President Erdogan of Turkey again made clear his menacing desire to revive the Ottoman Empire as in a speech he proposed that the Ottoman language should be revived and all schools teach it to students:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again said Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, accusing the early Republican period’s “language revolution” of “destroying” the Turkish language.
“It is one of the biggest problems in recent history that our language has become a subject of political discussions. In the name of ‘language revolution,’ our Turkish was attacked by unpleasant, dull and soulless words.
The bond between our nation and its old civilization was tried to be weakened,” Erdoğan said on March 15 at the award ceremony of a high school’s composition contest at the presidential complex in Ankara.
Ottoman Turkish is an old form of Turkish using Arabic script, with many words borrowed from Persian and Arabic. As part of cultural reforms to create a Western-style secular state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, replaced Ottoman Turkish with the Latin alphabet.
In 1932, as part of Atatürk’s drive to make the new form of Turkish more widespread, the Turkish Language Society (Türk Dil Kurumu) was founded.
Erdoğan has long criticized the changes, saying it made Turkey lose touch with its history.
“Our bond with our history was cut,” he said.
“If you cut the vein of one nation from its language, then you cut their ties with their grandfathers,” he added.
“If today younger generations cannot understand Mehmet Akif Ersoy, Ömer Seyfettin or Ahmet Haşimi, let alone Fuzuli or Baki, it is because our language was destroyed during that period,” he said, referring to late Ottoman nationalist authors.
“I believe the period that destroyed the richness of our language is long gone. But I believe the destruction continues. For this reason, I think it would be good that Ottoman Turkish gets taught in schools,” he said.
Erdoğan also criticized the influence of the internet over language, urging citizens to be careful not to use foreign words.
He called on shopkeepers to change the names of their shops if they were not Turkish. (source)
The Turks were originally from Central Asia, but migrated to Anatolia over a period of centuries. The eventually conquered the territories of the Byzantine Empire and mixed with the people. This is especially true with the Turkish sultans, for almost from the beginning of the Ottoman Empire as well as previous Turkish empires (such as that of the Seljuks), the Turks intermarried with Circassian, Greek, or Slavic women (there were slavic tribes that migrated to Anatolia and the surrounding regions) The modern “Turk” is not even really Central Asian except with his language and culture, but is just a mixed and Islamized Greek. Even the Turkish language, with having been so extensively exposed to Greek, Persian, Arabic, and the languages of the Caucasus, is far removed from its Altaic roots.
The “richness” of the Ottoman language supposedly lost in the past is laughable because, as many sources note (quoted through Wikipedia) that at the peak of of the Ottoman Empire, approximately 88% of all words being used in Ottoman were borrowed from Arabic or Persian, especially with the upper classes. It was only the “common” and “low class” people of the empire who used words that were from the actual Turkish language. After World War I when Atatürk introduced language reforms, he replaced the Arabic script of Ottoman with a Latin script and replaced many words of Arabic or Persian loan with their Turkish equivalent, effectively “Turkifying” the language more so than what had been in the past. Due to the many technological changes over the last 50 years and the fact that literacy has grown proportionately, further linguistic changes have the Ottoman of the past and the Turkish of today into two separate languages.
This is not the first time that Erdogan has spoken of reviving the Ottoman language, proposing the same matter in 2014 where all students would learn Ottoman whether they want to or not:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey promised on Monday to introduce compulsory classes in Ottoman Turkish into the national school curriculum, regardless of public objections.
Ottoman Turkish is an older form of the national language, written in a type of Arabic script, with many words and phrases borrowed from Arabic or Persian. Its official use was discontinued in 1928 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, in favor of a more vernacular form of Turkish, written with the Latin alphabet.
“There are those who do not want this to be taught,” Mr. Erdogan told the Religion Council in Ankara on Monday. “This is a great danger. Whether they like it or not, the Ottoman language will be learned and taught in this country.”
Some people see Mr. Erdogan’s move as reflecting a broader goal of restoring an Ottoman-like state. His remarks have added fuel to a debate set off last week by the National Education Council, which proposed that Ottoman language classes become mandatory at religious high schools and be offered as optional electives in secular high schools. The council also called for classes in “religious values” to be taught to children as young as 6.
The recommendations have drawn widespread criticism from parents and political opponents, who argue that the council — and the Islamist-led government of Mr. Erdogan — is trying to “Islamize” the public schools and roll back Ataturk’s secularization and modernization of Turkey. (source)
Erdogan’s proposal again to revive the Ottoman language is directly tied to his goal of resurrecting the Ottoman Empire and Turkish nationalism. It will be interesting to see if this time his proposal is accepted and how far it is implemented, for his power has greatly increased in the past five years, having purged his political enemies with a staged coup and built closer ties this historical Teutonic ally.