The International Symposium on “The Soviet Historiography and Questions of Kazakhstan History” on the Occasion of the 100th Birth Anniversary of the First Kazakh Historian Ermukhan Bekmakhanov, organized with the cooperation of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ) and Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB), was held successfully.
14 academicians attending the Symposium from Kazakhstan, TRNC and Turkey made presentations on various aspects of Soviet Historiography. During the speeches, impacts of Soviet Historiography, which affected Turkish societies, initially Kazakhs, by destroying the history of nations under its influence and by trying to create a Soviet society without a national identity, were discussed.
In the opening session of the Symposium, MSGSÜ Head of History Department and also Chairperson of Symposium Organization Council Prof. Fatma Ürekli, Vice Rector of MSGSÜ Prof. Zeki Alpan and Serjan Sarsenbayev from Kazakhstan Istanbul Embassy made speeches.
After the opening and protocol speeches, a documentary prepared by Kazakhstan Television on the Occasion of the 100th Birth Anniversary of Ermukhan Bekmakhanov was watched. In the documentary of almost half an hour length, in addition to his historiography, the characteristics and family life of Bekmakhanov was told through the witnessing of his relatives.
Afterwards, the symposium activities which lasted two days and five sessions started. At the first session, Bekmakhanov’s life and works were generally examined. It was stated that Bekmakhanov loved his job and behaved decisive in his attitude in spite of all the pressures and problems he faced.
At the second session the topics Bekmakhanov worked on and the important events of Kazakh history in Soviet period were discussed. At the third session national scholars in Soviet Historiography and the transition from Soviet Historiography to national history perception were debated. At the fourth session ideological pressures and limitations in Kazakh history studies and handling national histories in Soviet Historiography were explained.
At the closing sessions, a general evaluation on symposium was made and decisions and suggestions were presented. In this symposium a six-article final declaration was accepted. According to this document:
- The meeting was totally successful. The organization was very good. The limitation of the presenters in the symposium didn’t cause any time problem in the sessions and this led a convenient basis for opinion exchange.
- These kinds of scientific meetings should be made every year between Turkey and Kazakhstan historians alternately. If it is made in Turkey topics should be about Kazakh history; if the organization takes place in Kazakhstan the topics should be about Turkish history. For example next year when this meeting will be held in Kazakhstan Ottoman history and period of Suleiman the Magnificent, which take great interest of Kazakhs, can be examined.
- Historians of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and Gumilev Eurasia State University should gather more often, create opportunities to share experiences and organize joint research projects.
- There should be cooperation between two universities for Master and PHD Students especially for teaching, researching, and writing about the histories of two countries.
- A joint scientific historical periodical will be published semiannually in Turkish and Kazakh languages under the guidance of historians who attended to Symposium from Turkey and Kazakhstan.
- It will be beneficial if the Symposium Proceedings, including the presentations of scholars who couldn’t come from USA and Japan, will be published in Turkish, Kazakh and English this year.
After the reading of final declaration of “The Soviet Historiography and Questions of Kazakhstan History” on the Occasion of the 100th Birth Anniversary of the First Kazakh Historian Ermukhan Bekmakhanov, the organization ended with Istanbul tour and Closing Dinner hosted by TDBB.