Will Uzbekistan reform its Latin script

Between Turkish, Turkestan and Uzbek identity? Uzbek migrants in Istanbul Anke Bentzin “The Özbek from the Soviet Union appear to be the best example of a group which is now on its way toward total assimilation in Turkey; some of them nevertheless defend their identity and play leading roles in Turkestani organizations "(Svanberg 1989: 592f.). This prognosis made in 1989 by the Swedish ethnologist Ingvar Svanberg is also shared by other authors who deal with Uzbek migrants in Turkey (e.g. Bezanis 1994; Cosnahan 1991; Svanberg 1989). The following article does not refute this thesis, but shows that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, identities could change, revitalize and re-emerge parallel to the supposedly complete assimilation process of the Uzbek group in Turkey. Before illustrating how these identities are articulated on a public and informal level, a brief portrait of the Uzbek community in Turkey should be drawn. This takes place with special consideration of the historical-political background of their migration to Turkey, because the heterogeneous character of this group is largely based on this. The Uzbek community in Turkey The existence of an Uzbek community in Turkey is the result of various refugee and emigration movements from the part of Central Asia known as Turkestan. The name Türkistanlı, which the emigrated Uzbeks favored and which comes from Turkestan, is derived from their region of origin. In addition to the Uzbeks, the Turkish-speaking Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Uyghurs who immigrated to Turkey from Turkestan are subsumed under the generic term Türkistanlı. Concrete and reliable statistical data on the size of the Uzbek group in Turkey are not available. According to estimates by the Turkestan community, Turkey, with 150,000 Turkestans, is the country with the largest Turkestan emigrant community (Kocao lu 2000: 121). Since the statements made by community members are usually too high, they should be skeptical about them. In a monograph on Uzbeks living abroad, 20,000 to 175,000 Uzbeks are spoken of in Turkey (Hayitov ANKE BENTZIN 236 1992: 20). Perhaps Lowell Bezani's statement of 50,000 migrants from West Turkestan comes closest to the real situation (Bezanis 1994: 159) .1 Background to migration The first group of Uzbek migrants came to the Ottoman Empire or the young one as early as the first third of the 20th century Turkish Republic. It consisted of political activists as well as students and academics who had been delegated to Turkey and Europe for training. The developments at home caused many of them not to return, but either to stay in Turkey or Europe or to move from there to Turkey (Bezanis 1994: 159; Bıçakcı 1996: 35ff .; Kocao lu 2000). Several of these first migrants from Turkestan took an active part in the academic, intellectual and journalistic life of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.2 The number of Uzbeks living in Turkey would probably have been much higher if the efforts of a leading Turkestan emigrant in the 1920s had been carried out3 can be realized. His plan for large-scale immigration from Central Asia, similar to the admission of Muslims from the Balkans, 4 is said to have been rejected by Ataturk (Bezanis 1994: 66). The waves of immigration in the second half of the 20th century are characterized by the fact that the Turkestan migrants did not come to Turkey directly from their home region, but after spending several years in another country or even in several states. So after 1948 about a hundred Turkestan families, including some Uzbek families, moved from Germany to Turkey. They had previously come to Germany either as students, as refugees from the Soviet power or as prisoners of war. Many of them had served in the Turkestan Legion of the Wehrmacht (von zur Mühlen 1971). Although the Yalta Agreement concluded in February 1945 prohibits their expulsion from Europe and their repatriation to the USSR. 1 This number from Bezanis refers to migrants from West Turkestan. It can be assumed that the majority are Uzbeks. 2 While several publications provide information on the work of politically and journalistically active Turkestans (e.g. Adam 2002; Andican 2003; Bezanis 1994; Kocao lu 1998, 1999, 2000), there is only one, also unpublished, study explicitly on the Uzbeks in Turkey (Bıçakcı 1996). 3 Bezanis is referring to older sources according to which Dr. Mecit Bey, President of the Turkestan Turkish Youth Association (Türkistan Türkleri Gençler Birli i), who was said to have known Ataturk personally and to have submitted the immigration plans to him (Bezanis 1994: 91, footnote 24). 