Annual Report 2016
TRUSTEES' 2016 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 2016.

In 2016, TCF allocated a total of $847,183.13 to grants and operational and program disbursements to pursue its mission.

TCF continued to be a leading private grantmaker in the area of Turkish cultural preservation and promotion. In 2016, TCF provided a total of $244,067.05 in grants and fellowships to organizations and individuals. A major portion of the TCF grants underwrote cultural events, such as cultural and film festivals, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and other performances in the United States and other countries, which brought Turkish culture to thousands of art lovers.

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 192 culture professionals, including musicians, visual and performing artists, writers, curators, scholars and many others. In 2016, 16 individuals benefited from these fellowships to participate in a variety of cultural and artistic showcases, as well as academic events in a variety of countries and in Turkey.

The TCF Culinary Arts Center (YESAM) and the TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory (DATU) in İstanbul continued their work on preserving and promoting Turkey’s culinary and textile heritage. DATU and YESAM scholars work year-round to advance the mission of TCF through research, publications and seminars, as well as collaborations with other institutions. A significant part of DATU’s work is dedicated to helping cultural institutions conserve and restore historical artefacts. In 2016, DATU provided pro bono analytical services to two institutions and three museums in Turkey.

Under the TCF Lecture Series, 15 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 389. The lecture videos, made available on the TCF Video Gallery, were viewed 7,115 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.

The TCF Portals, gateways to learn more about Turkish culture, music and cuisine, were visited by over 3.95 million people from 240 countries and regions in 2016, spreading knowledge about Turkey’s cultural heritage. The TCF Education Portal was launched in 2016 with a view to providing an online resource for educators who wish to teach about Turkey. The website lists over 100 free lesson plans on Turkey, ranging from history to geography, women’s rights, the environment, culture and many contemporary political and economic issues. Prepared by participants of the TCF Teacher Study Tours to Turkey, the lesson plans have been downloaded nearly 6,000 times and enabled educators who wish to teach about Turkey to access accurate information in a format that conforms with U.S. curriculum standards.

Sadly, TCF and its partner organization The World Affairs Councils of America made the difficult decision in early 2016 to cancel the 2016 Teacher Study Tours to Turkey. Heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks that happened back to back in İstanbul and Ankara in the first months of the year proved to be too big of a challenge to move forward with the tours. Later in the year, Turkey went through a horrible tragedy that cost the lives of 250 civilians and injured over 2,000 when an attempted coup by the terrorist FETÖ organization attempted to overthrow Turkey’s democracy on July 15, 2016. TCF hopes to resume the tours in the near future as Turkey rises above this atrocious attack and moves forward.

We thank everyone who participated in our work in the past year and renew our commitment to promote Turkey, past, present and future, to strengthen the bonds of friendship among people 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 2016, TCF funds were distributed as follows:

  TCF Lectures $4,958.05
  TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM $39,186.43
  TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory-DATU $119,217.80
3. EDUCATION $171,959.69
  TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art $17,100.00
  Education and Research Grants $154,859.69
  TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship $24,284.50
  Turkish Culture, Music, Film and Dance $26,822.86
  Exhibitions $21,000.00
5. OPERATIONAL $439,753.80

2016 TOTAL: $847,183.13



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 2016, the TCF Lecture Series featured 15 lectures on various topics related to Turkish culture and cuisine. A total of 389 participants attended these events.


TCF Lecture Series in Turkish Culture and Art - İstanbul

In 2016, the TCF Lecture Series featured 5 lectures on different topics related to Turkish culture and cuisine. The TCF lectures reach an even wider audience through the TCF Video Gallery where they were viewed 7,115 times in 2016 by people from 92 countries.

The 2016 TCF İstanbul Lecture Series in Turkish Culture and Art featured the following distinguished speakers:

March 3, 2016
“Archaeology, technology, and sustainability: Approaches to the past in the Gediz Valley, western Turkey” by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chris Roosevelt (Koç University)

April 12, 2016
An impressive probate inventory of 1588: antiquarianism and collecting in the Ottoman world” by Prof. Dr. Tülay Artan (Sabancı University)

May 26, 2016
Birinci Dünya Savaşı Döneminde Tarihi Eserleri Koruma Gayretleri (Preservation Efforts of Historical Artifacts during World War I)” by Prof. Dr. Fatma Ürekli (Mimar Sinan University)

