On October 27, 2023, the International Conference “Integrating Role of the Common Turkic Alphabet: Scientific and Social Aspects” was held in Almaty. The event was organized by the Turkic Academy together with the Turkish Linguistic Society under the Ataturk Supreme Council for Culture, Language and History and with the al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), with the support of the Secretariat of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS).
The conference was attended by well-known linguists and experts from leading scientific organizations from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkiye, Uzbekistan, as well as government and public figures, members of the Parliament of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, representatives of diplomatic missions.
During the conference, issues regarding the development of a common standard for the Turkic alphabet, its integrating role were discussed. The state language policy of the participating countries, as well as the possible measures and steps to achieve unity in the alphabet was analyzed.
Before the conference, guests visited the Al-Farabi Museum, the reading room of the Library, the hall of the UN Global Hub, the exhibition “Seven Facets of the Great Steppe”, and an exhibition of scientific achievements.
The opening ceremony of the conference was attended by the President of the Turkic Academy Shahin Mustafayev, Chairman of the Board – Rector of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University Zhanseit Tuimebayev, Advisor to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Malik Otarbayev, President of the Ataturk Supreme Council for Culture, Language and History Derya Ors, President of the Turkish Linguistic Society Osman Mert, Member of the Council of Elders of the Organization of Turkic States Ikram Adyrbekov, Deputy of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Darkhan Kydyrali, Deputy Secretary General of the OTS Sadi Jafarov, Deputy Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States Saky Sadykov, Deputy Consul General of the Kyrgyz Republic in Almaty Gulzat Abdrasulova, Education Attache of the Consulate General of the Republic of Turkiye in Almaty Ayhan Korkmaz.
The President of the Turkic Academy Mustafayev, who delivered a welcoming speech, informed the conference participants about the work done by his organization in coordinating the efforts of the academic communities of Turkic countries to form a common alphabet and terminology, which were noted in the document “the Turkic World Vision – 2040”, adopted at the VIII Summit of Heads of State of the OTS in 2021.
The President of the Academy expressed the view that the experience gained from research carried out to date shows that the linguistic basis is very important in the process of creating a common standard alphabet, but nevertheless, socio-cultural factors must also be taken into account. In this regard, he noted that the academic circles of the Turkic states should pay attention to the sociocultural significance of a common alphabet, and this issue should be resolved in an interdisciplinary format.
Chairman of the Board – Rector of KazNU, Tuimebayev noted in his speech that the study of the history and development of Turkic alphabets in the field of social sciences and humanities is a key issue in the preservation of cultural heritage.
In his turn, Malik Otarbayev read out a congratulatory letter on behalf of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. In addition, the Advisor reminded that he next summit of the Heads of State of the OTS will be held in Astana on November 3 of this year. He emphasized that the document “the Turkic World Vision – 2040”, adopted at the initiative of the fraternal countries, will help strengthen cooperation between the Turkic states.
In his speech, Prof.Dr. Derya Ors touched upon the relevance of the agenda of the event, and stated that the attention that the Organization of Turkic States attaches to the alphabet is growing every day. Stressing that the most important step needed in order to achieve the common goals of the Turkic states is a common alphabet, Prof. D. Ors said that as a result of the unification of the alphabet, we would have better understanding and deeper knowledge of each other. Recalling that the Latin alphabet has been used in Turkey since 1928, D. Ors said that this alphabet is nowadays also used in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in accordance with the peculiarities of the language of each country.
In turn, Prof.Dr. Osman Mert noted that although our ancestors used different alphabets since the 8th century, they always maintained the unity of the alphabet within the Turkic space.
O. Mert stated that scientific research displays the need for partnership in the field of national script and emphasized the necessity to develop and implement a unified policy regarding a common alphabet. Current events in the world should be taken into account, along with all the rest.
After the plenary session, the event continued in the format of panel sessions on the topics: “Alphabet as a direction of integration”, “Alphabet, language and identity”.
The participants came to a consensus on the issues on the conference agenda, which will be brought to the attention of government agencies and academic circles implementing the language policy of the participating countries, as well as to the Presidium of the Council of Elders of the OTS.
The scholars who took part in the conference confirmed their determination to support the Objectives and principles of work of the Commission on a Common Alphabet, as well as the Final Declaration of the First Meeting of the Commission on a Common Alphabet of the Turkic World, which were adopted in Astana on May 29, 2023.
At the end of the event, after discussing all the issues, the conference participants adopted a Final Declaration.