been living in the U.S. Başbuğ also noted that the objective of the coup attempt was to “Produce a radical change in Turkey by abolishing its secular structure.”
Following a talk on the July 15 Coup Attempt at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Columbia University was General Başbuğ’s second publicly scheduled event. Gen. (Ret.) Ilker Basbug's books, which was the topic of his presentation, covers two periods; before and after the Republic of Turkey was established. First published in 2012, Basbug's book remained in the top-sellers list in Turkey for several months.