June 24, 2016
“Traditional Turkish Shadow Theater: Karagöz” lecture by Metin Özlen and live show by Emin Şenyer

December 01, 2016
1950’den Günümüze Türk Resim Sanatı (Turkish Paintings from 1950 to today)” by Prof. Dr. Ayla Ersoy (Yeditepe University)


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 2016, TCF scholars attended events in the United States, Italy, Israel, Austria, Czech Republic 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 Textile Society of America 15th Biennial Symposium in Savannah, Georgia (USA) held on October 18-23, 2016. At the conference, she presented her paper entitled “Velvet and Patronage: The Origin and the Historical Background of Ottoman and Italian Velvets.”

TCF and the Media

TCF and its programs received broad media coverage in 2016 and appeared in U.S. and Turkish media outlets over 140 times. In 2016, 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 29.7 percent, while its Twitter audience grew by more than 37.8 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 3.95 million people from 240 countries and regions in 2016, 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. 104 English lesson plans on Turkey are listed on this site and can be downloaded for free by educators for use in their classrooms. So far, the lesson plans have been downloaded 5.952 times.

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 2016.

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 holds seminars and cooking presentations for 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 2016 YESAM also hosted various student groups visiting Turkey and diplomats for lectures on Turkish cuisine, which were presented by Banu Özden, YESAM’s Project Executive.

YESAM was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to take part in the 1st International Meeting on Traditional Cuisine in Mexico City, Mexico. The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and took place on September 23-25, 2016. At the event, participants from various countries and different regions of Mexico presented their cuisines. Ms. Banu Özden represented Turkey and gave a presentation on “Exploring Turkey’s Culinary Heritage” and demonstrated the preparation of “Hünkar Beğendi,” a traditional Turkish dish.

YESAM organized two culinary tours in 2016. On February 26-28, YESAM took a group of food enthusiasts to Kozak for a tour that coincided with the pine nut harvest. The group, guided by food writer and journalist Nedim Atilla, had a chance to visit pine forests and pine nut factories, as well as the antique city of Pergamon and tasted local delicacies.

On May 6-8, YESAM organized a trip to İzmir, guided by Asst. Prof. Ahmet Uhri. The group visited the antique cities of Teos, Metropolis, the open air museum city of Birgi, the towns of Ödemiş and Sığacık, as well as local markets. Participants sampled dishes of the region and shopped at the markets for local ingredients.



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 2016, YESAM hosted a total of 10 lectures that were attended by 310 participants. The lectures were also recorded and presented for online viewing on the TCF Video Gallery.

YESAM continued its collaborations with NAR Restaurant and hosted a themed dinner event. Nedim Atilla, a journalist and food culture researcher, presented a seminar on how the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations in the early 20th century affected the cuisines of Turkey and Greece. NAR Restaurant prepared the dinner menu to match the topic of the lecture.

The 2016 TCF YESAM Lecture Series featured the following topics and distinguished speakers:

Cultural Roots of Baklava
by Asst. Prof. Ahmet Uhri, Head of the Department of Prehistoric Archeology at 9 Eylül University

Traditional Bread Baking Techniques of Anatolia; Pileki Bread
by Aylin Doğan, researcher of food culture and history

Anatolian Cuisine through the Eyes of the Itinerants
by M. Bülent Varlık, economist, researcher

Culinary Aspects of Olive Oil
by Dr. Zeynep Delen Nircan, founder and director of Ege’de Atölye, part-time instructor at B.U.

“Artist’s Tables”
by Sevim Gökyıldız, food culture researcher and writer

Tables of İstanbul
by Asst. Prof. Zeynep Kılıç, sociology instructor at University of Alaska, Anchorage

Yogurt; The Obvious Yet Hidden Secret of Turkish Cuisine
by Aylin Tan, food writer and researcher of Turkish culinary culture

Culinary Culture of Diyarbakır
by Nilhan Aras, food writer and researcher, editor in chief of Gastro magazine

The Amazing Versitality of Bulgur
by Aylin Öney Tan, food writer and researcher of Turkish culinary culture

Ode to Rice Pilaf
by Nazlı Pişkin, historian, food writer and researcher of Turkish culinary culture


