Annual Report 2017
TRUSTEES' 2017 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 2017.
In 2017, TCF allocated a total of $373,288.92 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 2017, TCF provided a total of $52,724.81 in grants and fellowships to organizations and individuals.

Two TCF Fellowship programs help build artistic, cultural and scholarly exchanges across the globe. The TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art and the TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship provide funding to culture professionals, including musicians, visual and performing artists, writers, curators, scholars and many others. In 2017, we passed the 200 fellowships marker and provided six fellowships, bringing the total to 204 awards since we began the programs. Our awardees participated in a variety of cultural and artistic showcases, as well as academic events in different countries and in Turkey.

In 2017, TCF continued to research, document, preserve and promote Turkey’s textile heritage through the work of the TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Project. Headed by Professor Recep Karadağ, scientific work is undertaken year-round and shared with the scholarly community worldwide at conferences and through publications. In line with the mission of TCF to help preserve Turkey’s cultural heritage, we help cultural institutions conserve and restore historical artifacts. In 2017, we provided pro bono analytical services to two institutions and two museums in Turkey.

Under the TCF Lecture Series, we organized 3 lectures on Turkish culture, art and cuisine. Videos of these and past TCF lectures are made available on the TCF Video Gallery, and were viewed over 6,580 times last year 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 4.15 million people from 238 countries and regions in 2017, spreading knowledge about Turkey’s cultural heritage. The TCF Education Portal continued to be a resource on Turkey for the educational community. 104 lesson plans on Turkey can be downloaded for free and range from history to geography, women’s rights to the environment and culture, as well as various political and economic issues. The lesson plans have been downloaded nearly 6,250 times by teachers in the United States and other countries.

We thank everyone who helped advance our mission to strengthen the bonds of friendship among people through art and culture, as well as to preserve and promote Turkey, past, present, and future.


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


In 2017, TCF funds were distributed as follows:

1. PROGRAMS & PROJECTS $110,873.07
2. GRANTS & FELLOWSHIPS $52,724.813
3. OPERATIONAL $209,691.04



TCF Lectures

TCF aims to disseminate knowledge about the rich cultural, artistic and culinary heritage of Turkey through the TCF Lecture Series. TCF also sponsors the participation of its Resident Scholars and other experts in events, sharing their knowledge with diverse audiences worldwide. In 2017, TCF organized the following three lectures:

Helva Culture and Helva Talks in the Ottoman Palace” by Ömür Tufan, Head of Kitchens at the Topkapı Palace Museum

Immigrant Cuisine of Eskişehir” by Instructer Osman Güldemir, Anadolu University Vocational School of Eskişehir Cookery Program

From Tradition to Modernity - the Art of the Anatolian Kilim” by Ali Rıza Tuna, independent researcher

TCF lectures reach an even wider audience through the TCF Video Gallery where they were viewed 6,580 times in 2017 by people from 112 countries.


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 2017, TCF scholars attended events in Azerbaijan 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 Project - DATU, and his colleagues participated in a variety of conferences throughout the year (please see under DATU).

TCF and the Media

In 2017, 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 24.3 percent, while its Twitter audience grew by more than 18.6 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 4.15 million people from 238 countries and regions in 2017, 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 6,250 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 Project (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.


TCF Culinary Arts Center - YESAM

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.

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.



    “For many years, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has been organizing various events related to the culinary culture of Turkey that feature leading experts and tastings as well. I believe that the lecture that I gave on “Eskişehir Migrant Cuisine,” followed by a tasting menu that was prepared by the NAR restaurant staff was quite beneficial. I received positive feedback from those who attended the event, as well as those who watched the presentation on the internet. Thank you for hosting it.“
Instructer Osman Güldemir, Anadolu University Vocational School of Eskişehir Cookery Program


TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Project

The TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Project is designed to preserve and promote Turkey’s textile heritage through research and development. The Project was started in 2010 with the establishment of a state of the art laboratory in İstanbul with support from the ARMAGGAN brand. Through the years, the TCF team contributed 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.
The TCF Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Project 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.

