The question of language, or more precisely linguistic assimilation, was on the agenda of nationalist forces from the very first years of the foundation of the Turkish state. 

Thus, in 1925, propaganda advertisements were published in Turkish newspapers, where, alongside calls to buy Turkish products, to use Turkish stores, it was clearly stated, “Don’t answer anyone who doesn’t speak Turkish.” In 1926, the question of the use of languages other than Turkish in the Turkish state was hotly debated at the “Turkish Hearths” conference, where racist, aggressive speeches and specific proposals were made.

It’s worth noting that the Turkish authorities have actively included nationalist youth in the campaign of linguistic persecution against other nations and Christian minorities in particular. Incidentally, the use of youth in carrying out nationalist actions and persecutions would become traditional and become one of the most frequently used methods by the Turkish state. As Rafat Bali, an in-depth expert on various national minority problems in Turkey, noted in 1928. On January 13, at the annual conference of the student council of Constantinople University’s Faculty of Law, the issues of spreading the Turkish language and increasing the level of Turkish speakers in the country were discussed, and the slogan “Compatriot, speak Turkish” was adopted, which would become the name of the decades-long policy of persecution. 

Following the proclamation of this slogan, a chain of xenophobic actions began, targeting Armenians. In January 1928, in neighborhoods where Armenians lived, in public places and on public transport, the slogan “Compatriot, speak Turkish” was posted, followed by groups of young nationalists strolling through neighborhoods, on public transport and on boats, reprimanding those who did not. 

This event took place mainly in Constantinople, but was also used in other cities where representatives of national minorities were still preserved, for example, to Jews living in Edirne, and in Izmir.