Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the most famous Turk of the 20th century. A great reformer, statesman and soldier, he singlehandedly modernised Turkey; creating a prosperous secular republic out of the declining remnants of the old Ottoman Empire. In 1911, he had fought against the Italians in Libya and in the Balkans from 1912-13. His reputation as a great tactician and a gallant officer was cemented by the campaigns repelling the Allies at the Battle of Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Dardanelles, where his chivalry in victory became proverbial.
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
In 1919, he initiated a nationalist revolution, ostensibly to protest the harsh peace terms levied by the victorious powers. His success entailed the revision of the settlement in the Treaty of Lausanne. Atatrk then moved to establish a provisional government at Ankara and the next year, 1922, the 623 year old Ottoman Sultanate was formally dissolved. By 1923, Turkey was a secular republic, allowing Atatrk to embark upon an ambitious programme of social and political reform. His achievements include the emancipation and enfranchisement of women, the introduction of a Westernised legal and political system and the replacement of the Arab alphabet with Latin characters. His surname, Atatürk, meaning 'Father of the Turks', was bestowed on him in 1935, by his grateful nation.
The present Lot, a personal side-arm, was gifted to him by Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear (1868-1942), the then President of Argentina, to commemorate the founding of the Turkish Republic on 29 October 1923. Alvear was arguably the foremost Argentinian statesman and dipolmat of the 20th century. Held in high esteem both in his native country and throughout the world, Alvear split his time between Paris and Buenos Aires and was serving as Argentina's ambassador to France when he was elected President in 1922, a post he held until 1928. He would most certainly have been aware of Kemal's reforming policy in the wake of the First World War and would have held him in high regard. Alvear, a world renowned pistol shot, was known to have made gifts of firearms, often pistols bearing gold-inlaid dedications, to numerous political figures of the day.
Please note this is a Section 5 firearm. For licensing requirements and other important information, please refer to the "Explanation of Cataloguing Practice" in relation to firearms on page 76.