Over the years, TCF has provided free analytical services to assist preservation and conservation efforts. This work is conducted at the internationally recognized laboratory in İstanbul, which is accredited to the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TÜRKAK) under the TS EN ISO/IEC 17025 standards, the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

Cultural Preservation

In line with our mission to preserve Turkey’s cultural heritage, TCF provides free analytical services to museums, as well as cultural and educational institutions in Turkey and elsewhere. The analyses that the TCF team conducts at the laboratory helps identify, date, restore, and conserve historical artifacts, particularly textiles.

In 2017, TCF provided such services to 2 institutions and 2 museums, conducting 74 dye analyses, 16 metal thread analyses, 2 color measurements, and 4 microscopic measurements for a total of 96 analytical processes. The institutions and museums that received the services are:

Vakıflar Carpet & Kilim Museum in İstanbul
Military Museum in İstanbul
Anadolu University in Eskişehir
Manuscripts Library of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, Süleymaniye Library, İstanbul
İstanbul University Yenikapı Shipwrecks Project as to the best conservation and restoration methods.



Yenikapı Byzantine Shipwrecks Excavation

Salvage excavations conducted in the Yenikapı quarter of the historic peninsula of İstanbul by the İstanbul Archaeological Museums since 2004 have brought to light the Theodosian Harbour on the Sea of Marmara. In addition to thousands of archaeological artifacts, a total of 37 shipwrecks dating from the 5th to the 11th centuries AD were uncovered, constituting the biggest collection of medieval ships uncovered at a single excavation site. Under the auspices of the ‘İstanbul University Yenikapı Shipwrecks Project’, carried out by İstanbul University’s Department of Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects, a team led by Professor Ufuk Kocabaş has undertaken the recording and dismantling of twenty-seven shipwrecks as well as conservation/restoration and reconstruction projects of thirty-one shipwrecks in total.

Analytical services were provided pro bono by TCF through the Cultural Heritage and Natural Dyes Project. Professor Karadağ and his team worked on this special project and provided input to the excavation team on the filling and binding material used in the ships. In particular, analysis on one of the most important shipwrecks (inventory number YK12), revealed that four different resins were used in the construction. The analysis established that one resin was used during the construction of the entire ship while the others must have been used when the ship underwent repairs at different harbors. The analysis also found that horse hair was used as filling material, and that horse hair was water repellent and protected the ship against shipworms; areas that did have horse hair filling were undamaged, while those that did not were damaged by shipworms.

The analysis provided by the TCF team identified the types of resins and filling material, as well as their physical and chemical specifications and reactions, guiding the effort to establish conservation and preservation methods for the project.

The preliminary findings of this analysis were shared at two international conferences; the 2nd International Conference on Art & Archaeology 2016 and the 21st International Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies.

Analysis of Encyclopedia of Animals

Held at the Manuscripts Library of the Süleymaniye Library in İstanbul, the Encyclopedia of Animals is the first book about animals written in the Ottoman Empire. The 62 volume collection was written from 1487 until the death of the author in 1501. Hand written, the books are leather bound and decorated with colorful illustrations, and are regarded as a very highly valuable manuscript collection.

In need of extensive restoration, the most damaged parts of the collection were brought to the laboratory for analysis. The team conducted analysis on the leather binding, the ink used in the writing, the colored illustrations, and on the paper to determine the causes of its discoloration and carbonization.

As a result of the analytical work, the composition and ingredients of the ink and its source material, as well as the dyes and binders in the leather binding were documented. Most importantly, it was determined that the damage and discoloration of the paper was caused by the dye produced by a certain type of bacteria. According to these findings, the TCF team made recommendations on restoration procedures for the volumes. These findings may also inform restoration efforts on other manuscripts.



    “We are grateful for the support by TCF for the detailed analyses of the red and yellow red pigments found in Kanlıtaş settlement run by myself under the auspices of Anadolu University and Ministry of Culture Tourism. TCF has supported Kanlıtaş Excavation and Research Project since 2017 and gave us assistance in our early paint manufacture in prehistoric Kanlıtaş settlement (see www. We plan to publish the results in one of SCI index periodicals. We hope to continue this support and collaboration among our institutions and thank the Turkish Cultural Foundation.“
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Ali Umut Türkcan, Director of Kanlıtaş Höyük Excavation and Research Project, Anadolu
University, Department of Archaeology

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 the Project, participated in a variety of conferences in 2017. He presented a paper on “The importance of scientific methods and techniques in the preservation of cultural heritage” at the “Workshops Past, Present and Future of Traditional Turkish Arts” organized by the Republic of Turkey’s Atatürk Supreme Council for Culture, Language and History at the Atatürk Culture Centre in Ankara, Turkey on March 10-11, 2017. Ms. Emine Torgan, a researcher at the Project, gave a presentation on the “Methods of analysis for historical objects and how they benefit cultural heritage” at “Expo Heritage İstanbul, Restoration, Archaeology, and Museum Technology Exhibition and Conference” on April 29 in İstanbul.

