Welcoming address at the opening ceremony of IRCICA Library at Silahhane Building

Welcoming address at the opening ceremony of IRCICA Library at Silahhane Building

Your Excellency Mr. Recep Tayip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey,
Your Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC,
Y.E. Mr. Abdurrahman al-Uways, Minister of Culture of the United Arab Emirates,
Your Excellency Mr. Muammer Güler, Governor of Istanbul,
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors, honourable guests,

Today the historical Yildiz Palace opens a new window towards the Muslim world. Silahhane Building, now filled with treasures of knowledge of the Muslim world, is assuming its new functions in the service of culture and science assigned under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Turkey. Following the allocation of these valuable premises to its library specialised on Islamic civilisation and the history and culture of Muslim nations, IRCICA, the cultural research centre of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, has been able to undertake a large-scale expansion and development project of its library. Today is also one of the most significant days in the history of IRCICA.

From the first years of our Centre, the library was planned with great care under the leadership of Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the founding Director General of IRCICA, and its collections and services were diversified over the years parallel to the increase of the number of OIC Member States and development of Islamic studies around the world. It has become known as a resource center for researchers and specialised to the extent that on some particular aspects of world's cultures, languages and arts, it is one of the few holder of sources. The purview of IRCICA Library thus evolved over the years. Accordingly, it became a focal point with regard to the products of the Muslim world science, culture and civilisation and to studies, publications, and records of scholarly and cultural activities relating to them.

In our time, necessities arising in consequence of the globalisation of information exchanges on one hand, and the insufficiency of the office space at Çit Qasr, Yildiz Palace, in meeting the growing needs, on the other, caused a need for larger, suitable space. The newly allocated premises allowed the library to acquire a new, modern image. In these new premises we have been able to classify our collections with modern and electronic techniques. At the same time RFID - Radio Frequency Identification system finds here its first application in libraries of Turkey and the Muslim world.

Again with this expansion and development project, another innovative achievement fitting IRCICA's mission has been made: the Digital Library of the Muslim World. This large project has been possible thanks to the generous contribution extended by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The digital library is established at Silahhane Building. With it, books and documents will become accessible by electronic means from around the world.

No doubt, all these works will contribute in making the cultures of the Muslim world better known to each other and by other peoples correctly, with their true image.

With its research projects and congresses focusing on regions of common cultural heritage such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Volga-Ural region, Caucasia, the Balkans, Southeast Europe, Eastern Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa, IRCICA will continue its efforts to raise awareness in public opinion on the riches of Islamic civilisation and its exchanges with other civilisations throughout history. The development of the library rendered operational today also comes within this framework.

Thus, these premises which witnessed important phases of recent history now become the venue of a modern project that responds to intercultural dialogue and flow of information.

I would like to express to His Excellency the Prime Minister my deepest gratitude for the high patronage and valuable support extended to this project and continuously to all activities of IRCICA. I also wish to express my thanks to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey for the close cooperation always extended to IRCICA.

I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC, for the continuous support and encouragement extended to IRCICA.

I wish to convey my gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum for the valuable support and generous contributions extended for the Digital Library of the Muslim World and the preparation and furnishing of the library premises. I extend my thanks to Mr. Abdurrahman al-Uways who is representing His Highness, and Mr. Mohammed al-Murr, for their presence, and Mr. Jamal bin Houaireb al-Muhairy for his very valuable contributions to the realisation of the project..

I welcome the honourable Ministers, His Excellency the Governor of Istanbul, and all our distinguished guests and thank them for their presence.