Turkish Literary Marvels in a Cross-Cultural Celebration:

In a resplendent tribute to the rich literature of Turkish literature, the seventh edition of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) in Kozhikode dedicated a special day to delve into the cultural splendor of Turkish storytelling. The event featured three illuminating sessions that explored the historical evolution, societal influences, and contemporary expressions within the realm of Turkish literature.

One of the standout sessions, titled “Stories from the Walled City,” provided a captivating exploration of the intricate relationship between India and Turkey through the lens of literature. Turkish poet Alii Poet Ayci guided the audience through the transformative phases of Turkish literature during the process of westernization. Turkish poet Alii Ayci underscored the deep connection many Turkish poets feel towards India, expressing a profound interest in Indian thoughts. Drawing parallels between iconic figures like Gandhi and Mustafa Kemal, the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, Turkish poet Alii Ayci highlighted the extensive knowledge of Indian culture among literary figures in Turkey.

Delving into the historical evolution of Turkish literature, Poet Ayci emphasized the pivotal role poetry played until the 19th century. The onset of modernization brought about a paradigm shift, influencing poetry styles under Western influence. Noteworthy changes included the emergence of modern storytelling, novel publications, and the introduction of theatre, transforming the literary landscape. The enduring theme of the clash between the East and West persisted in Turkish literature for an extended period. Pet Ayci noted a decline in the significance of poetry, once considered the soul of Turkish literature, attributing this change to the rise of capitalism and consumerism. In contrast, the novel gained prominence with an increase in publications.

In a separate session, Welsh scholar and writer Roger Connah engaged in a conversation with Sonia Rafeeq, introducing the historical fiction novel ‘The Architect’s Apprentice’ by Turkish-British novelist Elif Shafak. Published in 2013, the novel is set in the 16th century Ottoman Empire, offering a compelling narrative. Turkish scholar Fatìh Usluer provided insights into the life and works of the 13th-century Turkish folk poet Yunus Emre during another session. Usluer’s exploration focused on Yunus Emre’s ‘Sufi Quest,’ offering a deeper understanding of the poet’s contributions to Turkish literature.

The celebration of Turkish literature at KLF not only highlighted its rich history but also facilitated a cross-cultural exchange, fostering a deeper appreciation for the literary treasures of Turkey. As readers embark on a literary journey through the enchanting world of Turkish literature, they encounter the brilliance of literary wizards who weave a tapestry of thoughts, emotions, and cultural nuances that resonate across time and borders.

In the hands of Turkish literature wizards, language becomes a magical instrument, crafting prose and poetry that explore the depths of Turkish thought. Through their works, these literary luminaries invite readers to contemplate universal themes of identity, belonging, and the eternal struggle between tradition and progress. The enchanting pen of the Turkish literature wizard guides readers through landscapes of imagination and contemplation, connecting humanity across geographical boundaries and cultural differences. -WILLIAMSJI MAVELI

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