Modernisierer und Mittler im polnisch-türkischen intellektuellen Nexus

Zaur Gasimov


The Bolshevik conquest of the Crimea and the Caucasus caused the migration of numerous anti-Communist intellectuals from those regions to neighbouring Turkey. Educated at Russian and European universities, many Crimean Tatar and Azeri exiles contributed to the modernization and Europeanisation of the Kemalist regime. The Istanbul-based linguist Ahmet Caferoğlu (1899-1975), a graduate of the University of Breslau, embodied the circulation of ideas between the Soviet Caucasus, Germany and Poland. In close communication with prominent Polish Turcologists such as Tadeusz Kowalski and Ananiasz Zajączkowski, Caferoğlu translated and popularized the research results of Polish Oriental Studies and Turcology in Turkey. This paper investigates the century-long interrelationship between Polish and Turkish orientalists by elucidating the key role of ‘transfer agents’ and mediators between the Turkic and Slavic worlds; exiled intellectuals of Azeri, Crimean, Kazan, Polish-Lithuanian Tatar and Karaite origin.