Anadolu Kültür was founded as a not-for-profit cultural institution in 2002 when individuals from various fields of the art world, the business world and civil society came together to support the production and sharing of culture and art in cities across Turkey and abroad. Anadolu Kültür continues its activities with the belief that cultural and artistic exchange will help develop mutual understanding and dialogue and overcome regional differences and prejudices, and that a broader cultural life will elicit a discussion of concepts such as citizenship, identity and belonging.
Anadolu Kültür’s vision is the dream of a society that has managed to shed its prejudices, that finds nourishment and enrichment through differences and where cultural diversity is not perceived as a source of conflict but wealth. Anadolu Kültür aims to build bridges between different ethnic, religious and regional groups by sharing culture and art, supporting regional initiatives, emphasizing cultural diversity and cultural rights and consolidating interregional collaboration.
In line with its vision and mission, Anadolu Kültür carries out work in the following areas in various cities* of Turkey:
1- Arts and Cultural Dialogue in Anatolia
Within the scope of this area of work, we organize events such as exhibitions, film screenings, performances, concerts, public talks and art workshops; and also long-term culture and art projects with intercultural, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations.
We help events in the fields of film, contemporary art, performance arts, music and literature produced in Istanbul travel to Anatolian cities; and culture and art products of Anatolian cities to travel to other cities across Anatolia. In line with demands from the cities, and with priority given to participation and local collaboration, we develop projects with the aim of contributing to the revival of cultural life. In order to facilitate and support communication between artists, cultural and educational institutions, civil society institutions and local actors, we carry out cultural exchange programs that will enable the meeting and convergence of different cities. Within the scope of this objective, we support collaborative film and photography activities with young people, writing and drawing workshops with children, local civil society organizations, and collaborative projects aimed at women and young people, with the aim of bringing people from different parts of Turkey together.
2- Cultural Diversity and Human Rights
In this area of work, we aim to support artistic production that departs from the cultural diversity and wealth of diverse groups that have lived for thousands of years on Anatolian soil in order to keep our cultural heritage alive and increase its visibility. Photography exhibitions that emphasize the multicultural structure of cities, performances and activities that reflect Armenian cultural heritage, screenings and debates supporting Kurdish cinema and bilingual children’s books are some of our projects in this field.
Cultural diversity and cultural rights form the focus of this field of work; nevertheless, as part of this program, we also carry out work that treats and publicizes the issue of human rights as a whole. In addition to screenings of films about human rights, exhibitions on the theme of human rights and projects on and about prisons, Anadolu Kültür also becomes the place where various rights-based initiatives blossom... Work about prisons that began at Anadolu Kültür in 2004 were transformed into a separate institution in 2006 entitled Association for Civil Society in the Penal System. In a similar process, the ‘Capacity Building for the Effective Participation of Civil Society towards the Solution of the Kurdish Issue’ project that begun by conferences and a web site organized for the documentation of severe human rights violations, and the sharing of international examples in the field of legal struggle and defence was transformed in November 2011 into an association entitled the Truth Justice and Memory Studies Center.
3- Cultural Collaboration with Europe
In this area of work, we aim to develop and expand collaboration between artists, cultural activists and civil society institutions in Turkey and Europe. In accordance with this objective, we carry out projects that support collaborative projects between cities in Europe and Turkey in a diverse spectrum of fields including performance, art workshops with children, literature research, contemporary art exhibitions and projects on cultural heritage. These projects also include collaboratively produced magazines, theatre plays, photography workshops and many others.
With our work in this area we aim to support artists, culture and art institutions and activists working in various cities of Turkey to find out more about different countries and cities, share their experiences and meet and develop collaborations with institutions abroad that carry out similar work.
4- Arts and Cultural Dialogue with Armenia
The cultural and artistic collaboration inaugurated in 2005 with civil society institutions, academic institutions and independent artists from Armenia has continued since. Within the framework of collaborative work aiming to consolidate neighbourhood relations between the two countries and develop reciprocal understanding and sharing, different communities living in the same geographical sphere come into contact and build bridges. People from different social segments and various professional and age groups from Turkey and Armenia find the opportunity to meet each other and see and experience each other’s daily life.
We aim to contribute to the development of inter-communal dialogue with concerts, exhibitions, film and literature events and art workshops organized in both countries. Steps towards the rapprochement of the two societies are taken with these projects that include the social life, common history, culture and art in Turkey and Armenia.
