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Directorate General of Foundations (Turkey)

Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü - VGM

Last modified: 2022-11-12 by ian macdonald
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Flag of VGM - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 April 2018

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Directorate General of Foundations

VGM (website), originally founded by law on 3 March 1924, is organized in compliance with the Law on Foundations,No. 5,737, enacted on 20 February 2008.
The oldest recorded foundation dates back to 1048. During the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, foundations have funded the building of thousands of religious (mosques, churches, synagogues, shrines, dervish lodges domes, madrasahs) and civil (baths, caravansarais, covered bazaars, fountains, bridges, mansions, pavilions, palaces, clock towers). In the modern era, foundations have increased their scope to prosperity activities, social services, education, health, religious and town planning.

A foundation (Arabic: waqf, wakf; Turkish: vakıf) is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets are held by a charitable trust.
The term waqf literally means "detention". The legal meaning of waqf according to Imam Abu Hanifa is the detention of specific thing and the devoting of its profit or products "in charity of poor or other good objects".
Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad say: "Waqf signifies the extinction of the waqf`s ownership in the thing dedicated and detention of all the thing in the implied ownership of God, in such a manner that its profits may revert to or be applied 'for the benefit of Mankind'."
There is no direct injunction of the Quran regarding waqf, but there is a hadith which says "Ibn Umar reported, Umer-Ibn-Al-Khitab got land in Khyber, so he came to the prophet Muhammad Swl and asked him to advice him about it. The Prophet said, if you like, make the property inalienable, and give the profit from it to charity." Waqf means the permanent dedication by a Muslim of any property for any purpose recognized by the Muslim law as religious, pious or charitable.

VGM currently surveys:
- 41,720 historical foundations no longer managed by the founders' descendants or their trustees, in order to fulfill their deeds of trust;
- 283 historical foundations still managed by the founders' descendants or their trustees;
- 4,5211 contemporary foundations, established after the adoption of the Turkish Civil Code (1926);
- 161 community foundations.

Between 2003 and 2010, VGM has supervised archive collection and digitalization, protection and restoration of 8,110 cultural properties owned by foundations - out of the 65,000 hitherto recorded. VGM has established foundation museums in Ankara, İstanbul (4), Tokat, Kastamonu, Gaziantep, Edirne and Konya (2), keeping o total of more than 12,000 artifacts.
A specific office was established on 28 May 2002 2002 for struggle against smuggling, resulting in a significant decrease in the number of smuggling affairs and in the return of more than 600 stolen artifacts to Turkey.

The flag of VGM (photo, photo, photo, photo) is blue with the directorate's emblem, which features a factory and a mosque, highlighting the historical and modern foundations supervised by VGM.

Ivan Sache, 29 April 2018


Cem Foundation


Flag of the Cem Foundation - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 November 2019

The Cem Foundation (website) was established on 27 March 1996 by İzzettin Doğan, Professor of International Law, to teach the understanding of Alevi Islam.

The flag of the Cem Foundation (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 5 November 2019

Crimean Development Foundation


Flag of the Crimean Development Foundation - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 February 2018

The Crimean Development Foundation (website), planned in late 2014, was fully established in 2016, at the end of the political crisis between Turkey and Russia.
In the framework of the Decree rehabilitating Crimean Tatars, signed by Vladimir Putin in early 2014, the foundation believes that the Republic of Turkey and the Russian Federation are the bridge between the Crimean Republic and the Crimean Tatars. The foundation plans to conduct social and community studies on the return of Crimean Tatar citizens to Crimea.

The flag of the Crimean Development Foundation (photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem in the center. The circular emblem is made of the Turkish (in upper half) and Russian (in lower half) flags, superimposed in the center with a celestial blue map of Crimea charged with the yellow emblem (tamga) of the Crimean Tatars.
The foundation's name is written in the emblem border's in Turkish (top) and Russian (bottom), respectively.

Ivan Sache, 26 February 2018

Economic Development Foundation


Flag of İKV - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 October 2017

İKV (website) is a non-governmental research organization specialized on EU and Turkey-EU relations.
İKV was established with the initiative of İstanbul Chamber of Commerce and İstanbul Chamber of Industry on 26 November 1965, two years after the entry into force of the Ankara Agreement, to inform Turkish business world and Turkish public about European integration and Turkey-EU relations. Since its establishment, İKV has become an effective expert organization on EU and Turkey-EU relations both in Turkey and in the EU, through its publications, seminars, lobbying activities and the close cooperation with foreign and domestic institutions. İKV Brussels Office has been conducting İKV’s relations with the EU institutions since 1984.