    “I have attended several TCF-YESAM conferences both as a presenter and a participant. At the end of each conference, I feel emotionally satisfied with the taste of a good discourse and the delight of the newly acquired knowledge. The topics chosen for the conferences show how food culture is an endless well. For this reason I feel that these events are very informative and effective.”
Ömür Tufan, Head of Kitchens at the Topkapı Palace Museum

“YESAM seminars are among the most informative food lecture series in Turkey. The depth and breadth of the topics are impressive, experts invited are highly knowledgeable, and the center’s food accompaniments for the lectures are deliciously exciting. I am truly impressed by the center’s choices and it’s public educational mission is inspiring. TCF continues this service by making the lectures digitally available to the public and extend their reach long after the seminars are over. I learned so much regarding foodways of Turkey from their website.“
Zeynep Kilic, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology,
University of Alaska Anchorage; Director & Producer of ‘Tables of İstanbul’


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 this TCF project 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 through collaborative projects.

DATU holds the richest collection of natural dye materials in the world. The collection currently includes 652 natural dye plants, natural organic pigments and dye insects and provides an important reference database for the analysis of naturally dyed material. With progress made over the years, DATU is now counted among the top three laboratories worldwide in the area of cultural preservation and has become one of the world’s most advanced laboratories on natural dyes.

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

2016 saw a significant development for the laboratory as it received accreditation by the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TÜRKAK) under the TS EN ISO/IEC 17025 standards. With this accreditation, DATU has become an internationally certified laboratory under the standards of the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

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 2016, DATU provided such services to 2 institutions and 3 museums, conducting 68 dye analyses, 12 metal thread analyses, 17 color measurements, 7 resin analysis and 4 microscopic measurements for a total of 108 analytical processes. These institutions and museums that received the services include the Vakıflar Museum (Foundations Museum) in İstanbul, the Military Museum in İstanbul, İstanbul University, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey Manuscripts Library in Süleymaniye, İstanbul 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.


The DATU team also continued to share its work and knowledge through participating in scientific conferences and publishing papers. Prof. Dr. Recep Karadağ, TCF Senior Scholar and Head of DATU, participated in a variety of conferences in 2016. He presented a paper on “Analysis Methods of Archaeological and Historical Objects” with researcher Emine Torgan at the 38th International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry held at Trakya University in Edirne, Turkey. Dr. Karadağ gave a presentation on “Sustainability of Natural Dyes Today” at the XXIVth IFATCC (International Federation of Associations of Textile Chemist and Colourists Congress) 2016 held at the University of Pardubice Faculty of Chemical Technology in the Czech Republic. He attended the Conference “CHNT 21 (Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies)” to present his paper on “Resin Analysis and Characterization in the Yenikapı Byzantine-Era Shipwrecks” at the City Hall of Vienna, Austria. He also presented a paper on “A Natural Dyeing Method for Obtaining Turkey Red Color” at the 35th International Conference for Dyes in History & Archaeology (DHA35), held at the Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, Università di Pisa in Italy. Dr. Karadağ also delivered a talk on “Resin Analysis of the Yenikapı Byzantine-Era Shipwreck” at the 2nd International Conference Art & Archaeology in Jerusalem, Israel. Finally, Dr. Recep Karadağ participated in the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s “Occupational Competency and Title Definitions Workshop in the Field of Conservation and Restoration” in İstanbul.


   “We are grateful for the support by DATU to the work of the Historical Material Research and Protection Laboratory (MAKLAB), which operates under the Gazi University Fine Arts Department’s Faculty Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties. DATU has supported MAKLAB since 2013 and gave us assistance in archaeometrical projects 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, Prof. Dr. Recep Karadağ and the laboratory team.”
Assist. Prof. Dr. Ali Akın Akyol, Director of Historical Material Research and Conservation Laboratory (MAKLAB), Gazi University

DATU: Cultural Heritage, Sustainability and the Environment

The R&D work conducted with ARMAGGAN has supported the introduction of natural dyes in contemporary textiles and resulted in the creation of high quality natural dyes applicable in industrial dyeing. These natural organic pigments have the potential to replace synthetic pigments used in the textile industry today, prevent pollution and help to preserve the environment. Furthermore, the dyes and dyeing processes developed by DATU create anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-carcinogen and anti-UV properties in fabrics and further protect human health.