In addition to the projects it has carried out in various cities, Anadolu Kültür has also supported the foundation of three culture and art centers. Diyarbakır Arts Center (DSM), founded simultaneously with Anadolu Kültür in 2002, and DEPO, founded in Istanbul in 2009, continue their activities today. The Kars Arts Center, founded in 2005 in collaboration with the Municipality of Kars, was closed in the aftermath of the March 2009 elections following a decision by the Municipality of Kars.
1- DSM – Diyarbakır Arts Center (2002)
Founded in 2002 as the first step taken by, and the Diyarbakır branch of Anadolu Kültür, DSM aims to support the production and sharing of art outside large cities and develop culture and art projects with regional artists.
2- DEPO (2009)
Founded by Anadolu Kültür in 2009, DEPO is a cultural center and platform for debate that aims to support collaboration between artists, artists’ collectives, civil society institutions and cultural institutions from Turkey, the Southern Caucasus, the Middle East and Balkan countries.
* Cities in which Anadolu Kültür has carried out activities since 2002 within the scope of various projects, activities and research:
Adana | Afyon | Ankara | Antakya | Antalya | Artvin | Bartın | Batman | Bursa | Çanakkale | Diyarbakır | Edirne | Erzurum | Eskişehir | Gaziantep | Hakkari | Istanbul | İzmir | Kars | Kayseri | Konya | Kütahya | Malatya | Mardin | Mersin | Muğla | Muş | Nevşehir | Samsun | Şanlıurfa | Tekirdağ | Trabzon | Tunceli | Şırnak | Van
Since its foundation, Anadolu Kültür has supported the foundation of three culture and art centers. Diyarbakır Art Center (DSM), founded simultaneously with Anadolu Kültür in 2002, and DEPO, founded in Istanbul in 2009, continue their activities today. The Kars Art Center, founded in 2005 in collaboration with the Municipality of Kars, was closed in the aftermath of the March 2009 elections following a decision by the Municipality of Kars. (Click here for Kars Art Center and Kars Projects)
Diyarbakır Arts Center (2002)
Diyarbakır Arts Center, was the first step taken by Anadolu Kültür, which was founded with the aim of supporting the production and sharing of art outside Istanbul and Ankara, the largest cities in Turkey. Founded in 2002 DSM aimed to contribute to the revival of the culture and art scene in Diyarbakır and create a meeting place for local artists where they could develop their culture and art projects. With the exhibitions, seminars, plays and film screenings it has organized, DSM has become a stage where the cultural production both from the West of the country and from countries abroad is shared in Diyarbakır, and where the people of Diyarbakır share their experiences with people from other cities. It has served as a workshop that brings together artists from various corners of the world and where international and interdisciplinary culture and art projects are realized. In 2007, not yet having celebrated its fifth anniversary, it was named fifth on Hürriyet newspaper’s list of “10 best cultural centers in Turkey” (Hürriyet, January 4, 2007).
Since its establishment in 2002, the Diyarbakır Arts Center has hosted numerous solo and group photography, painting and contemporary art exhibitions in collaboration with leading curators, artists and art institutions that have played an innovative role not only in Diyarbakır but in the entire region. DSM’s program has featured exhibitions that have introduced the most recent works of artists from Diyarbakır and the region, and brought themes and works that have defined the artistic agenda both in Turkey and particularly in the region to Diyarbakır.
Public Talks and Panels
Public talks formed one of the most important parts of the regular and permanent programs of the Diyarbakır Arts Center until 2010, and functioned as a platform of debate that brought together artists, academicians and thinkers from Diyarbakır and Turkey who are experts in their fields with followers of culture and art. In addition to talks on music and film organized in relation to other programs, the majority of events were public talks focusing on literature, and social and cultural life. The literature talks, realized around two main headings of poetry readings and readings by authors, brought many poets and authors together with their readers. Other thematic panels that accompanied the other programs of DSM in various fields of culture and arts were among events that attracted the highest attendance from viewers.
Workshops form a significant part of the regular program of Diyarbakır Arts Center and they have functioned as development programs aiming to develop an infrastructure of art production that have brought together expert artists and educationists with various groups in Diyarbakır with priority given to children and young people. Workshops mostly focused on theatre, music, literature and photography, and they expanded the access to knowledge and field of creativity of young people in Diyarbakır who expressed an interest in art, and by promoting local artistic production they contributed to the development of the artistic infrastructure.
In addition to projects and collaborations in the field of film, which are among the center’s priority activities, Diyarbakır Arts Center has also hosted screenings. These included both short films that were produced by the Diyarbakır Film Club (DSK), a club that operates within the framework of DSM, and feature and documentary films that define the contemporary agenda of film. Screenings carried out in collaboration with Avrupa Sineması, a movie theatre that was part of DSM until 2008 which then continued as an independent enterprise, and talks with the directors of these films that followed the screenings attracted great interest from Diyarbakır audiences who received the chance to meet and talk to the creative teams of the films.
