June 22, 2006

Was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, crypto-Jewish?

Conspiracy theories were quite prestigious in the 1970s and into the 1980s, but ever since the release of Oliver Stone's 1991 movie "JFK," the elite cultural atmosphere has turned strongly against them.

And yet, there really have been lots of secret societies, cabals, covert activities, and the like down through history. For example, the history of Italy since WWII can't be adequately explained without reference to the Mafia, Operation Gladio "leave-behind" cells, the P2 Masonic Lodge, and secret CIA funding of the anti-Communist parties, not to mention all of the Communist conspiracies on the other side.

It turns out, of course, that most of the secrets are pretty mundane. My late father-in-law, a 32nd degree Mason, liked to say that he couldn't tell any outsiders the secret protocols of the Masons because it might be fatal to them.

"Because if you told them, you'd have to kill them?" I asked.

"No, because if they heard what we really do, they might die laughing."

Secret groups are by no means omnipotent. In fact, they are generally less effective than public groups in most circumstances. Secrecy imposes costs and makes expansion harder.

Nonetheless, there are aspects of the world that do resemble a Jorge Luis Borges story, such as the murky role of crypto-Jewish pseudo-Muslims, the "Donmeh," in modern Turkey. Three and a half centuries after the forced conversion from Judaism to Islam of the false messiah Sabbatai Zevi, his followers and their secular descendents remain, apparently, strongly represented among the anti-Muslim fundamentalist political, business, and cultural elites in Istanbul and Ankara.

But what about the founder of modern Turkey himself, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk? Was he a crypto-Jew?

Hillel Halkin, the respected New York native turned Israeli journalist who is a regular in Commentary and a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and the New York Sun, thinks so. In a January 28, 1994 article in New York's Forward, a Jewish newspaper, entitled "When Kemal Ataturk Recited Shema Yisrael: 'It's My Secret Prayer, Too,' He Confessed," Halkin wrote:

Stories about the Jewishness of Ataturk, whose statue stands in the main square of every town and city in Turkey, already circulated in his lifetime but were denied by him and his family and never taken seriously by biographers. Of six biographies of him that I consulted this week, none even mentions such a speculation. The only scholarly reference to it in print that I could find was in the entry on Ataturk in the Israeli Entsiklopedya ha-Ivrit, which begins: "Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - (1881-1938), Turkish general and statesman and founder of the modern Turkish state. "Mustafa Kemal was born to the family of a minor customs clerk in Salonika and lost his father when he was young. There is no proof of the belief, widespread among both Jews and Muslims in Turkey, that his family came from the Doenme. As a boy he rebelled against his mother's desire to give him a traditional religious education, and at the age of 12 he was sent at his demand to study in a military academy."

The Doenme were an underground sect of Sabbetaians, Turkish Jews who took Muslim names and outwardly behaved like Muslims but secretly believed in Sabbetai Zevi, the 17th-century false messiah, and conducted carefully guarded prayers and rituals in his name.

The encyclopedia's version of Ataturk's education, however, is somewhat at variance with his own. Here is his account of it as quoted by his biographers: "My father was a man of liberal views, rather hostile to religion, and a partisan of Western ideas. He would have preferred to see me go to a * lay school, which did not found its teaching on the Koran but on modern science. "In this battle of consciences, my father managed to gain the victory after a small maneuver; he pretended to give in to my mother's wishes, and arranged that I should enter the [Islamic] school of Fatma Molla Kadin with the traditional ceremony. ... "Six months later, more or less, my father quietly withdrew me from the school and took me to that of old Shemsi Effendi who directed a free preparatory school according to European methods. My mother made no objection, since her desires had been complied with and her conventions respected. It was the ceremony above all which had satisfied her."

