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Book leads advance of Chinese classics in Turkiye

Updated: 2024-01-16 06:37 ( Xinhua )
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ANKARA — Giray Fidan, a Turkish expert in Chinese language and history based at Ankara's Haci Bayram Veli University, is dedicated to introducing the Chinese culture of peace to an expanding Turkish audience eager to grasp the Chinese way of thinking.

Thanks to Fidan's expertise, the Chinese book on military strategy, The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu over 25 centuries ago, has become a best-seller in Turkiye. Since Fidan and his colleagues translated the famous book from classical Chinese in 2014, it has undergone 25 reprints. Previous publications were reliant on translations from English or French.

In Turkiye, where the sale of over 100,000 copies of a book is widely considered a remarkable success, The Art of War has sold over 400,000 copies in nine years.

Fidan attributes the success of the book in Turkiye to the enduring relevance of China's philosophy of peace, asserting that it remains a valid human ideal in both contemporary and ancient times.

"The Art of War reflects Chinese wisdom. It says conflict is unnecessary if it is not inevitable. The world is vast enough for everyone, and we can have a peaceful way," says Fidan.

"The name (of the book) is The Art of War, but the main argument is avoiding war. A successful strategist or general should avoid war when possible," he says.

"The Chinese classics are precious and a shared heritage of humankind," the Sinologist says, highlighting the significant interest among Turkish readers eager to understand Chinese philosophy and way of thinking.

Fidan says he has translated a wide range of Chinese works since The Art of War. The latest is Zhen Guan Zheng Yao (The Essentials of Governance), which was published in December 2023 and points to the growing interest in Chinese culture among Turks.

China's economic success in recent decades and its opening up have offered great opportunities to people across the globe, including from Turkiye, to learn the Chinese language and culture, says Fidan.

"Not only in Turkiye, but there is a large interest in China all over the world, from Europe to the United States," he says, indicating that many more people are learning Chinese to boost their general knowledge.

In his view, this is because they think it is an important investment for their future.

With the establishment of the China-Turkiye strategic cooperative relationship in 2010, economic and cultural cooperation between the two nations has flourished. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has also become a medium of extensive multilateral cooperation between the two sides.

Fidan's university has responded to the growing interest of Turkish youth in Chinese culture by offering a Chinese language major for the first time this year.

The class is "100 percent full", says the Sinologist excitedly. "This shows how much interest there is in Turkiye toward learning Chinese, and discovering China's history and culture."

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