Panel and exhibition on “Oman in the Ottoman Archives” (Istanbul, 5-6 October 2012)

Panel and exhibition on “Oman in the Ottoman Archives” (Istanbul, 5-6 October 2012)

The panel on "Oman in the Ottoman Archives" held at IRCICA on 5-6 October 2012 was the first meeting to focus on the history of relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Ottoman State as reflected in the official documents of the two countries. The panel was held under the patronage and in the presence of Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Vice Prime Minister of Turkey and in the presence of Mr. Erşat Hürmüzlü, Chief Advisor to the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Abdullah Gül.

In the evening of the first day the participants attended the opening of an exhibition titled "Oman in the Ottoman Documents and International Relations" contributed by the National Archives of the Sultanate of Oman. The exhibition was arranged at Marmara University's former rectorate building in Sultanahmet Istanbul. Omani classical music was played during the opening of the exhibition.

In his welcoming address, IRCICA Director general Dr. Halit Eren said that the panel conference resulted from a joint initiative of the National Archives of Oman and IRCICA and was meant to be given permanence as a project in the context of academic and cultural studies. He expressed his deep gratitude to Mr. Erşat Hürmüzlü, Chief Advisor to the President of Turkey, and Vice Prime Minister Mr. Bekir Bozdağ for honouring the meeting with their presence. He expressed his conviction that the panel would contirbute in furthering the studies on the history of Oman and the Ottoman State. In this regard he pointed out that the knowledge of cultural and civilizational features of peoples which contain both common and diverse characteristics have gained unprecedented impoortance in international relations today besides the knowledge of political and economic history. This is reflected in the research and education spheres in an enhancement of multidisciplinary studies on the cultural interactions having taking places between peoples in history. In addition to bringing progress in cultural studies and international relations studies, this helps to deepen the insights and findings in political and economic history as well. Dr. Eren went on to outline the programs and projects being implemented by IRCICA in its capacity as the joint centre of the 57 OIC Member States in charge of research on history, culture and arts. He described in particular the activities in the field of history and more specifically those aiming to facilitate the task of researchers from the Member States who are not well-versed in Ottoman Turkish but have to use the Ottoman archive documents, which the Centre does by translating collections of documents on selected subjects into the most widely spoken languages of the Musim world accompanied by their studies. This project started with a series of such publications in the Arabic language. Dr. Eren then expressed his appreciation of the development of a fruitful cooperation between the Sultanate of Oman and IRCICA in various areas. He recalled among others, the International Festival for Arts, Heritage and Creativity involving the Muscat Award and several exhibitions which was organized in cooperation with Muscat Municipality in 2011 and 2012. The 2011 festival brought together 150 artisans from 25 countries and the second, 118 artisans from 32 countries. On this occasion he renewed his deep gratitude for the conferring upon him, by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of the Sultanate of Oman, of the Sultan Qaboos Order for Culture, Science and Art of the First Degree in 2012.

Dr. Hamad bin Muhammad al-Dawyani, Head of the National Archives of the Sultanate of Oman, addressed the opening underlining the importance of this first conference on the history of relations between the Ottoman State and the Sultanate of Oman which aimed to contribute to studies on history and encourage the use of first-hand archive sources but which would also boost cultural and scholarly cooperation between the institutions and researchers concerned in the Muslim countries and around the world. Dr. Al-Dawyani expressed his appreciation of the cooperation developed between IRCICA and his institution. He expressed his gratitude to Mr. Erşad Hürmüzlü and Mr. Bekir Bozdağ for their presence in the conference. He thanked the Ottoman Archives Department affiliated to the Turkish Prime Ministry for its cooperation in organizing the exhibition of reproductions of archive documents on the sidelines of the conference.

In his address to the opening, Mr. Bozdağ underlined that the relevance of studies in history reaches far beyond the sphere of culture or education: these studies contribute in encouraging peoples to know each other in deeper understanding and positively influences their relations in all areas of life. "The present panel is an effort in this direction. Its taking place in the present period is significant since four days ago the Omani-Turkish Joint Committee held its ninth session where extensive talks on the promotion of relations in the sectors of trade, transport, industry, education, science, agriculture and fishing were concluded by the signing of a protocol. The strong links existing between the two countries since a long history were recalled during the meeting. The economic relations developed in the present time were reviewed and possibilities of further developing them were considered. Progress and strengthening of cultural cooperation between the two countries parallel to advances in economic relations can contribute in multiplying the areas of cooperation.

Mr. Erşad Hürmüzlü, Chief Advisor to the President of Turkey, addressed the opening. He evoked various aspects and areas of cultural and academic studies that play important roles in promoting cooperation among countries. He elaborated upon the achievements made, needs felt and prospects observable in cultural and academic cooperation among Muslim countries particularly as regards highlighting common aspects and/or aspects of mutual interest in their respective histories and cultures. In this regard he expressed his appreciation of the joint effort deployed by the National Archives of the Sultanate of Oman and IRCICA in organizing the conference.

The speeches were followed by the presentation of a documentary film prepared by the National Archives of Oman and titled "The documents as witnesses of life". The following papers were presented by the participating scholars, in the Arabic or Turkish languages:

Sheikh Muhanna b. Halfan al-Harussi, "Ottoman-Omani relations in history"; İdris Bostan, "A turning point in the Ottoman-Portuguese conflict: the Hormuz and Muscat Wars (1552-1554)"; Said b. Muhammed al-Hashimi, "Ottomans in Muscat; examples from Ottoman-Omani relations"; Mehmet İpşirli, "Ottoman-Omani relations during the period of Sultan Ahmed b. Said  (1744-1783)"; Mehmet Gümüşkılıç, "Oman in the work titled Gazavat-ı Bahr-ı Umman ve Sanduk by the first  Ottoman Qadi Tursun Fakih"; Nahid Abdulkarim, "The strategic importance of Ottoman-Omani relations between the years 1749-1856"; Mustafa Bilge, "Ottoman-Omani relations in the 19th century"; İsa Mohammed al-Suleymani, "A study of communications between the Ottoman and the Omani Sultans"; Önder Bayır, "Ottoman-Omani relations in the light of Archive Documents"; Torkiya Hamed al-Farisiya, "The role of Omani archive documents in highlighting Ottoman-Omani relations"; Fuad Abdulwahab al-Shami, "Oman in Ottoman documents: an analytical study".

The Abstracts book was received with great interest by the audience from academic and cultural circles attending the conference.

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