On April 26, 2018, Professor İlber Ortaylı gave a lecture on “The Turkic World and Current Issues in Turkology”. During the talk, which was organized jointly with the Yunus Emre Center (Astana) and the Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, participants discussed: the importance of studying ancient history and philology, developments in the 19th century for understanding the current situation, studying literature for having a deeper command of modern Turkic languages including Kazakh, as well as the importance of more modern genrese of cultural production such as theater and film.
Lecture participants who were comprised of students and faculty of Nazarbayev University, Eurasian National University, and International Turkic Academy discussed one of the vital questions about the Latinization of Kazakh, and the further unification of the Turkic world. Professor Ortaily thinks that the cultural and political unity of the Turkic world was necessary, or likely, and he saw strength in the diversity and mutual support of the Turkic peoples for one another.
Professor Ortaylı is the best-known historian in Turkey today. In addition to his many works on the history of public administration in the Ottoman Empire, his best-known work is on German influence in the Ottoman Empire. This hardly does justice, however, to the wide breadth and depth of his publications on various aspects of the social, cultural, and political history of the Ottoman Empire, and the Republic of Turkey.
İlber Ortaylı was born in 1947 in a refugee camp in Bregenz, Austria, a destination where his family had arrived after fleeing from the USSR under Stalin. He grew up bilingual, speaking German with his father and Russian with his mother, through whom he is descended from Crimean Tatar nobility. His family later moved to Turkey when he was two years old. As a student, İlber Ortaylı studied Slavic and Oriental Studies at the University of Vienna. After completion of his M.A. at the University of Chicago under Halil İnalcik, he completed his Ph.D. at Ankara University. Professor Ortaylı has taught at Ankara University, Bilkent University, and Galatasaray University, as well as at universities in Europe and Russia. From 2005 until 2012, he also served as Director of the Topkapı Museum in Istanbul.