Reviews

This paper deals with the educational cooperation between Turkey and the Turkic-speaking NIS and autonomous republics of the former USSR and present-day Russian Federation, viz. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.  After a short recall of Turkey’s excessive ambitions in the early 1990s—a period when Turkish diplomats used to speak of a “Turkic world from the Adriatic to the Chinese Wall”—, the author proceeds to her analysis in two different parts.  The first one is devoted to the Turkish policy of welcoming a number of students from the Turkic-speaking world:  A short statistical study of Turkish fellowship programmes is concluded by considerations on the causes of the latter’s failure (the dominance of quantitative criteria, without attention for each country or republic’s specific needs; the mediocrity of financing and infrastructures; the very nature and evolution of relations between Turkey and each country or republic—in the case of Uzbekistan, for instance, the decisive factor being the fears of the Uzbek government to loose control on a significant student population).  The second part offers a description of Turkey’s educational and cultural policy in former Soviet Central Asia, through the respective investments of the Turkish state and of the private sector.  The author shows well the contrast between the weak engagement of the former and the dynamism of the latter, in particular of the Fethullaci networks of private schools.  Such a dynamism can be explained by the missionary spirit of these schools’ teaching staff, a characteristic that has not been noticed by the author.  L. K. Yanik concludes her paper with an overall interrogation on the impact of this specific educational policy on the relations between Turkey and the Turkic-speaking world.  She estimates that it is still too early for drawing overall considerations, though she suggests that in some cases, notably as far as Azerbaijan is concerned, one can assert that this policy has showed successful.  As a matter of fact, it is through the action of the Fethullaci armada of teachers from Anatolia that the slogan bir millet iki devlet (“one nation, two states”) has become a quasi-reality between Ankara and Baku.

Bayram Balci, French Institute of Central Asian Studies, Tashkent
CER: I-7.1-614