In 2016, the TCF-DATU team created a line of 30 organic pigments for specific use in the arts and cultural preservation. The pigments are generated from plants, insects, sea shells and natural organic lake pigments and are completely chemical free. The pigments find application in the restoration of historical paintings, iconography and wall paintings, which were created with natural dyes. A creative project developed by TCF and ARMAGGAN Art & Design Gallery introduced the pigments to a select group of painters with a commission to create one painting with natural dyes for exhibition. The results of the artists’ experimentation with natural dyes were displayed in juxtaposition with the artists’ works with oil or acrylic dyes at an exhibition titled “Nature’s Colors - Doğanın Renkleri” that took place at the gallery.


In addition to successful collaborations with ARMAGGAN on the reproduction of Ottoman imperials silk fabrics, imperial carpets and a collection of naturally dyed and redesigned Anatolian kilims, TCF and ARMAGGAN partnered in an R&D project to rediscover the formula for Turkey Red. Significant progress was made in 2016 on this project.


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 3,600 artist entries in 2016. 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, Academics, Fashion Design, Restoration and Conservation and in Memoriam.



Education Grants and Fellowships

TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art

Since its founding in 2000, the 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 its launch, 88 scholars have been awarded the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art, including 1 scholar who received the Fellowship in 2016.

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.

Dr. Muhammed Emin Soydaş
Faculty member at the Music Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts of Çankırı Karatekin University
Dr. Soydas received the TCF Fellowship to present his paper “Exploring Motivic Features for Understanding Modal Structure: The Case of Seventeenth-Century Turkish Vocal Songs” at the Fourth International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music (AAWM 2016), The New School, New York, June 8-11, 2016.

    “Attending the conference gave me the opportunity to listen to various papers on diverse subjects that provided me with new insights and knowledge. Likewise, I met new scholars whom I hope to keep in touch with. After delivering my paper, I had a chance to further discuss a number of relevant issues with fellow scholars. On the other hand, being my first visit to the USA, this was a nice opportunity to experience an American music college and New York City. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for this fellowship.”
Dr. Muhammed Emin Soydaş, Music Department, Çankırı Karatekin University




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 continues to support the Ayaslı Lectureship in Turkish Language Instruction at the University to this day.
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.

During the 2015-2016 academic term, Dr. Arık continued to teach three levels of Modern Turkish, a full-year equivalent Summer Quarter intensive language class, and a three-quarter advanced-level course. Dr. Arık also taught a first and second year Kazakh language course. The program also continued to see high enrollment rates among undergraduate students in “Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia” and “Shamans and Oral Poets of Central Asia,” two survey courses meant to deepen the students’ knowledge of the traditional culture of the peoples of Central Asia.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, 70 students enrolled in the courses taught by Dr. Arık. Over the course of 15 years since the Ayaslı Lectureship was established, 1344 students enrolled in the Turkish language and related courses offered at the University of Chicago.

In addition to Dr. Arık’s coursework, he continued his work on two textbooks, “Introduction to Modern Turkish” and “Introduction to Modern Kazakh.”

    “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


Ayaslı Research Center

In May 2011, TCF and the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, signed a protocol paving the way for the establishment of the Ayaslı Research Center (ARC). Bearing the name of METU graduates and TCF Founders Drs. Yalçın and Serpil Ayaslı, the Ayaslı Research Center was donated to METU’s Electrical Engineering Department by TCF as part of its founding mission to advance cultural, educational and scientific ties between the United States and Turkey. The construction of the building was completed in 2012 and inaugurated with an official ceremony on March 5, 2012.

Since its founding over 30 research projects were conducted at the Ayaslı Resarch Center with support from TÜBİTAK, the EU and leading Turkish technology companies like ASELSAN, TÜSAŞ and ANDAR. 20 professors, over 50 M.S./Ph.D. and undergraduate students were involved in the projects resulting in the publication of over 60 scientific papers. In addition, several research seminars were held at the center, as well as a mandatory post-graduate course.

The building that was designed and built for the Ayaslı Research Center is a leading example of energy sensitive construction and the first of its kind in Turkey. It uses flexible membrane technology and supplies its own electricity through solar energy. The building is designed to collect and use rainwater. The ARC houses 19 research labs, 2 clean rooms, an anechoic chamber, and an antenna tower, as well as seminar and meeting rooms, student reading, and social areas.

