Thursday, December 22, 2011

In honor of Asanin Idris, 1927 - 2007

Today at the library there was an event celebrating the memory of the Crimean Tatar poet, essayist, and leader of the national movement, Asanin Idris (1927-2007). The Reading Hall was packed to overflowing with people coming to honor this important figure in Crimean Tatar culture.

Asanin Idris was born in 1927 in the village of Sala-Foti (Golubinka) in the district of Bakhchisaray. In 1944 the family was deported to the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan. All of his family with the exception of one sister perished during the deportation and in the refugee camps afterwards. Even as a young person in Crimea, Asanin rebelled against the sufferings and injustices of his people. The poetry be began to write in his youth became, after deportation, poetry of the feelings of his people, exiled from their native lands.

As a result of his writings, Asanin was arrested in 1950 while in his third year of study at the History Teachers' Training Institute, and was sentenced to 25 years of hard labor. After Stalin's death his sentence was reduced and in 1956, he was released. After returning from the camps, Asanin continued his studies at the Institute and completed his course in 1961. He worked in various construction jobs in Samarkand and then received a diploma in civil engineering through the correspondence department of the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute.

Asanin became very active in the national movement to return to Crimea and later wrote a three-volume work about the movement titled “In the Ranks of the Struggle for Justice.”
A collection of his poetry, titled “A Handful of Earth,” was published in 1997 in honor of his 50 years of creative work.
Idris Asanin also worked tirelessly to preserve the historic monuments of national culture of the Crimean Tatars and created and managed the company “Shrine."

In 2009, the widow of Idris Asanin, donated all of his papers to the Gasprinsky Library for study and use by researchers and readers. Among the materials donated were many books of different Crimean Tatar authors, personal correspondence, rare photos, and many materials concerning the Crimean Tatar national movement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Great news! We have reached our fundraising goal!

Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we have reached the fundraising goal of our Peace Corps Partnership Project, Crimean Tatar Language and Cultural Preservation Project. In just one month, over thirty individuals and organizations donated $4000.00 to our project. This means the Gasprinsky Library will be able to purchase digital scans of their microfilm collection, particularly the microfilms of Ismail Gasprinky's newspaper, Terdjman, and also will be able to purchase a high speed office scanner to scan the many paper documents in the archives.
On behalf of the Library, thanks so much to all of you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Scanner arrives!

An exciting event occurred last week at the library. The book scanner that we had purchased with a grant from the EMC Cultural Heritage Fund arrived! (See June 7th blog post “Library Receives Cultural Heritage Grant” for information about this grant.) Two large boxes came by train from Kyiv, and then two days later, the technician from the company arrived to set up the scanner and train library workers on how to use it.

Because of the EMC grant, the library was able to purchase an Atiz BookDrive DIY scanner capable of scanning books and newspapers to a digital format. The scanner uses two cameras to produce high quality images which are then transferred to a computer. Having this specialized piece of equipment will allow the library to begin the long process of scanning their document collection and converting them to a digital format which will then be made available to the public via the Library website. This is particularly important for the library’s collection of rare books and newspapers which are in danger of deteriorating to the point of being unreadable and are no longer available to library patrons. Some of these documents are the only copy in existence and the loss of them would mean one more piece of Crimean Tatar history would be gone forever. It is vital to the mission of the Gasprinsky Library as “the keeper of the memory of the Crimean Tatar people” that these rare documents are transferred to a digital format, not only to preserve that memory, but also to make Crimean Tatar history available to people worldwide.

Two big boxes containing the scanner arrive on the train from Kyiv.
The technician arrives two days later and begins to assemble the scanner.
He begins to train library staff how to use the scanner.

The technician shows how to adjust the cameras to get the highest quality images.
The scanner is ready to start the work of digitizing the library's collections.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yunus Kandym


Yunus Kandym 1959-2005

Today in the Reading Hall of the Library, a newly published edition of a book translated from Ukrainian into Crimean Tatar was presented to the Library and the media. The translation was the work of Crimean Tatar poet Yunus Kandym, who died in 2005.

