Turkish

The collection of Turkish manuscripts and printed books of the National Library reflects the geographical distribution of the Turkic languages, and the different alphabets in which they are written. The collection covers Ottoman manuscripts and printed books in Ottoman, Turkish and other Turkic languages from Central Asia and Caucasus like Azerbayjani, Chuvash, Kazan-Tatar, Kazakh, Kirghis, Tuvin and Uighur.

The collection includes 100 Ottoman manuscripts covering literature, religion, cosmology, history, linguistics, law, magic, and interpretation of dreams. The Collection includes around 300 printed Ottoman and 5400 Turkish books.

The first printing house with permission to print books in Ottoman language was established in Istanbul by Ibrahim Müteferrika in 1727. The collection includes five of the seventeen books printed by Ibrahim Müteferrika before his death in 1742. Among these books is the first illustrated printed book in Ottoman language, Tarih-i Hind-i Garbi printed in 1730. The collection of printed books also contains 322 titles acquired by the Danish Orientalist Johannes Østrup. 247 of the books are printed in the Arabic alphabet and 75 in Latin letters introduced in 1928.The books appeared between 1894 and 1930, a period when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Turkish Republic was established in 1923. The collection includes a representative selection of literary works and covers history of literature, politics, history, and religion. The collection constitutes an unique source material to this important period in Turkish history.

The collection also includes a large number of textual and visual source material to the cultural history of the Ottoman Empire. The focus is on the 18th and 19th centuries, a period when the process of westernization began. An example is a facsimile edition of the manuscript Surname-i Vehbi, which depicts the circumcision festival for the four sons of Ahmet III. The festival was a demonstration of the splendour that characterized the Tulip period in the 18th century. Ahmet III asked the poet Vehbi to write a poem about the festival, and he had Levni illustrate the manuscript. Levni is the first painter to part with the traditional form of miniature painting. Instead he introduced a more naturalistic style of painting.

The modern Turkish collection has its focus on language and literature but also includes a large number of titles dealing with history, politics, society and culture. The focus is on the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of the Turkish society.

The Turkish manuscripts are described in Pars III of Codices Orientales Bibliothecae Regiae Hafniensis, Pars I-III, Hafniae 1846-1857, s. 49-61, and as part of Cod.Mixt. in the same volume, p. 61-72 (available online).