"We Coalesce as We Remember" Exhibition in Azaz

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The exhibition called "We Coalesce as We Remember / Sociocultural Life in the Ottoman Aleppo", which included the documents in Ottoman archives regarding Aleppo, was opened to visitation at Azaz Yunus Emre Institute on September 22, 2021.

While the Free University of Aleppo, El Maali University, International University of Damascus, Renaissance and Science (El Nahta) University signed a joint protocol in collaboration with Azaz Yunus Emre Institute, Afrin Yunus Emre Institute was officially launched.

During the launch of the Institute, YEI President Şeref Ateş reminded the launch of Azaz YEI in the safe zone in Syria one year ago and continued his words by saying, "We launch our center in Afrin. This was necessary to strengthen the bond between the people of Syria and Turkey, disseminate the Turkish language teaching in these regions, and strengthen the dialogue and coalescence between the Turkish culture and the culture of the region. Thus, we will hold the exhibition in Azaz, where the correspondences of Aleppo province are present."

Ateş emphasized the history of mutual relationships between Turkey and Syria and said the following:

"We have lived together with these peoples in these lands for 400-500 years. Our hope is to have the local community and Turkish people live in peace for all eternity through their own wishes rather than external assertions. Just like the historical examples, let this civilization reinvigorate. YEI will continue its activities here with an approach that embraces all people in peace. Our Institute will not only teach Turkish but also take an important step for both reinvigorating the local culture and establishing bonds with Turkey through cultural activities. Let it be beneficial and auspicious."

THERE IS GREAT INTEREST IN TURKISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION

Ateş emphasized the great interest in Turkish language education after the launch of the center in Azaz and said, "There is a great interest in Turkish language education in the region. Previously, Turkish language education started in schools under the Republic of Turkey Ministry of National Education, but the teachers did not have the necessary competences in Turkish. We have taken the teachers under examination in communication with the Ministry of National Education. We have started Turkish language education not only in Azaz but also in al-Rai district and cities such as al-Bab and Ras al-Ayn. Then, we created an inventory. 110,000 students are learning Turkish in the safe zone. We have trained 1,200 teachers until now."

"THERE ARE 96 MILLION DOCUMENTS REGARDING THE REGION"

The State Archives, Foreign Affairs Promotion Department President Cevat Ekici shared that there were 96 million documents from the Ottoman period and said, "200,000 of these documents literally belong to the city of Aleppo. These documents cover the period between the start from the 16th century to the mid-20th century. If any historical research in our region regarding the world history is carried out without utilizing the archives of the Republic of Turkey, it will absolutely fall short. Such shortness will cloud the trueness and accuracy of the historical accounts."

Ekici stated that Aleppo was included under the Ottoman administration after the Battle of Marj Dabiq in 1516 and said:

"The 400-years of Ottoman experience in administration have built a civilization that is successful in culture, politics and development. After peace and trust was established in the region, Aleppo started to revitalize in terms of administration and commerce. It also developed further in terms of economics since the 16th century. Right after the conquest, the census, which can be called a sort of inventory for the region, was carried under the rule of Selim the Resolute."

Ekici also guided the visitors through the exhibition, and pointing towards the edict of Selim the Resolute, said, "Ottoman sultans had the principle, the custom of sending a letter of conquest after a conquest. This is the text sent by Selim the Resolute to all Ottoman administrator after defeating the Mamluk sultan in Marj Dabiq. Selim the Resolute mentions in the text that the main purpose of this battle was to facilitate the travel in these holy lands."

The President of the Azaz Local Council Muhammed Hamdan Yusuf, Yunus Emre Foundation's Board of Trustees Member Prof. Ali Osman Kurt and Board of Auditors Member Prof. Celal Erbay, the Rector of the University of Damascus Prof. Izzeddin El Kaddour, historian Dr. Ahmet Tawil Kadud, journalists, scholars and students participated in the opening.

32 pieces of work presented in the exhibition shed light to many aspects of the daily life in Aleppo from commerce to agriculture, religious life to education for the period between 1516-1916.

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