New book spurs debate over Atatürk’s origins
The family origins of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk do not lie in Thessaloniki as commonly believed but in the eastern province of Malatya, according to the claims of a new book that is spurring debate over the standard personal history of the country’s founder.
Atatürk's family immigrated to Thessaloniki from Malatya, author Fatih Bayhan said in his upcoming book, “From Mustafa to Kemal; Atatürk’s Big Secret,” basing his conjecture on a claim made by Ülkü Adatepe, Atatürk’s recently deceased foster daughter, that was published in Malatya daily "Yeni Haber" in 2010, according to reports.
“Atatürk's family went to Thessaloniki from Malatya," Adatepe reportedly said at a "Republic Ball" in Malatya held in 2007. "I heard this conversation in Ata's house."
Atatürk's father and mother were said to be different people who lived in Malatya, the book says, adding that Atatürk’s acknowledged mother, Zübeyde Hanım, was actually his aunt.
Atatürk was sent to Thessaloniki when his actual father died and was adopted by Zübeyde Hanım when his mother died, according to the book.
The book is reportedly based on official governmental records and documents that are set to be publicized for the first time.
“As I have never seen or read the documents, I cannot comment on this issue," historian Ayşe Gür said about the matter. "But there is always a possibility. Atatürk’s past is not a well-known issue, it is unclear. In the 1930s Atatürk’s family tree was researched but the effort was abandoned. I think we should wait for the release of the book."
“Atatürk is not from Malatya. I know every detail about Atatürk," said Yusuf Halaçoğlu, a historian and former head of the Turkish History Institute. “He was registered in Thessaloniki.”