Who was Mustafa Kemal's father, who behaved here in typical Doenme fashion, outwardly observing Muslim ceremonies while inwardly scoffing at them? Ataturk's mother Zubeyde came from the mountains west of Salonika, close to the current Albanian frontier; of the origins of his father, Ali Riza, little is known. Different writers have given them as Albanian, Anatolian and Salonikan, and Lord Kinross' compendious 1964 "Ataturk" calls Ali Riza a "shadowy personality" and adds cryptically regarding Ataturk's reluctance to disclose more about his family background: "To the child of so mixed an environment it would seldom occur, wherever his racial loyalties lay, to inquire too exactly into his personal origins beyond that of his parentage."

Did Kinross suspect more than he was admitting? I would never have asked had I not recently come across a remarkable chapter while browsing in the out-of-print Hebrew autobiography of Itamar Ben-Avi, son of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the leading promoter of the revival of spoken Hebrew in late 19th-century Palestine. Ben-Avi, the first child to be raised in Hebrew since ancient times and later a Hebrew journalist and newspaper publisher, writes in this book of walking into the Kamenitz Hotel in Jerusalem one autumn night in 1911 and being asked by its proprietor:

"'Do you see that Turkish officer sitting there in the corner, the one* with the bottle of arrack?' "


"'He's one of the most important officers in the Turkish army.'"

"'What's his name?'"

"'Mustafa Kemal.'"

"'I'd like to meet him,' I said, because the minute I looked at him I was startled by his piercing green eyes."

Ben-Avi describes two meetings with Mustafa Kemal, who had not yet taken the name of Ataturk, 'Father of the Turks.' Both were conducted in French, were largely devoted to Ottoman politics, and were doused with large amounts of arrack. In the first of these, Kemal confided: "I'm a descendant of Sabbetai Zevi - not indeed a Jew any more, but an ardent admirer of this prophet of yours. My opinion is that every Jew in this country would do well to join his camp."

During their second meeting, held 10 days later in the same hotel, Mustafa Kemal said at one point:" 'I have at home a Hebrew Bible printed in Venice. It's rather old, and I remember my father bringing me to a Karaite teacher who taught me to read it. I can still remember a few words of it, such as --' " And Ben-Avi continues: "He paused for a moment, his eyes searching for something in space. Then he recalled: "'Shema Yisra'el, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Ehad!'

"'That's our most important prayer, Captain.'

"'And my secret prayer too, cher monsieur,' he replied, refilling our glasses."

Although Itamar Ben-Avi could not have known it, Ataturk no doubt meant "secret prayer" quite literally. Among the esoteric prayers of the Doenme, first made known to the scholarly world when a book of them reached the National Library in Jerusalem in 1935, is one containing the confession of faith: "Sabbetai Zevi and none other is the true Messiah. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." It was undoubtedly from this credo, rather than from the Bible, that Ataturk remembered the words of the Shema, which to the best of my knowledge he confessed knowing but once in his adult life: to a young Hebrew journalist whom he engaged in two tipsily animated conversations in Jerusalem nearly a decade before he took control of the Turkish army after its disastrous defeat in World War I, beat back the invading Greeks and founded a secular Turkish republic in which Islam was banished - once and for all, so he thought - to the mosques.

Ataturk would have had good reasons for concealing his Doenme origins. Not only were the Doenmes (who married only among themselves and numbered close to 15,000, largely concentrated in Salonika, on the eve of World War I) looked down on as heretics by both Muslims and Jews, they had a reputation for sexual profligacy that could hardly have been flattering to their offspring. [More[

Keep in mind that Halkin loves this kind of tale, as he admits in a column about his meeting with a tipsy gentleman who claims to be the last descendent to the throne of the legendary Khazar Jews:

The fact is that I've always been a sucker for this kind of stuff. Ever since I was a kid growing up in Manhattan, I've lapped it up: stories about the lost tribes, descendants of the Marranos, shadowy Jewish kingdoms in the Middle Ages, Jews turning up in far places — the mountains of Mexico, the jungles of Peru, Kaifeng, the Malabar Coast, Timbuktu . The Jews of Manhattan were boring. Jews spotted by Marco Polo on the China coast or surviving centuries of the Inquisition in the hills of Portugal gave me goose pimples.

