Friday, 20 January 2012

Evliya Çelebi Way in the Press again: Time magazine, History Today and the International Herald Tribune

Here are details of three recent articles on Evliya Çelebi and the Way. Unfortunately the first two cannot be read in full directly from the sites where published, but they will surely show up somewhere on google eventually. Or you may find hard copy of the magazines at the dentist... The third is immediately accessible.

'Back in the Saddle: The Spirit of Turkey's Greatest Adventurer Rides Again', an article by Pelin Turgut on riding the Evliya Çelebi Way, in Time magazine 23 January 2012, written when she accompanied a group of equitourists on the Great Anatolian Ride in September 2011:

'Evliya Çelebi: Traveller's Tales', an article by Caroline Finkel giving background information about Evliya's life and work, in the British popular history magazine, History Today, November 2011:

'Doing it the Evliya Çelebi Way', an article by Andrew Finkel on the Evliya Çelebi Way, in International Herald Tribune Latitude blog, 13 December 2011:

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Evliya in Brussels at the Yunus Emre Center: Professor Suraiya Faroqhi

Evliya in Brussels


Paris, 14-15 November
Hosted by UNESCO, a major international two-day conference on Evliya took place in Paris between 14-15 November. See the INALCO website:

Brussels, 12 December
After a long and sometimes exhausting year of events celebrating his 400th anniversary, Evliya finally made it to Brussels. The historical Evliya never came this far, of course, despite the fantasy sections in which he claims to have accompanied Tartar irregulars on raids as far as the cities of the North Sea, including what appears to be Amsterdam.

But on 12 December, thanks to the Turkish Studies programme of Ghent University and the Yunus Emre Centre in Brussels—formerly the Istanbul Centre there—Evliya was the talk of this European capital.

Introduced by Yunus Emre Centre director Ebru Costa, and by Hilmi Kacar, founder of Turkish Studies at Ghent, the event was moderated by author and journalist John van Daele. A panel of Evliya experts introduced a packed auditorium to our equestrian traveller. Renowned Ottoman historian, Suraiya Faroqhi, spoke eloquently yet learnedly on the ways that Evliya’s Seyahatname has, and has not, been read over the years. Evliya’s manuscript first saw the light of day in printed form in von Hammer’s Englished version of the first volumes, while the earliest printed ‘editions’ in Turkish were short selections that gave Evliya the reputation of merely writing fantastic tales. Although reliable editions of the manuscript are only now starting to appear, Evliya became widely known throughout Turkey during the 1970s as the ‘hero’—alongside his noble steed Küheylan—of a popular cartoon series broadcast on Turkish television.
The Evliya Çelebi Way project’s own Mac suggested that Evliya deserves serious consideration alongside William Shakespeare as one of the world’s greatest authors. Yeliz Ozay of Bilkent University spoke of how Evliya characteristically varied established traditions when reporting ‘wonders’ and ‘marvels,’ showing how his literary artistry defies definition in terms of fact and fiction. Guneş Işiksel from the College de France in Paris followed Evliya to Africa on his travels there, and evaluated his status as one of the earliest historians of sub-Saharan peoples and cultures.

After a short break, the auditorium packed out again. After a brief welcoming by the Turkish ambassador to Belgium—HE Ismail Hakkı Musa—van Daele sparked off an animated discussion of the possible relevance of Evliya to today’s world. The audience quickly picked up the theme, which was pursued for well over an hour. Mac managed to squeeze in a reklam for the Evliya Çelebi Way project and guidebook, assuring all that walking or cycling were real alternatives to taking to the horse. Everyone was pleased to adjourn for a koktayl and meze reception: rumours of future Evliya events to be hosted by Turkish Studies at Ghent circulated freely.