This chapter discusses Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's childhood in the ancient Macedonian capital of Salonica. The future founder of the Turkish Republic was born one winter, either in 1880 or in 1881. His upbringing was more liberal than that of most lower-class Muslims. No one in his family's circle of friends and relatives, for instance, practiced polygamy. Likewise, his father reportedly drank alcohol, which was abhorred by conservatives. The confusing dualism produced in Ottoman society by the reforms of the nineteenth century had its first imprint on Mustafa when his parents entered into a heated argument about his education. There is little doubt that Mustafa Kemal's deep-seated predilection for new institutions and practices owed much to his years as one of a handful of students in the empire who had their primary education at a private elementary school devoid of a strong religious focus.
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