ÇEKÜL is 25 years old
The ÇEKÜL Foundation, the Foundation for the Protection and Promotion of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. We know ÇEKÜL for its extraordinary work in protecting cultural texture in Turkey.
Look what message Head of ÇEKÜL Professor Metin Sözen is saying their 25th year: “Culture is the prerequisite of peace. The primary value in the protection of cultural heritage is peace. War destroys natural and cultural heritage. For this reason, policies prioritizing culture should be developed.”
Sözen’s message should be noted by all political parties running for power. As a matter of fact, we are watching television news execrably how barbarian occupiers are destroying cultural assets and museums. We have read it and seen it throughout history.
When you get to know Metin Sözen closely, you will notice a life dedicated to one ideal. There is no city he has not visited in Turkey; there is not a square centimeter he has not set foot on.
ÇEKÜL was founded in 1990 to protect Turkey’s natural and cultural heritage. It has representatives and hundreds of volunteers in 150 settlements.
Its forestation project started in 1992 in Istanbul has spread to all cities of Turkey, with trees planted in all regions. ÇEKÜL’s slogan is “We Exist through Nature and Culture”
All the works of ÇEKÜL are conducted at the national level; it has cooperated with several nongovernmental organizations. It has conducted many joint operations with the Association of Historical Town, which celebrated its 15th anniversary.
With ÇEKÜL’s Wednesday Urban Meetings, numerous projects were conducted in cities and those which were planned have been discussed. Scientists, academics, architects and city planners, experts, experienced people in operations, governors, mayors, staff from the offices of governors or mayors and art historians participated in the meetings.
ÇEKÜL’s activities for 25 years can be summed up as the following:
With the “7 Tree Forests” initiative launched in 1994, with the support of 900,000 nature lovers, 4 million trees have been planted in 16 provinces in 36 fields.
With grants from the Association of Historical Towns, founded in 2000, 190 projects were conducted.
Through the creation of Culture Priority Regional Road Maps, local governments have been supported.
Through the ÇEKÜL Academy, 2,026 municipal staff have been trained.
With the “Cities belong to Children” program, ÇEKÜL held trainings in 92 settlements and trained about 5,000 students.
With the Wednesday Urban Meetings which started in 2011, 441 guests were hosted in 136 cities and towns. In these meetings, the restoration of 138 structures, 28 urban museum works, 52 museum works, 34 inventory formation process, as well as 22 industrial heritage projects, 337 cultural heritage projects, 101 natural heritage projects and 112 archeological heritage projects have been supported.
When you review this list, you can understand the importance of ÇEKÜL and its works in Turkey.
The significance and function of foundations like ÇEKÜL are that while they are initiating protection of our historic heritage, they are aware this can be done with the contribution of state and local governments. They include everybody in the projects. I believe the secret behind their success is this.
I wish ÇEKÜL continues its work with the same tempo and same passion. A many happy 25 years.