Call it the romance of Jewish history. The idea that we were a profoundly more adventurous, infinitely more varied, more far-ranging, more interesting people than the Jews I knew.

Halkin's 2002 book Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel makes the case that the obscure Mizo ethnic group on the India-Burma border are really the descendants of Manasseh, one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

This is just one bit of evidence about Ataturk, and most of the other evidence seems to suggest that Ataturk, although exposed to Donmeh influence, both growing up in Salonika (home of the Donmeh) and later in his career, was not a Sabbatean himself.

To shift gears, all this might help explain a little how the struggle between Turkey and its hostile neighbors, Greece and Armenia, is waged in Washington. The Greeks and the Armenians play an "outside game," based on grassroots hostility toward Turkey among Greek-Americans and Armenian-Americans. For example, the Armenian Caucus in Congress numbered almost 100 a few years ago, even though only one Member of the House was Armenian. In some Congressional districts, such as Pasadena-Glendale in California, promising to stick it to the Turks is a major vote-getter.

In contrast, the Turks play an "inside game" in Washington, relying on high level contacts in the Executive branch. For instance, in 2000, the House was minutes from passing a long awaited resolution blaming the 1915 genocide of Armenians on the Turks, when a phone call from President Clinton to Speaker of the House Hastert, reminding Hastert how important Turkish good will is to the American position in the Middle East, led to the vote being called off.

The Bush Administration has strongly supported Turkey becoming a part of the European Union, despite the evident downsides of opening the borders of Europe to 70 million more Muslims.

A key to Turkey's inside game in Washington, besides American defense contractors, has been the powerful Jewish lobbies in Washington, who support Turkey because, among other reasons, Turkey spends a lot of money on Israeli arms. It's interesting that Richard Perle and Douglas Feith had a lobbying firm in the 1990s, International Advisors Inc., whose main client was the government of Turkey. Morris Amitay of AIPAC was an employee.

I have no idea if this is relevant to the story of crypto-Jewish influence in modern Turkey, but one recurrent pattern is that American neocons, based on their warm ties with the Turkish elites, have repeatedly over-estimated how pro-Israel and pro-American are Turkish voters, most notoriously on the eve of our war to bring "democracy" to Iraq, when Paul Wolfowitz was shocked by the Turkish parliament democratically voting against allowing America to invade Iraq from Turkey despite a huge payoff promised to the Turkish government.

This is not to say that there is a conscious conspiracy between the neocons and the Donmeh, but it may help explain why the neocons have misinterpreted what Turkey is really like. So many of their Turkish contacts have been people with whom they feel culturally comfortable that they can't really fathom what Turkish democracy unfettered by secularist military coups (which is what Turkish accession to the European Union would deliver) will really turn out to be like.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

You should research more into the Albanian Culture before jumping into conclusions about Ataturk's origin. By the way, his physical features and manors were very Albanian like. Please research into a book from Ekrem Pasha Vlora.

Anonymous said...

jumping to conclusions? have we read the same article? i found the article refreshingly un-biased, but i guess your either albanian or of albanian descented turk.

Anonymous said...

amazing work!! great article!

Anonymous said...

good thing is we have an article like that, bad thing is elite of turkey never let this article to be seen by turks. this shocking realities may have a chance to start questioning ataturk. and it ll be the beginning of collapsing a big century lie in this land. good work keep it up.

Anonymous said...

This is typical ppl who cant stand Turkeys greatnes, that you write something bullshit like that! Ataturk a Jew? wtf, how more can you be jealous? Why not make him an Alien from other space! He was a Great Turk and a good Muslim.Ne mutlu Turkum diyene!

Anonymous said...

Green eyed, from Salonica and anti-muslim, but a great Turk. The greatest (or maybe just earliest) case of brainwashing a whole nation in history.

Anonymous said...

before writing something like this, get more info please. You can start with Ataturk's books, say, Nutuk. I don't know if there is an English version of it.

Anonymous said...