The photovoltaic solar power system with a capacity of 50 kW-peak power at the Ayaslı Research Center has been producing electricity since December 2011. The electricity generated from these panels and the electricity consumed by the building are tracked and recorded instantly. The system produces about 300 kW-hours of electricity on a sunny day. Considering that the cost of electricity to the end user is about 0.4 TL / kW-hours, the installed system saves about 120 TL per day. In addition, the electric power consumed by the Ayaslı building is recorded with a power analyzer located in the electric panel. This data and its analysis results are further used in various scientific publications and project studies.




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 2016, TCF awarded 15 fellowships under its Cultural Exchange Fellowship Program, bringing the total number of Fellows to 104 since the program’s inception.

2015 TCF Cultural Exchange Fellows

Ekin Akalın (Turkey), an associate researcher at the İstanbul French Institute of Anatolian Studies, conducted an inventorial study of the Ottoman collection at the Pierre Loti House in Rochefort from September 5-9, 2016.
Lerna Babikyan (Turkey), dancer, performer, choreographer and dance pedagogue, participated in the Escola Estudio Raizvanguarda dance residency program in Portugal from August 29 to September 30, 2016.
Pelin Başar (Turkey), a ney player, performed with the Mehmet Polat Trio on their U.S. concert tour in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, and Phoenix from August 11 to September 11, 2016. She also gave several educational workshops and master classes.
Mansur Bildik (Austria), a musician and bağlama/saz artist, led a workshop on Turkish folk music at the University of Texas, Austin from March 28 to April 4, 2016. He also gave a concert “Mozart Allaturca” at the University’s Butler School of Music on April 2, 2016.
Naz Cuguoğlu (Turkey), a freelance curator, art writer and cultural researcher, curated the artistic exchange project “Asymmetric Kin,” collaborating with the Coop Curatorial Collective in Nashville which took place on October 1-29, 2016.
Nurduran Duman (Turkey), a poet and writer, presented her work and represented Turkey at the UNESCO European Literature Night, held in Edinburgh on May 13, 2016 and the European Poetry Night, held in London on May 14, 2016.
Grant Garmezy (USA), a glass artist, gave an advance sculpting class at the Glass Furnace in İstanbul from July 12-23, 2016.
İdil Kemer (Turkey), a dance artist and movement/improvisation teacher, participated in the Dance OMI residency program in Ghent, New York from July 19 to August 8, 2016.
İpek Kotan (Turkey), a ceramist, participated in the residency program at the European Ceramic Workcentre in Oisterwijk from September 5 to November 5, 2016.
Zeyno Pekünlü (Turkey), a painter and contemporary artist, showcased her work in the exhibition “The world precedes the eye,” an affiliate project of the Singapore Biennial from October 24-30, 2016. She also gave a workshop at Lasalle College of the Art.
Mehmet Polat (Turkey), an oud player and composer, performed with the Mehmet Polat Trio on their U.S. concert tour in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix and Toronto, Canada between August 11 and September 11, 2016. He also gave several educational workshops and master classes.
Victor Sams (Dutch Antilles), a ngoni & percussion player, performed with the Mehmet Polat Trio on their U.S. concert tour in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix and Toronto, Canada between August 11 and September 11, 2016.
Ayşe Gül Süter (Turkey), exhibited her work at the Coop gallery in conjunction with other collaborative works as part of the Asymmetric Kin Project from October 1 to 29, 2016. She also gave a formal public presentation about her work and visit local universities and artist studios.
Ümit Şimşek (Turkey), a musician, bağlama artist and educator, led a workshop on Turkish folk music at the University of Texas. He also performed with University’s Middle Eastern Ensemble at the Bates Recital Hall on April 23, 2016.
Tan Taşpolatoğlu (Turkey), a painter, participated in the residency program for the Derealization project at the Lincoln Square Artist Guild in Chicago from July 1 to October 1, 2016. He also held a solo exhibition “Derealisation II” at the Scharpenberg Art Gallery of the Dank Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago between September 10 and October 1, 2016.


