Founded in 2005, the Atatürk’s Thought Club is one of the student-run associations of METU Northern Cyprus Campus. The primary aim of the Club can be summarised as follows:
“To understand Atatürk’s thoughts more precisely and disseminate his ideas; to adjust Kemalism, which emerged as a political doctrine in the 20th century, to the everchanging conditions, views, and challenges of today’s world and broaden its scope in a fully independent way in every sense of the word.”
We take Atatürk as a model whenever we take another step to attain these goals, and his ideas are the principles we now embrace. To encourage our members to be more effectively engaged and thus to maximize the efficiency of the Club, we form committees at the beginning of each academic year that help to organize various activities of the Club. Needless to say, greater collaboration and engagement increases the Club members’ commitment to the group in practical terms. The current perceived needs are taken into account when forming these committes.
An Interview with Emre Onur EKİCİ, President of the Atatürk’s Thought Club- Aerospace Engineering Student:
- What other goals does your association have, besides the ones you have just mentioned?
Our group called itself ‘Atatürk’s Thought Club’ and set forth its goals accordingly. In addition to its primary purpose, our club aims to generate a range of alternative solutions to problems facing the country, and the world, as a student society that encourages its members to develop social awareness.
- Could you tell us about the types of activities organized by the Atatürk’s Thought Club?
Despite defining itself a ‘thought’ club, the Atatürk’s Thought Club is exceedingly vibrant with various activities. Basically, it organizes a range of events all year round on the occasion of the Republic Day Ball, November 10th Atatürk Remembrance Day, March 8th International Women’s Day, April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, May 19th Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, and May 19th Inter-Association Sports Tournament. It organizes torchlight processions and days of protest, or remembrance, on special days that capture important events in the calendar. Through such activities, we aim to highlight the impact of a specific event on the society. The Club also organizes seminars and conferences, given by specialists, on special days to create awareness for a variety of issues and/or on topics that have gained increasing interest worldwide. Among other activities, the Club organizes awareness raising meetings scheduled to exchange ideas on a particular agenda item. These meetings are attended by our lecturers at times. To promote socialization and friendship among group members, we organize outdoor activities, such as nature walks, culture trips and paintball games, which also provide opportunities for members to take a break from their busy academic schedules.
- Are these activities aimed at meeting the needs of the Club members only?
Definitely not! We are involved in a wide range of activities including those that are held on behalf of the Club and offered to Club members. We are aware that involving more collaborators leads to a larger pool of ideas, and that collaboration improves performance. We therefore work collaboratively with other student associations of METU and put effort into the activities initiated by the University. On behalf of the Atatürk’s Thought Club, I would like to invite all METU students to join us.Those who are interested will be able to register during the get-together meetings, which will be held in October and November, 2016.
- Are you currently working on any society-related projects?
The Atatürk’s Thought Club attaches great importance to providing care and support to children, to whom we entrust the future. For instance, on April 23rd, which is a day dedicated to children, we spend time playing with the Campus kids as they get engaged in drawing, games or other activities. Examples include the on-campus activities that we organize to raise awareness of children in need. As part of these activities, we entertain the kids living in the SOS Children’s Village at times. We aim to place further emphasis on children’s issues in the future.
We are planning to visit high schools, starting from those located in our immediate environment, and give talks to young people on Atatürk, his reforms, the challenges that faced him, his life, and his ideas, of which we are strict followers. And we want to introduce all of these in such a novel way that the information delivered to audience can provoke curiosity for the content, as well as reflecting our admiration for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This is another project that we are excited about, and that will fill us with pride once put into practice. The initial phase was completed last semester, and we are planning to carry it out in the forthcoming year.
In addition, we have a large-scale ‘tree planting and tree caring’ project that aims to conserve the nature and greenery of the Campus. This project is currently in the development stage. Without a doubt, we will also contribute to all new projects and social awareness activities that will take place at our campus throughout the year.
- Besides organizing seminars and conferences, are you also engaged in activities that can help you to communicate your vision and ideas to your audience, such as publishing a magazine, producing articles or organizing debates?
The Atatürk’s Thought Club has not published a magazine or any articles so far, but we keep a blog, which allows us to keep in touch with our followers and carry out the preliminary works for a new magazine that we want to publish, even if just for one semester. We have already formed the Media Committee that will be responsible for the content and publication of the intended magazine. We would like to exchange ideas and share experiences on this issue during the awareness raising meetings that I have mentioned before.
President: Emre Onur EKİCİ