“My friends, our rich and harmonious language will now be able to display itself with new Turkish letters. We must free ourselves from these incomprehensible signs, which for centuries have held our minds in an iron vice. For a nation to consist of 10 to 20 per cent of literates and 80 or 90 per cent of illiterates is shameful.” These passionate words were uttered by the President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal during a public celebration in the Sarayburnu Park in Stambul. Three months later, on November 3, 1928, the National Assembly of Turkey passed a law on the adoption of the Latin script in place of the Arabic script. With the Latin script, elimination of illiteracy was a success: the 29 letters were easy to master for the people of the former Ottoman Empire. In 6 years, half of the country's population learned to read and write. Now they could even write their last names, which came very useful: just in time for adoption of last names in Turkey six years later. The great reformer Mustafa Kemal was given the name Atatürk – “Father of the Turks.” Given the Turkish success, he deserved it.
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