This was the claim made at the opening ceremony of the CNR Expo Book Fair in Istanbul on Friday. Turkey’s culture ministry library chief, Hamdi Tursucu, said that the country has the world’s 12th biggest book market.
Tursucu claimed that around 16,000 International Standard Book Numbers, or ISBN – a unique numeric commercial book identifier – were given by the state in 2002. The number increased to more than 50,000 in 2014, said Tursucu.
“Turkey is the world’s 11th largest country in terms of ISBN numbers,” he added.
Tursucu also praised Turkey’s TEDA project – a translation support program that started in 2005.
More than 1,700 book-translations have been supported since 2005, said Tursucu. More than 400 authors’ works can be read in 64 countries with 54 languages, he added.
Turkish publishers at the fair were pleased with 2015’s first book fair in Istanbul where The Anadolu Agency participates as Global Communications Partner.
The event in Yesilkoy is running with the theme of the “Battle of Canakkale,” also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the 1915 war between the Ottoman army and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which marked the defense of Turkey’s sovereignty during WWI.
This year, the fair runs between Feb. 27 and March 8 and will host over 250 publishing.
Ithaki Publishing representative Coskun Oren said that a second bookfair for Istanbul was a necessity for the city’s 15-million-strong population.
Pointing out the decline in the book-readers’ average age, Oren added: “Reading-age for Turks has decreased over the last decades.”
A deputy manager at an Istanbul school, Onder Kaya, said that they came with a 160 group of students to visit the fair.
One of those students is Bahar Karaduman, 14, who said she was at a bookfair for the first time in her life.
Another bibliophile was Muhammad Nuri, 18, a high-school student in Istanbul who said that he purchased books he would not normally find in local stores.
The Anadolu Agency's stand will display Canakkale AA archive photos and its 2014 almanac.
Organizers and supporters of the CNR EXPO Book Fair include the Anadolu Agency, the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Ministry of Education and the Istanbul municipality.
The bookfair will host publishing houses, children's book publishers, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, associations, trade unions, newspaper and magazine groups and others.