In Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig explores how Mustafa Kemal (known as Atatürk), who seized power in Turkey after the 1924 collapse of the Ottoman empire, became an inspiration for the German right in the aftermath of World War I. William O’Connor writes:
Hitler’s obsession with Turkey was strategic, [but] it was also deeply personal. While Ihrig does a thorough job of detailing Germany’s historic ties to the Ottoman empire—and even potentially its involvement in the Armenian genocide—it’s the Nazi leaders’ personal attachment to Turkey and Atatürk that is especially fascinating. Hitler, for instance, considered a bust of Atatürk by Josef Thorak to be “one of his cherished possessions.” . . .
The most obvious connection to make between the Nazis and Atatürk’s rule is, of course, the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, which took place before Atatürk came to power. . . . [The Nazis] believed that Armenians were the “Jews of the Orient” and that their deaths and suppression played a key part in the emergence of modern Turkey. In speeches, Hitler would consistently refer to Armenians as being on the same level as Jews, and in one article he declared the “wretched Armenian” to be “swine, corrupt, sordid, without conscience, like beggars, submissive, even doglike.” Nazi texts proclaimed that the annihilation or expulsion of the Armenians was a “compelling necessity.”