By Islamuddin Sajid
Turkey's state-run aid body, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has established the first Turkish corner at Pakistan’s National Library in the capital, Islamabad.
Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Sadik Babur Girgin and Pakistan's Federal Secretary for National History and Literary Heritage Aamir Hasan jointly inaugurated the center on Tuesday.
Addressing those present at the occasion, Ambassador Girgin said the well-equipped center would help researchers better understand the Turkish culture and promote the people-to-people relations between Pakistan and Turkey.
"Turkey and Pakistan have a long history of relations and cherish the close ties between the two peoples. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of official diplomatic relations between the two countries," Girgin said.
He also announced that the Turkish government would soon establish a cultural center in the southeastern city of Lahore, which would further promote the cultural exchange between the two nations. "And another one will soon be inaugurated in the port city of Karachi," the ambassador added.
Aamir Hasan thanked the Turkish government for their support to Pakistan and said the establishment of the Turkish corner at the National Library would help Pakistani researchers and students learn more about Turkish culture and history.
"The Turkish government has gifted us with over 2,000 books on Turkish history and culture for this newly established Turkish corner and we are really grateful for that," he said.
Director of the Turkish National Library Zulfi Toman and the head of TIKA Pakistan, Mehmet Emre Aktuna, also attended the ceremony as well as a large number of Pakistani officials and students.
National Library of Pakistan
The National Library’s current building, with its eye-catching Eastern architectural design, was opened in 1993 although the library was originally established in 1951. Located adjacent to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat in Islamabad, it consists of four floors with a total covered area of nearly 15,700 square meters (168,844 sq.ft.)
The library can accommodate 500 readers and researchers at one time with its rooms and reading halls containing a large number of collections and over 10,000 rare books in Urdu, Arabic and Persian.
"Being a gift for Pakistani students and researchers from the Turkish government, the Turkish corner has added to the beauty of our library," Syed Ghayour Hussain, the library’s director said.
He noted that the library was the oldest cultural institution in Pakistan, and played a leading role in providing students and researchers with a great number of resources.
Students welcome Turkish corner
Pakistani students also welcomed the opening of the Turkish corner at the National Library and said it would help them learn more about a country that they loved so much.
"There is one country in the world whose people love us and we love them, and that's Turkey!," Lubna Abdullah, a student at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad told Anadolu Agency.
On Wednesday dozens of students visited the Turkish corner and showed great interest in the books.
"I am from Swabi, a northwestern district of Khyber Pukhtonkhwa. I recently completed my Masters' in International Relations. I am now preparing for the competitive examination and this corner will help me read about Turkish history and its relationship with Pakistan," Khushal Khan said.
Established in 1992, TIKA is the leading institution under the Turkish Prime Ministry, responsible for the implementation of developmental projects and programs in more than 100 countries, covering a wide range of areas from health to humanitarian programs, and from education to agriculture.