© 2020 The Author. Journal of Public Affairs published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.The founder of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has a unique place for the Turkish military culture. However, this commitment has mostly remained symbolic and the military has acted highly different to what Atatürk had desired. Following his death in 1938, the military claimed a guardianship duty to preserve Atatürk's “secular” republic. They implemented periodic interventions against democratically elected governments. Yet indeed, Atatürk had been known with his critical stance against military interventions. He had frequently emphasized the importance of civilian supremacy. Indeed, with these periodic interventions, there emerged a “paradox” between the military implementations and Atatürk's ideas. To elaborate this “paradox,” this paper will compare Atatürk's opinions with military implementations. To do this, the paper will firstly analyze Atatürk's ideas about war, soldiering and civil-military relations. Secondly, the paper will define the relationship between military culture and Kemalism. Lastly, the paper will make a general evaluation of Turkish civil-military relations.