The Republic of Turkey, founded after the struggle against the occupation of imperialist countries and the palace, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. As the Republic of Turkey enters its 100th anniversary, a number of productions have already been made on the subject.
Episode Dergi has compiled films, TV series and documentaries that depict the transition from servitude to citizenship at the end of the honorable struggle of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his friends and the people of Anatolia, and that tell the story of the Republic.
In these productions, the days of the National Struggle, the life of Atatürk -the founder of the Republic, and the enlightenment, hope and excitement that came with the Republic are kept alive.
Ateşten Gömlek (1923)
When compiling the productions that tell the journey of the founding of the Republic, we first go back 100 years ago. The first adaptation of Halide Edip Adıvar’s novel Ateşten Gömlek, the 1923 film, which was shot in the year of the founding of the republic, is the first feature film starring women and about the War of Independence in the history of Turkish cinema. Bedia Muvahhit as Ayşe and Neyyire Neyir as Kezban represent one of the most important milestones in the history of cinema as the first Turkish actresses to star in a feature film.
The film tells the story of Ayşe, who participated in rallies in Istanbul protesting the occupation after her husband and child were killed during the occupation of Izmir, and then worked as a caregiver in Anatolia, and Major İhsan, with whom she falls in love, ending in death. This story is a memory written in Ankara by Peyami, a reserve officer who was wounded in the head during the War of Independence.
The film is directed by Muhsin Ertuğrul, who is considered to be the founder of Turkish modern theater and who made the first period films.
Bir Millet Uyanıyor (1932)
Another important production by Muhsin Ertuğrul, Bir Millet Uyanıyor (A Nation Wakes Up) is an adaptation of Nizamettin Nazif Tepedelenlioglu’s work of the same name. The movie tells the story of Nesrin, a teacher who falls in love with a Kuvayı Milliye officer who comes to Istanbul on a secret mission during the War of Independence. Of course, this love story is told through the historical background.
The first period films on our list also allow us to watch important early actors of Turkish cinema. Ercüment Behzat Lav plays the leading role in Bir Millet Uyanıyor.
Türkiye’nin Kalbi: Ankara (1934)
Filmed in 1933 by the Soviet Union, this important documentary was directed by Sergey Yutkevich. The documentary, which was shot at the request of Atatürk for the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, describes the Soviet Union’s critical support for Turkey during the War of Independence.
The documentary begins with footage of the Soviet delegation headed by Kliment Voroshilov, Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union, arriving by ferry first in Izmir and then in Istanbul, where they are enthusiastically welcomed by the people. This is followed by footage of Ankara, the capital city still under construction in the middle of the steppe. The Ankara section of the film includes footage of the 10th anniversary celebrations; scouts, soldiers, veterans, villagers marching towards Ankara from all over Anatolia; the enthusiastic parade at the hippodrome; and Atatürk, İsmet İnönü and Fevzi Çakmak.
After sitting in the archives for a long time, the film was taken out of the archives and broadcast on November 10, 1969, on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of Atatürk’s death, by Mahmut Tali Öngören, then head of the TRT Program Department. However, while it was being shown on television, the film was taken off the air in a night raid by then TRT General Director Adnan Öztrak, and Mahmut Tali Öngören was dismissed from his post. The reason for banning the movie was stated as communist propaganda and making Türkiye look very poor.
In the movie, which also attracted attention with its music, the compositions of Turkish composers Ekrem Zeki Ün and Cemal Reşit Rey were performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ankara Conservatory Orchestra and Choir. Re-released in 2008.
The Incredible Turk (1958)
This documentary about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was produced by America Prudential Insurance Company. The documentary, which can be translated into Turkish as Muhteşem Türk, focuses on the Ottoman Empire, the War of Independence and the republican revolutions.
The last state of the Ottoman Empire; the victory at Gallipoli; the occupation of Istanbul by the British and French and the occupation of Izmir by the Greeks; the years of the War of Independence; after the proclamation of the republic, the declaration of Ankara as the capital, the surname law, equal rights for women, the hat law, the alphabet change, developments in industry and economy, the adoption of the constitution, foreign trade and foreign relations are the subjects of the film.
In this movie, you will see Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s speech in the garden of Çankaya Palace with the US Ambassador Joseph Clark Grew. This is also the clearest recording of Atatürk’s voice.
Düşman Yolları Kesti (1959)
Düşman Yolları Kesti (Enemy Roads Cut) is a 1959 film centered around the conspiracies and struggles during the War of Independence.
The secret arms shipments from Istanbul to Anatolia are discovered and stopped by the Sultan’s spies. Leading supporters of Mustafa Kemal Pasha from Istanbul are captured and shot.
