Yasmine Seale discusses the (legendary and real) history of the Turkish alphabet: "Q v. K", LRB Blog, 10/16/2013. I was interested to learn that this version of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's signature, actually designed by the Armenian calligrapher Hagop Çerçiyan, is "one of the most popular tattoos in Turkey":
The Turkish alphabet is in the news because after 85 years, the letters Q, W, and X have been legalized, as part of Tayyip Erdoğan's "Democratization Package" of 9/30/2013.
The Turkish Alphabet Law of 11/1/1928 was aimed at shifting Turkish from Arabic-based to Latin-based orthography, and it was quite effective in suppressing the use of the Ottoman script. But it has also been used to suppress Kurdish, historically spoken by 10-25% of the country's population.
Update — The Wikipedia entry for the Azerbaijani Alphabet (used for a language variety that's extremely close to Turkish, but is spoken in a different political entity) shows an interesting historical switch back and forth between Q and K:
|ک||К к||Q q||K k||[c], [ç], [k]|
|ﻕ||Г г||K k||Q q||[ɡ]|
A similar sort of to-and-fro involved Ƣ and G:
|گ||Ҝ ҝ||Ƣ ƣ||G g||[ɡʲ]|
|ﻍ||Ғ ғ||G g||Ƣ ƣ||Ğ ğ||[ɣ]|
This reminds me of the passage from Gravity's Rainbow discussed in "How alphabetic is the nature of molecules", 9/27/2004:
And so it transpired, no more than a month or two later, that somebody equally anonymous had cut Tchitcherine's orders for Baku, and he was grimly off to attend the first plenary session of the VTsK NTA (Vsesoynznyy Tsentral'nyy Komitet Novogo Tyurkskogo Alfavita), where he was promptly assigned to the ƣ Committee.
ƣ seems to be a kind of G, a voiced uvular plosive. The distinction between it and your ordinary G is one Tchitcherine will never learn to appreciate. Come to find out, all the Weird Letter Assignments have been reserved for ne'er-do-wells like himself. Shatsk, the notorious Leningrad nose-fetishist, who carries a black satin handkerchief to Party congresses and yes, more than once has been unable to refrain from reaching out and actually stroking the noses of powerful officials, is here — banished to the Θ Committee,where he keeps forgetting that Θ, in the NTA, is œ, not Russian F, thus retarding progress and sowing confusion at every working session. Most of his time is taken up with trying to hustle himself a transfer to the Ņ Committee, "Or actually," sidling closer, breathing heavily, "just a plain, N, or even an M, will, do. . . ." The impetuous and unstable practical joker Radnichny has pulled the ə Committee, ə being a schwa or neutral uh, where he has set out on a megalomaniac project to replace every spoken vowel in Central Asia — and why stop there, why not even a consonant or two? with these schwas here . . . not unusual considering his record of impersonations and dummy resolutions, and a brilliant but doomed conspiracy to hit Stalin in the face with a grape chiffon pie, in which he was implicated only enough to get him Baku instead of worse.
Naturally Tchitcherine gravitates into this crew of irredeemables. Before long, if it isn't some scheme of Radnichny's to infiltrate an oil-field and disguise a derrick as a giant penis, it's lurking down in Arab quarters of the city, waiting with the infamous Ukrainian doper Bugnogorkov of the glottal K Committee (ordinary K being represented by Q, whereas C is pronounced with a sort of tch sound) for a hashish connection, or fending off the nasal advances of Shatsk. …
Most distressing of all is the power struggle he has somehow been suckered into with one Igor Blobadjian, a party representative on the prestigious G Committee. Blobadjian is fanatically attempting to steal ƣs from Tchitcherine's Committee, and change them to Gs, using loan-words as an entering wedge. In the sunlit, sweltering commissary the two men sneer at each other across trays of zapekanka and Georgian fruit soup.
There is a crisis over which kind of g to use in the word "stenography." There is a lot of emotional attachment to the word around here. Tchitcherine one morning finds all the pencils in his conference room have mysteriously vanished. In revenge, he and Radnichny sneak in Blobadjian's conference room next night with hacksaws, files and torches, and reform the alphabet on his typewriter. It is some fun in the morning. Blobadjian runs around in a prolonged screaming fit. Tchitcherine's in conference, meeting's called to order, CRASH! two dozen linguists and bureaucrats go toppling over on their ass. … Could Radnichny be a double agent?