14 November 2018

An Oriental Studies Institute was established in Ukraine’s Taurida National University

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) established and thoroughly equipped an Oriental Studies Institute, which was named after renowned Crimean Tatar Turkologist Bekir Çobanzade at Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University that was reopened in Kyiv after the occupation of Crimea. 

One of the oldest universities in Crimea, Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University was opened in 1918 in Crimea, yet after the occupation of Crimea, it was unable to continue its activities and thus was relocated to Kyiv in 2016. Currently, 4,000 students attend the university. At the Oriental Studies Institute, Turkish, Crimean Tatar, Arabic and Persian languages are being taught.

With the support provided to the university by TİKA, Bekir Çobanzade Oriental Studies Institute was renovated and supplied with new furniture and computer equipment to create favorable conditions for education. Moreover, a 14-person capacity language laboratory was established to help future translators develop their skills.

Speaking during the opening ceremony TİKA Ukraine Program Coordinator Hacı Bayram Bolat said, “Bekir Çobanzade, the namesake of the Oriental Studies Institute, was born in 1893 in Karasubazar (Bilohirsk). He attended Galatasaray High School, previously known as Mekteb-i Sultani, in Istanbul in 1909. He joined Crimean Tatar Youth Association in Istanbul. He returned to Crimea in 1914 when the World War I broke out. He traveled to Odessa in 1915 and learned Russian. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Budapest’s Oriental Studies Department in 1916. Later, he returned to Crimea and taught courses in various universities on Crimean Tatar language and literature. In 1922, he taught Turkish and Crimean Tatar language and literature in Taurida University’s Oriental Studies department. He taught courses in Baku. He is the most important Turkologist of the 20th century. He contributed greatly to the development of Crimean Tatar language and literature and to the training of scholars in this area. I am very excited to open the Oriental Studies Institute, in memory of Bekir Çobanzade, who also served as a department head at Taurida National University. I believe the students here will be great oriental studies scholars as well. Bekir Çobanzade’s name will live on here.”

Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University President Volodymyr Kazarin said, “Bekir Çobanzade was a great Crimean Tatar poet and Turkologist. During the war, people wanted him to be the president of the Taurida University. We wanted to commemorate the name of such a notable person at our university. We thank TİKA for supporting us.”

Ilmi Umerov, Vice President of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People expressed that he is familiar with TİKA from Crimea and noted that “Despite everything, Taurida National University is still a university of Crimea. We hope that Crimea will be reintegrated with Ukraine. I am looking forward to working with TİKA in Crimea in the future as well.”

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