Yunus Kandym was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1959. From 1976 to 1981, he studied Crimean Tatar language at the Tashkent State Pedagogical Institute. In 1981, he went to work for the Crimean Tatar newspaper, Lenin Banner, first as a reporter, and later as a department head. In 1989 his family moved to Crimea, where he began work on the newspaper Crimean. He became a member of the Journalist Union in 1986 and the Writers’ Union in 1990 and also worked as a translator.

Yunus Kandym’s first poem was published in Tashkent in 1979. Nine years later his first book of poetry was published. He went on to publish several books of poetry and his poems are found in numerous collections in Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar languages. He received the award of Honored Culture Worker of Ukraine and is often quoted in Turkish writings. Yunus Kandym died in 2005 at the age of 45.

Display of Yunus Kandym's work in the Reading Hall of the Library.
Publisher of the Crimean Tatar translation of Mikael Kotsubinsky.
Yunus Kandym's wife talks about the poet's life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crimean Tatar: A "severely endangered" language

The Crimean Tatar language is listed as “severely endangered” in the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Disappearing Languages. They estimate that, if nothing is done, half of the 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century.
Why should we care? This is what UNESCO says:
“Every language reflects a unique world-view with its own value systems, philosophy and particular cultural features. The extinction of a language results in the irrecoverable loss of unique cultural knowledge embodied in it for centuries, including historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge that may be essential for the survival of not only its speakers, but also countless others.”

Please consider donating to the Crimean Tatar Cultural and Language Preservation project and help at least one of those endangered languages survive. Click here to donate.

And if you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out the Gasprinsky Library’s website, please do—you can click on it under Websites of Interest. The website is in Crimean Tatar and Russian, but with the aid of Google Translate, you can read much of the site in English. The Library just started a children’s section on their website with games, fairy tales, and coloring books, all in Crimean Tatar, along with the Crimean Tatar Cyrillic alphabet. It is estimated only 5% of Crimean Tatar children speak their native language. This is just one more effort on the part of the Library to fulfill its mission to preserve and revitalize the Crimean Tatar language and culture.

Children at the Gasprinsky Library learn about the children's books in Crimean Tatar.
The Crimean Tatar television station, ATR, interviews one young reader.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Help support the work of the Gasprinsky Crimean Tatar Library!

Now you have an opportunity to support the work of the Gasprinsky Library by making a tax exempt donation through the Peace Corps website. Just click on the link on the right, and it will take you directly to the listing of our project on the Peace Corps website.

Your donation will help fund a project of the Library to digitize their archival documents and make them available on their website. More on this project:

Since its founding twenty years, the Gasprinsky Crimean Tatar Library has become the central repository of documents by and about the Crimean Tatar people. It now has a collection of over 40,000 documents, including more than 8000 in the Crimean Tatar language. The Library has an archival department to which well-known Crimean Tatar political leaders, intellectuals, artists, writers and poets have donated their personal papers. However, as an institution of the Ukrainian government, the Library suffers from a severe lack of funds to do anything beyond pay salaries and maintain the building. Many of the documents of the Library are in urgent need of preservation, particularly in a digital form that would give them a much wider audience. With this project, we hope to raise $3000 which would allow the Library to purchase a small flatbed paper scanner for the numerous archival paper documents—letters, writings, notes, etc—and also to purchase digital scans of some of the Library’s microfilms. The Library is particularly interested in purchasing scans of the microfilms of the newspaper Terdzhman, published from 1883 to 1918 by the Muslim educator and reformer Ismail Gasprinsky, whom the Library is named after. The digital copies then would be made available to Library patrons through the Library’s computers and to readers and researchers worldwide via the Library’s website.

Please consider making a small donation to support this vital work in the continuing mission of the Library to preserve the Crimean Tatar language and culture. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ramiz Netovkin, 1960-2011

In the long hallway of the Library that connects the different offices, a space has been made for exhibits of the work of local Crimean Tatar artists. The current exhibit shows the work of a well-known graphic artist, Ramiz Netovkin, who died recently at the age of 51. Netovkin was born in Tashkent on June 21, 1960. In 1975, he came to Simferopol. He studied painting at the Simferopol College of Art in the name of H.C. Samokisha and graduated in 1980. Since 1983 his work has been included in numerous regional, national, and international exhibits, including solo exhibits in New York, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Poland, and Estonia. Ramiz Netovkin worked as a graphic artist, and in 1989 he became a member of the Union of Ukrainian Artists. He was awarded the designation of Honored Artist of Crimea.
Ramiz Netovkin lived in the nearby small city of Belagorsk. He died July 16, 2011, after suffering a heart attack in the earlier part of the year. Currently there is a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Crimean Tatar Museum of Art in Simferopol.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Developing Volunteerism mini-seminars in Crimea

