Turkish schools in Central Asia in a bit of hot water

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Here's the location of one of these schools.

Interesting read here on a subject I often write about. Turkish is in an interesting position in its language family in that Turkic languages resemble each other a lot more than other languages in other families usually do (that is, there's a very high degree of mutual intelligibility) while at the same time Standard Turkish is the only language that has the wherewithal and stability to promote itself in other countries. Other Turkic languages are either similar to Standard Turkish anyway (Azeri), have just recently changed their script or are going to in the near future (Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz), still have a great deal of Russian influence and are yet to be learned by the majority in the country (Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek to a certain extent), or don't even have an independent country to their name to begin with (Uyghur, Tatar, Gagauz, etc.). Add to that the history of the Ottoman Empire and it's no surprise that Turkey is interested in promoting its language as the lingua franca of Central Asia. That doesn't always sit well with the authorities of the countries concerned though, as the article states, and not just out of suspicions of pan-Turkism, but also religious differences as well. The schools are technically founded on Fethullah Gülen's philosophy, which means a fair amount of teaching religion as well, and many secular countries have a problem with that.

One other interesting aspect of these schools that I didn't know about was that they exist in Tajikistan too. I had assumed that they didn't really have an interest in setting up schools there considering that Tajik is pretty much just Persian written in the Cyrillic script. That means quite a few similar loanwords but a completely different grammar.

You can also see the exact location of the school mentioned in the article in Dushanbe here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its believed that there are more than 1000 Gulen-affiliated schools all over the world (most of them are not in Central Asia now, but initially CA was a starting point early in 90's right after Soviet Union collapse). Take alone its supposed hundreds of them are in the States. I am a graduate from Kazakh-Turkish school. Just to give you an idea how this movement spread, 3 of my former teachers I recently was in touch with are serving in other countries (one in Bangladesh, another one is in the US, and the other was in Afghanistan before the war broke). By the way, I got to know one of the friends to Haji-Kemal, founder of Tajikistan school, and one of my recent recruits is Tajik-Turkish school graduate who afterwards studied in one the prestigious American universities . Believe me or not, but these people are not following any pan Turkic idea, at least Gulen's philosophy does not assume that. I think including Turkey, number of followers exceed 10 mln. all around the world, and there could be some 50 mln people who perceive them as friends.

Anonymous said...

Its believed that there are more than 1000 Gulen-affiliated schools all over the world (most of them are not in Central Asia now, but initially CA was a starting point early in 90's right after Soviet Union collapse). Take alone its supposed hundreds of them are in the States. I am a graduate from Kazakh-Turkish school. Just to give you an idea how this movement spread, 3 of my former teachers I recently was in touch with are serving in other countries (one in Bangladesh, another one is in the US, and the other was in Afghanistan before the war broke). By the way, I got to know one of the friends to Haji-Kemal, founder of Tajikistan school, and one of my recent recruits is Tajik-Turkish school graduate who afterwards studied in one the prestigious American universities . Believe me or not, but these people are not following any pan Turkic idea, at least Gulen's philosophy does not assume that. I think including Turkey, number of followers exceed 10 mln. all around the world, and there could be some 50 mln people who perceive them as friends.

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