The Bust of İbrahim Müteferrika (1674-1745) in the Book Bazaar of Istanbul and His Tomb in the Pera Mevlevi Cemetery

İbrahim Müteferrika is the founder of Turkish and Islamic printing. He was the first person to print a book in the Ottoman Empire in 1729. He was a Unitarian Hungarian born in Kolozsvár (Cluj) who arrived in Istanbul after his graduation, and became Turkish for reasons we not yet know. He was an interpreter at the Sublime Porte for a long time, serving on many diplomatic missions. He had a close relationship with the members of Rákóczi immigration. He was an important person for the Istanbul circles willing to open to European trends during the opening to the West in the era of Ahmet III (1703-1730) due to his language and printing skills and international relationships. He was also a remarkable Ottoman-Turkish intellectual of his time. Due to the beginning of book printing, he is also thought by many as one of the initiators of the opening to West. His book on theology A Dissertation on the Islam (Risale-i Islamiye) was written in 1710 after he converted to Islam, but he did not print this book. The Bases of Wisdom within Regular Soldiers was published in 1732 and became renown in Europe as well thanks to Károly Reviczky (1737-1793), a diplomat working in Istanbul, who translated it into French (Tracte de tactique ou methode artificielle pour l’ordonnance des troupes. Vienne, 1769). His tomb used to be in Aynalı Kavak, and was moved to the cemetery of the Pera Mevlevi Dervish Monastery in 1942. One of his statues stands in the Book Bazaar of the Grand Bazaar, the other is close to the Rákóczi Memorial House in Tekirdağ. His life was depicted in the novel Macar (The Hungarian) by Solmaz Kamuran in 2010, which was translated into Hungarian in 2012.

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