Dr. Karadağ and Ms. Torgan participated in the “2nd International Natural Dyeing Symposium” at Akdeniz University in Antalya on May 10-12 and gave two presentations entitled “Reproduction of Ottoman silk brocades and the importance of natural dyes” and “Sustainability and the use of natural dyes on modern textiles: Armaggan Collection.”

In addition, Dr. Karadağ presented a paper on “Investigation of archaeological remains from different materials and periods with instrumental methods of analysis” and “Archaeometric examination of Dascyleum textile remains and comparisons with textile samples found in other excavations.” with researcher Emine Torgan at the “39th International Symposium on Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry” at Merinos Atatürk Congress Culture Centre in Bursa on May 22-26.

Finally Dr. Karadağ participated in the 5th International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 17-21. He gave a presentation entitled “Non-destructive and Micro analysis Methods for Restoration of Carpets in Azerbaijan’s National History Museum”.


TCF Rediscovers Recipe of Turkey Red

In 2017, TCF concluded a 3-year research project on the historical color, and succeeded in the rediscovery of Turkey Red (Türk Kırmızısı), a natural dyeing process lost for over 200 years.

A color/dyeing recipe invented by dyers in 16th century Ottoman Empire, Turkey Red, sometimes referred to as Edirne (Adrianople) Red (after the western border town of Edirne in Turkey), was a highly guarded trade secret handed from master dyer to apprentice. The technique was introduced to Europe in 1746 when two master dyers from İzmir were taken to France. From there, the technique spread to England where in 19th Century Glasgow six dyeing factories dyed textiles in Turkey Red.

With the spread of synthetic dyes and the diminishing application of natural dyes in the textile industry, the recipe for Turkey Red was lost. Despite many ongoing academic research projects worldwide, the recipe remained elusive.

TCF and ARMAGGAN partnered in an R&D project at the Cultural Heritage Preservation and Natural Dyes Laboratory to discover the recipe. The project included extensive literature research, micro- analysis of historical samples and trials of the multiple dyeing steps. It took the research team led by Professor Recep Karadağ over three years to establish the recipe of Turkey Red, which is now patented to the Turkish Cultural Foundation (Patent Number: TR 2015 00638 B).

Turkey Red is created through a dyeing process of cotton fiber with dyes extracted from the root of Rubia tinctorum L. a natural dye plant. The process includes nearly 40 dyeing steps with high coloring fastness and a special color tone. The dyeing requires a precise protocol of the application steps of the dye, which is a mixture of Rubia tinctorum L. madder dye and vegetable oil.

    “We regard the rediscovery and scientific documentation of Turkey Red as an important contribution to the preservation of our cultural heritage, as well as to science. The work on Turkey Red is one more important milestone in our long-standing efforts for the preservation and contemporary application of natural dyes. By perfecting natural dyes and making them fully usable in contemporary textile manufacturing and other consumer products, we aim to contribute to responsible productions that save our environment and protect human health.“
Dr. Yalçın Ayaslı, TCF Founder and Chairman



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 2017. 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

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 2016-2017 academic term, Dr. Arık continued taught, Elementary Kazakh (Levels 1-3), Elementary Turkish (Levels 1-3), Advanced Turkish (Level 1), Introduction to Old Turkic (Level 2-3), Advanced Turkish/Ottoman Turkish (Level 2), and Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia. He also taught a full-year equivalent Summer Quarter intensive Turkish language class.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, 92 students enrolled in the courses taught by Dr. Arık. Over the course of the 15 years since the Ayaslı Lectureship was established, 1436 students enrolled in the Turkish language and related courses offered at the University of Chicago.

