Conflict in cooperation : language ideological debates in the negotiation of linguistic and sociocultural rapprochement in the post-Cold War era Turkic world
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This dissertation examines three phases in post-Cold War relations between Turkey and the ex-Soviet Turkic republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, not from the macro-level perspective of political and economic protocols and accords agreed by state actors, which has been ably outlined by other scholars, but rather from the micro-level perspective of efforts pursued on a less formal plane to promote linguistic rapprochement among the disparate Turkic peoples. The actors in this unfolding drama were an shifting collective of interested individuals, composed predominantly of linguists and language professionals, who were readily classifiable neither as official representatives of their respective nations, nor solely as invested individuals acting in their own interests, but rather operated at the meso level and comprised, I would argue, a “community of practice” dedicated to uniting the Turkic peoples linguistically, socioculturally, and perhaps even geopolitically under the rubric of an emergent supranational “Turkic world.” In exploring the shifting sands of supranational relations in the post-Soviet Turkic world through the lens of linguistic rapprochement, I focus, in particular, on two ostensibly discrete language ideological debates--the first centered around a series of early Turkic linguistic congresses held during the initial phase of post-Soviet Turkic relations that focused on the creation of a common Turkic alphabet (ortak alfabe) and Turkic lingua franca (ortak dil), and the second emerging during the third phase of relations among the Turkic peoples that focused on defending the Turkish alphabet from pernicious “outside” influence, where “outside” was largely identified as “the West” yet intersected in interesting, ways with the “outside Turks” (dış Türkler) of Central Asia and the Caucasus. In addition, I reconstruct the transitional “bridge” between the first and third phases of Turkic relations by also examining the dimensions of ongoing discussion and debate over issues of language, orthography, and identity both in Turkey and in the emergent Turkic world that, although more diffuse and less formal by nature than the two debates described above nonetheless, I argue, constitute two additional language ideological debates which together define the second stage of relations among the Turkic peoples in the post-Cold War era.