Having been organized with great commitment and devotion since the very first year, the International Arabic Book and Culture Days sets launches to make Istanbul the hub of knowledge and culture as it has been for centuries. Organized under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and hosted by Üsküdar Municipality, the event is held by the lead organizer Writers Union of Turkey and the co-organizers Haşimi Publishing and Halidi Maarif Knowledge and Culture Association. Seeing an extensive, widespread participation each year, the event brings important scholars, academics, authors and publishers together in Turkey.
Hundreds of scholars, academics, authors and publishers both from Turkey and from abroad participate in the International Arabic Book and Culture Days. Afghanistan, Germany, Albany, Morocco, Ivory Coast, India, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Niger, Pakistan, Russia – Daghestan, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Jordan, Greece, Palestine, Tajikistan and Yemen are some of the countries participating in the event. The event brings scholars and publishers from Turkey and abroad together and sets the stage for many gatherings of scholars and rights exchange meetings. It also creates a common platform for discussing matters related to the Muslim world and for collective wisdom, which is appreciated by those who express an interest in such discussions. Arrangements have been made for numerous seminars, discussions, panels and symposiums throughout the event calendar and hundreds of scholars, academics, authors and publishers take part in these programs with their papers.
Regarding Arabic Book and Culture Days, Mahmut Bıyıklı, the president of the Writers Union of Turkey Istanbul Branch, said: “We took up this undertaking with enthusiasm and started out with the motto “Starting from Where We Left Off,” which made us realize that we had indeed missed each other so much. Our event was received with highly favorable sentiments from the very first day. It brought together many burdened hearts in our country who didn’t know about each other and resounded in Istanbul voices from beyond continents. Books and scholars got together in Istanbul, the hub of knowledge. InshaAllah, we are making preparations to bring richer content each year. We are aware that the International Turkey Arabic Book and Culture Days has far greater benefits than those of a fair, a seminar or a panel, we know that it strengthens the bridges between our hearts and we put forth our efforts with this spirit.”
Arabic Book and Culture Days makes tens of thousands of Arabic books from Turkey and from abroad available to the enthusiasts. The event also makes for a fine gathering for students and educators from institutions prominent in our country such as Theology and Islamic Sciences Faculties, Arabic Language and Literature Departments, Imam Hatip High Schools, Qur’an courses and madrasas. It aims for the gathering of the accumulated scholarly knowledge and history in our country and for a much better recognition of Turkey.
Halidi Maarif Knowledge and Culture Association President Yakup Alarçin explains the goals of the event as follows: “We wish for the event to be a period of celebration for readers of Arabic books and a book festival for everyone to come running to. Of course, we also would like to emphasize that there is a lot to be said with all the panels, conferences and symposiums that the scholars from Turkey and the wider Muslim world that are going to attend. Arabic language is like the cement of the Muslim world. This is because in every country where Muslims live, in every region, we can talk about and strengthen our religion, history and brotherhood.”
Shining a spotlight on the Arabic language and on our common culture and setting a new ideal of emphasizing and promoting these values by doing so, the Arabic Book and Culture Days features multiple additional activities such as meetings for Islamic scholars, titles translated from Arabic to Turkish, Arabic Children’s Magazine for the event’s young guests, Ottoman Turkish classes, painting galleries, youth stands, special programs and seminars.
The International Turkey Arabic Book and Culture Days serves both as an organization for erudite meetings between scholars and as an event of common heritage, language and culture between our Muslim peoples who are as brothers and sisters to each other. Proving each year that it is much more than a book fair and that it has a far broader vision, the Arabic Book and Culture Days continues to grow and develop.
Starting out with limited means and resources at its outset, the event took place with the theme “Starting From Where We Left Off” in the first year, continued with the themes “Our Unwavering Light for Centuries: Scholars and Books”, “Our Madrasas For Restoring Our Past and Building Our Future”, “The Memory of Our Civilizaton: Libraries” in the second, third and fourth years respectively and, in 2020 as its fifth year, it is going to be based on the theme of “Mawarannahr: The Wellspring of Knowledge”.
Under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and with the support of our state, it is among the goals of our organization to carry on for many more years to come, create an accurate impression and a better image of our country, help cultivate cultural relationships with the Islamic world and contribute to the strengthening of our common heritage of culture, history and literature.