Why are people afraid of exploring and investigating the lives of leaders? If Ataturk had nothing to keep in secret about his family and also his marriage life, then why Latifa Usakligil was forced to keep her mouth shut? Noone is perfect. Don't make idols of people. Neither Ataturk, nor other leaders of history were just perfect. Perfect people don't become politicians. Just remember that.

Anonymous said...

Mustafa Kamal is obviously illegitimate with no father’s name!.

He was given the name ‘Mustaf’ without any father’s or family name attached to it! Later on, the middle name ‘Kamal’ was added to his first name. Then at the age of 53, in1934, he was given the nickname ‘Ataturk’.

Some Western sources claim that his father was Ali Rıza Efendi. If that was the case why wasn’t he called ‘Mustafa Ali Efendi’ instead of having to be given the middle name ‘Kamal’ and, much later, the nickname ‘Ataturk’?.

Even his birth date is unknown, and his birth place was Salonika, a known settling place for Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain after the fall of Granada, the last Muslim enclave, in 1492. In 1493, Castilians and Sicilians joined them. In subsequent years, other Jews came from those lands and also from Aragon, Valencia, Calabria, Venice, Apulia, Provence and Naples. Later, in 1540, 1560, Jews from Portugal sought refuge in Salonika in response to the political persecution of the marranos. In addition to these Sephardim, a few Ashkenazim arrived from Austria, Transylvania and Hungary. Immigration was great enough that by 1519, the Jews already represented 56% of the population and in 1613, 68%

Some sources say that his mother was Jewish, his father was Greek and he was born out of wedlock.

Authentic historical sources reveal that he was definitely an agent of the British, French and Russians who have used him to defeat the Ottoman Empire and abolish Islaam and the Arabic Language in what became known as secular “modern Turkey”!.

Anonymous said...

Wow I can't believe how ignorant some people here are. First of all, Ataturk had bright blue eyes ... this is a widely know fact. The article (which I have encoutered like 20 times mostly on anti semetic, neo nazi, or Armenian/Greek forums) states Ataturk had piercing Green eyes. This is NOT correct.

Although Turkey is the country with the most Green eyed people in the world. I've green eyes too, my little sister has blue eyes and blond hair like my grandfather. Now before you people start calling me Greek or Armenian etc. what happens with me an most of my Turkish friends a lot because we have a light skin or coloured eyes/hair. My fathers side settled in Anatolia from Uzbekistan, and my Mothers side are from Turkmenistan, I know my family history and I am 100% Turkic/Turkish.

This is exactly what happens to Ataturk .. "That's not a Turk he has blue eyes and blond hair" that's the biggest bullshit I ever heard. People who actually know a bit of history know that Turks mostly have fair skin and the Oghuz Turks where the whitest of the Turkic tribes (Turkish Turks/Azerbejcan Turks are mostly Oghuz Turks)

And last but not least, the guy commenting on Ataturk being an "illegitimate" child, you're such an idiot .. First of all Mustafa Ali Riza makes no sense at all. It would be Mustafa Alioglu. But Turks didn't use last names at the time, Ataturk was the one who started last names in Turkey.

It's well documented that his father was Ali Riza efendi, he died in 18?? (I forgot, it's pretty late) and his mother remarried. Afther that Ataturk joined the millitary academy.

Atatürk was born in 1881 at the Kocakasım ward of Salonika, in a three story pink house located on Islahhane Street. His father is Ali Rıza Efendi and his mother Zübeyde Hanım. His paternal grandfather, Hafız Ahmed Efendi belonged to the Kocacık nomads who were settled in Macedonia during the XIV - XV th centuries. His mother Zübeyde Hanım was the daughter of an Old Turkish family who had settled in the town of Langasa near Salonika. Ali Rıza Efendi, who worked as militia officer, title deed clerck and lumber trader, married Zübeyde Hanım in 1871.

Anonymous said...

Also I forgot to mention that the name Kemal was given later to him by his math teacher for his intellegence (I forgot it's arabic meaning it's pretty late) and Ataturk was given after all Turks had to take a surname, and the Turkish general assembly GAVE M.Kemal that name, he did not ask for it. He was given it by the Turkish people them selfs

Anonymous said...