In addition to the regular exhibition, public talk and film screening events it has organized, Diyarbakır Arts Center has also hosted and acted as mediator for various workshops, stage performances and concerts in the fields of music, theatre and performance in Diyarbakır. DSM has organized drama workshops and collaborative productions in order to support various non-governmental organizations and amateur theatre groups, and has thus served as an intermediary for the realization of the demands of amateur acting and music groups in Diyarbakır.
There are three clubs within the body of DSM that bring together the people of Diyarbakır to produce, discuss and organize events in line with their common fields of interest: The Diyarbakır Film Club, the Diyarbakır Reading Club and the Kurdish Reading Club.
The Diyarbakır Film Club, pioneered by DSM, was founded in 2003 and since its foundation has organized regular meetings and realized workshops for film fans on scriptwriting, cinematography, editing and reading films. Club members also work in the field of short and feature film production and organize the Diyarbakır Short Film Days, and have helped in the preparation of the monthly programs of the Avrupa Sineması movie theatre that was active within the body of DSM from 2005 to 2008. The club continues to meet on Thursdays to watch and talk about films.
On the other hand, the Diyarbakır Reading Club that begun its activities in January 2009, has realized public talks on the world of literature and literature readings via its weekly meetings. With its proposals, the club contributes to the preparation of DSM’s monthly programs and the realization of its literature events, and supports DSM’s literature workshops. In September 2009, it was joined by the Kurdish Reading Club. Both clubs regularly meet at DSM and hold public readings and debates.
In the late 2000’s, the culture and art scene of Diyarbakır experienced a great transformation. In time, and in contrast to the circumstances of 2002, new culture and art centers had opened in Diyarbakır, and the people of Diyarbakır now had the chance to choose from a selection of culture and art activities, public talks and exhibitions. The blossoming new culture and art centers in the city, drove Anadolu Kültür to reassess DSM’s current space and function shaped around monthly programs. As an outcome of this reassessment and as of the end of 2010, Anadolu Kültür decided to focus on a field in which it could use the network of experiences and connections it acquired in the past eight years in order to develop long term and exponentially effective projects by working in closer collaboration with research and study groups that have become an organic part of DSM and other culture and art initiatives in the city. This new model, devised with a view of the development and changing needs both of Diyarbakır and DSM, proposes the production of less but larger events and projects in terms of their international dimension and local impact, support for local research and study groups and a focus on long term, collaborative projects. In accordance with this perspective, from 2010 on, DSM ceased organizing monthly culture and art programs. Moving out from its space at the Diyar Galeria Business Center that hosted its events since 2002, DSM has, since December 2010, continued its work at its new office as a coordination center that organizes projects and events.
Please click here for the Diyarbakır Arts Center web site
Founded by Anadolu Kültür in 2009, Depo is a culture and art center and a platform for debate in the Istanbul city center. It is the first initiative in Turkey that focuses on regional collaboration with countries of the Southern Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans. Depo’s main area of interest is art practices that deal with social issues in this region. In addition to its artistic program that comprises exhibitions and screenings, Depo also organizes conferences, workshops, public talks and panels, and publishes an e-journal entitled Red Thread. Depo aims to become a center where regional projects are initiated and realized, and with the events it organizes, to present a platform to communicate, exchange ideas and experiences and collaborate for artists, curators and individuals, academicians and intellectuals active in the field of culture in the region.
Depo is located at Tütün Deposu (lit. the Tobacco Warehouse) an old, four-storey building in the Tophane neighbourhood. The building was used as a tobacco warehouse until the 1950s, and beginning with the 9th International Istanbul Biennial in 2005, it was occasionally used as an exhibition and project space. In June 2008, following renovation work that did not intervene in the authentic architecture of the building, the Depo team began to work here, and the first exhibition opened in January 2009. The annex building next to the Tobacco Warehouse began, following renovation work, to host film screenings, workshops with children from the neighbourhood and various exhibitions. In February 2012, Açık Radyo, an independent radio station, began to operate from the annex building. The film screenings and workshops with children continue to be held at the main building.
In Turkey’s rapidly institutionalizing and commercializing contemporary art environment, Depo meets the need for an alternative space. Depo’s main aim is to host projects based on collaboration. The space is also open to various groups for screenings, talks, debates, performances and rehearsals.
