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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160
Fax (410) 516-5251

February 28, 2000
410-516-7160, dro@jhu.edu or
Akif Oktay, counselor,
Embassy of Turkey, 202-612-6700

Joint Press Release of the Turkish Embassy and
The Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University today has conveyed to the government of the Republic of Turkey the university's portion of the Gold Koran, a rare manuscript of Islamic scripture written in gold that has been in Hopkins' collections for nearly 60 years.

The university's portion, comprising the first 18 suras, or chapters, of the Koran, will be returned by Turkey to the Nuruosmaniye Library in Istanbul. It will be reunited there with the remainder of the manuscript, which is separately bound.

William R. Brody, president of the university, presented the manuscript to the minister of culture of the Republic of Turkey, M. Istemihan Talay, at the Turkish Embassy in Washington.

"Johns Hopkins acknowledges that the rightful home of the Gold Koran is in the Nuruosmaniye Library in Istanbul," Brody said. "We are pleased to restore the manuscript to the people of Turkey."

The minister said he is grateful to Johns Hopkins for understanding and agreeing, without compensation, to Turkey's desire to reunite the separated portions of a national treasure. Both the minister and Brody expressed their thanks to Rahmi Koc, a prominent Turkish businessman and a graduate of and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the university, for his assistance in bringing about the return of the manuscript to Turkey.

The manuscript is written in Kufic, an early Arabic script.

Turkey acknowledges that Johns Hopkins had no role in the removal of the Gold Koran from the library in Istanbul or from Turkey, which occurred at an unknown time between inventories taken in 1756 and 1951.Turkey also acknowledged that Johns Hopkins has no knowledge of how the manuscript came to be in the United States.

The university acquired its portion of the Gold Koran in 1942 as part of a bequest of rare books. Since that time, the university has maintained and preserved the book and made it available for scholars. Its value was appraised in 1998 at between 1.2 million and 1.8 million British pounds, currently the equivalent of between $1.9 million and $2.9 million.

- A high-resolution or JPEG image of a page from the Gold Koran is available by e-mail. Contact Dennis O'Shea at dro@jhu.edu.
- Background information on the manuscript is available online.

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