Education and Cultural Activity, Culture
Yasar Kemal, music conservatories, Edirne, Phrygian, Western influence
A transition from Islamic artistic traditions under the Ottoman Empire to a more secular, Western orientation has taken place in Turkey. Turkish painters today are striving to find their own art forms free from Western influence. Sculpture is less developed, and public-monuments are usually heroic representations of Ataturk and events from the war of independence. Folk music is a source of inspiration for longer symphonic works.
Literature is considered the most advanced of contemporary Turkish arts. Many critics regard Kemal Tahir as the greatest modern Turkish novelist. Among authors translated into English is Yasar Kemal, author of Memed, My Hawk (1955; translated 1961), a prizewinning novel of a modern Robin Hood, which won the author his international reputation. His other books include Anatolian Tales (1968) and Seagull (1981), a story that blends myth with realistic depiction of provincial life in modern Turkey.
Turkey maintains state operas in Istanbul and Ankara, the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, three music conservatories, a national folk dance troupe, and other cultural institutions. Christian churches converted to mosques, and mosques built by the famous 16th-century Turkish architect Sinan, are in Istanbul, Edirne, Bursa, and other cities. The Sultan’s Palace (Topkap? Saray?) is now a museum housing the imperial treasures and relics of the Prophet Muhammad. Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations has outstanding Hittite, Phrygian, and other exhibits. Among the largest of Turkey’s many libraries are the National Library, in Ankara, and the Beyazit State Library, in Istanbul.
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