Prominent scholar dismayed by Erdoğan’s 'Turkish not suitable for philosophy' claim
Turkey’s renowned philosophy Professor Ionna Kuçuradi has reacted to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the Turkish language is not suitable for the discipline, daily Cumhuriyet reported.
Kuçuradi, who is the head of Turkey’s Philosophy Association reacted to Erdoğan’s claims regarding the impossibility of studying philosophy in Turkish, saying people discuss philosophy in Turkish, but that Erdoğan was unaware.
“We philosophize in Turkish, we even have publications, but it is obvious that he does not know this,” Kuçuradi said.
Kuçuradi added that the Turkish language is suitable for engaging in philosophy.
“I have to say this: that Turkish is a language that is suitable to philosophize in. The terminology used is not loaded like in the Western languages. This eases Turkish philosophy texts in reaching the readers,” said Kuçuradi.
Erdoğan said on Dec. 24 that due to the alphabet reform to use Latin letters, which was conducted by modern Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1927, the quality of science in the Turkish language had regressed.
“Although we had a very rich [Ottoman] language that was highly convenient for doing and producing science, we woke up one day and we realized that it was gone,” he said, adding that the introduction of the new alphabet obliged Turkey to teach and learn science in foreign languages and foreign concepts.
“People were forced to forget thousands of words and concepts, as they were removed from the dictionaries,” he said, arguing it was not possible to study philosophy with the current vocabulary of Turkish. “You will either rely on Ottoman words or concepts from French, English or German. But we have to overcome all of these problems.”
Contradicting himself, when Erdoğan was prime minister, he had said in a symposium titled “The Constitution’s language” in Ankara in 2012 that people were saying one could not philosophize in Turkish, but these were racist claims.
“They say engaging in philosophy cannot be done in Turkish, a scientific language cannot be formed. All of these statements smell of racism,” Erdoğan had said.