The movie was produced and directed by Osman Seden and the screenplay was written by Tarık Dursun K. Hulusi Kentmen, Sadri Alışık, Nubar Terziyan, Eşref Kolçak, Kadir Savun, Nurhan Nur were among the cast of the movie.
Aşktan da Üstün (1960)
Another Osman Seden film, Aşktan da Üstün tells the story of a lieutenant caught between love and struggle. Produced, directed and written by Osman Seden, the period film was made in 1960.
The movie tells a story of espionage and love set during the War of Independence. Captain Kemal joins the imperial forces by presenting himself as pro-Cerkez Ethem and pro-sultan. His aim is to learn the identity of the spy who infiltrated the War of Independence. Kemal falls in love with Nilüfer, the lover of his brother Nazmi. The love between the two becomes complicated when combined with their espionage relations.
The cast of the movie brings together important names; Ayhan Işık, Ahmet Mekin, Peri Han, Serpil Gül, Atıf Kaptan, Behzat Balkaya, Nubar Terziyan and Hulusi Kentmen.
Ateşten Günler (1987)
In the 80s, as television began to occupy a larger place in our lives, we began to see TV series about the period of the War of Independence. The series is another adaptation of Halide Edip’s novel Ateşten Gömlek. This time, the cast of the series includes prominent names of the recent period.
The series stars Zuhal Olcay as Ayşe and Peyami is portrayed by Ahmet Levendoğlu. In addition, Can Gürzap, Metin Belgin, Müşfik Kenter, Bahadır Tok, Cezmi Baskın, Giray Alpan, Hikmet Karagöz, Macit Sonkan, Mehmet Atak, Suna Selen, Naz Erayda and Haluk Bilginer are among the cast of the series.
Sarı Zeybek / Atatürk’ün Son 300 Günü (32. Gün – 1993)
Produced by Mehmet Ali Birand and his team, 32. Gün, which began airing on TRT in 1985 and was broadcast on many channels until 2016, has produced documentary-like productions on some of the most important topics in Turkey’s political history.
The documentary Sarı Zeybek, which focuses with Atatürk’s last 300 days, includes the memories written and narrated by people who witnessed this period of Mustafa Kemal’s life.
“He was sick. Moreover, his illness was as old as the Republic. The first symptoms started 15 years ago. It came just ten days after his election as President. On November 11, 1923, he and his wife Latife Hanım were having lunch at Çankaya. At the table, his hand suddenly went to his heart and he was troubled by a severe pain that shot from the elbow of his left arm to his chest. Fortunately, at the table was Dr. Refik Saydam, who had come to the Mansion to treat Ms. Latife, who was suffering from a severe pneumonia at the time. Saydam immediately prepared the heart-strengthening medicines he had brought with him for Mrs. Latife. He immediately gave Ata a morphine injection and calmed him down. The pain lasted for 20 minutes, made Ata sweat a lot and gave him a lot of trouble. But it did not end…”
Another TRT series, Kurtuluş is about the War of Independence written by Turgut Özakman. The series stars Rutkay Aziz as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Savaş Dinçel as İsmet İnönü.
The series tells the story of the War of Independence from the end of the Second Battle of Inonu (April 1, 1921) to the Mudanya Armistice (October 11, 1922), a period of about 1.5 years. Among the actors you will see in this TRT production, which once again brings together valuable names; Altan Erkekli, Taner Barlas, Uğur Polat, Levent Ülgen, Cezmi Baskın, Müşfik Kenter, Mehmet Aslantuğ, Aşkın Nur Yengi, Fikret Kuşkan, Macit Koper, Mustafa Alabora.
Another TRT production in our list of films about the Republic is the series Cumhuriyet. Produced by TRT after the Kurtuluş series, the series is one of the biggest budget films made until that period.
Starting with the Mudanya Armistice that ended the War of Independence and extending to the 1930s, the series Cumhuriyet, as the name suggests, reflects the first period of our republic on the screen. The cast of the movie includes actors from the series Kurtuluş, such as Rutkay Aziz and Savaş Dinçel, who played the main characters, and new names such as Dolunay Soysert.
Veda, one of the productions about Atatürk, which won the audience’s appreciation with its story flow and images, reflects the most striking moments and deep friendship of his childhood friend Salih Bozok with Atatürk.
The cast of the film includes Sinan Tuzcu as Atatürk, Serhat Kılıç as Salih Bozok, Sunay Akın as Kazım Karabekir, Dolunay Soysert as Zübeyde Hanım, Özpirinçci as Fikriye and Ezgi Mola as Latife Hanım.
Zülfü Livaneli directed the movie and the story is as follows:
“The friendship that began in Thessaloniki in childhood (Atatürk and Salih Bozok) turned into comrades-in-arms, then into a half-century-long friendship and brotherhood that lasted until their deaths, pursuing the same ideals with the Republic. Their friendship was so great that when one died, the other wanted to say goodbye to life… Veda is the story of a generation that challenged death.”
