Most of the time, we don’t look away from the mainstream issues on the agenda of the country and the world that don’t know how to slow down, and we neglect to deal with developments in regions that are outside our radar. For this reason, issues that are essentially very important can be overlooked; in the same manner, they cannot be reflected in the press and social media as they deserve. For example, did you know that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which are among the seven independent Turkic states, will convert to completely using Latin alphabet in 2023? If this news has escaped you, like many others, I would like to share a few ideas on why the subject is worth exploring.
Kazakhstan has been using the Cyrillic alphabet since 1991, when it gained its independence. On the other hand, although Uzbekistan adopted the law on the transition to the Latin alphabet in 1993, it has continued to use the Cyrillic alphabet in official correspondence and government offices until today, so the Latin alphabet has not become widespread enough.
Here, we are talking about a population of over 50 million people, who are our kin. Therefore, this issue is extremely important for Turkey without a doubt. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, both of which gained independence in 1991, were first recognized as independent states in the world by Turkey. Since then, we have always been in good relations both politically and commercially. It should not be overlooked that the Latin alphabet may open up a great opportunity for the relations in question to continue stronger in the future. At this point, it will be very expedient if public authorities such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the Turkish Language Association (TDK) intervene and take action for the usage of Latin alphabet in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with the characters used in Turkey. It is in our hands to create a future where the peoples living in the geography that includes the Turkish states can understand each other more easily, and as a natural result, can communicate better.
If Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan begin using the version of the Latin alphabet used in Turkey, this will especially contribute to the strengthening of the cultural bond of our young people with these countries; traffic of areas such as education and tourism will get busier. And also; there is no doubt that Kazakh, Uzbek and Turkish investors will also consider this alphabet partnership as a great convenience for new ventures. As the strongest Turkish state in the region, I believe that it is necessary to take action before the state officials and to create public opinion on this issue.
Azerbaijan also switched to the Latin alphabet years ago. They use some letters and signs in addition, which are not currently used in our alphabet. However, we can easily understand them because of our common language.
Our relations with Azerbaijan increased with the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh. We learned to call them Azerbaijani, not Azerbaijani Turks, and immediately saw how much we loved each other.
We realized that the languages spoken in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Uzbek but Turkish with only dialect differences, and that our citizens who went to those countries could easily get along with the Turks there within 2-3 months.
We can also suggest some changes in the alphabet in Azerbaijan through TDK and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If necessary for our language structure, we can add a few letters to our alphabet.
A delegation of linguists from the Turkic world will overcome this task.
We Turks accept that we entered Anatolia with the Battle of Malazgirt (also known as Manzikert) in 1071. One of our 2071 goals 50 years later should be a Turkish world where all Turks use the same alphabet, the same letters and characters.