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Ankara (0312)


Ankara is the capital of  Turkey and the centre of the Turkish Government. It houses all foreign embassies. It is the country's second largest city after Istanbul. As of 2007 the city had a population of 3,763,591. Historically the city was also known in the European languages as Angora (hence the name of the Angora goat and its prized wool called mohair as well as the Angora wool coming from Angora rabbits). This changed when the city was officially renamed Ankara with the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930. 7 % of all Dutch companies in Turkey are based in Ankara

In the STGM database a total of 1405 NGO’s was listed. Of these 15 were dedicated to education and youth, 15 to culture and 4 to arts.


Ankara has 4 State and 8 private universities. Below I sum up the ones which were most mentioned by interviewees:

Middle East Technical University

Middle East Technical University (commonly referred to as ODTÜ, English METU) is a technical university located in Ankara. The students with the highest score on the national university entrance exam choose to enroll in METU – most of its departments accept only the top 1% of the nearly 1.5 million applicants. METU had the greatest share in national research funding by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) in the last five years, and it is the leading university in Turkey in terms of the number of European Union Framework Programme (FP) projects participation. Apart from the campus in Ankara the university has a Campus in Mersin and in Northern Cyprus. Each academic year, METU hosts international students from nearly 80 different countries. It has 168 Erasmus Program agreements and 182 bilateral exchange and cooperation agreements with universities abroad. The METU Faculty of Architecture: Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Industrial Design collaborates with Delft University. The official language of instruction at METU is English.

For e-culture it can be of interest that METU manages Turkey's Country Code Top-level Domain (ccTLD) (the ".tr" domain) and that METU-Technopolis, or METUTECH, is the first science and research park in Turkey. Of its 240 firms 65% are specialized in information and communication technologies.

METU student clubs include: Amateur Photography Club, Archeological Society, Architecture Club, Cinema Club, Fine Arts Club, History Club, International Youth Club, Internet Society, Literature Club, Media Society, Radio Society, Robot Society, Television Society and the Young Authors Society.

Some student clubs are worth elaborating on:

-          METU Classical Guitar Society (Klasik Gitar Topluluğu) is Turkey's first guitar society. The society aims to introduce and spread classical music culture. The society has raised some talented artists (such as Ahmet Kanneci, Cem Duruöz, Orhan Anafarta, Emre Sabuncuoğlu, and Gutay Yıldıran) and organizes voluntary classical guitar lessons, continuous music activities, and the annual ‘International Classical Guitar Festival’ (which is also the longest running classical guitar festival in Turkey).

-          Turkish Classical Music Club (Klasik Türk Müziği Topluluğu) focuses on classical Turkish music instruments and organizes free courses to students.

-          METU Classical Music Society aims to organize concerts and recitals related to classical music.

-          METU Music Societies is a very active society with events like the Lake Festival, Metal Days, Amateur Music Days, Rock 'n Blues Days, Rock Festival, and part of METU Spring Festival. The society acts like a school for amateur musicians mainly in the genres of rock, metal and blues.

-          METU Musical Society "The Company" (ODTÜ Müzikal Topluluğu) enacts musicals in various venues throughout the country.

-          METU Players (ODTÜ Oyuncuları) is a university theatre club.

-          The Book Club organizes seminars about writers and literature and hosts renowned authors for panels.

-          Turkish Folklore Club (Türk Halk Bilimi Topluluğu) which was founded in 1961 and is one of the oldest student societies in METU, mainly engaging in folk dance and folk music. It opens free courses for Turkish folk instruments and folk dances. It organizes the annual Anatolian Musical Festival and Folklore Days.

-          Contemporary Dance Group. The METU Contemporary Dance Group is a professional organization, but artistically their level is amateur. However some of their graduates are evolving into professionals. Several of the members of the contemporary dance scene in Istanbul came from this student club.


There are continuously cultural activities organized on the METU campus and there is a summer school program as well. The Cultural and Convention Center on the METU campus continually hosts a wide spectrum of cultural events and festivals such as the METU Jazz Days and METU Art Festival. The event with the largest number of participants is the annual METU Spring Festival, a five day long series of open air concerts and exhibitions held at the main campus.


