A young Egyptian engineering student has set out to create a comprehensive online encyclopedia about Turkey.
Abdalla Khaled Ahmed Mohamed Bayoumi, 24, goes by Abdullah Habib. He is a final-year student at Eskisehir Technical University of Material Science and Engineering, and is “working on an idea for a graduation project related to the Turkish defense Industry.”
Bayoumi, who is Egyptian, has Turkish ancestors in his lineage who emigrated to Egypt. “I am a mixed Turk-Egyptian as I have always heard stories from my grandmother about our Turkish ancestors who immigrated to Egypt at the end of the Ottoman times,” he says. He has been living in Turkey for the past four and a half years.
Bayoumi has been working on an ambitious project in his spare time: Turkpidya, an online encyclopedia about Turkey: “I decided to establish Turkpidya in May 2020 in the middle of the pandemic after noticing the need for information about Turkey in Arabic and English,” he tells TRT World. “The encyclopedia was live on June 30, 2020 after a lot of work and preparation for nearly one month, on the technical side and the general framework.”
According to Bayoumi, “Turkpidya aims to be the largest encyclopedia about Turkey in every spoken language in the world; as Turkey is a large growing country it needs a large growing source of information.”
Bayoumi is supported in this project by his brother Abdulrahman, 20, who is a student at Anadolu University, and a Turkish friend, Hatice, who helps by checking the Turkish version of the encyclopedia.
Turkpidya currently supports four languages, Turkish, Arabic, English and German. “We aim at offering Turkpidya in all the languages in the world in the near future,” Bayoumi adds. Asked about his target audience, he simply says: “Everyone who is interested in Turkey.”
“Whoever you are, whether you are a businessman, a venture capitalist, a farmer, a shepherd or just a simple curious child Turkpidya will always work to have what you search for,” he tells TRT World.
Currently, there are about 200 articles on Turkpidya that add up to approximately 150 thousand words. Asked to highlight the most interesting entries in the encyclopedia so far, Bayoumi selects these entries:
Bayoumi says that as far as volunteers go, his brother and their friend Hatice do not get paid. But, he adds, “we are looking into hiring full time writers and editors in the future to write in every language about Turkey.”
“There is a lot of work behind the scenes of Turkpidya to deliver high quality content,” Bayoumi says. “At the beginning of the project I invested around 10-12 hours per day to brainstorm and execute the ideas I have for Turkpidya, on exam days I put 1-2 hours and on regular days I work 6-8 hours.”
Bayoumi makes a living by working as a freelancer and investing in Turkish assets such as the Turkish stock exchange, gold and silver. He also mentions that Turkpidya has ads from Google, which generate enough cash flow to support the site’s hosting and server costs.
“Establishing an encyclopedia about a country as large as Turkey is definitely not an easy job as it requires a lot of time and financial resources, with an extensive search to get the most accurate information and write it,” he says.
“The support I get from my family, friends, and my love and interest in Turkey always gives me more and more power to write without stopping,” he confides.