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  • Graduation Application Date of Interview June 9, 2023

Departmental Projects

Atatürk Project

A collection of 27 cassettes containing interviews with people who lived during the time of Atatürk or were his personal acquaintances has been established. The originals of these cassettes are at Columbia University in the United States, which two years ago gave copies to the Bilkent library. On the tapes we find interviews with people such as Ismet Inönü, Sabiha Gökçen, Ahmet Emin Yalman, Fahrettin Altay, Enver Ziya Karal, Ali Fuat Cebesoy, and Mahir Iz. The transcribtions of the recordings are available both at the History Department of Bilkent University and Bilkent University Library.

Project Coordinator: Feriha Karadeniz

ABCFM Project

Documenting the content of the microfilm collection concerning the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions upon the Near East, 1817-1919.

Project Coordinators: Rıza Yıldırım, Tolga Akkaya

ABCFM Collection page


Ali Fuad Türkgeldi Project (ongoing)

Publication of new sources on the 19th century Ottoman Political and Intellectual history, events, and personalities. With the support of the Turkish Historical Association (Türk Tarih Kurumu)/

Project Directors: Mehmet Kalpaklı and Selçuk Akşin Somel.

Project Participants: Betül Başaran, Fatih Bayram, Birsen Bulmuş, Berrak Burçak, Pınar Emiralioğlu, Mehmet Mert Sunar,Canay Şahin.

Ali Fuad Türkgeldi (1867-1935) was the Chief Secretary of the Chancery of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V Reşad (1909-1918) and one of the prominent Ottoman bureaucrats at the Ministry of the Interior and at the Sublime Porte during the Hamidian (1876-1908) and the Constitutional (1908-1918) Periods. Belonging to a family of Ottoman bureaucrats and possessing a remarkable historical consciousness concerning the Ottoman political events of the nineteenth century, Türkgeldi was eager to record those events of crucial political importance of which he was eyewitness, while writing down recollections of those aged bureaucrats who were still active as government officials in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since as the Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior (Dahiliye Müsteşarı) and the Undersecretary of the Sublime Porte (Sadaret Müsteşarı) he had access to the archives of these institutions, Türkgeldi copied a number of crucial government decrees and correspondences between bureaucrats and statesmen dating from the early and middle of the nineteenth century. Though some of the originals of these documents can be found in the Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archives (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi) in Istanbul, many of them are still not accessible. In addition, the records of Türkgeldi also contain a considerable amount of contemporary or reported observations on political and intellectual personalities of the Ottoman reform period such as Rıfat Pasha, Cevdet Pasha, Münif Pasha, Vefik Pasha etc. These manuscripts altogether constitute an invaluable  source to understand the problematics and the intricacies of the nineteenth century Ottoman political and cultural developments. During his lifetime some of these records on nineteenth-century Ottoman personalities were published in journals such as Türk Tarih Encümeni Mecmuası or Servet-i Fünun , most of them prior to the alphabet-reform. Another part of these   appeared posthumously under the titles Görüp İşittiklerim (“What I saw and heard”) (Ankara 1949, reprinted in 1951, 1984 and 1987, published by Turkish Historical Association) and Mesail-i Mühimme-i Siyasiyye (“Critical Diplomatic Questions”) (ed.by B.S.Baykal, 3 vols., Ankara 1957-1960, reprinted 1987, Turkish Historical Association). However, an important part of Türkgeldi’s records remained unpublished.

These unpublished manuscripts are at present in the private possession of  Türkgeldi-family and in the archives of the Turkish Historical Association in Ankara as well as of the Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archives in İstanbul.

The ALi FUAD TÜRKGELDİ-PROJECT is a medium-term venture with the objectives to edit and publish those manuscripts which remained unpublished as well as to reprint those earlier publications which are in Arabic script, i.e. difficult to be accessed by non-professionals or social scientists interested in the nineteenth century Ottoman political and cultural problems.  The edition and publication of these new sources will constitute a considerable contribution to the research on nineteenth-century Ottoman history, probably providing a new impetus for the research on the Tanzimat- and the Hamidian periods.

