Skip to main content

Germany is Guest of Honour at the International Book Fair in Istanbul

Frankfurt, 10 November 2016 - With the slogan “Words move – Sözcüklerin etkisi”, the Federal Republic of Germany is participating as Guest of Honour at the International Istanbul Book Fair (12-15 November 2016).
Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Prof Dr Böhmer, comments: “In politically tense times especially, close cultural relationships and ties between countries and their people are essential. Literature is an important key if we want to get a feel for the mentality of a language area. Traditionally, Germany and Turkey have had close ties. The book fair serves to strengthen our connections and reveal new dimensions. A book fair is a place of open dialogue, of free speech. Culture – and literature in particular – create urgently needed spaces where people can develop and express themselves freely. Orhan Pamuk once referred to the writer as a “spokesperson for all those who can’t make themselves heard and an advocate of the suppressed word”. This is true everywhere, at all times. Together with the Turkish Publishers Association, Turkish and German authors, journalists and civil society, we want to use our role as Guest of Honour to stand up for freedom of expression and thought”.
The Federal Foreign Office, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Goethe-Institut Istanbul organised Germany’s participation as Guest of Honour, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, AUMA.

Germany’s participation as Guest of Honour is occurring in politically turbulent times: “Together, we decided to honour the invitation of the private trade fair organiser Tüyap Fairs and of the liberal Turkish Publishers Association and to uphold Germany’s participation as Guest of Honour, even though the situation in Turkey is progressively worsening”, says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “The most recent wave of arrests of journalists shows that the most fundamental cornerstones of a functioning democracy are under serious threat. The publishers and authors present in Istanbul will work for the release of their imprisoned colleagues. At the same time, we are also participating for the Turkish public, which shows great interest in German literature and culture”.

“In these tense times especially it is important to create spaces for the exchange of ideas between authors, readers, guests from Germany and the audience in Turkey. I’m looking forward to interesting events and stimulating conversations”, says Reimar Volker, Director of the Goethe-Institut Istanbul.

The close cooperation between German and Turkish publishing houses dates back to even before Turkey’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008. “We shouldn’t let knives cut off these cultural ties”, urges the renowned literary translator Sezer Duru, who has translated numerous German authors into Turkish, including Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Thomas Bernhard.

To support the exchange of expertise and networking between Turkish and German publishers, a delegation of 13 children’s and young adult book editors travelled to Germany from 18 to 24 September to visit publishing houses in Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. The Foreign Office sponsored this editors’ trip, and the Frankfurt Book Fair organised and carried out the programme. As in previous years, Turkish publishers and agents were once again a major presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2016.

International Istanbul Book Fair – the industry’s most important meeting place in Turkey

The Istanbul Book Fair is the most important book fair in Turkey and the country’s largest trade fair open to the general public, as well as the most important meeting place for the publishing industry. The International Istanbul Book Fair is organised by the private trade fair organiser TÜYAP in close cooperation with the Turkish Publishers Association Türkiye Yayincilar Birligi. The association has a liberal stance and, since 2009, has been pushing for the industry’s internationalisation and professionalization. In recent years, the fair has become a place for lively discussion. On average, roughly 800 publishers and NGOs participate as exhibitors. The fair’s organisers have been reporting rising visitor numbers every year; in 2014, it surpassed the 500,000-visitor mark for the first time. Some 300 events take place every year during the fair. The theme of this year’s International Istanbul Book Fair is “Philosophy and Humanity”.

Guest of Honour Germany: authors and supporting programme

Literary figures, essayists, poets, children’s and young adult book authors: fourteen German-language writers have confirmed their attendance as part of Germany’s presence as Guest of Honour in Istanbul. Ilija Trojanow, Moritz Rinke, Olga Grjasnowa, Silke Scheuermann, Peter Schneider, Matthias Göritz, Judith Kuckart, Esmahan Aykol and Achim Wagner, as well as Wilhelm Schmid, Tobias Hülswitt and Canan Topçu will present their work to the Turkish public; many titles by these authors are available in Turkish translation. The photographer Jan von Holleben and the author and filmmaker Finn Ole Heinrich will represent the children’s and young adult book sector.

On the Turkish side, those participating in the events are primarily writers and theatre people well known in their home country, who will debate with their German colleagues. They include the novelists Sema Kaygusuz, Hakan Bıçakçı and Cem Mumcu, the philosopher Betül Çotuksöken, the journalist Zeynep Oral, the poet Efe Duyan and the actors Meltem Cumbul and Mert Fırat.

Freedom of the press and freedom of opinion are two of the most important elements of modern democracies. How they should be defended and preserved will be the topic of the panel “Für das Wort und die Freiheit” (“For the Word and Freedom”), which will be held as part of the supporting programme of Germany’s presence as Guest of Honour. Panel participants include Alexander Skipis, CEO of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, the authors Ilija Trojanow and Burhan Sönmez, as well as Peter Kraus vom Cleff, Managing Director of Rowohlt Verlag. Fahri Aral, the vice president of the Turkish Publishers Association, will moderate the event (Sunday, 13 November 2016, 3:00-4:30 PM, Karadeniz conference room).

The German collective stand

Clear the stage for German literature: The 270-square-meter stand provides plenty of room for browsing the seven German book collections on display, which comprise a total of some 350 new releases and older titles. The stand features book collections around the following focal topics:

The longlist of the German Book Prize 2016, the LOOK picture book collection, new children’s and young adult books, a selection of German works translated into Turkish, German books about Turkey, a collection concerning freedom of speech and the “Schönsten Deutschen Bücher” (“Most Beautiful German Books”) 2016.

Making and strengthening contacts and increasing their licensing business – that’s what the 28 publishers and cultural institutions exhibiting at the German collective stand are hoping to do. A list of all exhibitors at the fair is attached. During the book fair’s international days, from 12 to 15 November, the event stage will be at the heart of the stand activity. Throughout the duration of the fair, a German bookstore will sell German books and Turkish translations.

The German collective stand of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, will be organised by Leipziger Messe International GmbH (LMI). The Frankfurt Book Fair, a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, initiated Germany’s participation as Guest of Honour, while the Foreign Office is sponsoring the supporting cultural programme.

About the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,150 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 278,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.