Dersimiz Atatürk (2010)
Another Atatürk-themed feature film shot in the same year was Dersimiz Atatürk. The movie was directed by Hamdi Alkan and written by Turgut Özakman. This time, Atatürk is played by Halit Ergenç. The movie also stars Çetin Tekindor, Doğa Rutkay, Gaye Gürsel, Münire Apaydın, Tolga Savacı, Miray Daner and Elit İşcan.
The movie starts with an assignment given to children:
“Is Atatürk, the great leader, really being taught properly to our children? This is the question that our film pursues, and it begins with a group of children in the 5th grade of primary school examining an assignment given to them to better understand Atatürk. For them, this assignment will be a long and instructive journey into the life of Atatürk and the story of our country’s liberation. Leading them on this journey is the award-winning historian ‘Grandpa’ of one of the children. But this ‘Grandpa’ is not like other historians. He is far from telling history as a boring past, as if he is the historian of a fantastic world.
Granpa is committed to giving children as realistic a picture as possible of the childhood, school life and military career of the ‘Great Savior’ Mustafa Kemal. He takes them to the most important fronts of the War of Independence and introduces them to the unique heroes of the Turkish people who put up an unprecedented resistance. It teaches the efforts of the country that was built from nothing with the establishment of the Republic and the admirable human qualities of the Atatürk, sometimes through reenactments and sometimes through historical photographs and videos. Dersimiz Atatürk stands out from its peers as a different kind of Atatürk movie.”
Çanakkale 1915 (2012)
In 2012, this time we are faced with a feature-length production that deals directly with the Battle of Çanakkale. Yeşim Sezgin is the director of the movie, the screenplay of which was once again written by Turgut Özakman. Baran Akbulut, Özgür Akdemir, Rıza Akın starred in the movie.
The story of the film is about the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in 1915. The film covers the resurrection of Turkey following its defeat in the Balkan War, through depictions of Sergeant Mehmet Ali from Biga, Corporal Seyit and many others.
Kurt Kanunu (2012)
In 2012, there were also TV series about the period of the Turkish War of Independence. Kurt Kanunu, based on Kemal Tahir’s novel, tells the story of the early years of the republic. Focusing on the assassination in Izmir and the events that followed, the series is a TRT production.
The cast of the series includes Ümit Acar, Ali Başar, Pelin Akil, Bahar Kerimoğlu, İlker Kızmaz and Ahmet Somers.
Yol Ayrımı (2012)
Another Kemal Tahir adaptation filmed by TRT in the same year, Yol Ayrımı. This time the story takes place in 1930s Turkey. Historically, we can say that we are in the years after Kurt Kanunu. Alev Alatlı is the author who scripted the novel for TV.
The cast of the series includes Ahmet Uğurlu, Engin Altan Düzyatan and Dolunay Soysert.
Atatürk: Türklerin Babası (BBC – 2017)
Released in 2017 from the archives, this BBC documentary was originally filmed in the 70s. The documentary tells the story of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life, the late Ottoman Empire, the War of Independence and the early years of the Turkish Republic in parallel.
Produced by Michael Adams, the documentary consists of both recordings made by the BBC in 1970 in Çanakkale, Samsun, Amasya, Sivas and Ankara and historical footage.
The interviewees in the documentary are İsmet İnönü, Turkey’s first female lawyer Süreyya Ağaoğlu, Arnold Toynbee, the famous British historian who followed the War of Independence as a young journalist, Prof. Dr. Osman Okyar, son of Ali Fethi Okyar.
Cumhuriyet Fikri (2021)
NTV’s documentary, specially prepared for the Republic Day in 2021, focuses on the formation of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s notion of the Republic and the stages through which it became a reality.
How was the road set out, how was the idea of the Republic born, developed and became a reality? Produced by NTV’s Ahmet Yeşiltepe and Cihan Çekiç in the plenary halls of the First and Second Assemblies, the documentary narrates how and where the revolution led by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began.
Son Akşam Yemeği (2023)
Important productions were made in the 100th anniversary of the Republic. One of these works is Son Akşam Yemeği, which was released in cinemas this week. The movie tells the story of what happened in the Çankaya Palace and in the kitchen of it, the day before Mustafa Kemal proclaimed the republic.
Directed by Levent Onan, the film stars Onur Tuna as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Pelin Akil as Latife Hanım. Engin Şenkan and Azra Aksu star as Ahir Usta and his granddaughter Elif. Necip Memili, Aslı Tandoğan, Mustafa Kırantepe, Yasemin Conka, Nehir Gökdemir and Tuğba Daştan are among the actors of the movie.
