This unusual, seemingly unrecorded pamphlet was issued in Istanbul by an Armenian printer Astryan for the lessons of spelling in the Ottoman Script. The accompanying text, such as the one on the tile page, introduction and words and short passages within the lessons are written in Armeno-Turkish: a Turkish language, phonetically written in Armenian letters.
Armeno-Turkish, that is writing Turkish using Armenian characters, is not popularly well known today. However, especially during the second half of the 19th Century, Armeno-Turkish publishing possessed an important role in the cultural life of Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire in general. While exceedingly beautiful, Arabic script is phonetically ill-suited to the Turkish language and was exceedingly complicated to read and write. Even many people who had a perfect oral command of Turkish found the use of Arabic charters challenging. Some members of certain ethnic minority communities in the Ottoman Empire who regularly spoke Turkish, such as Greeks and Armenians, came to write Turkish using characters from their own language. Armenian characters were a good phonetic fit for Turkish and beginning in the 17th Century, many Armenians, particularly in Constantinople, wrote manuscripts in Turkish employing Armenian letters, creating a genre known as -Armeno-Turkish
The first printed work in Armeno-Turkish was an Armenian grammar book published in Venice in 1727. The first such work published in Constantinople was a Christian religious work issued in 1730. Over the next century of a small number of Armeno-Turkish books were published in places such as Constantinople, Venice and Trieste. However, it was only during the Tanzimat Era (1839-75) in the Ottoman Empire that Armeno-Turkish publishing flourished in Constantinople. During the second half of the 19th Century dozens of different presses in Constantinople alone produced hundreds of Armeno-Turkish publications, including books, pamphlet posters an playbills.
Hasmik A. Stepanyan’s fine biography of Armeno-Turkish publications worldwide issued between 1727 and 1968 records almost 1,700 entries; however, hundreds more were certainly produced when counting ephemeral works.
A scholarly debate exists as to the nature of the readership of ArmenoTurkish publications. Trinationally, it was believed that these works were intended only for the use of ethnic Armenians who results spoke Turkish who either could not, or preferred not, to write using Arabic characters. However, more recent scholarship indicates that ArmenoTurkish works were regularly enjoyed by many non-ethnic Armenians in Constantinople, notably Turkish intellectuals. Indeed, in the late 1800s, some liberal Turkish figures even recommended that Armenian be adopted as the official script for Turkish, replacing Arabic characters.
Sadly, the near destruction of Turkey’s Armenian population during World War I, signalled the end of the popular use of Armeno-Turkish, although some works were produced in a ‘niche’ capacity in places ranging from Vienna to Boston up into the 1960s.
Virtually all Armeno-Turkish publications are today rare, many exceedingly so (indeed many recorded works are not even known to survive in even a single example).
This pamphlet seems to be unrecorded and we could not trace any examples in libraries worldwide nor any bibliographical references to it.
References: Unrecorded. Not in: Hasmik A. STEPANYAN. Ermeni Harfli Türkçe Kitaplar ve Süreli Yayınlar Bibliyografyası (1727 1968). Bibliographie des livres et de la presse Armeno-Turque.