4 In the course of the establishment of the republic in 1923, Turkey concluded an agreement on population exchange with Greece and treaties with Bulgaria and Romania and has since seen hundreds of thousands of Turks immigrating from the Balkans. BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 237, some of them had stayed in European refugee camps, others stayed in West Germany and later moved to Turkey. Members of this group or their descendants live in the cities of Istanbul (1980: approx. 250 households), Izmir and Ankara (Svanberg 1989: 594; Bezanis 1994: 159). The majority of Uzbeks came to Turkey from Afghanistan. The first group to immigrate from there via Pakistan or India came in 1952. It was composed of Uzbeks who had left their homes for northern Afghanistan between 1917 and the 1930s and settled in the areas populated by Uzbeks. They had fled persecution, deportation, collectivization, anti-religious measures or the famine of the early 1930s. Between 1950 and 1958, 884 families (2,688 people) are said to have immigrated to Turkey from Turkestan. While 564 families were officially settled as iskânlı göçmen, 320 families have settled in Turkey as independent migrants (serbest göçmen) (Adatepe 1959: 194) .5 Turkey promoted the professional integration of refugees of Turkish origin with integration courses. At the end of the 1950s, it was found that among the Turkestan immigrants, particularly in the Turkish reading and writing courses, as well as in sewing, carpet weaving and carpentry training, satisfactory results could be achieved. These Turkestans, who were settled in the provinces of Ni de, Konya and Kayseri, have, according to Turkish sources, integrated themselves well into the regional markets thanks to the skills acquired in the courses (Adatepe 1959: 191). The next wave of immigration in the early 1980s also led Uzbeks who had previously lived in Afghanistan to Turkey. The Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, initiated in 1979, initially triggered their flight to Pakistan. A law6 passed in 1982 paved the way for refugees of Turkish origin from Pakistani refugee camps to be admitted. In August 1982 the Turkish government decided to take in around 4,3507 refugees of Turkish origin from Pakistan. In the same month, the first 366 refugees reached Turkey via an airlift set up by the Turkish state airline between Karachi and Adana. The interior minister of Turkey and the Turkish press called them “in an emo- 5 From the administrative point of view, two groups of migrants were distinguished: The independent migrants who had come to Turkey on their own initiative were described as serbest göçmen. The iskânlı göçmen were the officially settled migrants, whose settlement took place with the support of official institutions (Svanberg 1989: 591). Between 1950 and 1958, 226 families were officially settled in Ni de Province, 72 families in Konya Province, 104 families in Kayseri Province, 160 families in Manisa Province and 2 families in Sakarya Province (Adatepe 1959: 193f .; Öktem 1959: 212). 6 Law No. 2641 of March 17th, 1982. 7 Slight deviations in the figures: 4,352 (Svanberg 1989: 599) and 4,351 (Denker 1983: 89). ANKE BENTZIN 238 ceremony laden with motions ”(Franz 1994: 279). In the end, 3 811 refugees of Turkish origin, mostly Uzbeks, flew to Turkey via this airlift. They have received support from a US $ 5 million relocation fund and permission to import mobile property duty-free. The newcomers were distributed to different provinces, 8 housed in state-owned apartments and received financial aid roughly equivalent to the minimum net income of a collective bargaining worker. The first 224 settlers were naturalized as early as December 1982. In the course of 1983, the remaining refugees were naturalized. After 1983, other families of Turkish origin from Afghanistan followed at their own expense, mainly in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul, which had already established itself as a residential area for Turkestan migrants.9 In autumn 1987, around 4,500 migrants of Turkish origin from Afghanistan are said to have settled in Turkey have been. Their number is said to have increased to 7,000 by 1990 (Franz 1988: 67f .; Franz 1994: 279ff.). Since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, three groups of Uzbeks have come to Turkey, although their stay was or is only temporary. In the mid-1990s, Turkey granted asylum to the leaders of two Uzbek opposition parties, Abdurrahim Polat (Unity / Birlik) and Muhammad Salih (Freedom / Erk). Its admission by Turkey triggered a political crisis between the two states. Under pressure from Uzbekistan, Ankara finally expelled the two opposition politicians in 1998. The students who came to study in Turkey after independence were recalled by the Uzbek government out of fear of the influence of the Uzbek opposition members living in exile in Turkey.10 The majority of Uzbeks entering Turkey today on a tourist visa come to work. Many of these Uzbeks operate the so-called suitcase trade. Some work in the shops of the Istanbul-based Uzbeks, or as domestic help and nannies in the Uzbek families to teach their children in Uzbek. Uzbeks in Istanbul The focus of the following remarks is on the Uzbeks who are now resident in Istanbul, who or whose parents came to Turkey until the mid-1950s. 172 Uzbek households were settled in Hatay, 180 Uzbeks in the Urfa region and 60 Uzbek families in Gaziantep (Franz 1988: 67; Andrews 1993: 353). 