In the week of October 17th, my counterpart at the library, Nadjie Yagya, and I traveled to three central libraries in Crimea and two branch libraries to present mini-seminars on the topic of volunteerism in libraries and communities. As part of our Peace Corps sponsored Small Projects Assistance (SPA) grant, these mini seminars were a follow-up from the two-day seminar/training we held in Simferopol on May 24th and 25th (see the May 30th blog post for a description of that seminar). Accompanied by library staff who provided information about the work of the Gasprinsky Library, Nadjie and I presented information about the concept of volunteerism and the opportunities it can provide for a library. Included in the seminar was a presentation on American libraries and how volunteer organizations—called “Friends of the Library”—assist libraries in America, from fundraising to providing an extra helping hand with library tasks.

Volunteerism, an accepted practice in America where a large percentage of the population do some kind of volunteer work, is slowly taking hold in post-Soviet countries. The goal of our SPA grant was to promote volunteerism in Crimea through developing volunteerism in Crimean libraries. As I listened to Nadjie discussing various volunteer ideas and watched the seminar participants avidly listen, take notes, and ask many questions, I felt hopeful that at least the idea of volunteerism, and what it can do for their libraries, was planted in the minds of many librarians.

At the branch library in the Crimean Tatar village of Ismail Bey, Nadjie and I and Susanna from Gasprinsky Library pose for a photo with the director of this small library (middle) and librarian from the Evpatoria library (far left).
Participants at the Bakchiseray Central Library.
At the Evpatoria Central Library, Nadjie and I present a slide show on volunteerism in American libraries (that's a young Barack Obama in the Harvard University Library).
At the regional library and Crimean Tatar Cultural Center in the town of Cuvorovckoe, Nadjie and I discuss library volunteerism with the director over tea.
At the Saki Central Library, participants avidly take notes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inci Bowman comes to the Gasprinsky Library

Inci Bowman with Crimea Rada Deputy Cafure Kadzhametova and Gulnara Yayaeva, Library Director.

On the afternoon of October 13th, the Gasprinsky Library was honored with a visit from Inci Bowman from the United States. Inci Bowman is past president of the International Committee on Crimea (ICC). Through her writings on the ICC website and the ICC list serve, Inci Bowman has for me become the voice of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the United States. I attribute much of what I know about the Crimean Tatar people to her informative and elegant writing. I had looked forward to meeting her and was disappointed we did not have more time together, but I was happy to put a face with the writings that have so enriched my life these past two years.
Dr. Bowman was in Simferopol as a guest speaker at an international conference on the history of women in Crimea dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the birth of Sefiki Gasprinsky, the daughter of Ismail Gasprinsky. Dr. Bowman was born in Istanbul and speaks fluent Turkish. She is a retired professor of medical history from the University of Texas and currently lives in Washington, DC.

A word about the International Committee on Crimea taken from their website:
The International Committee for Crimea (ICC) is a group of people interested in raising awareness about the historical, cultural, and socio-political aspects of the Crimean Tatars in their native land as well as in Diaspora. They are descendants of Crimean Tatars living in diaspora, Tatars who have returned to Crimea after almost forty-seven years of forced exile, and friends and allies of Crimean Tatars. Our members live in the U.S.A, Turkey, Germany, Holland, and Ukraine.
The ICC provides a platform where dedicated and active Crimean Tatars and friends of Tatars can meet and share information, ideas, and experiences. Through Crimea-L, an Internet discussion group, and this Web site, the ICC aims to create and maintain a network of Crimean Tatars and friends of Tatars in different parts of the world.
We believe that Crimean Tatars, who were unjustly deported en masse from their homeland by Soviet authorities on 18 May 1944, have the right to live in their homeland in peace, free of social and economic prejudices against them. We look forward to the day when Crimean Tatars are recognized as people with a history and culture who inhabited the Crimean peninsula for centuries.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gasprinsky Library Departments and what they do: Scientific-Methodology Department

