Turkey's Official Travel and Tourism Guide
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Turkish belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altay linguistic family. Through the span of history, Turks have spread over a wide geographical area, taking their language with them. Turkish speaking people have lived in a wide area stretching from today’s Mongolia to the north coast of the Black Sea, the Balkans, East Europe, Anatolia, Iraq and a wide area of northern Africa. Due to the distances involved, various dialects and accents have emerged. The history of the language is divided into three main groups, old Turkish (from the 7th to the 13th centuries), mid-Turkish (from the 13th to the 20th) and new Turkish from the 20th century onwards. During the Ottoman Empire period Arabic and Persian words invaded the Turkish language and it consequently became mixed with three different languages. During the Ottoman period which spanned five centuries, the natural development of Turkish was severely hampered.
Then there was the “new language” movement. In 1928, five years after the proclamation of the Republic, the Arabic alphabet was replaced by the Latin one, which in turn speeded up the movement to rid the language of foreign words. The Turkish Language Institute was established in 1932 to carry out linguistic research and contribute to the natural development of the language. As a consequence of these efforts, modern Turkish is a literary and cultural language developing naturally and free of foreign influences.
The history of Turkish Literature may be divided into three periods, reflecting the history of Turkish civilization as follows: the period up to the adoption of Islam, the Islamic period and the period under western influence.