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A More Perfect Turkic Union?

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BISHKEK – I still have vivid memories of my first trip to Turkey in 1993. After the Soviet Union’s collapse two years previously, we Kyrgyz gained access to a world we had hitherto only imagined. We all had Turkish relatives somewhere in the West with whom we had lost contact. And there was a similar emotional reaction on the Turkish side: Turkey was the first state to recognize the independence of my country and the other Soviet Central Asian republics.

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    So, when I arrived at Atatürk airport in Istanbul, I approached ordinary Turks and tried to speak with them. To my disappointment, we didn’t understand each other. I realized that although many elements of our respective languages were similar, differences in pronunciation and the many Persian, Arabic, and Latin words that had become a part of modern Turkish prevented me from communicating freely with........

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