Annual Report 2015
TRUSTEES' 2015 ANNUAL REPORT Download PDF version.

We are pleased to share with you the Annual Report of the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF) and the progress we have made in our mission and programs in 2015.

In 2015, TCF allocated a total of $1,129,318.59 to grants and operational and program disbursements to pursue its mission.

The Spotlight on Turkey program continued to be one of TCF's flagship programs. Organized in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), the program runs a full calendar year. In 2015, TCF and local WACA chapters organized 12 Teacher Workshops on Turkey which reached 258 teachers with a student impact of 19,350. In the summer of 2015, TCF hosted 48 American teachers on two Teacher Study Tours to Turkey, bringing the number of the TCF Teacher Study Tours alumni to 575 educators from across the United States. In total, since this program's inception in 2007, 3,538 American teachers and an estimated 367,350 students benefited from the Spotlight on Turkey program.

The TCF Culinary Arts Center (YESAM) and the TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory (DATU) in İstanbul have matured into leading resources on Turkey's culinary and textile heritage. DATU and YESAM scholars work year-round to advance the cultural preservation and public education missions of TCF through research, publications, seminars and collaborations with other institutions. A significant part of DATU's work is dedicated to helping cultural institutions conserve and restore historical artifacts. In 2015, DATU provided pro bono analytical services to four institutions in Turkey.

Under the TCF Lecture Series, 19 lectures on Turkish culture, art and cuisine took place at the TCF İstanbul branch office and the TCF Culinary Arts Center with a total participation of 538. The lecture videos, made available on the TCF Video Gallery, were viewed 6,025 times by visitors from all over the world. In addition, TCF scholars participated in international conferences, workshops and other events throughout the year and shared their knowledge with audiences across the world.

TCF continued to be a leading private grantmaker in the area of Turkish cultural preservation and promotion. In 2015, TCF provided a total of $184,308.23 in grants and fellowships to organizations and individuals. A major portion of the TCF grants underwrote cultural events, such as Turkish cultural and film festivals, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and other performances in the United States, which brought Turkish culture to tens of thousands of Americans.

Two TCF Fellowship programs help build artistic, cultural and scholarly exchanges across the globe. Combined, the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art and the TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship have provided funding to 176 culture professionals, including musicians, visual and performing artists, writers, curators, scholars and many others. In 2015, 35 individuals benefited from these fellowships to participate in a variety of cultural and artistic showcases, as well as academic events.

The TCF Portals, gateways to learn more about Turkish culture, music and cuisine, were visited by over 3.8 million people from 218 countries and regions in 2015, spreading knowledge about Turkey's cultural heritage. A new website, the TCF Education Portal, was launched in 2015 with a view to providing an online resource for educators who wish to teach about Turkey. The website now lists over 100 free lesson plans on Turkey, which have been created by the TCF Teacher Study Tours participants.

We thank everyone who participated in our work and renew our commitment to explore and preserve our shared human heritage and to build cultural bridges across the world.

Yalçın Ayaslı, Sc.D.
Founder and Chairman
Board of Trustees
Serpil Ayaslı, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees


In 2015, TCF funds were distributed as follows:

  TCF Lectures $1,218.54
  Spotlight on Turkey $229,443.82
  TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM $28,040.63
  TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory-DATU $76,206.13
3. EDUCATION $63,954.23
  Fellowships $15,320.00
  Turkish Language and Culture Studies $8,000.00
  Education and Research Grants $40,634.23
  TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship $38,600.00
  Turkish Culture, Music, Film and Dance $51,500.00
  Exhibitions $30,254.00
5. OPERATIONAL $610,101.24

2015 TOTAL: $1,129,318.59

The following chart provides an overview on how TCF funds were allocated in 2015. For a full listing of all Foundation grants please visit here.



TCF Lectures

TCF aims to disseminate knowledge about the rich cultural, artistic and culinary heritage of Turkey through the TCF Lecture Series. Turkish and English lectures take place at the TCF İstanbul office from October through May and year-round at the TCF Culinary Arts Center-YESAM at the ARMAGGAN store in Nuruosmaniye, İstanbul. TCF also sponsors the participation of its Resident Scholars and other experts in events, sharing their knowledge with diverse audiences worldwide. In 2015, the TCF Lecture Series featured 19 lectures on various topics related to Turkish culture and cuisine. A total of 538 participants attended these events.


TCF Lecture Series in Turkish Culture and Art - İstanbul

In 2015, the TCF İstanbul office and YESAM hosted 10 lectures, which were attended by 210 participants. The TCF lectures reach an even wider audience through the TCF Video Gallery, where they were viewed 6,025 times in 2015 by people from all over the world.

The 2015 TCF İstanbul Lecture Series in Turkish Culture and Art featured the following distinguished speakers:

Exploring Turkey's Culinary Heritage - A Look through the History, Traditions and Ingredients
by Banu Özden, TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM

UNESCO World Heritage and Turkey
by Atila Ege, World Heritage Travelers

Artisans of Empire: Crafts and Craftspeople under the Ottomans
by Prof. Dr. Suraiya Faroqhi, İstanbul Bilgi University

Panel “Mübadele: Population Exchange between Turkey and Greece”

The Cultural Aspects of the Livelihoods of the Exchanged Greek Refugees
by Prof. Dr. Evangelia Balta, National Hellenic Research Foundation

The eternal longing for the roots: The culture and traditions of the Turkish- Cretan and Greek refugees after the exchange
by İpek Özel, İstanbul Bilgi University

Harvard Üniversitesi - Koç Üniversitesi - TCF Osmanlı Yaz Okulu: Kuruluşu ve Günümüze kadar Faaliyetleri / From Past to Present: The Activities of the Ottoman Summer School of Harvard University-Koç University - TCF
by Prof. Dr. Gönül Tekin, Ottoman Studies Foundation

Prospect on the Future of İstanbul
by Prof. Dr. Doğan Kuban, İstanbul Technical University

Anadolu Uygarlıkları / Anatolian Civilizations
by Dr. Halil Demirdelen, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

“Back to the Future: Reconstruction of Anatolian Carpets from Renaissance Paintings”
by Ali Rıza Tuna, independent researcher

Classical Ottoman Rugs, Textiles and Other Objects from Italian Public and Private Collections
by Dr. Alberto Boralevi, independent scholar

Askeri Ressamlardan Günümüze Türk Resim Sanatı / Turkish Art of Painting: From Military Painters to Today
by Prof. Dr. Ayla Ersoy, Yeditepe University


In addition to the above lecture programs, TCF collaborated with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) and organized a seminar entitled “Cultural Heritage in Danger from Japanese and Turkish Experiences” under the coordination of Dr. Sumiyo Okumura, TCF Art Historian, at the TCF Culinary Arts Center-YESAM in İstanbul on February 13, 2015. The seminar featured the presentation of six papers by the following scholars: Prof. Dr. Hirotake Tateishi (President,TUFS) “Reflection on cultural heritage: Historical monument or national monument?”, Prof. Dr. Yuriko Yoshida (TUFS), “Formation of conception of cultural heritage in Japan,” Prof. Dr. Fatma Ürekli (Mimar Sinan University) “Osmanlıda Tarihi Mirasın Korunması ve Modern Müzecilik Anlayışı / Preservation of historical heritage in the Ottoman Empire and birth of the modern conception of museum”, Dr. Alejandro Martínez de Arbulo (University of Tokyo) “Preserving the Memory of Fragile Materials: The Conservation of Wooden Architectural Heritage,” Mr. Ömür Tufan (Curator at the Topkapı Palace Museum) “Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi'nden Depreme Karşı Alınan Önlemler / Precautions against earthquake at the Topkapı Palace Museum” and Prof. Dr. Hatice Aynur (İstanbul Şehir University) “Ottoman inscriptions in danger: Preserving, recording and repairing.”


TCF Scholars' Lectures

TCF works to advance knowledge and scholarship on Turkish culture and art through the active participation of its scholars in relevant scientific conferences and other forums. In 2015, TCF scholars attended events in Romania, Poland, Greece, Italy, and in Turkey, presenting their research and the work of TCF to diverse audiences.

