Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a statesman, visionary leader: Vice-President
Nearly a century after his great granduncle Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari led a medical mission to Turkey, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday relived the historical visit leafing through a set of documents gleaned from the State Archives. The Vice-President, who arrived here on a six-day visit on Monday, was handed over a folder “Dr. Ansari and his activities in Ottoman Empire” by the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Cemil Cicek. The Vice-President, who never visited Turkey during his 40 years in the Indian Foreign Service, is here on an invitation of Mr. Cicek.
Drawn from State archives of Turkey, the documents include rare photographs of Dr. Ansari and his medical team that provided assistance to the Turkish army engaged in the Balkan war after his arrival in Istanbul on January 9, 1913 and established under the banner of Indian Red Crescent Society to a warm welcome from Ottoman Red Crescent.
The mobile hospital at Kadirga became home to the medical team from India around the time when peace talks were held between the Ottoman empire and the Balkan State. Later, with the beginning of the second Balkan war, the team shifted to Omerli village in June that year and set up the mobile hospital at Gallipoli (Canakkale), the State archives recorded. The medical mission under Dr, Ansari also finds mention in Jawaharlal Nehru's The Discovery of India on its impact on Indian minorities before the outbreak of World War I.
Earlier, Mr. Ansari paid homage at the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. In his comments in the golden book, the Vice-President noted: “It is an honour for me to pay my homage and respects to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a statesman, visionary leader, and the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His leadership in the war of independence of Turkey was a source of inspiration for India's freedom movement. The ideals symbolised by Mustafa Kemal Pasha continue to inspire secular, liberal and democratic people the world over.”