Prof. George Hewitt

Meeting with Prof. B. George Hewitt Circassian Community Centre (Istanbul)

Meeting with Prof. B. George Hewitt
Circassian Community Centre (Istanbul)
Saturday 1 December 2012

Taking advantage of Prof. Hewitt’s presence in Istanbul for the Caucasian Linguistics Conference that was held at Bogaziçi University (29 November – 1 December), the Circassian Community Centre invited him to give a short talk at the Centre on the evening of Saturday 1 December. Prof. Hewitt spoke for some 35 minutes about his life and work, both as a Caucasian linguist and as Honorary Consul for Abkhazia in the UK. He spoke in English, and his interpreter was Zeynel Besleney. After the talk, there was a question-and-answer session. At the end of the evening, the community presented their guest with a commemorative plaque, a bouquet of flowers and bracelets decorated with the flag of Circassia for his daughters.

Prof. Hewitt’s first visit to Turkey took place in 1974, when he spent several weeks in the Circassian village of Demi Kapı (Balıkesir), where his hosts were the family of Cemal Cangül. At that time he collected materials on the Abzakh dialect not only from Cemal and his wife Shazia, but also from their daughter Hacer and neighbours Meral and Temel Kafa (plus several others, and, once back in Istanbul from Tevfik Esenç for Ubykh). Hacer and Meral, both now married with families of their own, were present at the meeting, allowing for some pleasurable 38 year-old reminiscing, with the youngest of Meral’s three children, Melih Barsbey, acting as interpreter.

The event was hugely enjoyable for the guest and deemed a great success by the community-members present.


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