The Global Archives Turkey Project began its pilot phase in the summer of 2015. Sponsored by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Arts and Sciences, the Global Archives Istanbul scholarships were first advertised in October 2015 in order to give young scholars the opportunity of conducting research for their projects in Turkish archives.

The project results not only from a revival of academic interest into the works of Erich Auerbach and Leo Spitzer in both the American and the German context. It also reflects an increased interest in the influence of German-speaking academic emigrants among Turkish scholars in recent years. Links between archive documents held in Istanbul and in the German Literature Archive in Marbach, which holds the unpublished works of Erich Auerbach, can help reconstruct the emigrants’ experiences of travel and exile, as well as chapters of intellectual history. These sources are of great interest to German-Turkish relations, to the public, and to the subjects concerned. They allow new insights into the continuing international influence of German-speaking scholars.

The role of German-speaking academics and scholars in the modernization of the Turkish higher education system is both historically and politically complex: not only emigrants became influential in Turkish universities, particularly in Istanbul and later in Ankara. Scholars in Germany who supported the National Socialist ideology also tried to influence the transformation of the Turkish higher education landscape.

Scholars of interest to this project include Erich Auerbach (1892-1957), Leo Spitzer (1887-1960), Ernst von Aster (1880-1948), Walther Kranz (1884-1960), Liselotte Dieckmann (1902-1994), Herbert Dieckmann (1906-1986), Hans Marchand (1907-1978), as well as Joachim Ritter (1903-1974), who taught at the University of Istanbul from 1953-1955, and the NS-Germanist Gerhard Fricke, whose links to the former Nazi regime led him to move to Istanbul in 1950.