    “The Fellowship given by the Turkish Cultural Foundation was an incredible gift that allowed me the honor of traveling to Turkey to teach the class. As a professional artist, coming to İstanbul and teaching at the Glass Furnace was an amazing opportunity. Thank you to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for the generous support provided that allowed the students to learn new and exciting techniques, and provided the catalyst for a completely new process of collaborative work to be explored. Visiting Turkey was truly a dream, and my wife and I are beyond excited to return in the summer of 2017.”
Grant Garmezy, Glass Artist


    “I would like to thank you for choosing me as one of the fellows for the TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship program. I am proud to let you know that the European Ceramic Work Center has chosen me to be their first long-term resident and allowed me to stay and work for almost 11 months. This was the first time in its history (established 1969) that an artist was given such a long time. I developed new glazes, explored 3D printing and milling technique; I was invited to biennials in Japan and Korea, had a show in the most well respected ceramic gallery in Europe, Puls Contemporary Ceramics and have made over 160 pieces, some of which were quite large. I was also chosen to be featured in a book the Centre published as a tribute to its 1000 plus former residents and I was one of the 50 chosen artists in the book. Thank you for your continued support and interest in my work.”
İpek Kotan, Ceramist


    “Raizvanguarda Residency accepted me for a three-week residency in Gois, Portugal. The residency provided a great opportunity for me to improve my skills as a dance artist and choreographer thanks to the generous support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation.”
Lerna Babikyan, dancer, performer, choreographer and dance pedagogue


    “I represented my country at the Chicago Turkish Festival between August 24-27 at Daley Plaza. I interacted with people in a most positive way and exchanged ideas. I am very happy to see people who care about Derealization, a deep and impactful topic which should not be suppressed in our society. Thank you for your support under the Turkish Cultural Foundation Fellowship Program.”
Tan Taşpolatoğlu, Painter


    “The support of the Turkish Cultural Foundation gave us an opportunity to visit our collaborators in Nashville and to represent ourselves and practices to a new audience, while gaining knowledge about different art scenes. This will certainly lead to other collaborations in the future. I also gave a talk at Lipscomb University presenting Asymmetric Kin project and elaborating on artistic collaborations. We visited many art galleries in Nashville and met with curators and directors, as well as many artists. I’d like to thank TCF for the support, we would not have been able to do this without your help.”
Naz Cuguoğlu, Freelance Curator, Art Writer and Cultural Researcher


    “Seeing the opportunities in dance/performance art world in NY in such a nice calm environment encouraged me to create opportunities for dance here in İstanbul. It gave me hope to build solidarity among young dancers and artists, do my own work and widen the field of professional improvisation. It also gave me courage to apply once more for international residency to stay connected with what is happening around the world. Thank you TCF for your generous support!”
İdil Kemer, Dance Artist and Movement / improvisation teacher


    “The TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship gave me the opportunity to present my work as part of the Singapore Biennale and its accompanying public program, and to initiate future collaborations with fellow artists, curators and Asian institutions, with long-term benefits for my future work. It was a great opportunity for me to be in Singapore during one of its most important art week and develop my connections with the Southeast Asia art scene.”
Zeyno Pekünlü, Painter and Contemporary Artist


    “I would like to thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation, which has made cultural contributions all around the world, for giving me the opportunity to create value at the UNESCO European Literature Night and the European Poetry Night. In London, I and British poet Jonathan Morley composed and presented a joint poem entitled “Kelebek’s Sonata.” The beauty of the Turkish language was applauded by the audience. I met many poets who came from different countries in Europe and talked about future collaboration projects.”
Nurduran Duman, Poet and Writer


    “I am grateful to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for their great support for my tour in the US & Canada in Summer & Fall 2016. It meant a lot to me. Thanks to this tour, I got the chance to meet many beautiful people in the US and Canada and promote my music. I am also grateful to the Turkish Cultural Foundation and its staff for promoting my concerts throughout the tour.”
Mehmet Polat, Oud Player and Composer


    “I would like to thank TCF for supporting me with this fellowship and sharing the outcomes of this collaborative project. It enabled me and my project partner to execute our installation piece both in İstanbul and Nashville and gave me an opportunity to travel to Nashville. I visited other artists’ studios, expanded my art network, participated in the artist talk about our collaborative project, and worked on our near future collaborative projects. Thank you very much again for honoring me with this fellowship!”
Ayşe Gül Süter, Visual Artist


Turkish Culture, Music, Film and Dance

In 2016, TCF supported leading Turkish cultural and film festivals in New York, Texas, Georgia, California, North Carolina, helping to bring Turkish music, art, culture and cuisine to thousands of Americans.

The 64th Annual International Benefit Ball of the Los Angeles Philharmonic took place on May 7, 2016 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. Supported by a grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation, this year’s theme was “Turkey: A Night of Turkish Delights.” The event was being coordinated by the Turkish American Artists Bridge (TAAB) and featured a variety of Turkish musical and cultural performances.

