All About the Atatürk
Turks are all about the Atatürk.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), Turkish soldier, nationalist leader, and statesman, who founded the republic of Turkey and was its first president (1923-1938). The name Atatürk (Father Turk) was bestowed upon him in 1934 by the Grand National Assembly as a tribute for his unique service to the Turkish nation.
As part of his determination to distance his new republic from centuries of Ottoman Islamic heritage, Atatürk moved the capital from Istanbul, the base of the most extravagant mosques and Islamic monuments, to Ankara, a small trading town under the Ottomans. The new capital became a stronghold of secular republicans. However, with an Islamic mayor in the mid-1990s, Ankara went through a change of heart.
Most Turks absolutely adore the man—now idolized and depicted on levels throughout homes and cities at levels similar to Thailand (with their King fixation).
I found it rather entertaining when a Turkish guy recently told me that American movies always seemed to make a point of showing the U.S. flag in the film. But there are more Turkish flags hanging or flapping in the wind per square block in Turkey than any other country I've been in (displaying its respective country flag, of course). Both inside and outside homes, the Turkish flags and pictures/monuments to Atatürk absolutely saturate the place.
Personally, I think Atatürk looks like an aristocratic vampire.