Turkey, with a population of seventy-eight million and vast economic resources is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Turkey has close ties with the Balkan countries and Turkic states of Central Asia, and attracts tourists from all over the world, including Australians visiting Gallipoli and those drawn by the archaeological wealth of all Anatolian civilizations. Turks have migrated to many parts of the world, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, USA, Australia and most countries in Western Europe. Studies in Turkish language, culture and history are therefore in great demand in universities worldwide.
Turkish language courses
The official language of Turkey is Turkish, a branch of the Uralo-Altaic linguistic family. Modern Turkish language is a key both to Ottoman Turkish, the official language of the Ottomans until the beginning of the twentieth century, and the language vital for studying the history and culture of the Middle East and the Balkans; and to Turkic dialects such as Azeri, Turcoman, Nogay, Kyrgyz and Kazak, which are of equal importance in understanding the history and culture of Central Asia.
The earliest known alphabet developed by the Turks is the Gokturk alphabet, in which the well known Orhon inscriptions from the eighth century AD were written. However, Turks have also used Suryani, Armenian, Georgian and ancient Greek alphabets in their writings to produce works of outstanding literature. The Ottomans used the Arabic alphabet to produce millions of books and official documents which are preserved in the libraries and archives of both Turkey and Europe. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, replaced the Arabic alphabet with the Latin alphabet in 1928. Since then, Turkish writers and scholars have been making outstanding contributions to the worlds of science and literature.
The Turkish language program aims to provide students with the skills necessary to read, write and speak modern Turkish and to familiarise them with modern Turkish culture. In the classes, particularly those for Elementary Turkish, the emphasis is on drills, exercises and situational practice.
All lessons include exercises, reading passages and listening to tapes. The lecturer may provide additional reading when necessary. Students are encouraged to read articles and books on Turkish language and culture.
Turkish History and Culture
According to Chinese sources, the history of the Turks dates back to the seventh century BC. The first known Turkish State was founded by the Huns in the third century BC. The Gokturk (552-740) and Uigur (741-840) were the two other important states founded by the Turks prior to their conversion to Islam in the ninth century, during the reign of Bugra Han of Karahanid state (founded in 840). The Gaznavid (936-1187) and Seljuk states played a significant role in shaping the History of Islam and made great contributions to Islamic Art, leaving many monuments in an area stretching from the Aegean Sea well into Central Asia.
It was after the advent of Ottomans in the fourteenth century that a new era began in Turkish history, for the Ottomans were able to incorporate three cultures: Turkish, Islamic and Byzantine. The Ottoman Eastern policy during the reign of Selim the Grim and Suleyman the Legislator can be better appreciated in the light of present day conflict in the Middle East. The Ottoman territories once covered areas from Crimea to Sudan and from the Caspian Sea to Vienna. After the first World War, the Turks united and fought the War of Independence and founded the modern Turkish state on the soils of Anatolia and Thrace. The Ottomans and the modern Turkish state are the main concern in the courses on Turkish History and Culture.
Turkish courses can be undertaken as single courses, or as a minor in the Bachelor of Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies, or as an Arts minor within the Bachelor of Arts degree or combined BA degree options. Turkish courses can also be included in the Centre’s post-graduate coursework, and as an adjunct to research for MA, MPhil and PhD.
Turkish Program Convenor
Dr M. Murat Yurtbilir
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 61 2 6125 1062