Pertev (Peter) Bediz was born in Istanbul in January 1914. These were the last days of the Ottoman empire, and the western powers were about to fight over the spoils in the First World War. Instead of being carved up by the victorious Europeans, however, the remains of the Ottoman Empire became modern-day Turkey in 1923. Creating a new state included complete overhauls of the banking, educational, and judicial systems, often using the best European systems as models. Religion (Islam) and state were separated, and symbols of the past, such the fez and the veil, outlawed. Women were given the right to vote and run for parliament, and equality in divorce custody and inheritance, well before most western nations.