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Old Turkic alphabet

Turkic people living in Central Asia developed various alphabets in early ages.

The earliest known alphabet is Kokturk (or Kok Turki) alphabet developed by Kokturks or Gokturks, Turkic tribespeople that had established a broad Central Asian empire, which reached to its zenith between 6th to 8th centuries AD. The first samples of this alphabet can be found on inscriptions written on stones (the best known are called Orhon inscriptions) and dated to the early 8th century AD. Kokturk alphabet had 38 letters and only 4 of them were vowels. Although the shapes of the letters were somewhat similar to those of the Runic alphabet, the sounds were entirely different.

As a matter of fact, the Old Turkic alphabet is derived from the Aramaic alphabet which is related to the Runic alphabet. The second most significant alphabet after the decline of Kokturks belonged to their successors Uighurs and this alphabet was passed to the Mongols and the Manchus with small changes. After the Islamic era, a majority of Turkic people began to use the Arabic alphabet and the Latin alphabet was first accepted by Republic of Turkey on 1928. Most of the Turkic republics within the borders of the former Soviet Union used the Cyrillic alphabet and only a minority of Turkic people living in Middle East countries and Iran as well as the Uighurs living in China went on using Arabic alphabet.



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