We have put together a “0€ Atatürk – 1919 box”, a collectors item – limited edition with banknotes featuring Ataturks quest to Turkish Independence. The collection consists out of 5 banknotes, featuring the cities:
Presented in a nice, smooth box and a helpful collector-album – 1900 pieces will be available for sales. Box number 1919 will most probably be auctioned at Janus Mezat. (We are working on that one).
The date of May 19 holds a special significance for Turks. It is the day in 1919 when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived in the port city of Samsun on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, to launch the War of Independence against the powers which had invaded Turkey at the end of the First World War.
It is also the date Atatürk has later adopted as his own birthday. At the same time, May 19 can be regarded as the turning point in Turkish history when Turks started becoming fully aware of their nationhood.
From a broader perspective, the landing of Mustafa Kemal in Samsun can also be viewed as the birth date of Turkish democracy. Attempts at democratization in the past had been based on the balance of power between the Sultan and representatives elected for rather than by the people. The idea that the people were the sole source of sovereignty developed with Atatürk’s arriving in Anatolia and his starting to organize a national resistance. It did not happen all of a sudden, either. A struggle had to be waged to establish the will of the people as the fundamental pillar of the new state to be created.
The path to Turkish independence was marked by many important milestones. Atatürk played a crucial personal role in all of them. The Erzurum Congress of July 23, 1919 accepted a 10-point declaration, which aimed at preserving the unity of the country. Another Congress held in Sivas in September that year confirmed the resolutions adopted at Erzurum. Among the most important conclusions of both meetings was a decision to reject the mandate or protection of any foreign country. When elections were later held for the Ottoman Parliament in İstanbul, most of those elected were people who agreed with the decisions of the Erzurum and Sivas Congresses.