There are six different departments in the Gasprinsky Library—Scientific and Methodology, Bibliography, Archives, Collections, Reading Hall, and Computer/Technology Center. In the next few blogs, I thought I would write a bit about each department, highlighting what they do and the people who work in them. And, of course, it only seems natural that I would start with my department—the Scientific-Methodology Department.
The Scientific-Methodology Department is responsible for a number of functions related to working with the libraries across Crimea to better serve the Crimean Tatar population. In a recent presentation for the library staff, our department listed some of our most important functions:
1. Provide guidance and advice to the libraries of Crimea in the fields of information service for the Crimean Tatar population, including acquisition and promotion of their Crimean Tatar literature collections.
2. Monitor and analysis for the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea the library and information services for the Crimean Tatar population.
3. Coordinate with other Crimean libraries in the introduction of innovative methods in the development of Crimean Tatar Library structures.
4. Organize trainings for librarians.
5. Prepare and produce teaching aides to assist the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea
6. Implement relations with international libraries through the use of modern information technology.
7. Organize paid services in the library.

Here are the staff in the Scientific-Methodology Department:
Refika Feticlyamova who is responsible for preparing the plans and reports for the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea.
Nadjie Yagya is the head methodologist of the library. She is also my counterpart.
Elmas Emirova is responsible for content of the library's website.
And here I am with Refika and Nadjie, welcoming visitors to our department.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New book from Germany; Cengiz Dagci dies at the age of 92

On September 27th, the Gasprinsky Library hosted the authors of a new study of German occupation in Crimea called Reemtsma auf der Krim or Reemtsma in the Crimea: Tobacco production and forced labor under German occupation 1941-1944. The authors of the book, Karl Heinz Roth and Jan-Peter Abraham, were here to present their work. Dr. Karl Heinz Roth, is the co-founder of the Hamburg Foundation for the Social History of the 20th Century and is the author of numerous books and magazine articles on the social, economic, medical and scientific history of the 20th Century. Jan-Peter Abraham is a lecturer of Slavonic studies in Ukraine and Moldova and has translated numerous books from Russian and Czech.
Reemtsma in the Crimea documents the activities of the Hamburg tobacco company, Reemtsma, during the German occupation in Crimea in which approximately 20,000 people were forced to work in the tobacco fields and processing plants. The book contains many interviews of present day survivors of the occupation period.
Reemstsma in the Crimea is of particular interest to the Gasprinsky Library because tobacco farming existed mainly in the mountainous region of southern Crimea which at that time was mostly inhabited by Crimean Tatars. Its documentation of the ruthless exploitation of the population in the Reemstsma tobacco operation adds an important piece to the history of Crimea during the Nazi occupation.
For more information, please see the publisher website

On September 22nd, we received the sad news that Crimean Tatar novelist Cengiz Dagci had died in London at the age of 92. He is best known for his novels describing the tragic conditions of Crimean Tatar life between 1932 and 1945, as people struggled to survive between the Russian and German occupiers. Dagci wrote his novels in Turkish and they have never been translated into English. However, his novels were widely read in Turkey and are attributed to keeping alive the Crimean Tatar cause in that country.
As I did in my blog post of August 19, 2010, when the Gasprinsky Library celebrated Cengiz Dagci’s 90th birthday, I will again print his poem about the Crimean Tatar people and their ability to survive:
Aren't Crimean Tatars
a tree which is
supposed to die,
not to get greener
and not to give
new branches?
Since the day that they
lost their independence,
there wasn't any day
passed without
chopping the branches

of this tree, but
again new branches
came out of its body.
These branches were
not allowed to grow
and were chopped
again. But branches
came out again.
At the end,
this tree is chopped
at its root,
and thrown away
on a lonely, desert land.

But again new branches
come out of this body
and get longer and
longer, and they reach
to the land where
this tree was planted
one thousand years ago.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visitors and events

The Library has a never ending schedule of events, visitors, educational forums, and various other happenings. You can go to the library website—see the link on my blog—and check out the continually updated calendar of events. The Library website is only in Russian and Crimean Tatar, but you can use Google Translate or one of the other translation websites to at least get an idea of the events.

