ICMH Congress military archives

Istanbul 2023, the Turkish archives

the visit to the Turkish National Archives in Istanbul

by Lt. Col. Flavio Carbone, president of the CAM

On 8 September 2023, thanks to the full support of the Turkish Commission of Military History and specifically thanks to our colleague colonel (r) Bülent Durgun who accompanied us during the visit, a delegation of the Committee of Military Archives visited the National Archives in Istanbul.

Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (The Ottoman Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office, we can quote as the “Ottoman archives”) represents the principal repository for state archival documents related to the Ottoman Empire. 

8th September 2023, the visit to the National Archives in Istanbul. the CAM representative during the meeting with the Deputy Director, Dr. Sebahattin BAYRAM.

The Deputy Director of the Turkish National Archives in Istanbul, Dr. Sebahattin Bayram, welcomed the representative and the CAM had a very fruitful conversation regarding the Archives in Istanbul and the archival funds stored in one of the most important cities of Türkiye.

After the welcome and a first general presentation of the archives, we had the opportunity to continue the visit moving to the restoration area where the specialised personnel works on the documents.

Then we visited the storage rooms where all the documents are stored, showing us the characteristics of the rooms (according the International standards) and some type of documents.

In the archival storage, the archivist presented some documents related to the military life during the Ottoman Empire with some explanations by Professor Durgun.

The archivist showed the documents presented to the sultan for his final decision on daily basis. Our colleague Dulent Burgun explained the importance of those documents from the historical point of view.

Then the visit continued to the reading room, showing the area and the use of the tools for researchers available.

In the reading room, there is the possibility to have full access to the digitalised documents stored in the archives. It is possible to launch a research both with keywords or using the so called “tree”, following the structure of the archival funds.

The research can be done online as well and after the findings the researcher can buy a digital copy of the documents

Finally we finished our trip in the exhibition area where the archives have their permanent exhibition and it is possible to present temporary exhibitions related to special dates or specific themes.

At the end of the visit we thanked the Turkish colleagues who accompanied us, together with the Deputy Director of the Archives and our colleague Bulent Durgun.

It was a very interesting experience, confronting the members of the Committee with the all-around-the-world challenges that every archives lives on daily basis.

the model of the building (picture by Iulian Botoghina)
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