Prof. Dr. Recep Karadağ, TCF Senior Scholar and Head of the TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory-DATU, and his colleagues participated in a variety of conferences throughout the year (please see under DATU).

Dr. Sumiyo Okumura, TCF Art Historian, attended the Second International Congress of Eurasian Turkish Arts, held at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, İstanbul, to present her paper on “Balkan'larda Üç Benekli Beyaz Zemin Seccade Halıları / White Ground Rugs with Three-dot Motifs in the Balkans.”


Spotlight on Turkey

Since 2007, TCF has been working in partnership with the World Affairs Council of America (WACA) in organizing a national educational program titled Spotlight on Turkey. Sponsored by TCF, the program is organized by TCF, WACA, and WACA chapters across the United States.

Spotlight on Turkey consists of three stages and year-round programs that include Teacher Workshops on Turkey, Teacher Study Tours to Turkey and educational and cultural programs for students and the general public titled Portrait of Turkey.

In 2014, TCF expanded its outreach to educators by launching the TCF Education Portal, which is designed to provide educators worldwide easy and free access to Lesson Plans and other educational resources on Turkey. In addition to featuring lesson plans developed by teachers who participate in the TCF Teacher Study Tours to Turkey, the portal allows others to share lesson plans on Turkey through the Share Your Lesson Plan dropbox. The portal already features 108 lesson plans on Turkey, covering a wide variety of subjects, which were downloaded by other teachers 3,250 times since its opening. The portal also functions as a platform for participants of the Spotlight on Turkey program, featuring a Teacher Lounge, which is open to TCF Study Tour teachers, past and present.

In 2015, the Spotlight on Turkey program was undertaken by TCF and 12 local chapters of WACA in the following cities and regions: Santa Fe Council on International Relations, World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (Hawaii), Northern Nevada International Center, Montana World Affairs Council, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Dayton Council on World Affairs, World Affairs Council of Las Vegas, World Affairs Council of Seattle, World Affairs Council of Houston, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California.


    “The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston would like to thank TCF for giving teachers the opportunity to learn first-hand about the history and culture of Turkey. Not only does TCF help Council's prepare a professional development workshop on Turkey, but they offer very generous scholarships which enables teachers to travel to Turkey for two weeks during the summer. Teachers who travelled on the tour have returned to their classrooms, schools, and communities with extraordinary experiences that last a life-time. TCF makes Turkey come alive in textbooks for students!”
Ivana Situm, International Education Director, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston

    “The World Affairs Council of Seattle has taken part in the Spotlight on Turkey Program for the last 10 years, and it still surprises us how much more we have to learn about Turkey's rich history and culture—and how eager our community is to learn more as well! We have received nothing but positive feedback and enthusiasm from teachers, students, and community members about this program. At our Teacher's Workshop this year, for example, one teacher described the program as “substantive, interesting, useful and such an opportunity.” Each year, a cohort of teachers return from their travels in Turkey with a far richer understanding of a truly complex country, and are genuinely inspired to extend this appreciation into the classrooms. Teachers have developed creative and unique lesson plans, and have irrefutably enriched their curriculum, as well as increased cultural awareness in their schools. Because of this program, we have been able to offer yearly opportunities for our members to learn about Turkey, enjoy its cuisine, and network with members of the Turkish community here in Seattle. We value building relationships within our own community as much as we value the chance to send teachers to Turkey and experience the country firsthand.”
Maggie Archbold, Global Classroom Program Coordinator, Seattle World Affairs Council

    “The five middle and high school teachers from inland Southern California selected for the 2015 Spotlight on Turkey program embarked on their travel study as ambassadors of the U.S. to Turkey and returned as Ambassadors of Turkey to the U.S. The summer experience was so intense and life changing that perspectives about Turkey they have shared with students, educators, and the public at World Affairs Council and California State University are like being there for the listeners. Last week, the Gamma Lambda Chapter of the Phi Beta Delta honor society for international scholars at California State University San Bernardino inducted them as members.”
Margaret ‘Peg' Hill, Program Chair, World Affairs Council Inland Southern California, CSU San Bernardino, College of Social Behavioral Sciences


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Teacher Workshops on Turkey

As part of the Spotlight on Turkey program, TCF sponsored and helped organize 12 Teacher Workshops on Turkey in 2015. Organized by the participating WACA councils across the U.S., the workshops were attended by 258 teachers from 176 schools. The estimated student impact of the workshops nationwide was over 19,350. The total number of teachers who have attended the TCF-WACA Teacher Workshops on Turkey since 2007 reached 3,538 in 2015 with an estimated reach of 367,350 students across America.


Teacher Study Tours to Turkey

TCF organized and sponsored two Teacher Study Tours in the summer of 2015, introducing 48 American teachers to Turkey. Since the program's inception in 2007, TCF has hosted 575 educators on these tours.

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    “This trip broadened my horizons in ways I never imagined. Not only did I experience the many wonders Turkey has to offer, but I developed lasting and true relationships with TCF staff and fellow teachers. Not one moment of this trip was unorganized or unplanned. Every detail was thought out and I always felt as though we were in good hands. TCF has given us a once-in-a lifetime experience.”
Rachel Elizabeth Walz Reilly, Chesterbrook Academy, Virginia

    “This partnership between the World Affairs Council of America and the Turkish Cultural Foundation has afforded me the opportunity to expand my horizons. The breadth of knowledge and variety of topics covered, from history to current events, art to culture, will shape the way my colleagues and I approach the topic of Turkey. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing life experience.”
Amy Lynn Jaskolski, Cornell High School, Pennsylvania

    “This trip was truly eye-opening, and I am so grateful for the gratitude of everyone I encountered in Turkey. From the ruins of ancient civilizations to the modern city skylines, there was never a moment where Turkey did not captivate and amaze me.”
Kyle Travis Schuler, Frederick Law Olmsted Academy South, Kentucky

    “Our wonderful trip to Turkey provided us an immensely rich experience! This tour gave us also a chance to better understand the current political situation and the importance Turkey is already playing politically and economically in the world. This importance will only increase, so it is vital not just for American but the entire world to appreciate and understand this great country. I am very thankful I had this great opportunity!”
Rita Helga Christensen, The Woodlands High School, Texas

    “Turkey is more than a crossroads, it is a blending of ancient and modern, East and West, and culture, warmth, and friendliness. Turkey is place that feels both exotic and at home in the same breath. Through this experience, I am not only a better teacher, but a better person.”
Anita Tucker, Cobalt Institute of Math & Science, California

    “TCF has created an outstanding program to educate educators about Turkey. Their efforts have remarkable ramifications promoting knowledge, understanding and appreciation of a beautiful, historical, significant and changing country. Teşekkür ederim =)”
Stacy Maxir, Lakeside High School, California

    “Unforgettable experience. From the crowded cobblestone streets of İstanbul to the chiseled homes within the stone pillars of Cappadocia, I have been enriched by the history, culture, and geography of this prized country. I am forever changed by the friendships I have made and the sites I have seen. I am excited and inspired to share my new found knowledge with my students back in Seattle. Thank you TCF.”
Dana Pearce Radcliffe, Hamilton International Middle School, Washington

    “Spotlight on Turkey is essential for any teacher at any level. The tour is five star, and exceeded any greatest expectations. Anatolia is the world's largest museum, and İstanbul is the most significant city in world history. The Turks are friendly, and the cuisine is exceptional.”
Michael John Madruga, La Familia High School, California

    “I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to participate in the Teacher Study Tour. It was an experience that has truly re-inspired my teaching practice, and widened my personal and artistic perspective. The Turkish Cultural Foundation generously shared with us Turkey's enduring historical and cultural heritage, so that we as educators could bring Turkey's vital presence back to our learning communities.”
Joan Stango, Art Educator, Nava School, New Mexico


Portrait of Turkey

The final tier of the Spotlight on Turkey Program, Portrait of Turkey, features public educational and cultural programs. Organized by participating WACA chapters with support from a TCF grant, this program engages teachers who return from the TCF Teacher Study Tours in creative ways. The goal of this segment of the Spotlight on Turkey program is to bring Turkey to local communities and especially students in the region of each participating council. The 12 participating WACA chapters in 2015 highlighted Turkey in a series of events, ranging from lectures on Turkey by scholars, diplomats and teachers returning from the 2015 TCF Study Tours to cultural seminars and culinary events. Over 604 people participated in these events.

