In North Cyprus the official language is Turkish, although most residents speak excellent English. The Turkish alphabet came into being in 1928, when Turkey’s first president, Kemal Ataturk took the initiative to replace the Arabic alphabet previously used in the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish alphabet is a variant of the Latin alphabet and one that uses the letters ç, ğ, ı, İ, ş, ö and ü. The letters q, w and x are not in the Turkish alphabet.
The letter ç was taken from the Albanian alphabet, ş from the Romanian, ü from the German and the ö from the Swedish. The fact that ö came from the Swedish language is said to be due to the diplomatic relations between the two countries and that the Swedish translator, who is said to have been Johannes Kolmodin, from the Embassy in Istanbul was on the committee that created the new alphabet. The direct reason for the choice of the Swedish letter is said to have been that the committee chose an Arabic character, which one could not find a good match to the English alphabet. When Kolmodin then suggested the Swedish sign, they decided to use it.