Gökçen was one of the adoptive (or foster, sources differ) daughters of Kamal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. His other adoptive daughters included professor Afet İnan; he also adopted a son and fostered two other boys.
She was an orphan, the sixth child of a middle-class family, whose parents had been killed in the internal chaos after World War I, and she was adopted about 1924 or 25. She developed an interest in flying and her father's influence got her a place in a flying school and then the Turkish air cadets, in the face of considerable anti-feminist opposition.
In 1937 she spent a month as a bomber pilot, helping put down a Kurdish revolt, which made her famous. She then retired from active service to become a flight instructor until she retired in 1966.
She is recognized as the world's first woman combat pilot and the first woman pilot in Turkey. Istanbul's second international airport was named in her honor.
To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.