As KPY (İstanbul Bilgi University Cultural Policy and Management Research Centre) we are proud to introduce 2014 Annual Turkish Cultural Policy and Cultural Management News Digest. Through this digest comprising of top ten news items, we aim to give an insight into the Turkish cultural policy discussions in 2014. This digest is circulated annually to our international contacts. On this note we would like to wish you a happy, successful and productive new year in 2015!
Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık announced the ‘Design Strategy Report’ which was prepared by the Consultative Design Council of Turkey. The Report has been issued officially and it maps out an action plan to support the design sector in Turkey. The actions are grouped under, legislative issues, support and finance issues, education and culture, cooperation and co-ordination, awareness raising and promotion.
This year, added to the debate regarding TÜSAK law proposal which envisages the closure of all state-run art institutions, the issue of censorship in arts has also gained momentum. Mustafa Kurt, Deputy General Director of State Theatre (DT), who also opposed the TÜSAK draft law, resigned from his post after refusing to allow censoring of certain parts of a play. Ankara based Theatre Actors' Union (TOMEB) issued a written statement supporting the resignation while condemning censorship in art and artistic expressions, stating that this incidence is an indication that something like a censorship committee has been formed within Culture and Tourism Ministry that is totally against artistic freedoms and also against the existing intellectual and artistic copyright law.
For information about the TÜSAK draft law, the KPY Yearbook 2012-2013 issue has detailed articles.
Regarding censorship issue: Censorship and it's increasing usage in the recent years was criticised in the final declaration of the 6th Turkey Publishing Conference, jointly organised by Istanbul Bilgi University and Turkey Publishers Association in May 2014. Other headlines from the Final Declaration are: Ministry of Education should follow a policy of transparency and participation regarding issues of publishing; Plagiarism is not just an issue to be dealt by legal regulations but it is also a scientific ethics issue. Supporting the publishing industry will have a positive impact on improving the readership level in Turkey; For this reason every initiative aiming to support literature should be encouraged by the state.
Occupational Standards regarding opera singers and dancers prepared by Actor’ Union entered into force in Turkey this year in 28 October. Standards draw attention to employers’ liability in occupational health and safety issues. (You could reach the related Official Gazette issue via link below, declaration is only in Turkish.)
This year, the European Commission has for the first time given awards for Roma integration to civil society organisations from Western Balkans and Turkey. The seven winners that were chosen from 21 short listed organisations, were announced during a ceremony in Brussels. From Turkey, Sulukule Roma Culture Development and Solidarity Association was awarded for their project that involves running a children’s art atelier project in Sulukule, a historic Roma neighbourhood which was totally devastated by the urban regeneration project. The project is based in Sulukule and aims to support the Roma children who had been displaced from the neighbourhood.
Removal of the documentary titled Yeryüzü Aşkın Yüzü Oluncaya Dek (Love will Change the World) by Reyan Tuvi from the festival program with the claim that articles 125 and 299 of the Turkish Penal Code on defamation of the President are violated, was the case that sparked a huge row among the participants of the Festival. As a result, all the 15 directors competing in the Documentary section of the Festival declared their protest against the censorship and decided to pull their films out of the Festival.
The number of private museums in Turkey has exceeded the number of state museums for the first time. According to information provided by the Cultural Heritage and Museums General Directorate of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there are 192 museums affiliated with the Culture and Tourism Ministry, while the number of private museums has risen to 193.
Assyrians’ first women’s center was opened in Midyat, a town densely populated by Assyrians in the Mardin province. The Assyrian Women’s Center aims to strengthen the position and increase the visibility of Assyrian women, who are marginalised even more than other women in Turkey due to their linguistic and religious differences.
The applications of site of Pergamon, Cumalıkızık and Bursa are accepted to UNESCO world heritage list during the 38th World Heritages meeting of the UNESCO held in Qatar, Doha. With these additions, in Turkey number of places registered in World Heritage list increased from 11 to 13, the previous addition was Çatalhöyük, accepted in 2012. Accepted as one category, Bursa and Cumalıkızık are important sites as "birthplace of Ottoman Empire" and indicators of its lively commercial culture. Bursa served as the first capital of Empire and contains many historical remains from the Empire's founding years, whereas Cumalıkızık, a 700 year old village situated in Bursa, features many Ottoman era buildings that are in good state of preservation. The other addition, Pergamon, situated near İzmir, is considered one of the most important centre for culture and arts of the Hellenistic period, home to one of the biggest libraries of that period.
The Council of Europe Museum Prize that has been awarded annually since 1977, has been awarded to the Baksi Museum in Bayburt in 2014. The award ceremony was held in Strasbourg on 8 April 2014. Baksi Museum, which aims to bridge the gap between the center and periphery of the country, and bring a high standard of art and design to an under-developed rural area of Northern Anatolia, was established by Hüsamettin Koçan.
It was reported by the Turkish media that the Turkish state paid a value added tax rebate valued 12 million Turkish lira ($ 5.45 million) to those Hollywood film production companies which produced their films in Turkey. According to Ministery of Culture and Tourism, this support mechanism was created together with the Ministry of Finance, in order to attract Hollywood producers to make their films in Turkey. Since 2011, Hollywood producers spent 80 million lira for producing 18 movies in Turkey and received 12 million lira as VAT return.