Language Policy in Turkey: Recent Perspectives

03.11.-15.12.2021, Vortragsreihe

Language Policy in Turkey: Recent Perspectives

In the case of Turkey, “language policy” is usually more or less automatically associated with the extensive language and script reform carried out for the Turkish language under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s and 1930s. Earlier studies have focused mainly on this period, but language policy remains an important topic to this day, one that has the potential to provoke fierce debates among experts and in the public, even in recent years. Topics discussed included gender-equitable language, the substitution of foreign words (mostly borrowed from English) in Turkish, the use of language in public spaces, as well as debates about the evaluation of the reforms in the 1920s and 1930s, to name just a few examples.

This lecture series, held at the Orient-Institut Istanbul in November and December 2021, is intended to present new research findings that address the language situation in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, deliberate interventions in the development of language and writing, as well as the role of individuals and groups in these processes. By examining previously neglected sources, re-examining well-known ones and applying new research perspectives and methods, previous assumptions about language policy can be re-evaluated.


Dr. Zaur Gasimov (University of Bonn)
Forgotten Intermediaries? Turkish Language Reform’s Polish, Hungarian and Russian Traces
Wednesday, 3 November 2021
7:00 pm (Turkish time, GMT+3)

Dr. Nevra Lischewski (University of Munich)
Multilingualism and Language Planning in the Period of the Late Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic
Wednesday, 17 November 2021
7:00 pm (Turkish time, GMT+3)

Max Scherberger (Independent scholar, Freiburg)
Sadri Maksudi Arsal and His Ideas about the Turkish Language
Wednesday, 1 December 2021
7:00 pm (Turkish time, GMT+3)

Prof. Dr. Jens Peter Laut (University of Göttingen), Dr. Ruth Bartholomä (Orient-Institut Istanbul)
The Turkish Language Reform and Beyond: A Never-Ending Story?
Wednesday, 15 December 2021
7:00 pm (Turkish time, GMT+3)


Please click here for the program booklet


Registration Information

The lecture series will be held online via Zoom. To attend, prior registration is necessary. Please send an e-mail specifying your name and academic affiliation to You can either register for the whole series or for individual lectures. For the latter, please specify the lecture you want to attend and send your e-mail at the latest two days before the respective event, i.e. by Monday (1 November, 15 November, 29 November, 13 December).

For technical reasons, the number of participants is limited. You will be informed about the organizational and technical procedure one day in advance of each lecture.