    “We are extremely fortunate at the University of Chicago to be supported by the Ayaslı Fund, as this generous support permits us to continue developing the leading program in Turkish Studies in the United States. We alone have year-long offerings in three levels of Modern Turkish, three levels of Ottoman Turkish, and instruction in Old Turkic, Kazakh, Uzbek and Chagatai. We also have the highest enrollment in all of these classes since 2009, according to the American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages annual enrollment survey. Through the generous support of the Ayaslı Fund, Turkish Studies at the University of Chicago has been stimulated as a whole, with an increase in enrollments, and in the number and range of courses taught.“
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.

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 building is a fine example of a smart building, it minimizes water consumption by rain-water collection system and generates its own electricity by flexible photo-voltaic panels at the roof-top. 50 kW panels

generated 60.000 kWh of electric energy in 2017-2018 so far, saving 30.000 TL of electricity bill and saving around 21 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In several days, energy generated exceeded self-consumption of the ARC building, supplying energy to other buildings in the METU campus. ARC building is one of the buildings that will be integrated with the METU Smart Campus project, which is funded by US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). In the project, it is aimed to investigate the priority areas to transform the METU campus into a more intelligent and sustainable campus through the integration of technology.


Since its founding over 38 research projects were completed at the Ayaslı Resarch Center with support from TUBITAK, the EU and leading Turkish industrial partners like ASELSAN, HAVELSAN, Arçelik and EnerjiSa. 86 full-time researchers and graduate students are working in the research center and 24 faculty members are involved with these research projects. In addition, several research seminars and weekly research group meetings were held at the center. In 2018, five spin-out technology companies were established by the graduate students in the ARC.


TCF continued to contribute to the promotion of Turkish art and culture 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 Fellowship Programs

The TCF Fellowship programs facilitates cultural and artistic exchanges on a global scale. Since their inception, the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art and the TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship programs awarded a total of 197 fellowships to culture professionals.

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, 91 scholars have been awarded the TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art, including 3 scholars who received the Fellowship in 2017.

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.

Ayşe Ören
Ms. Ören was awarded the TCF Fellowship to present her paper “Space Architecture and Long Term Outer Space Travels” at the International Space Development Conference 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri, May 25- 29, 2017.

Assoc Prof. Dr. Evren Kutlay
Professor at Yıldız Technical University Music and Performing Arts Department, pianist, musicologist, music historian.
Ms. Kutlay was awarded the TCF Fellowship to present her paper “Hints of Ottoman-American Musical Interactions From Nineteenth To Early Twentieth Centuries” at the ITCEF Conference (International Conference on Turkish Culture, Art, Language and Literature Studies) 2017 in New York, August 15-18, 2017.
Sara Filiz Miller Catterall
Editor and book indexer
Sara Filiz Miller Catterall was awarded the TCF Fellowship to publish Charlotte Jirousek’s book entitled “More Than Oriental Splendor: Exchanges in Dress, Design and Culture in the Mediterranean World During the Ottoman Era”


TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship

In 2017, TCF awarded 3 fellowships under its Cultural Exchange Fellowship Program. 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.

2017 TCF Cultural Exchange Fellows

Agah Bariş Can Aksakal (Turkey), a glass sculptor, participated in the Creating and Using Murrine Program at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York City from August 7-12, 2017.

Umut Adan (Turkey), a musician, recorded an album at the renowned Toe-Rag Studios in London, England in February 2017. He is the first artist from Turkey invited to record materials at Toe-Rag Studios. He worked with Grammy Award winning producer Liam Watson
Sara Filiz Miller Catterall
Editor and book indexer
Sara Filiz Miller Catterall was awarded the TCF Fellowship to publish Charlotte Jirousek’s book entitled “More Than Oriental Splendor: Exchanges in Dress, Design and Culture in the Mediterranean World During the Ottoman Era”


    “It has been almost 6 years that I have start to work with glass and try to improve my glass-blowing skills. From the first day until today, I am doing my best to make a difference and learn from skilled professionals. For a student in this field, Corning Museum of Glass is a most perfect match for it includes the Rakow Research Library, Glass Shaping Studios – where I was able to use any kind of technical process-, the Museum and The New Wings. I wouldn’t be able go to the USA without financial support. That is why I am grateful to the Turkish Cultural Foundation for its support. With the help of TCF; I have a lot more patience, tenacity and the will to work. I am also very happy to be a part of the TCF family at the same time. Thank you so much for your support to glass in Turkey and students who work with it.”
Agah Barış Can Aksakal, glass artist


