In the presence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and members of the Cabinet the new school of history, geography, and literature recently was opened at Angora. Its immediate purpose is to make the capital the cultural center of the republic and, combined with the law school, it will be the nucleus of a complete university, sister of the one at Istanbul.
The significance of the new foundation, however, is much wider and more ambitious, for its object is to expound new theories on Turkish history and language for which no less a person than Mr. Ataturk is responsible. The President of the Turkish Republic, besides being a statesman and soldier of remarkable abilities, has considerable knowledge about history and linguistic matters. As the result of many years of labor in these directions, he has propounded certain theories which will be taught in the new school at Angora. They are somewhat difficult to explain, but their broad outlines are as follows: Work done by various scientists during the last fifty years goes to show that the Turkish race has been grossly maligned by older historians biased by racial or religious prejudices. The Turks are far form being a predatory race of barbarians. The Turks reached, in remote ages, a high state of culture which, during migrations into China, India, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, they spread among the less enlightened peoples. They should therefore really be considered the fathers of civilization and possessors of one of the greatest and most glorious histories in the world.
As regards language, the new theory is called the "Sun language." Starting with the conclusion reached by the French scientist Hilaire de Baranton in his book "L'Origine des Langues, des Religions et des Peuples," published in Paris three years ago, that all languages originated from hieroglyphs and cuneiforms used by Sumerians, the Turkish theory claims that the Sumerians, being Turks, originating in Central Asia, all languages also consequently originated there and first used by the Turks. The first language, in fact, came into being in this wise: Prehistoric man, i.e., Turks in the most primitive stage, was so struck by the effects of the sun on life that he made of it a deity whence sprang all good and evil. Thence came to him light, darkness, warmth and fire, with it were associated all ideas of time: height, distance, movement, size, and give expression to his feelings the sun was thus the first thing to which a name was given. It was "ag" [pronounced agh], and from this syllable all words in use today are derived.
This, briefly, is the theory about the "sun language," and with the new conception of Turkish history it will be taught in the new Angora school. Specialists will also teach Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Sumerian, Hittite, Chinese, French, English, German, Russian and Hungarian.