Latife Uşşaki

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Latife Uşakizâde
Latife Hanım.jpg
First Lady of Turkey
In role
October 29, 1923 – August 5, 1925
Succeeded by Mevhibe İnönü
Personal details
Born Latife Uşakizâde
June 17, 1898
İzmir, Ottoman Empire
Died July 12, 1975(1975-07-12) (aged 77)
Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Spouse(s) Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1923–25)
Residence Çankaya Köşkü (official)
Alma mater University of Paris
Law school in London
Profession Jurist
Religion Sunni Islam

Latife Uşakizâde (later Latife Uşaklıgil after the Surname Law of 1934; with the honorifics, Latife Hanım)[1] (June 17, 1898 – July 12, 1975) was Mustafa Kemal Pasha's (later Atatürk) wife between 1923 and 1925. She was related from her father's side to Turkish novelist Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil.

She was born in 1898 in İzmir to one of the most prominent trading families of the city, with roots in the city of Uşak, whence their unofficial family name of Uşakizâde. She completed her high school studies in İzmir and in 1919 she went abroad to study Law in Paris and London. When she came back to Turkey, the Turkish War of Independence was nearing its end.

On September 11, 1922, upon returning to her family mansion in Izmir, she was confronted by soldiers who notified her that the Pasha had taken the house as General Headquarters in Izmir. After convincing the soldiers that she actually belonged to the household, she was allowed in.

They married on January 29, 1923, when Mustafa Kemal Pasha had returned to İzmir just after his mother Zübeyde Hanım's death. For two and a half years, Lâtife Hanım symbolized the new face of Turkish women as a first lady who was very present in public life which, in Turkey, was a novelty by the standards of her day. She was a very important theme in the reforms which began in Turkey in the 1920s for the emancipation of women. No doubt influenced by her husband's staunch secularism, she discarded her Islamic head covering and urged Turkish women to do the same.[2]

However, the relationship between her and her husband was cut short after the summer of 1925. They divorced on August 5, 1925. Lâtife Hanım lived the rest of her days in İzmir and İstanbul, in virtual seclusion, avoiding contacts outside her private circle until her death in 1975. She never remarried, and remained silent about their relationship throughout her life. As late as 2005, her family has rejected proposals to make her diary and letters public.[3]

A comprehensive but also controversial biography of Latife Hanım by the veteran Cumhuriyet journalist İpek Çalışlar was published in 2006.[2]



  1. ^ "Turkey in the 21st century: The Legacy Of Mrs Ataturk". Pelin Turgut. The Independent. 1 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Atatürk, his wife and her biographer". Emrah Güler. Turkish Daily News. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Ataturk diaries to remain secret". BBC. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-29.