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TCF and the Media

TCF and its programs received broad media coverage in 2015 and appeared in U.S. and Turkish media outlets over 230 times. TCF Executive Director Güler Köknar was the featured guest on the culture/art show “Zamandan Mekandan,” broadcast on Turkish television channel TRT-Türk. She spoke with host Ceylan Özçelik about TCF's programs and its mission of making global bridges through art and culture.

In 2015, TCF continued to grow its social media presence. The organization expanded its robust content strategy, highlighting the rich cultural knowledge found on TCF Portals, as well as providing regular updates on TCF-sponsored events and programs. Through social media, TCF presented this content in a way that encouraged engagement and increased the organization's reach. Over the course of the year, the organization's Facebook audience grew steadily, expanding by 34.3 percent, while its Twitter audience grew by more than 45 percent.


TCF on the Web

The TCF online portals continued to be major publicly available resources to learn more about Turkish culture, music and cuisine. They were visited by over 3.8 million people from 218 countries and regions in 2015, spreading knowledge on Turkey's cultural heritage.

The TCF Education Portal was added to this line-up in 2014 as an online resource for educators featuring lesson plans and other educational resources on Turkey. The TCF Education Portal also serves as a platform for the TCF Spotlight on Turkey program.

The Turkish Culture Portal was reconfigured as an open source platform in 2012 to allow interested individuals to share knowledge on Turkish culture. Web users have been adding new articles and images and suggesting corrections on existing content to the hundreds of topics featured on the portal.

Turkish Cultural Foundation

Turkish Culture Portal

The Turkish Culture Portal highlights some of the distinct characteristics and qualities of Turkish culture and its contributions to human work and thought. The website is intended as a casual and entertaining walk through of topics related to Turkey’s rich culture. Its content is constantly updated, given the depth and the multiple dimensions of the subject.

Turkish Music Portal

The Turkish Music Portal explores the history of Turkish music, reviews the instruments of Turkish classical and folk music, and introduces composers and performers of all types of Turkish music. Available in Turkish, English, French and German, the Turkish Music Portal also features the first online Turkish Music Dictionary.

Turkish Cuisine Portal

Available in English and Turkish, the Turkish Cuisine Portal is a rich resource featuring the many different aspects of Turkey’s diverse culinary culture, including history, sociology, traditions, ingredients, techniques and recipes.


The TCF Culinary Arts Center (YESAM) Portal features information on YESAM events, lectures, summaries and videos, monthly recipes and other information on Turkish cuisine.

TCF Education Portal

The TCF Education Portal is dedicated to education about Turkey and the TCF Spotlight on Turkey program. It is designed to provide educators easy access to lesson plans and other educational resources on Turkey. The portal is configured to allow educators to upload and share lesson plans on Turkey.


The TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory (DATU) Portal contains information on natural dyes and features an expansive database of plants, insects and other materials used in the generation of natural dyes. The Portal also provides information on the institutional work of DATU, as well as scientific articles published by the DATU research team.



One of TCF's pillars is spearheading and supporting projects that preserve the cultural heritage of Turkey. Progress was made on several existing TCF programs in this area and new projects came to fruition in 2015.

TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM

Located in İstanbul, on the 4th Floor of the ARMAGGAN store in Nuruosmaniye, the mission of the TCF Culinary Arts Center-Yemek Sanatları Merkezi-YESAM is to help preserve and enhance knowledge of Turkey's past and present culinary traditions through research and education.

To this end, YESAM works to record foods, tangible and intangible food-related traditions in Turkey, as well as regions with which Turkey shares cultural and historical ties. It also works to develop educational models through theoretical and applied methods to pass Turkey's culinary heritage to future generations. YESAM also promotes Turkish cuisine to international gastronomical circles and the general public.

YESAM organizes year-round seminars and presentations to audiences in Turkey and around the world. YESAM also organizes culinary cultural tours to various destinations in Turkey in order to advance local culinary awareness.

In 2015 YESAM also hosted various student groups from abroad for lectures on Turkish cuisine presented by Banu Özden, YESAM's Project Executive.

YESAM organized three culinary tours in 2015. On May 29-31, YESAM took a group of food enthusiasts to Isparta for a tour that coincided with the rose harvest. The group, guided by food writer and columnist Aylin Öney Tan, had a chance to visit the rose gardens, harvest roses and visit the distillation plants that produce rose oil and rose water.

On October 24-25, YESAM organized a trip to Safranbolu, Turkey's only town that grows saffron, the most expensive aromatic in the world. The participants were taken to the saffron fields and were offered a wonderful feast consisting of traditional Turkish and Ottoman dishes flavored with saffron.

The annual YESAM Olive and Olive Harvesting trip took place at the beginning of the olive harvest where olive enthusiasts visited Ayvalık and Cunda in the Northern Aegean coast of Turkey.

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TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM Lecture Series

Since 2012, YESAM has held a year-round lecture series on Turkish cuisine. In addition to presentations by Turkish culinary experts, the lecture program is accompanied by food tastings offered by NAR Restaurant. The seminars are free and open to the public. Throughout 2015, YESAM hosted a total of 9 lectures that were attended by 328 participants. The lectures are also recorded and presented for online viewing on the TCF Video Gallery.

YESAM also collaborated with NAR Restaurant and hosted 5 themed dinner events. Journalist and food culture researcher Nedim Atilla, presented topics such as; Balkan Cuisine, İstanbul Sephardic Cuisine, Assyrian Cuisine, Ramadan Festivities and Tastes of Ilgaz & Küre Mountains. NAR Restaurant prepared the dinner menus to match the topic of each lecture.

The 2015 TCF YESAM Lecture Series featured the following topics and distinguished speakers:

İstanbul Markets throughout History
by Ayfer Yavi, classical archeologist, food culture researcher and writer

History of Wine in Turkey
by Murat Yankı, sommelier and wine history researcher

Multicultural İstanbul Cuisine
by İlhan Eksen, food culture researcher and writer

Olive and Olive Oil Culture on both sides of the Aegean Sea
by Prof.Dr. Evangelia Balta, National Hellenic Research Foundation

Powerful Scent; The Spice Market
by Nihal Bursa, Ph.D. Architect and Turkish coffee expert

The Importance of Pickles in Turkish Cuisine
by Sema Temizkan, food culture researcher and author

Copper and Silver Kitchen Supplies used at the Topkapı Palace Kitchens
by Ömür Tufan, head of Topkapı Palace Kitchens

Porcelain and Glassware used at the Topkapı Palace Kitchens
by Ömür Tufan, head of Topkapı Palace Kitchens

The Culinary Culture of an Ancient City: Sagalassos
by Aylin Öney Tan, food writer and researcher of Turkish culinary culture

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    “Hundreds of years ago no one would actually think that in the future the Grand Bazaar area would become such a center of cultural activities in İstanbul. I have participated in YESAM seminars both as a lecturer and guest. I appreciated the topics discussed and the lecturers invited. Two points that made YESAM seminars especially interesting was first the importance given to the historical approach, second, the information given on present day experiences about local foods.”
Murat Yankı, sommelier, researcher of wine and food history


TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory - DATU

In 2010, TCF partnered with ARMAGGAN to inaugurate the Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory – DATU in İstanbul. The mission of DATU is to help preserve and promote Turkey's textile heritage through research and development. DATU also contributes to the redevelopment of the natural dye production process by creating a scientific inventory of natural dyes, as well as by spreading the use of natural dyes in contemporary textile production.

DATU holds the richest collection of natural dye materials and has become one of the world's most advanced laboratories on natural dyes, making significant contributions to cultural preservation and documentation in textile arts.

Since its establishment, DATU has provided free analytical services to museums assisting preservation and conservation efforts.