The story of the movie is as follows:
“On October 28, 1923, decisions that will change the fate of the country are about to be signed in Çankaya Palace. While preparations are going on in the kitchen for the dinner, a visitor from the village arrives to Ahir, the old servant of the palace. The transition to a new form of government is being discussed upstairs at the Çankaya Palace and the Republic will be proclaimed the next day. In the kitchen of the palace, all the staff, from the cook to the butler, will witness these twenty-four hours full of sadness and happiness.”
The film was creatively produced by Esra Seyrekbasan and written by Ayla Hacıoğulları and Vilmer Özçınar.
Atatürk 1881-1919 (2023)
The movie Atatürk 1881-1919, directed by Mehmet Ada Öztekin, which tells the story of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk from his childhood years to the Turkish War of Independence, has made a name for itself with the trailers released. The film will first air on FOX on October 29 and then be released in cinemas on November 3.
Aras Bulut İynemli portrays the role of Atatürk in the movie. Songül Öden and Mehmet Günsür are also in the cast of the movie.
The story of the movie is as follows:
Mustafa is born in Thessaloniki at the end of the 19th century. The bandit attacks his father was subjected to naturally affected him badly. His father Ali Rıza Bey’s business and then his health deteriorated. After a while, he passed away. For Zübeyde Hanım, her son is at the center of the world and nothing should happen to him. The future she envisions for her son is to go to the neighborhood school and become a teacher.
Mustafa Kemal graduated from the academy in 1905 as a staff captain. From 1905 to 1919, he served in all corners of the Ottoman territories, from Syria to Tripoli, from Thessaloniki to Kars. What he saw was that the administration in his own country was already out of control and that there was no more merit and patriotism. Mustafa Kemal was left with little choice. In his own words, the country is burning like his father’s logs burnt by bandits. Someone must do something to save it.
Zübeyde, Analar ve Oğullar (2023)
Zübeyde Analar ve Oğullar, which focuses on the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s mother and was released in cinemas around the world on October 20, is one of the films produced for the 100th anniversary.
Aslıhan Güner portrays the character of Zübeyde and Alican Yücesoy plays Mustafa Kemal. There are also actors such as Devrim Nas, Emre Kınay, Sitare Akbaş, Wilma Elles, Enes Demirkapi, Ali Sağ and Turgay Tanülkü.
The story begins in Thessaloniki, a city in turmoil during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, and reflects the period until the proclamation of the republic. The film, which was prepared as a result of an in-depth research on Mrs. Zübeyde, about whom we do not know much, tells how Mrs. Zübeyde, who lost 4 of her 6 children and her husband in wars, epidemics, migrations and poverty, raised her ‘Mustafa’.
During the long research process, the script team was advised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Furkan Kaya, historian Ethem Koca, Suat Kozluklu, Editor-in-Chief of Tarih TV, and Prof. Dr. Necmi Ülker. The information obtained after the research was compiled by Zeynep Güngör and scripted by screenwriter İlber Tekinsoy. The movie was directed by Cenk Yaz.
BONUS: Zaferin Rengi (2024)
Although the movie does not directly deal with the years of the War of Independence, it is set in occupied Istanbul. Therefore, some historical events and people are also included.
Recently, the visuals of Halide Edip Adıvar’s speech scene in Beyazıt, which were released from the movie set, were much talked about. Talented actress Birce Akalay plays Halide Edib in the movie. Akalay shared her excitement about the movie and playing Halide Edib on social media.
The main characters of the movie are Kubilay Aka as Galip Bey, the founding member and legendary captain of Fenerbahçe, and Gülper Özdemir as Peyker. Nejat İşler (Sabri Toprak), Timuçin Esen (Topkapılı Cambaz), Yiğit Özşener (Mustafa Kemal Pasha), Gonca Vuslateri (Vera) and Birce Akalay (Halide Edip) also portray symbolic politicians, intellectuals, military figures and heroic players of Turkish football history.
Zaferin Rengi will meet the audience in 2024.
BONUS 2: 1923 Müzikali
As it is one of the most watched stage productions of the season, and as it tells the story of how the republic was founded on the 100th anniversary in musical form, the 1923 musical was a production that drew our attention.
Starring Kerem Alışık, Özge Özder and Ece Dizdar, 1923 was created after 18 months of preparation with a team of 200 people working on and behind the scenes. You can watch the show, which is currently running at Zorlu PSM, at Zorlu PSM Turkcell Stage on October 28-29.
The musical was specially prepared to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the republic. It tells the story of the founding of the republic starting with the War of National Struggle. Tickets for the musical 1923, which is also one of the biggest theater productions ever staged, are on sale for November 24-25.
1923 was written by Yekta Kopan, Mert Dilek and Mehmet Ergen and directed by Lerzan Pamir and Mehmet Ergen.