9 Among these approximately 80 households are Uzbek families as well as Turkmen and Kazakh families (Franz 1988: 68). 10 Between 1992 and 1998, 1,638 students from Uzbekistan studied at Turkish universities (Balcı 2003). BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 239 had hiked. The experience of flight and multiple migrations has been deeply imprinted on their collective memory. Numerous Uzbeks, now based in Istanbul, have lived for a few years in the USA, in Saudi Arabia or in Germany. However, many experienced their last migration within Turkey. The general trend of internal migration has also drawn Uzbek families from the rural regions where they settled after arriving in Turkey to the metropolis on the Bosporus. The majority of them live in the districts of Merter, Güngören, Güne li, Ataköy, Bakırköy, Zeytinburnu and Bahçelievler, all of which are in the European part and in close proximity to one another. The neighborhood of compatriots is sought, and efforts are made to maintain regular contact with one another even under the conditions of the big city. The early migrants were students, teachers, and administrators. The Uzbeks who immigrated in the 1950s and 1980s were mostly craftsmen and traders who began to trade and agriculture in the Turkish settlement areas. The Uzbeks in Istanbul are mainly active in academic professions or in trade.11 The majority of Uzbek families today belong to the Turkish middle class. In the conversations with them, the central importance of education became clear again and again. A good education implies social advancement and recognition and is also seen as a contribution to the development of the Uzbek community in Turkey. Unusual in traditional Uzbek society, studying and working for Uzbek women in Turkey are now increasingly part of the way of life. Adaptation and demarcation: identities In order to work out identification models, I examined two areas in which identities are articulated in different ways: - The public level: How and with what means does the community present itself to the outside world? In the analysis I have included the activities of the Uzbek Migrants Association, the magazine Türkistan and the group's internet platform. In doing so, I have limited the period investigated to the activities since the 1980s, as this point in time represented a turning point in several respects. Serious structural and political changes were on the horizon in the region of origin of the Uzbek migrants, and the more liberal atmosphere in Turkey increasingly enabled a public discourse on questions of identity. 11 Mainly in the textile goods sector, often as a family business. Uzbeks also operate pharmacies, construction companies and workshops in Istanbul. ANKE BENTZIN 240 - The informal level: It encompasses everyday life. Using selected areas such as language, everyday culture, intergenerational relationships and informal networks, it is possible to show how Uzbeks maintain, develop and combine identities with one another. The results are largely based on the data collected between 2000 and 2002 in my field research in numerous informal conversations, biographical interviews and participant observations. Turkey as a second home The question of identity was often answered in the interviews with a self-evident “Turküm” (I am a Turk ).12 This answer implies three levels of identification: citizenship, belonging to the group of Turkish peoples and commitment to Turkey as home. The majority of Uzbeks living in Turkey have Turkish citizenship. The publications and testimonies by Uzbek emigrants certainly express gratitude towards and solidarity with Turkey, also because of this status. According to their nation-state understanding, which generally ignores ethnic and national sub-identities of population groups, the Uzbeks in Turkey are considered to be Turks. In the case of the Uzbeks, the common frame of reference is given by belonging to the group of Turkish peoples. The migrants express this affiliation by speaking of themselves as Özbek