DATU and Cultural Preservation

In line with the TCF mission to preserve Turkey's cultural heritage, DATU provides free analytical services to museums and other cultural and educational institutions in Turkey and elsewhere. The analyses that DATU provides help identify, date, restore, and conserve historical artifacts, particularly textiles.

In 2015, DATU provided such services to 4 institutions, conducting 45 dye analyses, 10 metal thread analyses, 36 color measurements and 2 microscopic measurements for a total of 97 analytical processes. These institutions include the Topkapı Palace Museum in İstanbul, the Cumhuriyet Museum in Sivas, and Gazi University in Ankara. DATU also assisted archaeological excavations in Turkey, analyzing excavated metal and textile samples from ancient sites, including the ancient city of Philadelphia located in Karaman and the Trak tumulus in Kırklareli. The DATU analyses helped correctly date artifacts and offered guidance as to the best conservation and restoration methods.

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The DATU team also continued to share their work and knowledge through participating in scientific conferences and publishing papers. Prof. Dr. Recep Karadağ, TCF Senior Scholar and Head of the TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory-DATU, participated in a variety of conferences in 2015. He presented a paper on “Characterization of Archaeological Objects with Non-Destructive and Micro Analysis Methods” with Emine Torgan at the 37th International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry held at Atatürk University in Erzurum, Turkey. Dr. Karadağ gave a presentation on “Sustainability and Awareness with Natural Dyes in Textile” at the 15th World Textile Conference, AUTEX 2015, held at the Palace of the National Armed Forces Officers Club in Bucharest, Hungary. He attended the Conference “Textiles of the Silk Road: Design and Decorative Techniques from Far East to Europe” to present his paper on “Characterization of Dyes, Metal Threads, and Silk Yarns from 16th-18th Century Ottoman Silk Brocades” at the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Krakow, Poland. He presented a paper on “Dye and Metal Thread Analyses of some Tomb Covers in the İstanbul Fatih Mosque Complex” at the 34th international conference for Dyes in History & Archaeology (DHA34), held at the University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki in Greece. Dr. Karadağ delivered a talk on “Advantages and Importance of Natural Dyes in the Restoration of Textile Cultural Heritage” at the Green Conservation of Cultural Heritage International Workshop, held at the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) in Rome. Dr. Karadağ finally gave a presentation on “The Natural Dyes in Sustainable Reflect the Traces of the Past” at the 2015 International Textiles and Costume Congress, held at Marmara University in İstanbul.


    “I would like to express my gratitude to DATU for providing me with a course on the use of SEM-EDX and material assistance. DATU has also supported us in publishing our findings on the analyses we conducted. We thank you for the professional support you provided, both my students and I hope to work together again in the future.”
Assistant Professor Mahmut Aydin, Chair of the Archaeometry Department, Batman University

    “We are grateful for the support by DATU to the work of the Historical Material Research and Protection Laboratory, which operates under the Gazi University Fine Arts Academy's Cultural Heritage Protection and Restoration Department. Your Laboratory supported ours since 2013 and gave us assistance in archaeometrical studies for a number of important academic research projects and dissertations. We hope to continue this support and collaboration among our institutions and thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation and Prof.Dr. Recep Karadağ and the laboratory team.”
Assistant Professor Ali Akın Aykol, Head, Historical Material Research and Protection Laboratory

DATU: Cultural Heritage and Sustainability

DATU's work on historical preservation and natural dyes goes hand-in-hand with the research and field-based studies that the DATU team conducted on Turkey's material culture. Led by Prof. Dr. Ozanay Omur, the DATU team conducts research on designs, motives and weaving techniques that accurately reflect regional and historical characteristics of Turkish textiles.

Through its cooperation with and under the sponsorship of ARMAGGAN, DATU not only helps to preserve Turkey's rich textile heritage, but also to revive it. TCF-DATU and ARMAGGAN joint projects support sustainable rural employment and, while preserving Turkey's cultural heritage, create income opportunities for hundreds of women across Turkey.

Another important work area of DATU and ARMAGGAN focuses on the revival of regional weaving traditions and Turkish fabrics.


Work also continued on the joint project of DATU and ARMAGGAN to research and reproduce 16th century Ottoman palace silks, including the Selimiye, Sevai and Kemha fabrics.


Who's Who in Turkish Culture and Art

TCF continued to expand the Who's Who in Turkish Culture and Art online database, which features living Turkish artists, artisans and experts. Accessible from the TCF Turkish Culture Portal, the database reached over 3,376 artist entries in 2015. The goal of the project is to help identify and recognize practitioners of Turkish traditional and modern arts, and to help to promote Turkish artists worldwide. The project also enables people of common interests to connect and collaborate on artistic and cultural projects. Who's Who in Turkish Culture and Art is organized under various categories such as Visual Arts, Turkish Traditional Arts, Applied Arts, Literature, Music, Theater, Movie, Documentary and TV, Dance and Ballet, Academy, Fashion Design, Restoration and Conservation.



Scholarships and Fellowships

TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art

Over the years, Turkish Cultural Foundation has made significant contributions to advancing knowledge of Turkish culture and art, as well as Turkish language studies through its support of academic institutions and individual scholars. Since the program's launch, 87 scholars have been awarded the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art, including 10 scholars who received the Fellowship in 2015.

The goal of the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art program is to recognize and assist individuals whose scholastic achievements reflect the commitment of the Turkish Cultural Foundation to research, document, preserve and promote Turkey's cultural heritage and contemporary art and culture.

The Fellowship is awarded for outstanding papers published in the area of Turkish cultural and social studies, as well as to support the participation of scholars in leading conferences in this subject area.

Selda Alp, Lecturer, Anadolu University
“Italian Sculptors and Grave Statues in İstanbul of the 19th Century” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

İlknur Altın, Museum scholar, art historian and administrator of the Avadancılar Storage Section, Topkapı Palace Museum
“Mescid-i Nebevi, Starting from Two Embroidered Panels at the Topkapı Palace” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

Sibel Arça, Museum scholar, archaeologist and administrator for the Sultan's Garments Section, Topkapı Palace Museum
“Italian Silks at the Topkapı Palace Museum” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

Emine Çiğdem Asrav, Ph.D. candidate at Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture
“Community Engagement in the Conservation of Historic Rural Landscapes” at the ICOMOS-IFLA ISCCL 2015 Annual Meeting International Symposium in Jeju, Korea.

Zeynep Atbaş, Curator of Manuscripts, Topkapı Palace Museum
“A Bibliophile Collectioner: Halil Ethem Arda and his Collection at the Topkapı Palace Museum” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

Dr. Canan Cimilli, Curator of the Harem Section, Topkapı Palace Museum
“A study of epigraphs on a few lost structures, which are in the records of stone inscriptions registered in the Topkapı Palace Museum” at the International Culture, Art, Folklore Congress, Rostov-na-Donu, Russia.

Dr. Suraiya Faroqhi, Professor, Department of History, İstanbul Bilgi University
Publication support for “A Cultural History of the Ottomans: The Imperial Elite and its Artefacts.”

Velika Ivkovska, Ph.D. candidate at İstanbul Technical University, Department of Architecture
“Comparative Analysis between the İstanbul House Plan Types and the Plan Types of the Ottoman Houses on the Panagia District in Kavala, Greece” at the International Conference on Architecture and Spatial Planning, Durres, Albania.

Dr. Muzaffer Özgüleş, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Khalili Research Center, University of Oxford
“Two Lost Churches, Two Lost Mosques: The Conversion of Last Latin Churches in Chios in 1695” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

Ömür Tufan, Archaeologist and chief curator of the Department of Ottoman and European Glasses & Porcelain, Topkapı Palace Museum
“Traditional Ottoman Palace Art surviving in Modern Turkish Porcelain Art” at the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, Naples, Italy.

