Annual Report 2019
TRUSTEES' 2019 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 2019.

In 2019, TCF allocated a total of $724,586 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. We passed the 204 fellowships, since we began the programs. Our awardees participate in a variety of cultural and artistic showcases, as well as academic events in different countries and in Turkey.

In 2019, 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, the project undertakes scientific work year-round and shares it with the scholarly community worldwide at conferences and through publications. In line with the mission of TCF to preserve Turkey’s cultural heritage, we help cultural institutions conserve and restore historical artifacts.

TCF aims to disseminate knowledge about the rich cultural, artistic, and culinary heritage of Turkey through the TCF Lecture Series. It also sponsors the participation of its resident scholars and other experts in international events. The more than 100 lecture videos, which are available on the TCF digital Video Gallery, have been viewed over 3,580 times by visitors from all over the world. In addition, TCF scholars participated in 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 more than 2.5 million people from 37 countries and regions in 2019. The TCF Education Portal continued to be a resource on Turkey for the educational community. Teachers can download 104 free lesson plans on Turkey that cover history, geography, women’s rights, the environment and culture, and various political and economic issues. Prepared by participants of the TCF Teacher Study Tours to Turkey, the lesson plans have been downloaded nearly 2,250 times and enabled educators who wish to teach about Turkey to access accurate information in a format that conforms with U.S. curriculum standards.

We thank everyone who participated in our work in 2019 and reaffirm our commitment to promote Turkey’s 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 2019, TCF funds were distributed as follows:

1. PROGRAMS & PROJECTS $539,886.00
3. OPERATIONAL $184,700.00



TCF Lectures

TCF aims to disseminate knowledge about the rich cultural, artistic, and culinary heritage of Turkey through the TCF Lecture Series. It also sponsors the participation of its resident scholars and other experts in international events.

TCF lectures reach an even wider audience through the TCF Video Gallery, where they were viewed 5,580 times in 2019 by people from 13 countries.

TCF Scholars' Lectures

TCF works to advance knowledge and research on Turkish culture and art through the active participation of its scholars in relevant scientific conferences and other forums.

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 various conferences throughout the year (please see DATU for details).

TCF and the Media

In 2019, 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 year, the organization’s Facebook audience grew steadily, expanding by 12.3 percent, while its Twitter audience rose by more than 8.6 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 2.50 million people from 37 countries and regions in 2019.

The TCF Education Portal was added to this line-up in 2014 as an online resource featuring lesson plans and other materials on Turkey. It contains 104 English lesson plans on Turkey that educators can download for free for use in their classrooms. So far, the lesson plans have been downloaded 5,500 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.


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 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.

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 has 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 these colors in contemporary textile manufacturing 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 750 natural dye plants, organic pigments, and dye insects and provides an important reference database for the analysis of naturally dyed material.

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 by 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 help identify, date, restore, and conserve historical artifacts, particularly textiles.

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 2019.

Dr. Karadağ participated in the “Heritage İstanbul 2019 Restoration, Archaeology, Museum Technologies Fair & Conferences” in İstanbul, Turkey on April 11-13 with a presentation on “Laboratories in Turkey Cultural Heritage, Infrastructure and Capabilities”.

In addition, Dr. Karadağ, participated in the 41th International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry in Diyarbakır, Turkey on June 17-21 with a presentation on "Archaeometric Examination by SEM_EDX of the Pigments Belonging to the Hatay St. Pierre Church and a Brief Look at the Pigments Used in That Period”.

On October 10-12, Dr. Karadağ gave a presentation on “A new approach to restoration work on historical textiles” at the “3rd International Conference in Green Conservation of Cultural Heritage” in Porto, Portugal.

Dr. Karadağ participated in the “38th Dyes in History and Archaeology” conference on the discussion of dyes and organic pigments applied in the past in Amsterdam, Netherlands on November 6-9. Dr. Karadağ gave two presentation entitled “Comparison of Archival Documents and Analysis Results in the Materials of Ottoman Period Palace Fabrics” and a poster presentation entitled “Characterization of 19th Century Istanbul Kandilli Yazması (hand- painted textiles)”.

Finally Dr. Karadağ participated in the “II Beynəlxalq Ağsu Simpoziumu” in Baku, Azerbaijan on December 20-21. His presentation was titled “Natural Dyeing in theTurkey’s Turkoman”.

