On September 7, Prof. Halil İnalcık’s 100th birthday was celebrated at the Bilkent Hotel. Guests included faculty and students of the Department of History, Rector Abdullah Atalar, Provost Adnan Akay, Vice Rector Kürşat Aydoğan, and family members and friends, among whom were Şükrü Elekdağ, Hasan Celal Güzel and Mustafa İsen.
The event began around 7 p.m. with a cocktail hour and continued with a talk by Prof. İnalcık and a mini-slideshow on his life. After speeches by Yusuf Oğuzoğlu, Mr. Elekdağ, Teyfur Erdoğdu, Mehmet Kalpaklı and Prof. Atalar, Prof. İnalcık blew out the candles on his cake.
In his talk, Prof. İnalcık thanked the guests and also offered a personal perspective on his long life. “People ask me how I was able to live to 100 years of age. Here is my answer: a healthy lifestyle, 30 minutes of walking every day, and listening to classical music while resting. And this is very important: you need to have an objective in life. Mine was to write Turkish history not from a foreigner’s point of view, but from a Turk’s. My major source was archival documents. I believe I wrote an objective history.”
Prof. İnalcık was the founder of the Department of History at Bilkent and has held the position of professor of Ottoman history at the university since 1993. He has received numerous awards and honors, not only in Turkey but from international academies and universities as well. These include 23 honorary doctorates and membership in many academic associations, among them the Turkish Academy of Sciences and academies in the US, the UK, Serbia and Albania.
Among his many notable accomplishments, Prof. İnalcık was selected, along with English historian Peter Burke, to edit the fifth volume (covering the years 1500-1800) of UNESCO’s multivolume “History of Humanity.”
A prolific writer, he recently added another title to the 66 books he has published so far. “Tarihe Düşülen Notlar” is a two-volume work from Timaş Publishing, which comprises talks by and interviews with Prof. İnalcık during the years 1947 to 2015 on the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.