Bilkent Univeristy

Bilkent University is the first private, non-profit university in Turkey. The University campus is located about 12 km west of the center of Ankara. Bilkent University entered into collaborative projects and exchange programs with many foreign universities and has student exchange agreements with Tilburg University and Amsterdam University in the Netherlands. The university also has a communications office at the Empire State Building in New York City, equipped with interactive video conferencing capabilities. A number of courses are delivered through this office via a satellite connection.

The faculties most relevant for the cultural sector are: the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (Communication and Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design), the Faculty of Humanities and Letters (History of Art and English Language and Literature) and the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts (Music, Performing Arts). METU graduate programs include: Archaeology and History of Art (MA), Art, Design and Architecture (PhD), Painting and Printmaking (MFA), Graphic Design (MFA.), Interior Architecture and Environmental Design (MFA.), Media and Visual Studies (MFA.) and Music (MM, DMA/Proficiency in Art).

Bilkent University claims to be a leader in music and performing arts in Turkey. The Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is Turkey’s first and only academic symphony orchestra. It performs regularly at the University Concert Hall and gives concerts in various other cities and countries. Young actors who study at the Performing Arts Department have regularly scheduled performances. The University also sponsors frequent lectures, art exhibitions, and literary evenings throughout the academic year.

Mayfest, the traditional Bilkent University summer festival, is held at the first week of May each year. At Mayfest many activities take place all day long and there are open-air concerts every night where Turkish pop and rock bands and singers perform.


Hacettepe University

The Hacettepe University Beytepe Campus, which is 13 km from the city centre, hosts the Faculties of Fine Arts and Letters. In the Faculty of Fine Arts the language of instruction is Turkish and the departments are: Ceramics, Graphic Arts, Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Painting and Sculpture. The Turkish State Conservatory in Ankara, affiliated with the University, is located at the Besevler Campus. The Faculty of Letters has a Department of History of Art, and of Translation and Interpretation.


Başkent University

The Başkent University Faculty of Fine Arts, Design, and Architecture consists of three departments: an undergraduate program in the Department of Visual Arts and Design; an undergraduate program in the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, and an undergraduate program in the Department of Art History. The Faculty of Communications includes the departments: Radio Television and Cinema and Communication Design.


Events and organizations that are relevant for art and culture in Ankara are:

-          Little Ladies Little Gentlemen - International Children's Theatre Festival (Küçük Hanimlar Küçük Beyler - Uluslararası Kuçük Tiyatroları Festivali).

-          An electronica festival is held every year in July.

-          The association of free architects (architects with their own firm) has organizations in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.

-          Since 2010 Ankara has a new museum which not only hosts exhibitions but also open air film events & jazz concerts. See: www.cermodern.org.

-          International Music Festival is held every year in April.

-          International Arts Festival is held every year in April-May.

-          International Caricature Festival is held every year in May.

-          Efes Pilsen Blues Festival held every year in November travels around Russia and Turkey, featuring American and Turkish performers.

-          International Asia-Europe Biennial is a fair marking the city's ties between Europe and Asia every two years in June.

-          Bilkent International Anatolian Festival is a music festival held each August and is organized by the Bilkent University's Faculty of Music and Performing Arts.

-          Mayfest, the traditional Bilkent University summer festival, is held at the first week of May each year. At Mayfest many activities take place all day long and there are open-air concerts where Turkish pop and rock bands and singers perform every night throughout the festival.

-          International Ankara Jazz Festival is held every year in October.

-          NİHA (Netherlands Institute for Higher Education) is well connected in Ankara and in Turkey and can be a good place to visit for contacts. They also have accommodation for people doing research in Ankara. See www.nihankara.org . They also have a suitable meeting and exhibition room as well as accommodation for people doing research in Ankara. See www.nihankara.org.

-           NİHA is hosting several groups & projects relating to both education & culture, especially film (see for example: www.kozavisual.org).

-          Between 2007 and 2009 Bilkent hosted the EU-project ‘Towards a better understanding of rural Europe’, in wich Dutch, French & Turkish universities cooperated. In total 7 films and several articles about rural life in Europe were produced.

-          VEKAM is a historical cultural foundation of the KOÇ family which organises art exhibitions on a regular basis and has a vast network of contacts as well as beautiful accommodation in the Keçiören area.

-          Ankara based Dutch artist Annemieke Erdoğan Visser can be a helpful contact.