The Library receives foreign visitors on a fairly frequent basis. For those interested in Crimean Tatar culture, the Library provides a wealth of information. Along with the Crimean Tatar Museum of Arts and the Crimean Tatar Academic Music and Drama Theater, the Gasprinsky Library serves as one of the cultural centers of the Crimean Tatar community.
Recently, a group of Estonians visited the library. The Director of the library, Gulnara Yagyaeva, showed them the work of the different departments of the library and talked about the history of the library, the famous Muslim educator Ismail Gasprinsky, and funds available to the library.

Later that same week, musicologist Lenur Asanov from the Crimean Engineering Pedagogical University came to a meeting of the staff of the library to present a project he has been working on—adapting computer keyboards to the Crimean Tatar language as written with the Latin alphabet and the Arabic alphabet.
He has developed software that can be downloaded on to Windows computers to allow the user to type in the Crimean Tatar language using either of those alphabets. The staff seemed very pleased about this development, especially the Archive Department where they frequently use the Arabic alphabet when referencing old Crimean Tatar documents (many of which are written using the Arabic alphabet).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Internet Center opens at the Library

In August, the library opened their new LEAP internet center. LEAP (Library Electronic Access Project) is a program of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. As stated on the Embassy website, the goal of the program is “to provide public libraries with free public access to the Internet and to support the free and open exchange of information that is essential for Ukraine’s integration with the world community.”
The LEAP program was initiated in 2001 and the Gasprinsky Library was one of the first Crimean libraries to receive funding to set up an internet center. This year the Library received a LEAP grant to update their internet center. The internet center moved from a small space in the bibliographic department in which there were two computers for internet access to a room solely dedicated to the internet center, conveniently located by the front door of the library. Now the Center has six computers totally dedicated to internet use and equipped with web cameras and headphones. Also, soon the Center will have Wi-Fi capability.

Lilya Emirova, administrator of the Internet Center, and Eldar Bektemirov, computer engineer for the Center

On August 3rd, the Library had a grand opening of their new LEAP Internet Center, attended by representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv—Daniel Sicek, Deputy Press Attache, and Valentyna Pashkova, Director of Information Resources.

Gulnara Yagyaeva, Director of the Gasprinsky Library, Elena Emirova, Head of Cultural Institutions and Media and Public Relations at the Ministry of Culture of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, with Daniel Sicek and Valentyna Pashkova from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Returning from America with books for the library

It is the beginning of September, and I have returned to the library after my month-long trip to America. It was wonderful being in America—seeing my friends and family, stocking up on those American “necessities” that I can’t seem to get here in Ukraine, buying presents for my Crimean family and friends. But I missed Crimea and was glad to get back to my life here, and now I am especially glad to be at the library and learn of all the happenings while I was gone.
Photograph of Kemal Karpat on the front cover of his autobiography.

On behalf of the library, I had sent a request to Turkish historian Kemal Karpat to donate copies of his books to the Gasprinsky Library. It has gotten very expensive to ship books from America to Ukraine, as there is no longer any surface mail between the countries. Professor Karpat graciously agreed to donate books, but he did not want to send them to Ukraine (he lives in America now), so I arranged to receive the books while I was in America with the plan of bringing them back with me. But, of course, my suitcase got filled up with many other things, and there was no room for his books. My cousin in Chicago generously offered to pay to have them shipped, so a few days after I arrived back in Crimea, a box of Kemal Karpat’s books also arrived.
Some of the books by Kemal Karpat in Turkish language that he donated to the library.