Turkleri, Uzbek Turks, 13 or using the expression Türk Dünyası, the Turkish world. For its part, Turkey emphasizes Central Asia as the origin of the Turks and has used the immigration of Turkish-speaking groups from Central Asia and the Balkans to consolidate the Turkish character of the state. Uzbek immigrants see Turkey as their (second) home (vatan / anavatan; yurt / anayurt) or their country (ikinci ülke / kendi memleket) .14 Migration is often characterized as a route “from home to home”. This is evidenced by publications with the title "From home Turkestan to home Turkey" (Anavatan Türkistan’dan Anavatan Türkiye’ye) (Donuk 1998). The experiences that Uzbek migrants flee and during the 12 “I am Turkish first. Then I am an Uzbek ”, Muazzam, Turan; “I am a Turkestan Turk,” Sobir. 13 “I feel like an Uzbek Turk”, Selahettin. 14 “Turkey is my second home”, Muazzam and Munise; “Our fatherland is Turkestan. Our motherland is here. [...] Turkey is our second country, our homeland ”, Sobir; “We see Turkey as our country. [...] Our fatherland is Turkestan. Our mother country is Turkey ”, Hakan. BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 241 while staying in other states.The desire to overcome the trauma of flight and the loss of loved ones and property explains the longing for a new beginning and a safe home. Turkey made both possible for them, according to the migrants. Education and professional success have proven to be important integration strategies and bring recognition beyond one's own community. The meetings called gä tak or gap15 also contribute to integration into Turkish society. These regular sociable meetings of men of the same age group in Istanbul not only serve to maintain the language and culture of the region of origin and to discuss community-related and political issues. The traditional Central Asian institution gä tak functions here as an informal network, whose participants try to use their professional and social position for the needs and well-being of individual community members and families. Regardless of the emphasis on the similarities between Turkish and Uzbek culture, there are demarcations to Turkish society, especially in family and community life. For example, the great respect cultivated in Uzbek society for parents, elders and spouses was particularly emphasized as a difference.16 In modern Istanbul, too, Uzbek parents want their children to speak to them with you, to stand up when they enter the room and don't smoke in their presence. It is also not uncommon for spouses to address each other with the respectful you.17 Compared to Uzbek society, Turkish society is viewed as modern, westernized and less cordial, although it must be taken into account that the migrants live in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Istanbul Compare them to an Uzbek society they left decades ago. 15 The Turkestans in Istanbul use the Tajik term gä tak (gashtan: to go around, to cross over) more often than the Uzbek term, from the Ferghana Valley, to gap (conversation, conversation) (Snesarev 1963: 171). Originally gap / gä tak was a gathering of the male population of a village that only took place in winter. At these meetings the men dine together, discuss religious questions and problems in the village, sing, make music, dance and play. Depending on the region, either all men or groups of men of the same age group come together. Gap is now also held by women in Uzbekistan and has developed into "rotating savings groups" with fixed rules among women and men. The meetings are used to collect money for the participants in turn. The amount is paid to the person who organizes the meeting (O.V. 1992; Berg 2000). In Istanbul, the Turkestan men meet once a month, except in the summer months of July, August, and September, on the evening of the first Saturday for a gä tek. Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Turks and guests from Central Asia also take part in the meetings. 16 “We have greater respect”, Halide. 17 "We don't say you’ to each other. We say 'you' ”, Muazzam. ANKE BENTZIN 242 Between Reality and Idea: Turkestan Identity In the public representation of the Uzbek group, the self-designation of Turkestans dominates. This is expressed by the name of the association, the publications and also the website of the community. The Istanbul Uzbeks organized themselves into associations from the start. However, there has not yet been an explicit Uzbek association.18 In this way, the emigrant communities from Turkestan emphasized and preserved the supra-ethnic group identity Türkistanlı, Turkestaner (Kocao lu 2000: 124). The Turkestan Cultural and Social Welfare Association (Türkistanlılar Kültür ve Sosyal Yardımla ma Derne i), which