• Yunus Emre Institute

This Season Of Humans Of The Ottoman Empire Series Concludes With Yunus Emre


Dr. Aslıhan Gürbüzel Joined Dr. Cengiz Sisman For A Conversation About Yunus Emre


Washington, D.C. - On May 27th, 2021 the Yunus Emre Institute in Washington D.C. hosted Dr. Aslıhan Gürbüzel from McGill University and Dr. Cengiz Sisman in an online event to discuss the Sufi poet Yunus Emre and his historical significance. Dr. Gürbüzel’s research focus is on Ottoman history, Islamic political thought, religious movements before the 19th century, and manuscript studies. Guests were captivated by her extensive and detailed knowledge of Yunus Emre’s life and times.


Dr. Gürbüzel initially started the discussion by addressing the issue of how academics and scholars know Yunus Emre was a real person. She explained that although much of what is known about him is from centuries later, scholars are in agreement about his work and people he worked with. Yunus Emre became close with another Sufi mystic, Jalal ad-Din Rumi and there are even several different stories about them meeting. Dr. Gürbüzel noted that there are many places that are listed as Yunus Emre’s grave site but scholars are now confident that it is actually located around Eskişehir.


Yunus Emre’s impact on the Turkish literary tradition was enormous, especially in regards to language. In the 14th century, Turkish literary language was just being developed and Yunus Emre’s beautiful work was at the forefront. The fact that he is regarded as a pioneer of Turkish literary language is one of the reasons that he is so respected and emulated in Turkish culture and especially the Turkish literary tradition. Many poets and writers that came after Yunus Emre respected him so much that they took up his style of writing for centuries afterward.


This was the final installment of the first season of the Humans of the Ottoman Empire event series. The Humans of the Ottoman Empire series has taken our guests all around the empire from the seas of the Mediterranean as sailors and corsairs to the planes of Anatolia where Sufis like Yunus Emre spread their wealth of knowledge. This will not be the final season of Humans of the Ottoman Empire, however, and the Yunus Emre Institute anticipates that more Ottoman history will be uncovered with our guests in the upcoming season.


Yunus Emre Institute is a Turkish cultural center located in Washington, D.C. and around the world. The institute hosts events and programs that educate the public about Turkey’s culture, history, and language. For more information about the institute’s mission or online programs, please email washingtondc@yee.org.tr or follow @yeewdc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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