Kemal Karpat is Crimean Tatar and a Turkish historian and former professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written many books in English and Turkish. Here is an example of some of his titles from a list in Wikipedia:

The Politicization of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2001)

The Ottoman Past and Today's Turkey (Brill, 2000)
Political and Social Thought in the Contemporary Middle East (Praeger, 1968)
Turkey's Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Parti System (Princeton University Press, 1959)
Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton University Press, 1964)
An Inquiry into the Social Foundations of Nationalism in the Ottoman State (Princeton UP, 1973)
Social Change and Politics in Turkey (Brill Leiden, 1973)
Turkey's Foreign Policy in Transition (Leiden, 1975)

He sent two boxes of books, but I was only able to ship one box at this time, so I chose his Turkish language books and his most recent book in English, The Politicization of Islam.
The library did not have copies of any of his books in their collection, so they were very happy to receive the books. And I look forward to having a chance to read read his English book.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Multiethnic society of Crimea

The Gasprinskiy Library has always been interested in the diverse society of Crimea. Though Crimean Tatars consider themselves the indigenous people of Crimea, they also recognize that since ancient times, Crimea has been a multiethnic society. A notable phenomenon in recent years in the life of Crimea has been the study and revival of the traditions of peoples across national and cultural borders. For a number of years, the Gasprinskiy Library sponsored an international conference titled “The Library as a center of cross cultural dialogue in a multiethnic society.” They have also sponsored various workshops and trainings for the libraries across Crimea on working with the ethnic groups in their regions.
This month the Gasprinskiy Library has mounted an exhibition in the Reading Hall of the library called “Family Traditions of the Peoples of Crimea: Ethnicities and Cultures.” With books and photographs from the library’s collection and examples of handicrafts, the exhibition highlights the customs, traditions, festivals and rituals of the diverse people of Crimea: Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Greeks, Georgians, Jews, Azerbaijanis, and other peoples.
A note to the blog readers: This will be my last blog post for several weeks, as I will be traveling to America.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oral History Project at the Library

Brian Woods, a Master's candidate at Ohio University, began his
month-long internship at the library last week. His internship is
focused on building the library's capacity to record and archive
Crimean Tatar oral histories. Brian was a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Bakcheseray where he taught English.

As a student in International Affairs with a specialization in
Communication and Development Studies, Brian is excited about this
opportunity. "Helping empower under-represented minorities is at the
heart of CommDev as a discipline. Helping the library organize this
program...helping them take down people's stories about the
deportation, exile and return is so important, especially given the
implications in terms of displaced indigenous ethnicities in the
Middle East and Africa."

During his internship, he will teach simple best practices for oral
histories and help the library develop an archiving system.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 International Library Conference in Sudak

Last week (June 6-10) was the annual International Library Conference in Sudak. Held for the last eighteen years in this beautiful town on the Black Sea coast, the International Library Conference is sponsored by the National Library of Russia and brings librarians from all over the world, including a few from the U.S. A special guest this year was the president of the International Federation of Library Associations, Ellen Tise, from the J.S. Gericke Library of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Official logo of the conference.

The Director (left) and Assistant Director (right) of the Gasprinskiy Library--Gulnara Yagyaeva and Leyla Kadyrova--are welcomed to Sudak.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Electronic Information, Libraries, and Society: What is to be Expected from the New Decade of the Information Century?” Despite a theme that focused on technology, there was a wide range of presentations and activities, including the Gasprinsky Library’s event. Every year at the conference the Gasprinsky Library hosts a roundtable for the librarians from the Turkic speaking countries focusing on a Crimean Tatar writer. This year the title of the roundtable was “Ashik Poetry of the Turkic World: Dedicated to the 390th anniversary of Ashik Omer, great poet of the Orient.” Ashik Omer was a Crimean Tatar poet, songwriter, and musician who lived in Evpatoria, Crimea, in the 17thcentury. He traveled worldwide and wrote over 2000 poems and songs. He is best known for his poems about love, but he also wrote about the social and philosophical issues of his day and about Sufi mysticism.

Statue of Ashik Omer in park in Evpatoria.

Elena Emirova from the Crimea Ministry of Culture and Gulnara Yagyaeva, Director of the Gasprinsky Library, opened the roundtable with a welcome to the participants and presenters.

Presentations were given by experts from the Crimean Engineering Pedagogical University in Simferopol and from several Turkic speaking countries.

Almakul Iskakova from the National Academic Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, Kazakhstan

Zoya Mongush from the Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Research in Kyzul, Republic of Tuva, Russia

The roundtable concluded with a performance of Ashik Omer's music and poetry by the Crimean Tatar folk ensemble Makyam.