TCF sponsored the American Turkish Friendship Council’s (ATFC) Fourth Annual Turkish Movie Night in Atlanta, GA on November 12, 2016. The event featured Annemin Yarası-My Mother’s Wound, directed by Ozan Açıktan. Funds raised through sponsorship and ticket sales for the event were used to support the education and basic needs of disadvantaged children through ATFC’s partnership with ÇATOM’s (Çok Amaçlı Toplum Merkezleri) in Turkey.

TCF provided a grant to the New York State International Film Festival, July 9-15, 2016, held at the Madison Theater in Albany, NY. The festival featured workshops taught by film experts and directors. Several Turkish films were shown to support the festival’s goal of creating a new venue for Turkish cinema and filmmakers in the U.S. in addition to educating the public about Turkish cinema.

TCF provided a grant to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to support the 4th Annual Houston Turkish Film Festival, an event which has enjoyed TCF support since its inception. The festival took place on September 29 - October 2, 2016, and showcased an impressive line-up of Turkish films including Sivas, directed by Kaan Müjdeci; Ivy, directed by Tolga Karaçelik; and the popular documentary The Cats of İstanbul, directed by Ceyda Torun.


Nazım Hikmet Poetry Festival

A TCF grant underwrote the 8th 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 10 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.

The 8th Nazım Hikmet Poetry Festival’s focus was 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, one of the most widely known poets for the past seven centuries.

This year’s festival invited speaker was Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz, an Iranian academic, Rumi and Persian studies scholar, and a poet in Persian and English. Professor Omid Safi and Professor Emeritus Bruce B. Lawrence from Duke University joined Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz during the panel discussion on the legacy of Rumi.

The heart of the festival is the poetry competition, which is open to poets from all around the world. This year, the competition had ten finalists. As it was the case in previous years, the group included both established and rising poets. The selection was carried out in two stages. The final selection committee included Betty Adcock, Joseph Bathanti, Greg Dawes, Erdağ Göknar, Terry Hummer, and Rachel Richardson. Finalists of the poetry competition attended the festival and read their poetry alongside other noted poets. A scrapbook of the winning poems is also published as part of the festival.


Tables of İstanbul

In 2014, TCF gave a major grant to support the development and production of a documentary on İstanbul cuisine. The project was conceived and directed by Dr. Zeynep Kılıç, Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Alaska Anchorage. Titled “Tables of İstanbul”, the documentary started filming in July 2014 and was completed in 2016. The documentary premiered with a showing at YESAM on April 16, 2016. The documentary explores the various aspects of the cuisine of Turkey through the prism of the diverse cuisine of İstanbul, while exploring the connections between food and identity.

The film was shown at 12 festivals across the world in 2016-2017, including the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Mexico, Spain, Ireland and India and received seven awards. Most notably, the film received the Award of Recognition at the IndieFest Film Awards (U.S.), the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, Award of Recognition - Cultural Feature (U.S.), Canadian Diversity Film Festival, Winner - Best Documentary, The Taste Awards, Winner - Viewers Choice Award, Best Feature Length Film or Documentary (U.S.), Spotlight Documentary Film Awards, Winner - Gold Award (U.S.), Gold Movie Awards Goddess Nike, Winner - Best Documentary (U.K.).

The film was received media attention, including coverage in the Anchorage Dispatch News, HuffPost Taste, The Guide İstanbul and Cornucopia.


Atatürk Week in California

TCF sponsored a series of lectures on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in California, organized by the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATASC). The lectures were presented by Professor George Gawrych, author of “The Young Atatürk: From Ottoman Soldier to Statesman of Turkey,” which was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History. The lectures took place on November 9-13, at the Chapman Global Education Institute, Cal State Channel Islands as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Cal State Northridge, and University of California San Diego. TCF has been a long-time supporter of the ATA-SC commemorations of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the anniversary of his passing on November 10.


Turkish Story Time Program

Makam New York, a non-profit organization in New York, received a TCF grant in support of its project Turkish Story Time. The program was a one hour weekly recorded session running January through June and September through December 2016, totaling 37 weeks. The events took place at Book Culture on Columbia bookstore, bringing children and their caregivers together to learn about Turkish culture by reading stories in Turkish, learning rhymes and riddles, being introduced to Turkish musical instruments, and working on literacy. The stories and materials are also be available on Makam New York’s website, and the program was video recorded and streamed online.



