BY ASLI YİĞİT (HIST/PhD)
On Tuesday, November 17, a ceremony honoring Prof. Halil İnalcık, the founder of the History Department at Bilkent University, took place in the Halil İnalcık Center for Ottoman Studies at Bilkent.
The ceremony marked the presentation of an award to Prof. İnalcık from TÜRKSAV (the Writers’ and Artists’ Foundation). TÜRKSAV President Yahya Akengin praised Prof. İnalcık’s contributions to the Turkish world and presented him a plaque with a relief of the Orkhon inscriptions.
A highlight of the ceremony was a speech by Prof. İnalcık, which focused on the current international policy of Russia and the unity of the Turkic nations. Referring to the Orkhon inscriptions, he noted that the present Turkish language emerged in Central Asia during the sixth century. He went on to underline the significance of the movement in more recent centuries to unify Turkic nations on a common cultural ground, which was triggered by the Crimean Tatar intellectual İsmail Gaspıralı. Prof. İnalcık then drew attention to Russia’s Eurasianism project, which is still being continued by its political activities in Ukraine and Crimea.
In addition to the TÜRKSAV award, Prof. İnalcık was separately honored by a visit from the rector of Ankara University, Prof. Erkan İbiş. Prof. İbiş made special note of the fact that Prof. İnalcık had been one of the first Ankara University students, who were selected by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.