DEPO Events [Activities]
Depo hosts exhibitions that focus on social and political issues that concern Turkey and the region. The exhibition program annually features six large group exhibitions on average and also a number of smaller, solo exhibitions. Exhibitions held so far have focused on topics such as the relationship between art and politics, the role of artistic collaborations in establishing a form of regional solidarity that is not based on nationalism, urban transformation, human rights, minority rights, social traumas and the role of art in dealing with such traumas, peace and the challenge of facing the past. The struggle for life and identity of paper collectors who arrived in big cities after forced migration policies, the various states of youth in Turkey and Turkey and music in the 1960s were the themes of some Depo exhibition so far. Every exhibition is accompanied by an event where the artists and organizers meet and have a chance to chat with the viewers.
Public Talks and Debates
Public talks and debates at Depo aim to mediate common ground not only between individuals from the cultural and academic field, but also between individuals from different generations and past experiences, and to encourage critical thought. In addition to public talks on various topics, since 2010, Depo has hosted the monthly debate program entitled ‘Open Table’ organized by the artist Mürüvvet Türkyılmaz. During the first two years of the Open Table debate program, artists, curators, collectives, art critics and individuals from a variety of fields focused on issues such as the role of art in gentrification, art criticism, public art practices, curatorial practices, censorship in art, and the relationship between art and capital, and art and feminism.
The SaturDox Documentary Meetings that have been held at Depo since 2010 has featured newly produced documentaries from Turkey, and outstanding examples of documentary cinema from across the world. Following the screenings held on Saturday evenings every fortnight, public talks are held by activists and academicians whose work is related to the subject matter of the screened documentaries. Organized in collaboration with Documentarist, the SaturDox Documentary Meetings program has screened documentaries that have witnessed the conditions that humankind lives in the world, and particularly in the region which Depo’s work focuses on. Saturdox has contributed greatly to Depo’s aim of reaching out to people who are outside contemporary art circles and to open a new platform beyond academia where debate on political and social issues in a regional and national context are carried out. Depo also hosts screening programs for artists’ videos and films.
Red Thread was designed as an active platform that would establish collaboration and the sharing of information between artists, curators, theorists, social scientists and individuals working in the field of culture from the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and beyond. The aim of Red Thread is to produce knowledge on art practices that focus on social issues within a broad geopolitical context, to disseminate this knowledge to a broad public, and thus to challenge the hegemony of Western narratives in official histories of art and exhibition practices. Via an active and accessible web site and debates organized around the subject matter treated in the magazine, Red Thread aims to carry out research into both historical and contemporary approaches that explore and question relations between art and society. All texts in the Red Thread e-journal are published both in English and Turkish and in their original languages. In addition to new texts, each issue also features the translations of texts written by local writers that did not previously have the chance to reach international readers.
All Depo events are free of charge.
for the DEPO web site.
Who are we?
Yönetim Vice Chairman
The Anadolu Kültür Team
The Istanbul Office
Meltem Aslan Executive Director
Şengül Ertürk Financial Coordinator
Eylem Ertürk Project Development and Fundraising Coordinator
Ülkü Zümray Kutlu Program Coordinator
Serra Özhan Yüksel Project Coordinator
Latife Uluçınar Project Coordinator
Tamar Nalcı Project Assistant
İrem Argat Project Assistant
Levent Özata Project Assistant
Çiğdem Mater Utku Consultant
Asena Günal Program Coordinator
Aslı Çetinkaya Project Coordinator
Mahir Yıldız Venue Manager
Diyarbakır Arts Center (DSM)
Övgü Gökçe Program Coordinator
Derya Bozarslan Project Assistant
Anadolu Kültür is thankful and happy to have crossed paths with...
Ahmet Aküzüm, Ali Rıza Kılınç, Aytekin Yılmaz, Akın Atauz, Azime Şakar, Balca Ergener, Buluş Oygur, Burcu Yılmaz, Ceren Yartan, Cengiz Çiftçi, Cevdet Canan, Cihan Karahan, Ece Bulut, Emrah Gürsel, Eva Liedtjens, Gamze Hızlı, Kadir Karabulak, Kubilay Özmen, İrfan Aktan, Melike Coşkun, Mine Özerden, Murat Ergin, Nesra Gürbüz, Özlem Narin Yılmaz, Özlem Örçen, Ragıp Zık, Seçil Doğuç, Sibil Çekmen, Seda Altuğ, Sultan Şafak, Suna Nazlı, Şaban Dayanan, Zafer Kıraç, İrfan Aktan, Rana Celal Zincir, Volkan Eray, Yasemin Parlak, Zeynep Moralı ….