    “The generous support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation enabled us to attend the 15th International Congress of Turkish Arts in Napoli in order to present our papers. We met other art historians and researchers with whom we exchanged ideas. In the museums in Napoli, we had an opportunity to see the original tableaus of Italian painters, which we saw only in publications. It was very meaningful for us as art historians to be able to visit archaeological sites including Pompeii, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We benefited from the congress significantly. The TCF fellowship is a great privilege for art historians, and we are very much honored to receive it. Thank you very much for the support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation.”
Sibel Alpaslan Arça, Ömür Tufan, İlknur Altın and Zeynep Atbaş, Topkapı Palace Museum

    “With the generous support of Turkish Cultural Foundation, I participated in the 15th International Congress of Turkish Art, which was organized by Università di Napoli “L'Orientale”, Dipartimento Asia, Africa e Mediterraneo, between 16th and 18th of September 2015 in Naples. I presented my paper entitled “Two Lost Churches, Two Lost Mosques: The Conversion of Last Latin Churches in Chios in 1695” successfully, and my participation to this international symposium provided many benefits to me. I also learnt a lot from other colleagues' presentations, since this conference was gathering the latest research on the topic of Turkish art and architecture, and I had the opportunity of networking with other academics. All in all, my participation to the conference has substantially contributed to my professional career. I do thank to Turkish Cultural Foundation once more for this kind support.”
Dr. Muzaffer Özgüleş, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The Khalili Research Center, University of Oxford

    “To attend the International Conference on Architecture and Spatial Planning in Durres, Albania was very beneficial to me since it enabled me to connect with academic circles in this region. It also helped me to demonstrate my knowledge in this subject and the organizers showed interest to work with me in future projects concerning the cultural heritage and Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. I would like to thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation for the opportunity given to me.”
Velika Ivkovska, Ph. D. Candidate, İstanbul Technical University

    “It is very difficult for us to find financial support to attend an international conference to present a paper. I do appreciate very much the Turkish Cultural Foundation's support and your efforts to introduce Turkish cultural, historical and artistic heritage to the world. To exchange scientific information with other international colleagues was beneficial to me.”
Dr. H. Canan Cimilli, Curator, Topkapı Palace Museum


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Turkish Language and Culture Studies

Ottoman Studies Foundation Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer School

For the sixth year, TCF provided a major grant to the Ottoman Studies Foundation to support the 2015 Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer School (IOTSS) in Cunda, Turkey. This year, a total of 19 Ph.D. students and one professor from leading universities around the world attended the school. TCF funds were allocated to provide tuition scholarships to eight of them who hailed from Yale University, Ohio State University, University of London SOAS, Oxford University, UCLA, Temple University and University of Copenhagen. The successful candidates admitted by the IOTSS were selected from among 28 applicants on the basis of their academic record, with particular attention to their background in the relevant languages besides Ottoman, namely Persian and Arabic.

The 19th session of the School lasted 6 weeks and took place on July 6 through August 14, 2015 at the Sevgi Gönül Building in Cunda. TCF funds also partially underwrote travel and teaching expenses for faculty members of the school. This year again, Prof. Selim Kuru (University of Washington) taught the Ottoman Paleography course while Dr. Yorgos Dedes (SOAS, University of London) taught the Nineteenth-century Ottoman texts course. The Persian course, including Arabic and Persian elements in Ottoman, was taught by Prof. Domenico Ingenito (UCLA). Dr. Gregory Key (Ph.D. 2013), lecturer in Turkish at Binghamton University, taught the Modern Turkish courses in the afternoon, alternating between sessions on translation and Turkish grammar and syntax with particular reference to the differences between Ottoman and Öztürkçe. Prof. Gönül Tekin, the Director, retained overall responsibility for the welfare and accommodation of staff and students. As every year, she organized the series of guest seminars, open to both the students and the public.

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    “As a participant in the 2015 Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer School I would like to relay my utmost satisfaction with the program and its professors. No other school or program has prepared me more effectively for my dissertation research than the summer school on Cunda. Immediately after completing the program I traveled to İstanbul where I have remained for the past year putting my Ottoman skills to the test by daily reading and translating archival documents.
    I doubt that any other program can assemble such exemplary and understanding instructors. Furthermore, the school's curriculum is unparalleled in its segmented approach to Ottoman instruction with its integration of Persian, Modern Turkish and paleographic courses, each one serving to fortify the students' knowledge of the Ottoman language. As a student who has taken part in half a dozen summer language programs, I can claim with some expertise that the Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer School eclipses all other programs I'm aware of in both intensity and effectiveness.”

Jonathan McCollum, UCLA


    “To learn something as technically demanding and specialized as Ottoman Turkish, the intensive summer school run annually in Cunda by the OSF is a veritable godsend. I had the great privilege of being a student there in 2015, the central plank of which was, given my interests, Prof. Selim Kuru's course on premodern Ottoman Turkish. I arrived at the school with a general and largely theoretical knowledge of the written language. I left with a vastly improved grasp of the language in practice in a wide range of genres and, more crucially, with the tools and confidence to continue improving my grasp of the language and carry out scholarly research under my own steam. To my mind, the summer school in Cunda gets about as close as is humanly possible to the ideals of keeping alive a very worthy scholarly tradition, a tradition of importance not just for understanding the past but also our world today.”
Dr. Gagan D. S. Sood, Department of International History, London School of Economics

    “The Cunda programme continues to attract high-calibre PhD students, researchers and professors from all over the world and to provide high-quality language teaching and research training highlighting the importance of philology for research on the written sources of Ottoman history, literature and culture. It is no longer the world's one'n'only Ottoman Summer School, but perhaps imitation is the highest form of flattery.”
Dr. Yorgos Dedes, SOAS


University of Chicago - Ayaslı Lectureship

In 2000, the year TCF was founded, the Trustees established a fund for Turkish Language Instruction at the University of Chicago. The gift established and continues to support the Ayaslı Lectureship in Turkish Language Instruction at the University.

The Lectureship is held by Dr. Kağan Arık, a scholar with a long teaching experience in Modern Turkish Language and Literature, and a background in Central Asian Turkic Studies.

In addition to teaching modern and Ottoman Turkish, Dr. Arık also has been offering courses on ancient Turkic languages, modern Uzbek and Kazakh languages, as well as on Turkic and Central Asian cultural and anthropological studies.

During the 2014-2015 academic term, Dr. Arık taught courses in Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Turkish. In the 2014-2015 academic year, 123 students enrolled in the courses taught by Dr. Arık. Over the course of 15 years since the Ayasli Lectureship was established, 1298 students enrolled in the Turkish language and related courses offered at the University of Chicago.

    “I am grateful to the Ayaslı Fund set up by the Turkish Cultural Foundation for its generous and constant support in the field of Turkish Language Studies, and am also grateful for the lively interest I have encountered from students and colleagues in the field of Turkish Studies, both in terms of language, and culture. I aim to further stimulate this interest through my teaching and research activities in Turkish language and culture in the coming years, and look forward to publishing works that I hope will have long-term utility for the field and those who pursue it.“
Dr. Kağan Arık, Ayaslı Lecturer, University of Chicago



Aid Foundation for Elementary Schools
(İlköğretim Okullarına Yardım Vakfı-İLKYAR)

TCF provided a major grant to İLKYAR Foundation, a Turkish NGO and recipient of previous TCF grants. ILKYAR organizes educational programs and aid campaigns that benefit schools in rural areas of Turkey. The TCF grant supported a Math & Science summer camp for elementary school students and teachers from regional boarding schools in Turkey. Every year, İLKYAR volunteers visit regional boarding schools in rural areas of Turkey, trying to inspire children to finish school and pursue university educations. The organization also helps establish libraries and playrooms in these schools and holds math and science competitions. The 9-day summer camps are designed for competitively selected 8th grade students and teachers teaching at the boarding schools and includes courses in math and science, hands-on research and art projects, as well as tours to important cultural and historical sites in Ankara. This year 143 students and 35 teachers participated in the 2015 summer camps, which were organized on the campuses of Bosphorus University in İstanbul and Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

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Glass Furnace Foundation

A multi-year grant recipient, the Glass Furnace Foundation (Cam Ocağı Vakfı) in İstanbul received TCF funds to provide scholarships to three aspiring glass artists and enable their participation in the Foundation's international ateliers with world-renowned glass artists. Deniz Küçükballılar of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University's Ceramic and Glass Design Department participated in a workshop with Claudia Pagel; Birnur Derya Geylani of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University's Ceramic and Glass Design Department worked with Carmen Lozar; and Ecem Yılmaz of Marmara University's Fine Arts Faculty Ceramic and Glass Designs Department attended a workshop with Carol Milne.

