59th Meeting Ardahan, 2016

Report on the 59th Meeting of the PIAC:

Statehood in the Altaic World


Oliver Corff

July 7th, 2016


The 59th Meeting of the PIAC was hosted from June 26 to July 1, 2016. by Ardahan University and the Caucasus University Association (CUA). Ardahan is located in northeastern Turkey, near the Georgian border. The opening session of the meeting took place on June 27th and included a high-ranking panel by members of the Caucasus University Association discussing “Perspectives on the Studies in Turkology in Caucasus and Central Asia”.

During the confessions, greetings by those friends of the PIAC who had not been able to participate were read aloud. Very much in the tradition and spirit of earlier PIAC meetings, the time frame and number of participants offered an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, e.g. which modern language could be perceived as target language for the translation of Manju sources; English was considered a reasonable choice.


The first round of deliberations was opened by M. Dobrovits, President of 58th Meeting 2015. He explored the gap between Altaic Studies and the modern field of International Relations. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, B. Kellner-Heinkele then spoke about Denis Sinor, one of the founding fathers of the PIAC and its long-term Secretary General. A. Vovin presented his analysis of the potential Korean origin of several terms found in the oldest Japanese historical records, the kojiki. Chr. Bell presented a survey of clothing as mentioned in the Bāburnāma.

The second session was dedicated to turkology. O. F. Sertkaya, S. Şemen and Yong-Sŏng Li deliberated on selected problems of old Turkic inscriptions.

The focus of the third session laid on issues related to Mongolian, Manju and Chinese sources. A. B. Apatóczky presented his findings about the lexicon of the late Ming text Lulongsai Lüe (盧龍塞略), K. Maezono compared the Japanese (kuni), Mongolian (ulus) and Manju (gurun) terms for “Land, Country, State”. Hsiao Su-ying spoke about case markers in Late Mongolian (17th ~ 19th centuries) and Early Modern Mongolian (20th century). Finally, H. Walravens reported on Lalitavajra and his role in promoting Manju and Mongolian Buddhist literature at the Qing imperial court.

At the fourth session, three papers were presented. O. Söylemez’s paper on the question of native language[s] in Kazakhstan was read by Dilara Kutsal. O. Rüstemov spoke about geographical terms as found in the Sharia court records of the Crimean Khanate and the historical-philological analysis of the Crimean toponymy. Finally, O. Corff presented the website altaist.org which is now the official hub of information about the PIAC.

On June 30, the day following the excursion (s. below), the fifth session focussed again on turkological issues. H. Uzuntaş presented a text written in Khorezmian Turkic language of the 14th century. Liu Ge spoke about the theory of Regular Script in Uighur calligraphy, while Litip Tohti presented an etymological survey of the title of the head of state, Kaghan, in Uyghur. E. Aktaş spoke about the term “Chayzan” as a leadership title in Khakassian folk narratives within the context of folklore and history.

The sixth and final session had two speakers. O. Corff spoke about the terminology of territorial administration of the Qing empire, while M. E. Zeren reflected on the role of ancestor cult in the statehood conception of the Turks.


On June 29th, the excursion offered an amazing impression of the scenic beauty of northeastern Turkey. The route took us along the banks of Lake Çıldır to Ani, the former capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom (961 to 1045). The return route went via Kars where we visited the Mausoleum of Seyyid Ebu’l-Hasan Harakani as well as the Holy Apostles Church and the Castle of Kars.

Business Meeting

The most important issues discussed during the business meeting were the following:

  • A. Vovin invites the PIAC members to participate in the 60th Meeting of the PIAC intended to be held in July 2017 in France.
  • The PIAC Medal will be reinstated, now directly in the name of the PIAC.
  • A resolution was passed to thank President of the 59th Meeting of the PIAC, Prof. Dr. Ramazan Korkmaz and Acting President, Prof. Dr. Gürkan Doğan for their admirable arrangements of the meeting and the excursion, and to thank the management and staff of Yenisei Konukevi for their gracious hospitality in their beautiful house and grounds.

Additional Information

The original programme includes a few speakers who could not deliver their papers.

Ardahan University made its own  dedicated homepage for this meeting, containing information on accommodation etc.

The original book of abstracts is available here.

List of Participants


  • Ercilasun, Ahmet Bican (Former President of Turkish Language Society, Turkey)
  • Buran, Ahmet (Fırat University, Turkey)
  • Kydyrali, Darkhan (International Turkish Academy, Kazakhstan)
  • İbrahimov, Elçin (Journal of Turkology, National Academy of Sciences, Azerbaijan)
  • Türkmen, Fikret (PIAC Permanent Member, Turkey)
  • Habibbeyli, İsa (Vice-President of National Academy of Sciences, Azerbaijan)
  • Kemal Abdulla (Chief Advisor to the President, Azerbaijan)