The first international presentation of the multi-volume Dictionary of Names in Turkic Literature has been held at St Petersburg University. It is a bibliographic dictionary containing information on outstanding personalities of Turkic literature.

The publication was presented to the University at a meeting attended by: Mr Özgün Talu, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg; Bauyrzhan Dosmanbetov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and Professor Muhittin Şimşek, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University.

At the beginning of the meeting, the University staff expressed the condolences on behalf of the University and the wider academic community to the Turkish partners on the recent tragedy of the earthquake in south-eastern Türkiye that caused thousands of casualties.

Mr Özgün Talu, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg, thanked the University for its sympathy and support.

The Russian Federation was one of the first to respond to our President’s request for international assistance. Already on the night of the earthquake, two planes with Russian rescuers landed in Türkiye. We received many condolences and words of support, including from St Petersburg University staff. People started to lay floral tributes in front of our consulate building.
Mr Özgün Talu, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in St Petersburg

According to the consul, life goes on and the presentation of the dictionary is a symbol of triple international cooperation between Russia, Türkiye and Kazakhstan.

According to Sergey Andryushin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University, the University has been cooperating with universities, research centres and other organisations of both Kazakhstan and Türkiye for many years. ‘These contacts are developing not only in the field of Asian and African studies and philology. They also deal with the exact sciences and other humanities and social sciences,’ said Sergey Andryushin. ‘I hope that our cooperation, thanks to the support of consuls general and academic circles of all three countries, will grow stronger and we will have even more such joint projects.’

At present, 650 students from Kazakhstan and 40 students from Türkiye are studying at St Petersburg University.

‘This is a publication that lists landmark names for Turkic literature,’ said Bauyrzhan Dosmanbetov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan. ‘Among them is Abay Qunanbaiuly, our Kazakh enlightener, philosopher, translator, and the founder of our literature. I would like to thank Professor Muhittin Şimşek and his team for their work that will surely be studied by many generations of other researchers, not only at the Department of Turkic Philology at St Petersburg University, but throughout the University.’

According to the Consul, many St Petersburg University graduates are now working in Kazakhstan, shaping the future of this country. Among them are the deputy head of the presidential administration, ambassadors, and ministers. ‘We have big plans for cooperation with St Petersburg University,’ assured Bauyrzhan Dosmanbetov.

Nikolai Telitsyn, Head of the Department of Turkic Philology, believes that the presentation of the publication will contribute to improving relations between the three countries.

We thank our Turkish partners that it is in St Petersburg and at the Department of Turkic Philology of St Petersburg University that they are holding the first presentation of their publication in Russia. This shows that our school of Turkic studies is known and appreciated throughout the world.
Nikolai Telitsyn, Head of the Department of Turkic Philology

St Petersburg University Professor Apollinariia Avrutina said that the Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies and Russia-Türkiye Relations, which she heads, was established in 2019 by order of the Rector of the University. Since then, it has managed to organise a number of events not only in the humanities, but also in economics, law and biology, which have attracted much public attention. ‘One of our high-profile projects is the Turkish Language Speaking Club run by Aliya Suleimanova, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, in close cooperation with Mrs Elif Adlim Talu, wife of the Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye. As meetings of the club have shown, interest in Turkish culture is very high and this clearly shows the prospect of organising and carrying out such joint projects − not only Russian-Turkish or Russian-Kazakh projects, but also trilateral ones.’

According to Professor Muhittin Şimşek, work on this encyclopaedia lasted about ten years. ‘It lists the names of representatives of Turkic literature from the inception to the 21st century,’ said the distinguished guest. ‘More than a thousand researchers-philologists were involved in the preparation of this dictionary. A huge number of sources were scanned.’

The publication was originally published digitally on the website of the Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University, with click-through rates exceeding 200 million in one year. A printed version of the dictionary was published following a decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and thanks to the financial support of the Turkish government.

Türkiye’s friendship with Russia goes back in time; it is like a full-flowing river that flows from one soul to another.
Professor Muhittin Şimşek, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University

Muhittin Şimşek said that the Department of Turkic Philology at St Petersburg University was deliberately chosen as the first venue in Russia for an international presentation of the publication. This is because St Petersburg University is an internationally recognised centre for Asian and African studies.