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    “Thanks to the TCF scholarship I was able to attend Carmen Lozar's flame working workshop at the Glass Furnace. We don't have a flame working station at the University, so I never had a chance to work with the technique. I admire Carmen Lozar greatly and learned a lot from working with her. I would like to continue my art journey in this field and thank TCF for the significant contribution you have made to my life.”
Deniz Küçükballılar

    “I'm a student at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, working on a degree in the art of ceramic-glass. I attended the flame working workshop of Carmen Lozar and enhanced my knowledge and experience in this art. This was a transformative experience for me due to its efficient educational process. I owe my deepest gratitude to TCF, who made it possible for me to attend this workshop.”
Birnur Derya Geylani

    “During the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to attend Caroline Milne's Lost Wax workshop. I had the privilege to work with such a great artist and improve myself. Every moment that I spent there was precious. I would like to thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation and The Glass Furnace for providing me with this opportunity.”
Ecem Yılmaz


New Book on Karamanlidika Studies

A TCF grant sponsored the publication of “Cultural Encounters in the Turkish-Speaking Communities of the Late Ottoman Empire” by ISIS Press. The book is a compilation of papers presented at the 3rd Workshop of Karamanlidika Studies held in Üçhisar, Cappadocia in 2013, led by Dr. Evangelia Balta, Director of the Program on Ottoman Studies at the National Hellenic Research Institute. Dr. Balta, a TCF fellow, edited the volume which includes additional articles by experts on the Karamanli. The volume includes a total of 22 articles on the language, literature and culture, and press of the Karamanli population, a distinct Anatolian community, mainly living in the Cappadocia region, who spoke Turkish but wrote in the Greek alphabet.


Cyprus Research Project

TCF provided a major grant to underwrite the publication of seven Ottoman censuses from the district- nahiye- of Kuklia (Paphos-Cyprus), conducted during the 19th century. The publication which was published in 2015, is the culmination of a joint research project of Greek, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot scholars Prof.Dr. Evangelia Balta (National Hellenic Research Institute, Athens) Dr. Mustafa Oğuz (ret.,Marmara University, İstanbul) and Dr. Ali Efdal Özkul (Near Eastern University, Lefkose). The availability of pre-statistical data in the seven registers in question helped the researchers to draw a picture of the demographic and financial status of the population in an area of Cyprus in the 19th century. According to the scholars, the book is a pilot case study which could pave the way for future studies of the historical populations of Cyprus.


Sait Faik Stories Published in English

TCF supported the publication of a translation of short stories by Sait Faik Abasıyanık (1906-1954), a leading Turkish author. Translated from Turkish by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe, A Useless Man was published in 2015 by Archipelago Books, a non-profit press devoted to contemporary and classic world literature. TCF distributed the book to all the TCF Teacher Study teachers with a view to increase interest in Turkish literature.

The book was introduced in New York and London with talks by Maureen Freely.


Exploring Turkish Music Scene in İstanbul

A TCF research grant underwrote a project by Ebru Yıldız, a New York based artist who specializes in music photography.

Ms. Yıldız interviewed leading and upcoming independent (do-it-yourself-DIY) Turkish musicians who draw inspiration from traditional Turkish music, including music icons like Erkin Koray and Selda Bağcan. The resulting photo essay, titled “New Traditions and Old Ways: A Visual Guide to Turkey's Thriving DIY Scene” was published on the online music portal, The article also includes a playlist of musicians covered in the story.



    “Growing up in Turkey in the 1990s, the whole live music scene was dominated by cover bands that played hits from the United States and Europe. It was not cool to like Turkish music then, and I was part of a generation that took pride in not listening to any of it. But when I moved to New York and started doing music photography in the beginning of 2000s, some of the musicians I met were thrilled to hear I was from Turkey and they kept asking me about artists I barely knew. At first, I was surprised by their enthusiasm, but then I started feeling embarrassed, because everyone seemed to be more familiar with these Turkish musicians than I was. So I went back and listened to the musicians like Erkin Koray and Selda Bağcan -and was blown away.

    I started thinking of different ways to bring attention to Turkish musicians across the ocean and around the world and I immediately pitched it to the idea of an extensive photo essay about Turkish music to my editors at Pitchfork. They loved the idea and they were so enthusiastic about it. As most editorial assignments these days, they did not have the budget to send me to Turkey to spend couple of weeks though. Because of the financial strain, it got postponed to an unknown date. I was so passionate about this project so I did not give up and continue to try to find ways to raise the money to do it. I decided to look for grants and that is when I found out about Turkish Cultural Foundation. I wrote my first ever grant proposal for them, and they accepted it. If it was not for Turkish Cultural Foundation, I don't think I could have ever brought this project to life. It is one of the most important and meaningful projects I worked on, for that reason I am forever thankful to TFC for making it happen.”

Ebru Yıldız


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TCF continued to contribute to the promotion of Turkish art and culture by supporting cultural, music and film festivals, exhibitions, and performances across the United States. TCF also facilitated cultural and artistic exchanges between Turkey and the world through its grants and fellowships to institutions and individuals.


TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship

The TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship Program was launched in 2012 to support international exchanges between artists and professionals working in fields related to the arts and culture. The Fellowship is awarded competitively each year to Turkish and non-Turkish culture professionals to participate in exhibitions, festivals, concerts and other cultural projects and in artist residency programs. In 2015, TCF awarded 25 fellowships under its Cultural Exchange Fellowship Program, bringing the total number of Fellows to 89 since the program's inception.

2015 TCF Cultural Exchange Fellows

Gizem Aksu, dancer and choreographer to attend the artist residency program of DanceWEB at ImPulsTanz - Vienna international Dance Festival, Austria.
Tahir Aydoğdu, kanun player, to lecture and perform at the University of Texas at Austin and a concert at the Boston Turkish Film Festival, USA.
Corinne Beardsley, sculptor, to attend the artist residency program at the Babayan Culture House in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Roberley Bell, Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, to give a workshop at the at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey.
Heidi Brandow, painter to attend the artist residency program of Halka Art Project, İstanbul, Turkey.
Marco Cops, multimedia artist, curator and consultant for public art, to give a multi-disciplinary workshop at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture of Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey.
Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu, musician and Associate Professor at İstanbul Technical University to give a workshop at the National University of Singapore and perform as a soloist with the National University of Singapore Guitar Ensemble in Singapore.
Dr. Ekin Çoraklı, musician and Assistant Professor at the Music Education Department of Abant Izzet Baysal University, to give a concert lecture at the University of Nottingham, UK.
Nefin Dinç, filmmaker and director, to screen screen her documentary film “The Other Town” at Yale University, Princeton University and Columbia University, USA.
Övül Durmuşoğlu, independent curator and art critic, to participate in a conference and exhibition project “Solar Fantastic: Cross-Modernities and Historical Narratives in Mexico and Turkey in the XX and XXI Centuries” at the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Mexico City, Mexico.
Tesla Manaf Effendi, jazz composer, guitarist, and music producer, to attend the artist in residency program at the Babayan Culture House, Cappadocia, Turkey.
Gül Kaplan Ekemen, dancer, to attend the dance. residency program at the Dance Department of UWC Mahindra College, Pune, India.
Uraz Kıvaner, jazz musician, to perform at the gala event of Made in New York Jazz Competition, New York City, USA.
İdris Ersan Küçük, dancer, to attend the dance residency program at the Dance Department of UWC Mahindra College, Pune, India.
Mehveş Lelic, photographer, to attend the artist residency program at Ateliers Fourwinds, Aureille, France.
Gracia Octaveni Lumbantobing, a film and video artist, to attend the artist residency program at the Babayan Culture House, Cappadocia, Turkey.
James Oles, professor at Wellesley College, to participate in a conference and exhibition project “Solar Fantastic: Cross-Modernities and Historical Narratives in Mexico and Turkey in the XX and XXI Centuries” at SALT Ulus, Ankara and SALT İstanbul, Turkey.
Pınar Öğrenci, installation artist and writer, to attend the artist residency program of R.A.T. Residencias Artisticas Por Intercambio and exhibit her installation work “Collapsing New Buildings” in the Biennial of the Frontiers in Tamualipas, Mexico.
Ayşe Ören, designer, to participate in the conference “New Worlds 2015,” Texas, Austin, USA.
Dr. Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin, Professor at Ege University State Turkish Music Conservatory, to attend the dance residency program and workshop at the Flame School for Fine and Performing Arts, Pune, India.
Esra Sağlık, multimedia artist and Assistant Professor at Muğla Sıtkı Kocman University, to attend the artist residency program at the Foundation Plaatsmaken in Arnhem, Netherlands.
Meghan Nuttall Sayres, writer, to participate in a collaborative project entitled “Street Wise İstanbul” with photographer Aramis Kalay, İstanbul, Turkey.
Seval Şener, painter and academician, to attend the artist residency program and present a solo exhibition at the Project Space “Circa...dit,” Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Bora Uymaz, singer and composer of traditional Turkish music, to attend the artist residency program and give lectures at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
Meichen Waxer, interdisciplinary artist and MAA student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, to attend the artist residency program at Halka Art Project, İstanbul, Turkey.


