Constantinople’s Beautiful Days During Multilingual Empire
September 4, 2016 Leave a comment
A photo of Istanbul from the last days of Ottoman Empire. A bakery shop in Ortakoy. Name of the shop is written in 6 languages: Turkish, Armenian, Greek, English, Russian, and Hebrew….
It depicts the multilingual face of the Empire. Contrary to Turkey’s one-language-dictation, it shows there was a language freedom during Ottomans.
Sadly, most of Ottoman Empire fans in Turkey are severely anti-minority languages. A sign in Kurdish or Laz language may cause a big problem. Shop owner needs to struggle with both laws and public reactions. Even though recent reforms allow more freedom, public pressure, which is called mahalle baskisi (neighborhood pressure) becomes more suffocating.