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Ramadan book fair in Türkiye is inspired by the first Quranic word: Read

Every Ramadan, a book fair is held in Istanbul and Ankara, hosting hundreds of publishers and showcasing celebrated writers and scholars on a wide range of subjects, including Islamic literature, arts, and culture.  

Organised for the 39th time by the Türkiye Diyanet Foundation, the Book and Culture Fair opened in three different locations: two in Istanbul and one in Ankara. Between April 9 and 27, the event will be held in the courtyard of Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in Ankara and the courtyards of the Buyuk Camlica Mosque and Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.

The fair was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

With the participation of over 100 publishers in a closed area of approximately 2,500 square meters, the venue becomes a place for various cultural activities, as well as talks and autograph programmes.

This year, the fair has devoted a special area to foreign language publications and publishers for the first time, gaining international recognition.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the opening ceremony at the Buyuk Camlica Mosque Complex in Istanbul.

“I am pleased that our fairs, which have been suspended for two years due to the pandemic, have started again this year,” Erdogan said.

“Our civilisation was built on the order ‘Read, ˹O Prophet,˺ in the Name of your Lord Who created. We have a culture that puts the Quran above everything else.”

Erdogan said book reading is a natural instinct of every Muslim and history is witness to it.

“There is nothing more natural than the members of such a civilisation being book lovers. In our history, there are monumental names such as Avicenna, such as Ghazali, who fit nearly 500 works into their 50-60-year life, and it is worth a lifetime for us to properly read and understand even the ones that have survived to the present day. The phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ indicates the importance our ancestors placed on reading and writing, whose greatest qualification was to make conquests and establish states,” he said.

The first of these fairs was held in Ankara in 1983. The following year it was held both in Ankara and Istanbul.

The purpose of this fair was to make the mosque courtyards functional as they were in the past and to bring together the publisher, writer, and reader during the month of Ramadan. It was also aimed at encouraging a love for books and instilling the habit of reading books in every part of society.

While Book and Culture Fairs normally start on the first day of Ramadan, they have been starting towards the middle of Ramadan in recent years upon the request of publishing houses, and continue until the Laylat al-Qadr.

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