Another milestone was reached Thursday in the close brotherhood between Pakistan and Turkey with the launch of a new Turkish-Urdu Dictionary. The launch was spearheaded by the Embassy of Pakistan, the Urdu Department of Ankara University and the Turkish Language Institution (TDK). The dictionary is called “Urdu Türkçe – Türkçe Urdu Sözlük,” which was jointly authored by Prof. Dr. Celal Soydan of Istanbul University and Ankara University’s Prof. Dr. Ahmad Bakhtiar Ashraf. This is the first time that a dictionary offering translations in both Urdu and Turkish has been published.
During the launch, several inspiring messages were read. One of the messages came from Sartaj Aziz, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Aside from commending the dictionary’s authors, he said that it would be of great help to people in Pakistan who want to learn Turkish and for the Turks who want to learn the Urdu literature and language. Moreover, he said that the creation of books like this helps to nurture the long-standing brotherly ties between the two countries. Prof. Dr. Numan Kurtulmu, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey also sent a message.
Sohail Mahmood, the Ambassador of Pakistan delivered the keynote address, praising Dr. Ashraf who was the former chairman of the Urdu Department of Bahauddin Zakariya University and co-author Prof. Dr. Celal Soydan, who was the first Turk to complete a master’s degree in Urdu from the Punjab University’s Oriental College. The professor was responsible for the translation from Urdu into Turkish of the works of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan and the entire Diwan (meaning a collection of poems by one author) of poet Mirza Ghalib, a preeminent Indian Urdu and Persian poet in the 1800s.
The book launching was only one of the many events for cultural diplomacy being planned by the Embassy of Pakistan according to Ambassador Mahmood. He mentioned that they are making arrangements to have the works of leading Pakistani authors to be translated into Turkish. He was also thinking of having actors, musicians and artists of both countries to work on joint projects in their area of expertise to continue the friendship of the two countries.
The president of TDK, Prof. Dr. Mustafa S. Kaçalin said the book is very useful for students and researchers of both languages because it not only contain word meanings but also proverbs, expressions and idioms. He also offered the services of the Turkish Language Institution for the publication of other books that would be beneficial to both countries and help tighten their friendship.