Turkification of the Toponyms in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey

Տեղանունների թուրքացումն Օսմանյան կայսրությունում և հանրապետական թուրքիայում

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(ISBN: 978-0-9699879-7-0)
Arod Books (Publisher)
2010 Montreal
70 pages
Size: 5 3/4" x 8"
Language(s): English, Eastern Armenian

Toponyms represent persistent linguistic facts, which have major historical and political significance. The rulers of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey realized the strategic importance of the toponyms and carried out consistent policies towards their distortion and appropriation. Aiming to assimilate the toponyms of the newly conquered territories, the Ottoman authorities translated them into Turkish from their original languages or transformed the local dialectical place names by the principle of contamination to make them sound like Turkish word forms. Other methods of appropriation included the etymological misinterpretation and renaming and displacing the former toponyms altogether. The focus of the present article is the place name transformation policies of the Ottoman Empire and its successor, the Republic of Turkey. The decree by the Minister of War Enver Pasha issued on January 5, 1916 with the orders to totally change the "non-Muslim" place names is for the first time presented in English, Armenian and Russian translations. The article also deals with the artificially created term of "Eastern Anatolia" as a substitute for Western Armenia, the political objectives of the pro-Turkish circles as well as the consequences of putting the mentioned ersatz term into circulation.

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