The first step at the ALİ FUAD TÜRKGELDİ-PROJECT is to edit those prosopo-graphical records which the author in his lifetime named altogether as Maruf Simalar (“Well-known personages”).   Some of these records were published in the Türk Tarih Encümeni Mecmuası,  but leaving others unpublished. At this stage of the project the aim is to edit and publish all the pub-lished and unpublished prosopographical records together under the title Maruf Simalar. This stage of the project is kindly supported by the Turkish Historical Association, and will be published by this institution.

The Maruf Simalar  will contain the records of the following personalities :

Unpublished records

– Şeyhü’l-vüzera Hüsrev Paşa
– Şeyhü’l-vüzera Rauf Paşa yahud bir şahsiyyet iki mahiyyet
– İzzet Mehmed Paşa
– Ahmed Cevdet Paşa
– Damad Said Paşa
– Damad Fethi Paşa
– Damad Mehmed Ali Paşa
– İbrahim Sarim Paşa
– Pertev ve Akif Paşalar
– İlk Maliye Nazırı Abdurrahman Nafiz Paşa ve bizde teşkilat-ı maliyye
– Serdar-ı Ekrem Abdülkerim Nadir Paşa
– Kapudan-ı Derya Mahmud Paşa
– Şeyhü’l-vüzera Namık Paşa
– Esad Paşa
– Memduh Paşa
– Mümtaz Efendi

Previously published in the Türk Tarih Encümeni Mecmuası

– Mısır Valisi Mehmed Ali Paşa
– Şekib Paşa
– Rifat Paşa
– Münif Paşa
– Mansurizade Mustafa Paşa


The Land and Power Project

The aim of the project will be to trace changes in landholding and landholders in the eleventh and twelfth century, enabling us to identify—in landholding terms—many of the names listed as witnesses or beneficiaries in charters of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. By combining this with information about office-holding, whether from the king, or lay magnates, or from ecclesiastical institutions, we hope to be able to build up a picture of local political and social groupings, and their relationship to land and office.

The project is designed to take advantage of certain key Latin sources for eleventh- and twelfth-century England that have been obtained by Bilkent Library:—Domesday Book, various  collections of charters and sets of episcopal documents. On account of the vast amount of information which will be accumulated as part of the research, it is proposed to employ, where deemed necessary, computerized database software (probably Microsoft Access) to facilitate data storage, retrieval and analysis.

Students participating in the project would be able to gain a familiarity with the relevant document types and make use of their expertise in medieval Latin, as it develops. For students without Latin, or just beginning Latin, the Domesday Book evidence is particularly appropriate, as the library’s edition has a parallel English translation. The project will provide an introduction to this kind of socio-political history, and could serve as a methodological model for subsequent dissertations.

It has been decided, at least initially, to concentrate on the county of Suffolk, though with some consideration of surrounding counties. The Domesday Book section concerning Suffolk is relatively detailed; we have a particularly large set of charter collections for this county, and we have a collection of the documents issued by the bishop of Norwich in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Suffolk being included in the episcopal diocese of Norwich. At a later stage, the project will be extended to other counties.

Faculty involved: Paul Latimer and David Thornton


Eighteenth-Century Sources Project

Bilkent Library is in possession of a very large number of eighteenth-century books on microfilm. Though some lists of reels exist, there is no catalogue of these works. The initial task will be the location of relevant microfilms and a listing of collections. The main part of the project will consist of cataloguing the works on the reels. The entries should give the author, full title, place of publication, publisher and date of publication. To these should be added a brief description of the contents of the work and a note on the author. This material will be put on a simple computerized data base.


U.S. History Bibliography Project

Although Bilkent University already possesses what might be the finest U.S. history library in Turkey, we want to make it even better. Accordingly, this year (and subsequently) first and second year M.A. students in U.S. history will work on collecting recent bibliographic references from a variety of sources–the Journal of American History, Reviews in American History, and other journals and published bibliographies. After checking these references against the Library’s current holdings, we will order those books which Bilkent does not currently have.


Ottoman Text Edition Project/ Ottoman Text Archive Project/ Ottoman Historical Dictionary

With University of Washington

 See the webpage of the Project


Some Published Books