Atatürk became known as an extremely capable military officer by being the only undefeated Ottoman commander during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His successful military campaigns led to the liberation of the country and to the establishment of Turkey. During his presidency, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms. An admirer of the Age of Enlightenment, he sought to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state. The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.
Main article: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's personal life
Born as Mustafa, his second name Kemal (meaning Perfection or Maturity) was given to him by his mathematics teacher in recognition of his academic excellence. He was born to a turkish family living in Thessaloniki. Mustafa’s mother was Zubeyde Hanim (1857-1923), a devout Muslim and "as fair as any Slav from beyond the Bulgarian frontier" with "fine white" skin and "eyes of a deep but clear light blue".  In his early years, his mother encouraged Mustafa to attend a religious school, something he did reluctantly and only briefly. Later, he attended Şemsi Efendi school (a private school with a more secular curriculum) at the direction of his father. His parents wanted him to have education in a trade, but without consulting them, Atatürk took an entrance exam for a military junior high school in Thessaloniki (in Turkish, Selanik, which was an Ottoman city at that time) in 1893. In 1896, he enrolled into a military high...