Yunus Emre Enstitüsü

How Did Turkology Studies Start in Poland?

Poland is one of the oldest centers of Turkology in Europe. Turkish, which has been taught in Royal Palace in Poland since the XVIth century, was served by the great Turkologists like Tadeusz Kowalski, Ananiasz Zajaczkowskı, and Jan Reychman. 

In point of indicating Turkish as the world language, the qualified contributions to the Turkish language studies and the existence of the great Turkologists who were educated at the Turkology departments of Vilnius, Lviv, Krakow, Warsaw and Poznan universities are remarkable. 

The history of Turkish studies and education dates back to the second half of the XVth century. This date is also a period when the political relations between Poland and Ottoman Empire started. 

The development of Turkish studies in Poland depended on the mutual political, economic and cultural relations. This shows that language is an important means of interaction. For example, Franciszek Meninski started the studies of Turkish Dictionary in Poland and then at the Jagellon University in Krakow, in 1919, the chair of Turkology was established by the professor Tadeusz Kowalski. Alt hough, there were some Turkology studies in between, the Eastern Studies Institute was opened in 1935, in Warsaw; world-renowned esteemed scientist Professor Ananiasz Zajaczkowski was appointed as the chairman of it. 

Lastly, the Eastern Studies Institute in Krakow and Warsaw was reopened in 1946 and shortly after that a Turkology Department was opened in the University of Wroclaw. Prominent scientists who worked on the history and the education of Turkish, were graduated from these chairs. 

The scientists who served to Turkish language like Samuel Otwinowski, J. Sekowski, A. Muchlinski, I. Pietraszewski, A. Chodzko made a great contribution to the Turkish-Polish relations. 

Turkish language studies of Polish Turkologists and their studies on Turkey and the Turkish world show that there is an exceptional and substantial collaboration in the Turkish-Polish relations. 

High level of collaboration among the intellectuals and the scientists play an important role undoubtedly in the political, economic and technologic developments of nations and countries. Thus, the researches and studies of Polish and Turkish scientists on “Turkish” would conduce to common technological studies, too, in decades, as a result of the “cultural transformation and interaction”. When Turkish becomes widespread as a science language and production language, this will make serious contributions to the friendly nations with whom collaborations were established as much as Turkey. 

Once, it was a language spoken by almost 220 million people from the Great Wall of China to the coasts of Adriatic, Turkish has started to become a communication and interaction language that people from different nations in different geographies speak and search about. Today, from America to Japan, human groups from different categories of occupations and ages learn Turkish and contribute to Turkish language studies. 

This has become, of course, as a result of the rapid changes, the growth in political influence and enrichment that Modern Turkey has shown in the last 15 years. The interest in Turkish actually comes from the curiosity about Turkey. This curiosity will bring cultural transformation together and eventually, will bring scientific collaborations. In my opinion, the existence of the Chairs of Turkish Language at different research centers and universities of the world will be a common interaction and informatics device. 

The 13th of the Great Congress of the International Turkish Language was carried out to negotiate the developments on Turkish Language and to discuss the new findings, in partnership with The Yunus Emre Institute and the Bilkent University on 25-26 September 2016. The Yunus Emre Institute gave contribution to the Great Congress of Turkish Language in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania and Hungary before and in Poland, later. 120 scientists discussed about the different issues of the Turkish language at the Congress which was attended by the President of the Yunus Emre Institute Prof. Dr. Şeref Ateş, the Lecturer at the Bilkent University Prof. Dr. Rasim Özyürek, the Head of the Department of Turkology and People of Middle East of the University of Warsaw Assistan Prof. Agata Baraja Starzynska, The Chairman of the Foundation of Friendship, Collaboration and Solidarity of Turkey-Azerbaijan Prof. Dr. Enver Hasanoğlu, the Warsaw Ambassador of Turkey Tahsin Tunç Üğdül, the Warsaw Ambassador of Azerbaijan Dr. Hasan Hasanov and the director of the Yunus Emre Institute of Warsaw Öztürk Emiroğlu. 

President of the Institute Prof. Dr. Şeref Ateş who talked about language concept and the wealth of Turkish as a language at the Great International Turkish Language Festival which was attended by 120 scientists from Turkey and different countries of the world, said Turkish language is richer than the other languages on producing its own concepts and terms. Prof. Dr. Ateş who asserted that because of having rules like math because of being a head-final language, Turkish is a “producing language” noted that the Turkish language, which is the carrier of the scientific and cultural accumulation of Turkey as well, will have a great contribution to produce science, industry and technology. 

Emphasizing that everybody has a responsibility to preserve the Turkish language, the Lecturer at the Bilkent University Prof. Dr. Rasim Özyürek who was the Head of the Regulatory Board of the Congress said in his opening speech “As we defend our flag, we have to defend our language.” The director of the Yunus Emre Institute of Warsaw Assistan Prof. Öztürk Emiroğlu, who remarked that it has been 600 years for the diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey, said Turkish is compulsory at five high schools in Poland and followed as: 

“Turkey and Poland celebrated the 600th year of their diplomatic relations in 2014. The relations sometimes got cold because of fighting six direct wars in almost quarter century period of these 600 years; however, Turkey and Poland drew attention as two countries that did not let their relations get deteriorated, including the war periods. 

Since the XVth century Tatars and Karais started to make Poland their home. We are in the lands where Tatars from the XVth till the end of XVIIth, Karais from the XVth till the end of the XXth century spoke Turkish. At the Royal Palace of Poland, translators who knew Turkish were employed since the XVIth century. Among the Polish aristocrats, there were some who spoke Turkish 

Also, the Polish Kings, too, like III. Jan Sobieski and Stefan Batory knew Turkish. Turkology has a very long and deep history in the country where Turkology departments opened in Vilnius in 1802, in Krakow in 1919, in Lviv in 1924, in Warsaw in 1932, in Poznan in 2002, and 100th year of the establishment of the Turkology will be celebrated in Jagillon University in 2019. Turkologists like Prof. Dr. Tadeusz Kowalski, Prof. Dr. Ananiasz Zajaczkowski, Prof. Dr. Jan Reychman, Prof. Dr. Satnislaw Stachowski, Prof. Dr. Jan Ciopinski, Prof. Dr. Tadeusz Majda, Prof. Dr. Henryk Jankowski provided significant service to Turkish language. 

Asserting that some ways should be found to solve the problems among Turkish languages, the Warsaw Ambassador of Azerbaijan Dr. Hasan Hasanov emphasized that the main condition to solve these problems is the unity of the alphabets. Expressing that when he was young, he was appointed in Kazakhstan during the Russian period and he was wandering what things should be done to understand Kazakh Turkish, Ambassador Hasanov continued as follows: 

“I realized that common words are plenty. After detecting the common words, I looked at how do they function suffixes and prefixes. Soon, I started to understand what they speak more easily. If we give the young people the forms of functions in Turkish languages, they would learn easily. I wrote a book on this issue. To solve the language problems in the Turkic world, it is necessary to hold meetings with the ones who know this issue very well to search for solutions.” 

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Ebru Çavdar

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