The Yunus Emre Institute has embarked on a project to classify and convert Turkish manuscripts and documents in Balkan libraries into digital files.
The name of the project is “Rebuilding Cultural Heritage in the Balkans.” The Turkish Central Bank, the sponsor of the project, has allocated $1 million for the project. A team of four experts -- Nevzat Kaya, the former manager of the Süleymaniye Manuscript Library in İstanbul, Yıldız Technical University professor Cihan Okuyucu, Gazi University professor Nurettin Ceviz and Gazi University professor Yaşar Aydemir -- are overseeing the project. The experts are visiting libraries in the Balkan countries to examine Turkish manuscripts, then categorize and convert them into digital files.
Having visited the libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the team has discovered that many Turkish manuscripts there are in poor condition and need to be restored. However, as the libraries in the country do not let Turkish experts take the manuscripts back to Turkey for restoration, Bosnian library officials will be sent to Turkey to receive training on manuscript restoration work. It is also among the project's plans to establish a “Center for Restoration of Manuscripts” in some Balkan countries.
The team has converted more than 200 Turkish manuscripts in the libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina into digital files. They will also visit libraries in Kosovo, Albania, Croatia and Serbia to carry out the same work.
The project aims to take an inventory of Turkish manuscripts in the Balkan libraries and determine the condition of each manuscript.
A protocol was signed between the Yunus Emre Institute and the Vatican Library last year as part of a project to classify works in the Turkish language that are being kept in the Vatican Library. Turkish manuscripts and other works on Turkish language, history, literature and culture written in foreign languages will be classified and an updated catalogue will be prepared.
A joint publication of several priceless manuscripts with the Vatican is also on the agenda, something that the institute will undertake together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
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