    “I gave two concerts as a soloist with the National University of Singapore Guitar Ensemble. The audience, which included the Turkish Ambassador, gave me positive feedback after the concert. In my three workshops, I talked about the history of Turkish Music, theoretical approaches on Makam Music, microtonal aspects of Turkish Music, and how to play Makam Music on the classical guitar and microtonal guitar. 50 members from a high school guitar orchestra also attended one of the workshops. I've learnt a lot from the hard-working and disciplined nature of the Singaporean guitarists. They've learnt many things about Turkish music and microtonal guitar as well. I thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation for its support.”
Tolgahan Çoğulu, musician and Associate Professor at İstanbul Technical University


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    “I feel really lucky to be a part of the team of danceWEB in 2015 with my 65 dancer friends from 40 countries. As a danceWEBer, I enjoyed lot of great opportunities the scholarship program offered. During these five weeks, I participated in eighteen workshops on composition, improvisation, dance technique, repertoire and spectatorship. As a young artist, the experience, communication and collaborations in residency have contributed to my researching for “the new,” and my participation expanded my intellectual and kinesthetic merits. Thank you very much for your kind support to make this spectral potential appear and turn it into a dancing actuality.”
Gizem Aksu, dancer and choreographer


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    ““Defining: home,” a project that involved collaboration between myself, Turkish, and Syrian artists currently working on similar concepts, was an opportunity for me to try new artistic mediums while continuing to foster and develop relationships with artists, people, and communities in İstanbul. In the process, “defining: home” evolved into a project that far exceeded my expectations. In retrospect, this may have been one of the most profound experiences I've had in my professional career. I had such an amazing experience – thank you for your time and support.”
Heidi Brandow, painter


    “We are grateful for the support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation. The design workshop we organized at Anadolu University asked how we can re-think the souvenir and by turning it into a more suitable takeaway spread a deeper and more culturally relevant story as it is transported from one place to another. The results of the short workshop were highly successful due to the design team approach. Students will continue working to refine their solutions and realize mock-ups. Thank you again for your support of these culturally rich experiences.”
Roberley Bell, Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology


    “My concert-lecture took place in the Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly Recital Hall at Nottingham University. In the lecture part, first the modernization of Turkey in general was briefly introduced. Then I explained the music revolution, which transpired in tandem with this general modernization that aimed to develop Turkey in the arts and sciences. Later in the concert, the power of modern Turkish composers Cemal Erkin and Adnan Saygun's music created a deep excitement among the listeners. I hope to continue this project in other countries and make the music of these composers more widely known. Thank you TCF for your support.”
Dr. Ekin Çolaklı, an Assistant Professor at the Music Education Department of Abant Izzet Baysal University and musician


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    “This was an immensely rewarding experience at the ideal point in my career and I benefited tremendously from completing my photography project at the residency in France. I am really grateful to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for giving me the opportunity to participate in this program. Not only was it a great opportunity artistically to withdraw from a more busy daily routine and focus solely on work for a while in a well-equipped artistic environment, but it was also helpful to be around other artists who have a lot of experience in the field.”
Mehveş Lelic, photographer


    “During my visit in India between March 1 and 15, 2015, I taught Turkish dance forms such as Zeybek, Horon, Halay and Seymen to many students of different ages at several schools. I've designed my courses so as to teach both theory and practice, which is deeply related with the roots of Indian dances. I also tried to learn some of Indian dances. During these courses, I had the chance to analyze the similarities between Turkish and Indian dances. I am deeply grateful for the Turkish Cultural Foundation for making it possible for me as a scholar to realize a fruitful professional and cultural interaction between Turkey and India.”
Dr. Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin, Professor at Ege Univ. State Turkish Music Conservatory


    “We trained dance genres of different cultures with different age groups at the Dance Department of UWC Mahindra College, and built an invisible bridge between these cultures through the art of dance. This wonderful experience was possible due to the fellowship offered by Turkish Cultural Foundation. I could never find an opportunity to enter into this different world of dance and culture without the financial support of this fellowship. I want to thank Turkish Cultural Foundation for their support and the Dance Departments of Flame College and UWC Mahindra School for giving me a chance to study a different world of dance and culture. I look forward for further studies over combining Turkish dances with different world dances and develop long term cultural relationships.”
Gül Kaplan Ekemen, dancer


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    “I taught Turkish dances with my colleagues Prof. Dr. Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin and Research Assistant Gül Kaplan Ekemen in different schools and different age groups in India. I also introduced “Kabak Kemane” and “Kemençe” to them. I found a chance to see solo dance performance of Geeta Chandran, called “Gandhi, Warp and Werf.” In Mumbai, we joined an amazing live performance of drummer Vijay Chavan with his folk music group. I am extremely thankful to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for their support and give my special thanks to Mahindra College and Flame University for their kind invitations.”
İdris Ersan Küçük, dancer


    “With a view to reflect Turkish culture, at my concert I tried to arrange a jazz standard and performed an intro drenched with some of our own scales and rhythms such as 9/8. It was such an exciting moment for me to share the stage with two musical legends and we received amazing feedbacks. My self-esteem and my belief in this music significantly increased. I would like to emphasize my sincere appreciation for your generous support.”
Uraz Kıvaner, jazz musician


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    “During my residency, I realized a multimedia art project as a research into the actual relation of the different artistic media of sculpture, video and print at the Foundation Plaatsmaken. I also explored the possibilities of multiple interventions in the images in a series of large digital prints, photographic etchings and silkscreen prints. I presented the project at the end of the residency in the exhibition hall of Slak. I also gave an artist talk about the project in a discussion session. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity.”
Esra Sağlık, multimedia artist and Assistant Professor at Muğla Sıtkı Kocman University


    “As a scholar long dedicated to Latin America, opening my research to Turkey—despite difficulties with access to sources in Turkish—has been groundbreaking. The 2015 trip, partly supported by the Turkish Cultural Foundation, challenged me to rethink narratives of national identity, and to approach Turkey with a far more sophisticated sense of historical context. Thank you for your generous support for “Solar Fantastic.””
James Oles, professor at Wellesley College


    “The method collaboration we worked on was the first gathering of the material music and film on stage in Cappadocia, Turkey. My partner, Tesla Manaf and I only gather the result on the stage of the show and amazingly, things that we feel are more or less the same, evidenced by the illustration of composition of the image and music that is very synchronous, resulting a very deep and wrenching mood. This was also confirmed when the artist talks we discussed was about the same thing— which was to look for something apart from the beauty of tourism, reveal something that contrasts but also conforms with our personal issues. Thank you for your support.”
Gracia Octaveni Lumbantobing, film and video artist


