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«January 2020»

Lost Pages: (Ottoman) Turkish Language Periodicals in Bulgaria (1878 – 1944). Muslim Tradition versus Nationalism

The Turkish (and especially Ottoman Turkish) language periodicals, published after the Bulgarian state was reestablished in 1878, are still an obscure topic even for the scientific community. Building upon a successfully completed preliminary research about locating and digitization of selected periodicals, the main goal of this project is to utilize the publications in those periodicals to reconstruct the image of the Turkish speaking minority population in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian ummah was far from the homogenous entity as it is often deemed to have been. The temporal focus will be the 1923 – 1944 period when the internal segregation among the Muslims reached their peak. The disagreements were rooted in the varied opinions on the reforms of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) and especially the polemics on the introduction of the new Latin script, which one could speculate literally led to an Alphabet war. Two major groups emerged: Muslim traditionalists and Turkish nationalists, each eager to express and propagate their conflicting views on the newspaper pages.

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