Ataturk was married (and then got divorced) Latife Usakizade who is a follower of Sabbatai Zevi (a false-messiah). He attended a primary school founded by Simon Zwi (Semsi Efendi) who is also a follower of Zevi in Thessaloniki...

Sabbatai Zevi followers marry only among themselves and Jews.

turkbloodaussieheart said...

Turkish, I don't care where he's from... ALL I know is that he was a GREAT MAN!! He wanted a secular modern country.. if it wasn't for his contributions to the Turkish peoples I would have been writing, speaking and thinking in Arabic..(not that there's anything wrong with that) Turkey is not a very collective type of country and they do lack in supporting one another, it was the youths that were educated in Ataturks regime who stood up and voiced their opinions and supported him.. As for the rest of the Turks, they still follow arabic traditions and that cannot be helped.. Ataturk did not want Turkey to be an Islamic country, suffice to say he has done the best any man could ever do...and his legacy will continue for centuries.... Rest In Peace dearest Ataturk! he will always be remembered as a GUNIUS! so I understand if you want to make up your own lil conspiracy theories and think of him as a crypto-jewish lol!! Its cute! but you cant say this mate....NE MUTLU TURKUM DIYENE!!

Grand Sen~or said...

M.Kemal was an offspring of Ittihat ve Terakki (ITs). What he and his gang didi is after winning(?!) pseudo-independence they imposed to Muslims a long time before prepared and cooked Constitution which is based secularo-fascist constitutions practiced by EU$. Now Republic of Turkey is just another secularo-fascist monopolist, mono-law. mono-culture, uniter imagined nation State, like any other EU$ States.

for further information chcek my group:

Sadie M. Talich said...

Most modern Turks are decendants of Moslem converts who inhabited Anatolia and the neighbouring Balkans and the Caucasus.
Thus, the likelihood that Ataturk was of indigenous Macedonian and/or Albanian origin....is HUGE, especially because his mother hailed from Edessa/Voden, a town which had mostly been inhabited by Slavic Macedonians (Orthodox and Moslem converts). The indigenous population of Salonika (before the Ottoman invasion) was mostly of Thracian and Slavic stock...with a sprikling of Greek and Albanian.
His Turkishness is the result of Ottoman invasion, and a post-imperial political creation of a modern nation...from heterogenous peoples attempting to evade annihilation by their enemies and European impearialists.
The Donmeh, although socially their own entity, were quite Moslem. There was no reason for them to hide their roots...and least of all....their faith...if they'd decided to practice Judaism. What's implied here...by calling them Crypto-Jews...is that they were FORCED to be Moslem....and that somehow, a REAL Moslem WOULDN'T BE CAPABLE OF creating a modern state. I find that presumption prepostrous....and almost racist....
ps. also...Balkan Moslems (aka Turks) have no problems with sending their kids to Jewish clubs and Jewish schools. We just don't practice social apartheid. We're not like that by nature...and even a 100 years ago...it wasn't unusual for Moselm Sufis and Jewish Sephardim to partake in each other's religious rituals...(ie..in Monastir...the town where Mustafa studied and lived for a while...).
I know of Balkan Moslems who grew up playing sports at the local Makabiya club. It wasn't the Ottomans who were traditionally tribalist. They were exactly the opposite....a very heterogenous bunch....of various ethnic origins...who went on to form the modern "Turkish" state of Turkey, when in fact...very often...their roots were not at all Turkic.

Anonymous said...

is it easy change someone's past like that? write a story and make someone (very important man)which has a suspicious past. History is not story. If you propound something like that you have to prove it by documents.If you can't it this article make you lair and calumniator.

Anonymous said...

My deceased father and my deceased aunt told me many times that they were relatives of Ataturk. On the other hand, they also told me many times that we were Albanians. I know also that my uncle was sent to the Vienna University (for executing his promotion in medicine)by Ataturk after the request from my grandmother to Ataturk. But all of us had and have the Turkish citizienship. But nobody in the family had any relation to the Jews. There was not any word spoken about the Jews in the family.