is currently active in Istanbul, was founded in 1984 by members of the second generation and committed community members around the surgeon and ANAP19 politician Professor Ahat Andican.20 said in his speech on the occasion of the founding of the association Ahat Andican new tasks of the association and community activity. It should no longer just be about maintaining one's own existence and maintaining the life of the community. At a time when radical changes were looming in the USSR, Turkestans abroad should stop “complaining that the Communists had done this and that.” Rather, they should make themselves heard in the world with solid scientific work and, after obtaining the Commit the independence of their country of origin to the rapid development of relations between the Central Asian republics and the countries in which Turkestan emigrants live (Andican 2003: 698f.). The aim of conveying "information about the Turkestans and the Turkish world" to a Turkish and global audience should also be served by the association's unofficial mouthpiece, the magazine Türkistan21 (Türkistan 1988: 18 For the associations, see Bezanis (1994) and Kocao lu ( 1998, 1999, 2000) The immigrants from East Turkestan organize themselves in their own associations, which underline their East Turkestan origin like the Association of East Turkestan Migrants (Do u Türkistan Göçmenler Derne i) or the East Turkestan Foundation (Do u Türkistan Vakfı) With their Foundation of the Kazakh Turks (Kazak Türkleri Vakfı), Kazakhs have set up a foundation that emphasizes their ethnic origin. 19 ANAP, Anavatan Partisi (Motherland Party). The liberal-conservative party was founded by Turgut Özal in 1983. 20 The founders had previously had the Turkestan solidarity association (Türkistanlılar Yardımla ma Derne i), which from 1954 to 1976/77 existed in Istanbul. The association was founded at a time when migrants from Afghanistan were arriving in Turkey and served them as an important point of contact (Bezanis 1994: 160). 21 The exact title of the magazine is: Türkistan. Üç aylık ilmi siyasi-ekonomik külürel dergi (Turkestan. A quarterly scientific, political and economic journal). The magazine only partially lived up to its claim to appear quarterly. In addition to the descendants of the Turkestan emigrants from Afghanistan, the USSR and China, their authors were also Turkish academics. Türkistan was aimed at a Turkish audience, especially the Turkish community in Turkey. In a limited number, BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 243 1). The magazine, with an average of 60 pages, was published between 1988 and 1995, making it the longest-running magazine among the Turkestan periodicals in Turkey. According to Timur Kocao lu, these magazines and newspapers preserved the idea of ​​Turkestan as a national homeland and a symbol of national identity, even after the term was banned by the Soviet regime after 1925 and by the Chinese regime after 1949. The reappearance of the term Turkistan in the mid-1980s as the historical name of Central Asia and as the title of periodicals in the Central Asian Soviet Republics is, for Kocao lu, evidence of the continuation of the connection between the pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet times and the emigrant communities (Kocao lu 1998: 21) . In contrast to earlier emigrant periods, the authors of the magazine Türkistan did not stop at conjuring up the past, but instead tried, in view of the imminent changes in the region of origin and the independence achieved in 1991, under names such as the Turkestan Confederation (Turkistan Konfederasyonu), Turkestan Union (Turkistan Birli i) or United Turkestan (Birle ik Turkistan), to develop visions for a unified Turkestan.22 Within the general themes of Turkestan and Turkish World (Türk Dünyası), the magazine presented itself as extremely varied in terms of content. Current political issues, events, publications and events were a focal point.23 In addition to organizations and parties, contemporary and historical personalities from cultural, academic and political life were presented. Experience reports about the visit to the homeland were printed as well as interviews with leading members of the community, academics and politicians24 or Uzbek stories, poems, song texts and a serial novel.25 Nationalist or pan-Turkist authors from Central Asia also had their say and reported on the situation and developments at home. 26 booklets have also been sent to Uzbekistan. The paper also had subscribers in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the USA. 22 See articles by Ahat Andican Orta Asya Türk Cumhuriyetlerinden “Birle ik Türkistan'a” (From the Central Asian Turkic Republics to a United Turkestan) and 21. Yüzyıla do ru Türkistan Cumhuriyetleri (The Turkestan Republics on their way into the 21st century. Turkistan 1993 ). 