Additional Publications

• Karadag Recep (2019). Sustainability of Organic Cotton Fabric Dyeing with a Natural Dye (Gallnut) and Analysis by Multitechnique Approach. Journal of Natural Fibers,
• Karadag Recep (2019). A Review on the Flavonoids – A Dye Source. Int. J. Adv. Eng. Pure Sci. DOI: 10.7240/jeps.476514
• Karadag Recep (2019). Surface Investigation of Metal Threads and Solid Metals of Ottoman Textiles in the Topkapi Palace Museum
• Karadag Recep, (2019). Examination of Dyeing Properties on Silk of Some Flavonoids by Spectroscopic Techniques. Journal of Natural Fibers, Doi: 10.1080/15440478.2019.1616650
• Karadag Recep, (2019). Durability, Antimicrobial Activity and HPLC Analysis of Dyed Silk Fabrics Using Madder and Gall Oak. Journal of Natural Fibers, 1-14., Doi: 10.1080/15440478.2019.1588827
• Karadag Recep (2019). Examination of Dyeing Properties of the Dyed Cotton Fabrics with Barberry (Berberis vulgaris/i L.)/title. Journal of Natural Fibers, 1-10., Doi: 10.1080/15440478.2018.1558143

TCF’s Turkish Centennial Lecture Series on Ottoman Visual Culture and Art

On the 7th of February 2019, TCF’s Senior Resident Scholar and art historian, Nurhan Atasoy, hosted a lecture at the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall in the MET in New York City based on the culture exchanges between the Europeans and the Ottomans, as well as how Europeans perceived Ottoman culture.

The event was based on her book, Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453-1699, which features a more in-depth look at the cultural exchanges between the Europeans and the Ottomans.

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 contained over 3,600 artist entries in 2019. The goal of the project is to identify and recognize practitioners of Turkish traditional and modern arts and to help to promote Turkish artists worldwide. It also enables people with common interests to connect and collaborate on artistic and cultural projects. Who’s Who in Turkish Culture and Art is divided into categories such as Visual Arts, Turkish Traditional Arts, Applied Arts, Literature, Music, Theater, Movies, Documentaries 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 2018-2019 academic term, Dr. Arık continued taught, Elementary Kazakh (Level 1), Elementary Turkish (Levels 1-3), Advanced Turkish (Level 1), Introduction to Old Turkic (Level 2-3), Advanced Turkish/Ottoman Turkish (Level 2), Introduction to Uzbek, and Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia. He also taught a full-year equivalent Summer Quarter intensive Turkish language class.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 85 students enrolled in the courses taught by Dr. Arık. Over the course of the 19 years since the Ayaslı Lectureship was established, 1849 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 mission to advance cultural, educational, and scientific ties between the United States and Turkey. The construction of the building was completed in 2012 and it was inaugurated with an official ceremony on March 5, 2012.

The ARC houses 19 research labs, two clean rooms, an anechoic chamber, and an antenna tower, as well as seminar and meeting spaces, student reading rooms, and social areas. A fine example of a smart building, it minimizes water consumption via a rain-water collection system and generates its own electricity via flexible photovoltaic panels on the roof. Its relevant 50 kWh panels generated 60,000 kWh of electric energy in 2017-2018, saving 30,000 TL on the electricity bill and around 21 tons of CO2 emissions. During several days, the energy generated exceeded the ARC’s consumption requirements, allowing it to supply electricity to other buildings on the METU campus. The ARC is one of the buildings that will be integrated with the METU Smart Campus project, which is funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). The project aims to investigate priority areas to transform the METU campus into a more intelligent and sustainable site through the integration of technology.

Over 38 projects have been completed at the Ayaslı Research Center since its founding, with support from TUBITAK, the EU, and leading Turkish industrial partners like ASELSAN, HAVELSAN, Arçelik, and EnerjiSa. The center employs 86 full-time researchers and graduate students, and 24 faculty members are involved in its projects. In addition, several seminars and weekly research group meetings were held at the center.

Cultural Promotion & Exchanges

TCF continued to contribute to the promotion of Turkish art and culture across the United States. It also facilitated cultural and artistic exchanges between Turkey and the world by offering 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 204 fellowships to culture professionals.

TCF Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art

Since its establishment in 2000, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has made significant contributions to advancing knowledge of Turkish culture, art, and 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.

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 historical and contemporary art and culture.

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

TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship

TCF Cultural Exchange program is awarded competitively each year to allow Turkish and non-Turkish culture professionals to participate in exhibitions, festivals, concerts, and other cultural projects and in artist residency programs.

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.

TCF Grant Supports Turkish Melodies and Rhythms Meet the Classics

TCF awarded a grant to the International Women Associates – IWA Chicago to support IWA’s Turkish Culture group to promote Turkish musician at the Ruggles Concert Hall of Chicago’s historic Newberry Library. The event “Turkish Melodies and Rhythms Meet the Classics” performed by Turkish musician/composer Umut Deniz Topcuoglu.


TCF has been in official relations with UNESCO since 2015. TCF supported the mission of UNESCO through disseminating relevant information about the work of UNESCO. TCF also informs the general public and non-governmental organizations about UNESCO awards and is qualified to nominate organizations for these awards.



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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