By Nilay Kar Onum
Thousands of people, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gathered in a funeral ceremony held in Istanbul Sunday to bid farewell to the world-renowned historian Fuat Sezgin.
Sezgin died Saturday at the age of 94 in the hospital where he was treated for an unspecified illness on Saturday.
The funeral prayer was performed in Fatih Mosque in the center of Istanbul on the European side was attended by his relatives as well as by governmental officials including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman.
During the funeral, Erdogan said: “We will hopefully announce 2019 as “Year of Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin History of Science in Islam. We’ve given instructions for this.”
“From the moment I started knowing scholar Fuat Sezgin, I’ve really seen how determined he was in the field of science,” he said.
Hailing his 1,300 books on Islam, science physics, medicine, astronomy and other fields, Erdogan said part of his published work had been included in the Presidential Library in the capital Ankara.
Turkish officials have carried out efforts to bring back original copies of certain books from abroad, Erdogan said.
The world-famous historian will be buried in Gulhane Park.
Sezgin was born in the eastern Bitlis province in 1924. He studied at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Letters, where he also earned his PhD on Arabic language and literature.
He continued his studies at Germany’s Frankfurt University in 1960 following a military coup in Turkey.
He devoted a considerable amount of time to studying and listing scientific contributions made by Muslim/Arabic scholars throughout history. He wrote numerous books and articles.
Sezgin founded the Research Foundation for the History of Science in Islam in 2010 to support activities of the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam.
In 2013, he also founded the History of Science in Islam Institute at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University in Istanbul.