Latin Alphabet in Turkish countries

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The Turkish people geographical distribution. In dark blue the countries with Latin alphabet.

The Latin alphabet in Turkish countries is the common alphabet officially used in most countries with Turkish languages. Turkic languages can also be written in Arabic, Persian and Cyrillic.

History[change | change source]

After World War I, many Turkish countries implemented a policy of westernization, centered even on the use of the Latin alphabet. The first was Turkey in 1926, where Kemal Atatürk substituted the Arab alphabet with the roman alphabet after ordering the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Soon all the Turkish speaking countries of the soviet central Asia did the same and used the so-called "unified Turkish latin alphabet" based on the one of Atatürk's Turkey, but during WWII Stalin ordered a russification process in his Soviet Union and the Latin alphabet was erased and substituted again by the cyrillic alphabet.

With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, most of the newly independent Turkish Asian countries reinstated the Latin alphabet, but with small local differences in each country's alphabet, in order to get rid of excessive influence from Moscow.

List of Turkish countries with Roman (Latin) alphabet[change | change source]

  • Turkey. Officially using only the Roman since 1928.
  • Azerbaijan. Officially using only the Roman since 1991.
  • Turkmenistan. Officially using only the Roman since 1999.
  • Uzbekistan. Officially using only the roman since 2005, but still using the Cyrillic.
  • Kazakhstan. Using both Roman and Cyrillic.
  • Kyrgyzstan. Using both Roman and Cyrillic.

Letters of Latin alphabet[change | change source]

The Turkish alphabet used in Turkey, based on Latin capital and lower case letters, has 29 letters (but other countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have more letters).

Of these 29 letters in the Latin alphabet of Turkey, 8 are vowels (A, E, I, İ, O, Ö, U, Ü); the 21 others are consonants. The letters Q, W, and X of the English alphabet do not occur in this Turkish Latin alphabet.

Capital Letters
A B C Ç D E F G Ğ H I İ J K L M N O Ö P R S Ş T U Ü V Y Z
Lower case Letters
a b c ç d e f g ğ h ı i j k l m n o ö p r s ş t u ü v y z

The Turkish alphabet used in other Turkish countries, like Kazakhstan, when using Latin alphabet like in the case of Qazaqsa, has some different letters.

For example, the Qazaqsa Latin alphabet has 38 letters:

Qazaqsa alphabet
A a Ä ä B b C c Ç ç D d E e F f G g Ğ ğ
H h X x I ı İ i J j K k Q q L l M m N n
Ñ ñ O o Ö ö P p R r S s Ş ş T t U u Ü ü
V v W w Y y Z z É é Ï ï Yu yu Ya ya

Bibliography[change | change source]

  • Johanson, Lars & Éva Agnes Csató. The Turkic languages. Routledge ed. London, 1998 ISBN 0-415-08200-5.
  • Lewis, Geoffrey. The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success. Oxford University Press. Oxford, 2002. ISBN 0-19-925669-1.