For the seventh year, a TCF grant underwrote a series of music concerts in the U.S. and Canada presented by İstanbulive VII, an annual celebration of Turkish music produced by Serdar İlhan and Mehmet Dede. Launched in 2009 and supported by TCF for several years, İstanbulive VII featured the U.S. debut of the Turkish musical group Taksim Trio with concerts at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on October 6, the Berklee College of Music in Boston on October 7, and the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre New York on October 9. The Taksim Trio features Hüsnü Şenlendirici on the clarinet, İsmail Tunçbilek on the bağlama, and Aytaç Doğan on the kanun.



TCF continued to provide major funding to art institutions and individuals to promote Turkey’s cultural heritage and contemporary arts. Thousands of people visited these exhibitions in 2016, advancing TCF’s mission to promote Turkey’s artistic and cultural heritage and contemporary arts.



TCF Grantee Glass Furnace Foundation Exhibition

The Glass Furnace Foundation in İstanbul, a TCF grantee institution and artists’ scholarships recipient since 2006, featured the works of 18 glass artists from Turkey and all over the world who participated in the Foundation’s “Artist in Residence” program this year. Several TCF supported artists were featured at the exhibition which remained on view from June 7-18 at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Center. They included glass artists Agâh Barış Can Aksakal (TCF Cultural Exchange Fellow-2012), Meral Değer (TCF SOFA featured artist-2011, 2013, 2014) and TCF Artist Grant recipient (2009) Gülin Algül.


TCF - ARMAGGAN Nature’s Colors Exhibition

A collaboration between art and science was on its best display during an exhibition organized by the ARMAGGAN Art & Design Gallery’s “Nature’s Colors-Doğanın Renkleri” exhibition. The research team at TCF - DATU created a line of 30 natural organic pigments for specific use in the arts and cultural preservation. A creative project developed by ARMAGGAN Art & Design Gallery introduced the pigments to a select group of painters with a commission to create one painting made with natural pigments for the exhibition. The exhibition was opened on September 8 at the gallery and remained on view until November 16. The color palette of the natural dyes proved both a challenge and a creative opportunity for the artists. The results of the artists’ experimentation with natural dyes will be juxtaposed with their works created with oil or acrylic paint dyes at the exhibition. The exhibition’s featured artists were Sıla Gür, Nilüfer Tokay, Aysun Bozuklu, Nilgün Sabar, Betül Cankara, Şevket Arık, Sinem Kaya, Güneş Özmen, Neşe Çoğal, Hüseyin Rüstemoğlu, Doruk Pireci, İrem Çamlıca and Desen Halıçınarlı.

Exhibition of Anatolian Kilims

A TCF grant to Hisar Anadolu Destek Derneği supported an exhibition of Van kilims at the Turkish Consulate General in Zurich, Switzerland from March 16-22, 2016. The exhibition featured kilims woven in ateliers set up in Van after the 2013 earthquakes, a project supported jointly by ARMAGGAN and the TCF Cultural Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory - DATU. Several Van kilims of the Anatolian Kilims collection by ARMAGGAN were also presented in the exhibition, which also featured talks by experts on Turkish kilims and three of the local weavers.



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 ran between February 13 and November 2016. Through a special agreement signed between the Republic of Turkey and the University of Pennsylvania, Turkey lent 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. Now housed in Turkish Museums in Ankara, İstanbul, Antalya, and Gordion, most of these extraordinary artifacts have never before traveled to the United States. For the first time, about 120 objects from Turkey, primarily from Tumulus MM and hand selected by exhibition curator Dr. C. Brian Rose, Penn Museum’s Gordion Archaeological Project Director. These pieces were displayed alongside select examples from the Penn Museum’s own collections.

Archaeologists from Penn have been excavating and conducting research at Gordion since 1950. This rich site, a cross-roads of many cultures over time, offers insight into thousands of years of history, but it is best known as the political and cultural capital of the Phrygians, a people who dominated much of what is now Turkey nearly 3,000 years ago.

On opening day, the exhibition was opened with a symbolic cutting of the Gordion Knot, and for the opening, Penn Museum’s Pepper Hall is transformed into a Kervansaray-inspired oasis reminiscent of the Turkish Kervansaray, or roadside inns, that offered travelers a place to recover from a day’s journey.




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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