23 For example the events in Azerbaijan and Afghanistan or the Turkestan Congresses. The entire issue 13 of Turkistan 1991 reported on the 1st International Turkestan Congress, December 3-5, 1991. 24 E.g. with the then Turkish Prime Minister (1991-1993) and President (1993-2000) Süleyman Demirel on the Turks (Lyaslan 1989). 25 Timur Kocao lu transcribed the novel Immortal Cliffs (Ölmez Kayalar) by the Uzbek author Memedali Mahmudov in Latin to make it accessible to the emigrant community. The Cyrillic alphabet was used in Uzbekistan between 1939/40 and 1997. 26 For example, articles by Muhammed Salih “National Pride” (Millî Gurur 1991) and “From Model Turkestan to Chinese Model” (Türkistan Modelinden Çin Modeline 1993). ANKE BENTZIN 244 In addition to the association and the periodical, the Foundation for Turkestan Research (Türkistan Ara tırmaları Vakfı), founded on August 9, 1990 by leading association members, was intended to support the political and academic commitment of the community (Andican 2003: 701). In addition, more lobbying work was started in socially and politically influential circles in Turkey in order to give the group a voice, to obtain invitations for well-known Central Asians to Turkey and to be noticed in the Turkish press (Bezanis 1994: 161). For a time the community had an influential voice in Turkish politics, with Ahat Andican as one of the leading politicians of the ANAP and Minister of State for the Affairs of the Turkish Republics.27 After the magazine was closed in 1995, the community was without a public mouthpiece for ten years .28 At the beginning of May 2005, the foundation and association went public again with the establishment of a Turkish-language website.29 Congratulations such as “Congratulations on remedying one of the most important shortcomings in the Turkestan community in Turkey” 30 express that with the Founding of the website, a long-awaited forum was set up to meet the needs of the emigrant community for information and networking. The designers of the website are clearly linked to the traditions and content of Turkistan. Turkistan and the Turkish world are also thematically in the center with the same authors as in Turkistan. Much more space than in the magazine takes up information about the association's activities and news from the Uzbek community. Summaries and photos of parties, gatherings and events of the association, information about engagements, weddings, degrees and deaths in the community are given. The website could develop into a vital information and discussion forum for the community. In particular, through the commitment of the younger generation31, it could make a contribution to maintaining the strong internal ties in the community. 27 Ahat Andican was in the Mesut Yılmaz government (1997-1998) Minister of State for the Affairs of the Turkish Republics (Türk Cumhuriyetleri ve Türk Toplulukları le li kilerden Sorumlu Devlet Bakanlı ı). He was also a government spokesman and vice chairman for a while. 28 reasons for the stagnation were, among others, the disappointment with developments in Uzbekistan and the role of Turkey in Central Asia, the tense relationship between Uzbekistan and Turkey and certainly Ahat Andican's withdrawal from the office of community chairman. 29 The name of the website is: www.turkistan.org.tr/turkistan. 30 Salih Aynural on www.turkistan.org.tr, accessed on: 8/8/2005. 31 The site also publishes the bulletin of the Turkestan Youth Association Adanas (Adana Genç Türkistanlılar Bülteni). BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 245 and to gain the recognition of the older generation through their commitment to the community. This is also an important step in the emerging generation change process. New proximity: Uzbek identity Several factors have contributed to closer ties to Uzbekistan. The changeover of the Uzbek script from the use of the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet, which was initiated in 1997, enables migrants to follow the Uzbek press and to obtain first-hand information about Uzbekistan by reading other publications.32 With the establishment of the republic In Uzbekistan, the Uzbeks have an independent nation state for the first time. Independence was long awaited within the Uzbek community in Turkey and was greeted with enthusiasm and emotion.33 With the realization of independence, the idea of ​​a Turkestan union has moved into the background. An important catalyst in the emerging tendency towards an increased expression of an Uzbek consciousness are the new opportunities for contact with the homeland, which have developed