    “I trekked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail (807 kms ) in 2017 in order to complete my thesis project called “ the relationship between meditative approaches and dance”. Since then I’ve been invited to Raizvanguarda Artist for a Residency Program in Portugal, in order to document my artistic processes. The Turkish Cultural Foundation provided funding for me to take up the residency and continue to work on and develop my thesis project. It was a very inspiring process for me to come together with European artists from different disciplines and to be involved in their production areas. It was great to hear positive feedbacks. With the experience I gained in my walking trips, I created my own methods and artistic content and designed a workshop called ‘’Walking’’ My works and interviews have been published in reputed journals. I really appreciate your kind support throughout this process.”
Dicle Doğan, choreographer, performance artist


    “I am so happy that TFC gave his support for recording my album. My album was one of the rare occasions that our folk music was recorded in one of the most qualified and experimental sound reproducing studios of the world. Many musicians we know in modern music history have recorded in this studio. This research of analog sound gave me the opportunity to compete in qualified music market in the world. And this year I’ve signed with a good British music label. My album who represents Turkish musical spirit will be published in January. I thank TFC for helping to conclude my album in one of the best ways.”
Umut Adan, Musician


Turkish Culture, Music, Film and Dance

TCF continued to support the promotion of Turkish culture and art in the United States by underwriting several events.

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

TCF provided a grant to support Anatolian Artisans’ participation in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market on July 14-16, 2017. The market has become the largest folk art market in the world featuring 150 master artists from nearly 60 countries, and it was voted “Best Art Festival” by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers Choice Awards.

The TCF grant helped to bring İbrahim Kuşlu, a Turkish ceramic artist to the fair, who successfully presented his Seljuk period inspired ceramic works at Santa Fe. The fair drew nearly twenty thousand visitors. In addition to participating in the fair, the artist had a chance to participate in training courses about international marketing, e-commerce, financing etc., and to interact with other artists and buyers from around the world.


TCF Grant Supports Film on Ottoman era musical drama


TCF provided a major grant to support the production of Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch, a full-length film of an original music drama produced and presented by Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol and Dünya. Sanlıkol, a TCF 2012 Fellow, reimagined Shakespeare’s Othello as the famed 17th century Ottoman eunuch, Sümbül Ağa in a unique medium (described as a “coffeehouse opera”) where he arranged 17th century Ottoman/Turkish music as well as Italian Renaissance music and composed new music inspired by these repertoires. Two of the four masked characters in the drama sing in Turkish while two of them sing in both Italian and Turkish. There also is a coffeehouse storyteller, meddah, who conveys the story to the audiences throughout the opera. The script written by Dünya’s Vice President Robert Labaree combines The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice  (1603) with the original Italian novel Un Capitano Moro (A Morrish Captain) by Giovanbattista Gerald (1565) and a Turkish novel Kızlarağası’nın Piçi (The Bastard of the Chief Black Eunuch) by Reşad Ekrem Koçu (1933). Since February 2015, Dünya has presented the production 20 times throughout the American northeast.

    “We are most grateful to TCF for their support toward the making of the “Othello in the Seraglio” film in which I have reimagined Shakespeare’s Othello as an Ottoman eunuch. The production is the film version of what we have been calling a “coffeehouse opera” as the story is set in a 17th century İstanbul coffeehouse. TCF’s timely support enabled us to complete this unique production and bring it’s critical messages to a broader American audience when misconceptions about Turkey (and the Middle East) is an important problem in the US.”
Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol

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 İlknur Boray of the Atatürk Society of America (ASA), who spoke about the life and accomplishments of Atatürk in Los Angeles on November 10 and in San Diego on November 11.

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 2016 to support a project called Turkish Story Time. A free program designed to advance Turkish language, literacy, and cultural heritage among the youngest community members, it consisted of first weekly then monthly book and story reading sessions that lasted from January 2016
to June 2017.

The program was held in partnership with the independent Manhattan bookstore Book Culture and brought 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 program attendance varied from 12-25 individuals per meeting.

The highlight of the 2017 program was the visit of Turkish children’s storywriter Zeynep Sevde, who read from her published books.

