The Founder of our Republic, Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was commemorated with a ceremony attended by our faculty members, administrative staff and students on the morning of November 10.
The ceremony, which took place at the Sabancı University Performing Arts Center, started with a moment of silence and the national anthem. The ceremony began with the opening speech of our Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Dean Meltem Müftüler-Baç, and continued with the speeches of our President Yusuf Leblebici and FASS Faculty Member Abdurrahman Atçıl.
Focusing on the meaning and importance of understanding Atatürk in her speech, Meltem Müftüler-Baç said, “As we commemorate our Atatürk with love, gratitude, and respect on the 85th anniversary of his passing, we are very grateful for the path he paved for us, the values he created, the thought system he left behind for all of us, and the way we learned to think".
In his speech, our President Yusuf Leblebici stated that Sabancı University has always adopted the path of positive sciences and rationality and continued, “Since the day our University was established, the common goal of all our faculty members, students and graduates at our University has been in this direction. We are working with all our strength, and we will continue to do so, to raise young people who are world citizens with 'free ideas, free wisdom, and free conscience', on the path shown to us by our Ancestor, the Founder of our Republic, whose 100th anniversary we celebrate with great enthusiasm. We commemorate our Founding Father with respect and gratitude for leaving us this valuable legacy."
Abdurrahman Atçıl, the speaker of this year's Commemoration Ceremony, stated that the modernization of the Turkish legal system by the people who founded the Republic of Turkey under the leadership of Atatürk could be considered among their most important achievements and said, "When we look back 100 years later, the changes in the field of law that seem very natural to us were radical and revolutionary at that time." Atçıl continued his speech with a quote from Atatürk's speech at the opening of Ankara Faculty of Law on November 5, 1925, in which he clearly revealed the motivation and goal of the legal revolution:
“The Turkish revolution, which has been going on for years, believed in the solution of determining and strengthening its thinking, existence, social life and the new legal principles on which it was based.
The common bond that the nation considers establishing among its individuals in order to maintain its existence has changed its form and quality, which existed for centuries, and brought together the individuals of the nation with the bond of Turkish nationality, instead of the bond of religion or sect. The nation has adopted as a principle, as an immutable fact that in the field of general international struggle, the tool that can keep itself alive can only be found in contemporary civilization.
As a necessary and natural result of the revolutions, the nation has realized that its general government and all laws will arise only from worldly needs and that a view and thinking that will keep up with these as they change and develop will bring them well-being and immortal life.
We are attempting to undermine old legal principles by drafting completely new laws. We are opening this school to raise a new law generation that will start studying the alphabet with new legal principles. Our basis in all these works is the superior talent and definite will of the nation. Our friends in these initiatives are our distinguished lawyers who understand the new law in the same way that I have explained.”
Atçıl concluded his words as follows: “On this November 10 Atatürk commemoration day, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, I don't think you need to be an expert to tell me that the steps taken by Atatürk towards establishing a nationally based legal order instead of religious, sectarian and racial identities in the field of law are one of the most important factors in the success of the Republic. It is our duty and that of future generations to preserve this legal heritage and ensure that it keeps pace with changing needs, as Atatürk put it."