by Alessia Podeschi

This year is a very significant year for the literary world of Italy and Turkey, as it marks the 700th anniversary of the death of two great poets, masters of the language and literature of their respective countries: Dante Alighieri and Yunus Emre

Dante Alighieri, in a painting by Bronzino

To celebrate this symbolic anniversary, the Italian Cultural Institute of Istanbul and the Department of Italian Language and Literature of Istanbul University have organized a series of meetings entitled “Dante Alighieri and Yunus Emre: two parallel universes in comparison”. The lectures are sponsored by the Italian Embassy in Ankara, the Turkish Embassy in Rome and the Yunus Emre Institute in Ankara

The lectures, which take place digitally on a weekly basis, aim to celebrate the Dante and Emre’s life and work, comparing elements that bind the poetic, literary, historical and philosophical world of the two poets, who lived during the same historical period. 

Yunus Emre, symbol of turkish literature and poetry
Turkish Poet Yunus Emre

The Italian ambassador to Turkey, Massimo Gaiani, said that “one of the common traits of the two poets is that they have converted their languages into cultural and literary languages, making them ifluential through their poetry“. 

The goal of the series of lectures is to enrich the relationship between these two great Mediterranean countries, along the lines of the dialogue that has always existed between the history and culture of Italy and Turkey.

The president of the Yunus Emre Institute, Professor Şeref Ateş, underlined the great similarity between the two poets: “It is very important that cultural centers work together. I am confident that our activities will contribute to the improvement of relations between Turkey and Italy“. 

Italian Ambassador to Turkey Massimo Gaiani
Italian Ambassador to Turkey Massimo Gaiani

The conference cycle will be held on Zoom and streamed live on the social media of the Italian Cultural Institute in Istanbul. The lectures are four: the first, held on September 30, focused on the historical period and the events that accompanied the life of the two poets in Italy and Anatolia; the second appointment, scheduled for October 7 will focus on literature and poetry; on October 14 theology and mysticism will be discussed; the final lecture. on October 21, during the Week of the Italian Language in the World, will concentrate on the language used by the two poets in their works.