    “I gave my presentation during the opening ceremony of the exhibition entitled “Keep Calm / In the Age of Flatness.” My talk was about miniature, Turkey's art scene, relations between traditional art and contemporary art, as well as my own works. I am very thankful for the TCF fellowship, which allowed me to take time to work and progress in my art.”
Seval Şener, painter and academician


    “This residency, made possible by the TCF Fellowship, enabled a solid period of deep exploration and experimentation, which has significantly advanced my artistic practice and master's thesis research. Through working with the ornamentation and architecture I was directly encountering in the neighborhood of Kadıköy alongside and close to the shore, I investigated not only the highly ornate tiles and structures but turned my attention to also building hoarding, faux brick wall papers, and traffic dividers, et cetera. This enabled me to explore the unexpected connections between Vancouver, Toronto and İstanbul. The results of this residency period will be exhibited at Halka Art Project in September as part of an offsite exhibition for the İstanbul biennial.”
Meichen Waxer, interdisciplinary artist and MAA student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design


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Turkish Culture, Music, Film and Dance

In 2015, TCF supported leading Turkish cultural and film festivals in Boston, Houston, Monterey and Seattle, helping to bring Turkish music, art, culture and cuisine to thousands of Americans.

Promoting Turkish cinema in the United States remained on TCF's cultural agenda in 2015. The Foundation once again became the main sponsor of the 14th Annual Boston Turkish Film & Music Festival, which took place from March 19-April 25, and was co-presented with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and organized by the Turkish American Cultural Society of New England.

The festival featured over two dozen Turkish films, giving Boston film enthusiasts the opportunity to explore Turkish cinema. The festival also featured a special screening of The Water Diviner, a film by Russell Crowe about the Gallipoli campaign war in tribute to the centennial of the war. The festival's music portion featured concerts by Neotolia, Esthema, and Tahir Aydoğdu, which took place at the Goethe Institute.

For the second time, TCF provided a grant to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to support the 3rd Annual Houston Turkish Film Festival. The festival took place on March 28-29 and showcased an impressive line-up of Turkish films, led by the winner of the 2014 Cannes Palme d'Or, Kış Uykusu-Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

TCF awarded a major grant to support the Houston Turkish Festival, organized by the American Turkish Association of Houston. The festival, which has been held annually since the early 2000s, took place on November 14-15 at Jones Plaza. The event included Turkish cuisine, coffee, folklore, dancing, whirling dervishes, fashion and cultural exhibitions. Activities for all ages brought together the community in celebration of Turkish history and culture.

TCF provided a grant to the Turkish American Association of California in support of the 18th Annual California Turkish Festival in Monterey, California. The festival took place on August 22-23, and featured cultural performances, music, and culinary events.

TCF provided continued support through a grant for the fifth annual International Children's Friendship Festival in Seattle, organized by the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington. Organized in celebration of Turkish National Sovereignty and Childrens' Day (23 Nisan), the festival has developed into an international event in Seattle. This year the festival took place from April 11-12 at the Seattle Center's Fisher Pavilion. Growing each year in its international representation of children from all over the world, this year's festival featured over 500 children from 36 countries and Seattle communities. As in past years, the festival was recognized with proclamations by the Governor of Washington and the Mayor of Seattle. The festival is augmented by a Children's Forum, and the findings of this year's topic, Health and Citizenship, were presented to the Seattle City Council at a special session on April 6.


Nazım Hikmet Poetry Festival

A major TCF grant underwrote the 7th Nazım Hikmet Poetry Festival and competition organized by the American Turkish Association of North Carolina. TCF has underwritten this event since its inception. The Festival was held on April 26 at the Page Walker Arts & History Center in Cary, North Carolina.

Bringing together poets, scholars and members of the community in celebration of poetry, the festival is held each year in tribute to the life and poetry of Nazım Hikmet, who is widely regarded as the greatest contemporary Turkish poet. Starting in 2012, the festival began introducing an international poet of Hikmet's stature. This year's featured poet was Anna Akhmatova, a Russian poet. This year's festival invited poet was Betty Adcock, an award winning poet inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.

The heart of the festival is the poetry competition, which is open to poets from all around the world. In 2015, the competition received over 1,000 submissions from 337 poets and the submissions came from 39 states and 20 countries. Finalists of the poetry competition attended the festival and read their poetry alongside other noted poets.


Fazıl Say Concerts in New York

TCF provided a major grant to underwrite Access Orpheus, a program of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra that brought 250 public school students from throughout New York City to a performance of Fazıl Say with the Orpheus Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on April 11. An acclaimed Turkish pianist and chamber artist Say joined the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for a series of performances and audience engagement programs in New York and Europe in April. The program aims to expand audiences' awareness of Turkey's ongoing contribution to western classical music. Through Access Orpheus and TCF's support, students had their first experience with live classical music and provided with a study guide about Fazıl Say and the music-making process used by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

During the second half of April, Fazıl Say and Orpheus embarked on an eight-concert European tour, which reached seven total cities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The program for these concerts were the same as that presented at the TCF-supported performance at Carnegie Hall in New York.


TCF Underwrites Jazz Orchestra Album

TCF provided a major grant to Dunya Inc., a Boston based non profit organization led by Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol who is a Grammy nominated Turkish-American composer and performer. The grant was awarded to support the production of a jazz orchestra album, entitled “Resolution”, featuring international jazz stars Anat Cohen, Dave Liebman, Tiger Okoshi and Antonio Sanchez. Due to be released in 2016, Sanlıkol's new album internalizes Turkish influence and a diverse range of styles, and instruments.



    “To produce a jazz orchestra album with four internationally acclaimed guest artists is a major undertaking especially during these days when record companies do not have the financial power which they used to posses. As a result, to fund an album of unique original jazz compositions that are heavily influenced by Turkish music (which is outside of the jazz mainstream) and written for an 18-piece large jazz ensemble is above and beyond the means of an artist. Furthermore, while crowdfunding may be a reasonable resource for small group CD projects, it is only a beginning strategy for such a gigantic orchestral project with featured guests. In the end, the complete funding of this album was possible through crowdfunding as well as sponsorships and grants. Had we not received TCF's generous grant, the making of this album simply would not have been possible.”
Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol


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TCF continued to provide major funding to art institutions and individuals to promote Turkey's contemporary arts. Tens of thousands of people visited these exhibitions in 2015, advancing TCF's mission to promote Turkey's artistic and cultural heritage and contemporary arts.


Gordion Exhibition

TCF provided a major grant to underwrite The Golden Age of King Midas, a world premier exhibition at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, which will run between February and November 2016. Through a special agreement signed between the Republic of Turkey and the University of Pennsylvania, Turkey will lend the Penn Museum much of the material unearthed in the main Gordion tumulus, as well as a number of important objects from the tumuli in Lydia and Lycia. These pieces will appear alongside select examples from the Penn Museum's own collections. Archaeologists from Penn have been excavating and conducting research at Gordion since 1950. In 2009-2010, TCF underwrote another major exhibition on Gordion at Penn Museum entitled His Golden Touch: The Gordion Drawings by Piet de Jong, showcased illustrations about the site made by Piet de Jong in 1957.



In 2015, TCF became an international partner in the establishment of the “UNESCO Chair on Management and Promotion of World Heritage Sites: New Media and Community Involvement” at Kadir Has University in İstanbul. TCF is a partner in the Kadir Has UNESCO Chair along with Bilkom and World Heritage Travelers Association and will support the work of the Chair in the area of research and international educational exchanges. It is the first UNESCO Chair in cultural heritage in Turkey and will work on promoting and enhancing community involvement in World Heritage sites in Turkey through the application of new media.

To further align its work with the international agenda on educational, scientific and cultural cooperation, TCF applied for institutional affiliation with UNESCO and was accepted in September 2015 to enter into official relations with the institution. Educational and Cultural Programs.




Turkish Cultural Foundation

Turkish Culture Portal

Turkish Music Portal

Turkish Cuisine Portal

TCF Education Portal

TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory

TCF Culinary Arts Center (YESAM)




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