Unknown said...

well this certainly a far too biased article. The party in power in the turkish politics is a very religious one, and since it came to power in 2002, it has started to imploy it's hidden agenda both within and outside of turkey in order to diminish the influence of ataturk within turkish public. They have a great tendency to re-start the ottoman issue and demonize ataturk as an enemy to the nation and it's traditional religious heritage. No wonder why, in the last few years, all sickly motivated people full of hatred of turks, got hand in hand with those traditional muslims of turkey in order to marginalize ataturk, calling him gay, dictator, jewish, english agent etc. They claim that tens of millions of people living in turkey have no understanding or enough intelligence to realize what their own history is consisted of. Well less of that please, we are not having it. Their pea-sized brains fail to grasp the fact that us turks, are an extremely mixed up nation, and what holds us together is that we were always surrounded by enemies and WE were always warriors throughout the history because of this fact. Since moving our way from siberia to vienna, we always had great generals, won most of wars, and are a proud nation. Ataturk was a general, he was a pure genius and revived a nation that was about to be collectively eliminated from history. greeks, armenians, europeans, arabs, kurds can not take this reality, as they wanna look down on turks, as they enjoy picturing us some barbarian tribe coming from the east in order to cover up their failures to guard their lands or europe as a continent. Admit it, there is a muslim nation who dominated nearly half of europe for centuries and didn't impose its religion towards its people unllike you real barbarians did in africa, asia and americas. In reality. the ones who are degenerated in brain, and always prefer lies to truth. turks have no problem with no one, unless they wanna have try their chances with us. we can also easily come up with ideas like, churchill was having it up his arse, greeks are originated from a tribe where in orgies family members were having a go at each other, kurds were eating rats on the mountians when we came here or armenians are some sneaky miserable people who stabbed us on our back during the WW1, and got backed up by czarist russia in order to kill the unprotected turkish civlians with whom they were living together in anatolia. Typical hyprocritical western propagandists always try to change history in accordance with their self interests. If we read the history from your perspective, we would believe that europeans were always ahead of other people of the world, they are beautiful and intelligent, they invented everything useful. However, when we look into it, we suddenly discover that all sickly little thoughts that poisoned masses of people, all the evil that circulates today are all of western-origined. They are the ones who serve to their jewish masters, pay taxes to them and now finding this bright idea that the father of turks was a freemason jew, an enemy to its own people. GTFO here please.

Anonymous said...

Him not talking about his parents much especially his father, it's possible that he'd be a jewish origin or greek origin or something else. So what? Why are Turkish people so afraid of him being a Jew? Is it his fault if he was born Jewish? Why is he have to be labeled? It's about his doings. You either stand for what he did or stand against it. His origin is not important, his actions are! If you're European, American or Russian, you'll definitely like him because he turned Turkey into somewhat Christian European country but if you a Turk, probably you're not crazy about him since he destroyed 600 year old Ottoman Empire from within even though he had good reasons! It's so interesting that here in New York in high school, we learned that Ottoman Empire was the biggest empire of all times with Roman Empire but somehow my Turkish friends always brag about Ataturk but never about Ottoman Empire like they are ashamed or something. ""

husameddin said...

very good article. thanks a lot!
For those who are believing in Kamal ata..., I have a couple of words to say.
This gentleman, brought a very academic informative article. What you have thrown to the table are just bullshits which forcefully injected into you brains in your government schools. Please, we fed up of listening your bullshits. if you have documents, or archives, bring them to here and let us learn something new, otherwise, shut our mouths and learn your real history carefully!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice article. One Day this fact will have been written in the history books and then Turkish people realise that.

Anonymous said...

The outside appearance speaks a lot about Kemal Ataturk's DNA.

The blue eyes and fair skin did not come from Asia. Ottomans were short and dark...

He is definitely not ASIAN. He is most likely Albanian or Slav, period. What he spoke and what country he ran is clear.