Turkey’s accession process has started on 3 October 2005 upon the decision of heads of states and governments of the 25 EU Member States on 17 December 2004. In the course of this important and challenging process, İKV's activities are focused on informing the Turkish public concerning the issues formulating the agenda of European Union and Turkey-EU relations. Special emphasis is given to the accession negotiations; ensuring the active participation of the business world and NGOs in the process; and promoting Turkey in the EU Member States.

The flag of İKV (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the organization's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 22 October 2017

Server Foundation


Flag of Server Foundation - Image by Ivan Sache, 31 March 2018

The Server Foundation, subtitled the Press, Science and Solidarity Foundation, was established in 1991.

The flag of the Server Foundation (photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 31 March 2018

TürkBirDev Foundation for Culture and Education


Flag of the TürkBirDev Foundation for Culture and Education - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 March 2018

The TürkBirDev Foundation for Culture and Education promotes the establishment of the Union of Turkish States (Türk Devletler Birliği). I understand that TürkBirDev would stand for Türk Birliği Devlet, something like Turkish United State.

The flag of TürkBirDev (photo) is celestial blue with a blue crescent and a white star placed like on the Turkish flag, and another seven red stars forming, the white star included, a circle. The seven Turkish states are represented by their national flags, placed horizontally beneath the crescent and stars and separated from it by the red world "TÜRKBİRDEV", from left to right:
- Azerbaijan;
- Kazakhstan;
- Kyrgyzstan;
- Northern Cyprus;
- Uzbekistan;
- Turkmenistan.
The row is completed by a plain white flag matching the white star.

Ivan Sache, 1 March 2018

Turkish Maarif Foundation


Flag of the Turkish Maarif Foundation - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 October 2017

The Turkish Maarif Foundation was established by Law No. 6,721, adopted on 17 June 2016 by the Parliament and published on 28 June 2016 in the Turkish official gazette, No. 57.
The aims of the foundation are "to award scholarships in all educational processes from preschool to University education, to open facilities such as educational organizations and dormitories, to train educators to be assigned to these organizations including domestic organizations, to conduct scientific research, and to carry out research and development studies, publish academic works and develop methods and conduct other educational activities which are in accordance with the laws and regulations of that country which these are operated in order to service and improve formal and informal education by taking common human values and knowledge as basis" (Article 1 of the Law).

The flag of the foundation (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 22 October 2017

Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans Ahilik Foundation


Flag of TESVAK - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 November 2017

TESVAK is the modern form of the merchants and traders fraternity known as Ahilik / Ahi (from "ahi", "my brother").
Established in Anatolia during the Seljuk period as a Sufi-oriented fraternity, Ahilik contributed profoundly to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman period, Ahilik became a craftsmen' organization similar to a guild.
[M. Malik. Foundations of Islamic Governance. A Southeast Asian Perspective. 2017]

Ahi ("my brother") Evran was born in Hoy (Nakhichevan) in 1171, as Sheikh Nasreddin Mahmut al-Hoyi; he is said to have lived for 90 years but there is no definite information on his death. The tradition, however, claims that Ahi Evran was killed in Kırşehir during the Mongol invasion of Anatolia. His mausoleum was erected in 1450 by a member of Ahilik.
When a noted Sufi-oriented scholar in Baghdad, Ahi Evran was invited to Anatolia by the new Seljuk sultan. He became famous in Kırşehir where he designed a medicine from the venom of snakes that infected the town at the time.
Ahi Evran established in Kayseri Ahilik, an organization considered as a medieval professional chamber for craftsmen and merchants. Such an organization, based on solidarity and moral values, was needed because of the lack of central state authorities that would regulate professional activities. Back to Kırşehir, Ahi Evran established in the town as a tanner; he became a familiar of Haji Bektash Veli (1209-1271), the founder of the Bektaşi organization. The Ahilik system was encouraged by the first Ottoman rulers, under the influence of Sheikh Edebalı (1206-1326), the mentor and father-in-law of Sultan Osman Gazi (1299-1323/24). The Republic of Turkey also recognized the Ahilik legacy.
[Kültür Gündemi, 24 September 2013]

The flag of TESVAK (photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 26 November 2017

Turkish Youth Foundation

[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of TÜGVA, two versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 23 October 2017

TÜGVA was established in 2014 in İstanbul.

The flag of TÜGVA (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the foundation's emblem. Another version of the flag (photo) is light blue with the foundation's emblem in white.

Ivan Sache, 23 October 2017