At the meeting ‘Istanbul’s Place in World History’, Turkish Professor Ilber Ortayli said It is not possible to understand Turkish literature without knowing Persian. According to the correspondent, the prominen t Turkish historian, Professor Ortayli, delivered a speech at the Nations Hall of the 30th Tehran International Book Fair about the place of Istanbul in the world history. Istanbul is the first Guest City of the 30th Tehran International Book Fair. Referring to the prevalence of Iranian culture in the nineteenth century Istanbul, Ortayli said: “In the nineteenth century, Iranians had their own special school, newspaper, and circles in Istanbul. However, they became a part of the Turkish culture of the time after a while and distanced themselves from their origin. Another population shift from Iran to Turkey in the twentieth century revived this culture again, and they acquainted the Turkish youth with their own culture and civilization and enriched the Turkish culture.” “The position of Persian language for the Turks is similar to that of Greek for the Europeans. Persian language and culture have always been a leading example for the Turks who learned about Islam, architecture, and literature from the Iranians. Even the ancient religion of Shamanism, which was the old religion of the Turkish people, was influenced by ancient Iranian religions,” he added. Elsewhere in his remarks, the professor pointed to the great influence of Persian language on Turkish and said: “Nearly forty percent of the Turkish language has Persian words in it.
We have taken a lot of Arabic words from the Persian language. If one is not familiar with the Persian language, he cannot understand the Turkish literature.” “In the Ottoman era of the eighteenth century, Persian was the language of the time. During this period, Persian was spoken in the Ottoman courts where Persian poetry decorated the walls of palaces and mosques of the empire. In the past, people of Turkey read Golestan and Boustan by Sa’di to show their intellectual level and knowledge,” he further said.