since the independent Republic of Uzbekistan was founded. Personal contacts play a central role in this. Many Uzbeks have now visited their old homeland and the former homes of their families, found their relatives, visited them and asked them to return visits to Turkey. The association also invites artists from Uzbekistan to perform at festive gatherings and to be welcomed as guests in the emigrant families. The association also sees itself as a point of contact for the Uzbek state. His representatives and parishioners view the tense relationship between Uzbekistan and Turkey with regret, unease and concern and are committed to establishing a good relationship with the official representations of Uzbekistan in Turkey. Representatives of these institutions are regularly invited to community events. Association representatives take 32 Most Uzbek migrants do not know the Cyrillic script, which has been used for decades for Uzbek, and therefore have no access to sources from Uzbekistan. Until 1923, Chagatan, written with Arabic letters, was the written language in Turkestan. Then there was a reform of the language in which the script was adapted to the Uzbek language and Uzbek became the written language. In 1929 an alphabet with Latin letters and in 1939/40 an adapted Cyrillic alphabet for the Uzbek language were introduced. On language and writing reform in Uzbekistan, see Baldauf (1993). 33 In this context, some interviewees said: "Uzbekistan's independence was a dream for us," Hakan; “Something we've been waiting for. We fought for it for years and now we are happy, ”Emvel; “We have dedicated our whole life to it, to independence”, Sobir. ANKE BENTZIN 246 takes part in official receptions and festive events in the Uzbek embassy or in the consulate general. These occasions are used to deepen relations between the emigrant community and the official representatives of Uzbekistan. A visit by representatives of the association to the Uzbek embassy34 was used to raise issues of cultural cooperation as well as the concern of the community to enable association members to enter the Republic of Uzbekistan without a visa. The numerous new points of contact and impulses also clearly show that one has lived in different social systems and contexts for decades. Thus one became aware of the differences between the Uzbek-Turkestan culture cultivated during emigration and the everyday world in the region of origin. The migrants noticed, for example, that the Uzbek language is divided into Russian orTurkish influence has developed differently, the time-honored family structures and manners have changed a lot, even the popular traditional dishes are prepared differently in Uzbekistan today. These differences are judged ambivalently by the migrants. On the one hand, they report almost enthusiastically about the "authentic Uzbek culture", e.g. about the extremely respectful manners. On the other hand, they deplore Russification and Sovietization, which are blamed for problems such as alcoholism, divorce and the abandonment of traditional values ​​in Uzbekistan. These experiences also change our view of our own group and our understanding as an emigrant community. A stronger commitment to Turkey and a questioning of developments within one's own community are not mutually exclusive. Conclusion The clear identification with Turkey as a (second) homeland has not yet led to the Uzbeks losing touch with their region of origin. Turkestan consciousness is articulated as a supranational identity based on the common region of origin, the shared experience of flight, separation and loss of loved ones, as well as the desire to see the old homeland independent and united. Turkestan may live on as an idea and the Turkestan identity as a political consciousness. A union in the region is unlikely. It is more likely that Uzbek identity will be strengthened because the state of Uzbekistan exists while memories of flight and migration are gradually fading. This process will be 34. This topic was raised during an official visit by representatives of the association to the Uzbek embassy in Ankara on May 29, 2005 (www.turkestan.org.tr, accessed on: February 26, 2007). BETWEEN TURKISH, TURKESTAN AND UZBEKIAN IDENTITY? 247 largely supported by the transnational spaces that were able to develop between the new and old homeland after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Uzbek community in Istanbul is an example of how population groups in Turkey can develop multiple identities and how these are varied, depending on who is communicated with and with whom one relates. Bibliography Adam, V. 2002. Russian Muslims in Istanbul on the eve of the First World War. 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