ANKARA (AA): The Turkish Historical Society (TTK) Library holds a remarkable collection of centuries-old books from all over the world that shed light on Turkish history.
The TTK Library, whose patronage was undertaken by the great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, houses 205,875 works today. Taking the initiative to develop the library in his time, Atatürk, for example, bought and donated the collection of Hungarian Turkologist Zajti Ferencz.
The TTK Library was opened in the central Turkish Hearth building in 1931 when it was founded. As the collection of the library grew with the donations and purchases, it was first relocated to the Ankara University’s faculty of language, history and geography and then to a new building which was completed in 1967. The library serves researchers, archaeologists and art historians interested in Turkish history with its large collection.
Operating as a specialized library, the TTK Library contains rare works dating back five centuries in various languages, primarily in Latin, Italian and Ottoman. A book called “Kudüs Tarihi” (“History of Jerusalem”), which was first made available in 1516, is the oldest printed work of the library, and the map showing almost the widest borders of the Ottoman Empire, drawn in 1626, is among the oldest maps.
The books published by Ibrahim Müteferrika, who brought the printing press to the Ottoman Empire, the measured drawings of his works by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, and a manuscript copy of Layla and Majnun are among the rare works of the library.
In the library, which also hosts translations done by TTK of works by foreign sources on Turkish history in the 1940s, “Turks in Iceland,” is one such work translated first from Icelandic to German and then to Turkish that draws attention.
The rich collection in the library, which serves with a closed shelf system, is stored in a warehouse whose temperature and humidity are constantly measured.
Library Manager Neşecan Uysal told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the works in the TTK Library were acquired through publication exchange, donation and purchase and that the library features collections belonging to many historians and Turkologists including Halil Ethem Eldem, Yusuf Akçura and Esad Fuad Tugay.
Noting that a very large region comes to mind when Turkish history is mentioned, Uysal said that there are maps of the Ottoman lands from the 1600s in their archives and that most of these maps have been digitized.
Uysal also stated that efforts to increase the number of works in the library are continuing and that they have many publications in the pipeline in several languages including Arabic, Russian, Persian and Japanese.