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Posted : 2013-04-14 19:27
Updated : 2013-04-14 19:27

Turkey donates 1,000 books to national library in Seoul

Turkish Ambassador to Korea Naci Saribas, second from left, joins guests in cutting tape to open the Turkish book section at the National Library of Korea in Seoul, April 8. From left are Zekeriya Batmazoglu, acting president of the Turkish National Library; Shim Jang-sup, chief executive of the National Library of Korea; and Lee Sook-hyeun, director general of the library service department. / Courtesy of Turkish Embassy


By Kim Se-jeong


In his novel "The New Life," Turkish Nobel Prize laureate novelist Orhan Pamuk wrote, "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed."

One can read Pamuk and other Turkish authors at the National Library of Korea.

Last week, the Turkish Embassy donated roughly 1,000 books to the library and established a permanent "Window on Turkey" section with the donated books. Seven books on Pamuk in English are included. Visual material on the transcontinental nation is also available.

"This section will contribute to the already existing very special relations between the Turkish and Korean people," said Ambassador of Turkey to Korea Naci Saribas during a ceremony at the library on April 8, promising that more books will be donated.

A representative from the Turkish National Library flew in to attend the ceremony.

At the moment, books are only available in Turkish and English. This week, eight new books in Korean will be donated by the embassy, one of which is on Sultan Mehmed of the Ottoman Empire written by Kim Hyong-o, a former National Assembly speaker.

"Everyone (in Korea) has a Turkish connection," the ambassador said with a laugh.

Turkish literature has a low profile in Korea.

Only a few books have been translated — mostly novels by Pamuk who received a Nobel Prize in 2006. The novelist was invited to the Pen Congress held in Gyeongju last fall, but couldn't make it.

The book donation is paving the way for the "Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013" which will open in August in Istanbul.

The "Silk Road Project" is also underway in which a group will travel the ancient trade route from Gyeongju to Istanbul.

Embarking on the expedition on March 21, the group is anticipated to arrive in Istanbul on Aug. 31, the opening day of the Expo.

Modern-day ties between Turkey and Korea go back to the 1950-53 Korean War, during which 15,000 Turkish soldiers came to fight for freedom on the Korean Peninsula.

In 1957, the governments of both nations established diplomatic relations.


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