The program is further enhanced by the online component on the Makam New York’s website ( specifically designed for Turkish Story Time. Turkish Story Time is video recorded and streamed online from this website and on the Makam New York’s YouTube channel.



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 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 2017, advancing TCF’s mission to promote Turkey’s artistic and cultural heritage and contemporary arts

Stone Sounds Exhibition on Sinop Kale

TCF provided a grant to support Stone Sounds: Echoes from 4000 years at Sinop Kale, an exhibition that explores the history of the fortress of Sinop, a historical and archaeological site on the Black Sea in Turkey. Through the use of images and sound recordings from Sinop and the excavations at Sinop Kale, the exhibition allowed viewers to experience the history of an important port in the Black Sea/Eurasian world. The exhibit was created and produced by artists Sven Anderson and Erkan Akliman, and the Sinop fortress excavations are led by Dr. Owen Doonan of California State University Northridge and Dr. Alex Bauer of Queens College of the City University of New York.

The exhibition was on view at California State University Northridge Art Galleries from February 11-March 2, 2017 and at the Explorer’s Club in New York City during May 2017, with a festival on May 4 that celebrated Sinop’s rich history through food, music and film.

Kitab-ı Cihannüma “Book of the World”

TCF awarded a major grant to American Friends of the Arts in Ireland to support the restoration and preservation of one of the earliest printed books in Turkish: the Kitab-ı Cihannüma (Mirror of the World, 1732) by the Ottoman Turkish scholar Kâtip Çelebi and printed by İbrahim Müteferrika.
The Chester Beatty Library is a museum and library that houses the world-class collection of Islamic, East
Asian and European art assembled by the great American philanthropist and collector Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968).

Kâtip Çelebi is the pen name of Mustafa bin Abdullah (1609-1657), also later known as Haji Khalifa (Hacı Halife), who was an Ottoman historian and geographer and is regarded as one of the most productive authors of non-religious, scientific literature in the 17th-century Ottoman Empire. He began writing the Cihannüma in 1654, expanding on it over the years but unable to complete a second edition due to his untimely death.

İbrahim Müteferrika (c.1674-1745), who printed the Cihannüma, played a special role in the story of printing in the Islamic world. A Hungarian, whose early life remains something of a mystery, Müteferrika became a senior figure at the imperial Ottoman court. Today he is remembered as the founder of the first official Ottoman printing house in Turkey. In 1727 he secured an edict from Sultan Ahmed III permitting him to print works of a non-religious nature. Subsequently, between 1729 and 1742 his press published 17 books, of which the Chester Beatty Library holds 13.

Published in 1732 in İstanbul, the Chester Beatty Library’s rare and complete copy of the Cihannüma has survived with all of its original 13 astronomical and 26 geographical maps intact. The ambitious text summarized Ottoman geographical knowledge of the time and is one of the earliest books printed in Turkey in Turkish.

Due to the importance of this volume, it was included in a recent Chester Beatty publication ‘Director’s Choice’, at which time it was apparent that the book required extensive conservation and the Library approached the Turkish Cultural Foundation for support.

The book was tightly bound in an unsympathetic 19th-century binding which placed a strain on the pages each time the volume was opened. Over the centuries, with repeated use, the green copper-based pigment used to frame the printed maps had gradually burnt through the paper, causing most of the folios to split along this line. The support provided by the Turkish Cultural Foundation will enable the conservators at the Chester Beatty to re-sew the carefully conserved pages, reinforce the structure of the book and rebind the volume in an Islamic style binding that will allow the volume to be safely handled and displayed.

    “We are delighted to partner with the Turkish Cultural Foundation on this project. This is one of the most impressive early printed books in the collection and the TCF’s support of the conservation treatment will enable us to put the Cihannüma on display, playing an important role in deepening the understanding and appreciation of Turkish cultural heritage in Ireland.”
Fionnuala Croke, Director, Chester Beatty Library


    “We are pleased to provide support to the Chester Beatty Library in the preservation of this valuable publication. Kitab-ı Cihannüma carries historic significance as the sheds light on the scholarly accomplishments of Katip Çelebi and his life-long efforts to spread scientific knowledge in the Ottoman Empire and beyond.”
Dr. Yalçın Ayaslı, Founder and Chairman of the Turkish Cultural Foundation



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