Touring and Automobile Club of Turkey, which is both an amateur
and international organization dedicated to tourism and the automobile
sector, was founded in 1923 at the behest of Gazi Mustafa Kemal.
Similarly to its exemplars in Europe, it was founded by a group
of intellectuals led by Reşit Saffet Atabinen who was an extremely
well-read diplomat and historian. First, it was called The Turkish
Travel Association (Türk Seyyahin Cemiyeti), then its name
was changed to Touring Club Turc (Türkiye Turing Klöbü). In
1930 it was recognized as a charity functioning as a public utılity
and gained special powers and duties with regard to the customs
and traffic laws.
club filled a gap and met an important need by working as an arm
of government for many years in the fields of tourism, culture
and technical issues. It was its considerable achievement to produce
Turkeys first prospectuses, posters, tourist guides and road
maps. In addition, the Association inaugurated the very first
language courses, established the first tourist guide exams, published
the first tourism treatises and organised the first tourism congresses
and conferences. Thus, the requirements of tourism began to be
addressed through a new methodology in the application of state
mechanisms, laws and systems. At that time, the Association was
located in a two-roomed apartment in Adalet Khan building on Voyvoda
Street, Galata, and had only two employees....However, a great
deal of voluntary work was done by a small number of well- travelled
and cosmopolitan club members: President Reşit Saffet Atabinen,
Cevdet Özögül, ex-Governor of Jerusalem, and Şükrü Ali, a retired
army colonel.... .......The generous gift of even one of whose
services to the social development of the Turkish people, would
have been enough to assure any Club member a place in the annals
of the countrys tourism history.
the period between 1923 and 1939, the crowning event has to have
been the hosting of the International Touring Alliance (AIT) meeting
in Istanbul. This was an extraordinary achievement for a new member
with a very limited cadre and budget. It was for this purpose
that Dolmabahçe Palace was opened to tourism for the first time
in its history. The honour for this extraordinary event belongs
to the then President of the Association, Atabinen. Ataturk formally
opened the palace for the ceremony and announced to the Istanbul
press that he was taking the Touring Club Association under his
personal protection. He knew Atabinen well from the armistice
years and as a neighbour in Akaretler. Atatürk, not only trusted
him to undertake the translation of the famous Nutuk into French,
but also introduced him to Parliament, as a member, for two legislative
the 1950s when the economy of both Turkey and the world started
to revive, the Association, with its original employees and system,
was seen to be somewhat stagnant and a long way from being able
to undertake the responsibilities of its new functions. First,
the Office was moved to a flat on the second floor of Moralı Pasage
at Tepebaşı Square where it remained for five years. Later, it
moved to the second floor of Nil Pasaj in Asmalı Mescit street
for a period of ten years. The manager was Said N.Duhani (Beyoğlu
author). Çelik Gülersoy, was first taken on as an employee in
1947, became Assistant Manager in 1957 and was Legal Consultant
between 1961 and 1965.
Reşit Saffet Atabinen, founder
and first president of the foundation was an internationally respected
individual who devoted his whole life to cultural events. He died
in 1965 after a Club Presidency of 42 years. After his death,
Çelik Gülersoy who had been a member of the Association since
1947, was promoted to General Manager. Thus, a new, western-inspired
The first high-way recovery service was established,
- The system of tourist credits was started,
- The first colour-printed books in foreign languages were published,
- The first tourist information services were provided.
During this period, the building
in Şişli Square was bought, a contemporary working environment
was created and the workforce was expanded.
The year 1971 was the turning
point in the history of the Association: The contract which was
signed between the Ministry of Customs and Finance and the Association,
not only gained Turkey an important amount of foreign currency,
but also created a source of income for the Association to use
for the funding of important cultural and artistic events.
The Association pioneered the
system of granting temporary import licenses (which were a kind
of guarantee voucher for Turkish customs) at the border, to Turkish
people who lived abroad and were coming to Turkey for holidays
with their cars. This application was fifty percent cheaper to
the car owners than that charged by European Clubs.
In 1979, an agreement was made
between the Municipality of Istanbul and the Association about
the building, development and administration of parks and pavilions
in Istanbul. Thus, a period characterised by the cherishing of
cultural, artistic and touristic places had begun.
In the summer of 1990, the sudden
removal of the obligation to take a temporary import document
from customs, deprived the Association of its main income source
and started a new period of financial difficulties.
The Club tried to cover this financial
handicap by selling its properties one-by-one. Among these properties,
there were The Koru Hotel in Bolu, The Kariye Hotel and various
houses which the Club had been building and restoring since 1974.
At the end of 1994, the Municipality
of Istanbul did not renew the agreement on parks and pavilions
and asked the Club to vacate these premises:
- In Yıldız Park: The Malta Pavilion,
The Çadır (Tent) Pavilion, The Pembe and Yeşil Conservatories
(The Pink and Yellow Conservatories).
- In Emirgan Park: The Beyaz (White) Pavilion, The Sarı (Yellow)
Pavilion and The Pembe (Pink) Pavilion.
- The facilities on Çamlıca Hill.
- The Summer Palace of the Khedive (Hıdiv).
In the same year, the central
offices of the Association were moved from their address in Şişli
Square to the property facing TEM motorway at the 1st Oto Sanayi
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Address : 1. Oto Sanayi Sitesi yanı, 4. Levent - İstanbul
Telephone : (0212) 282 81 40 - Telefax : (0212)
282 80 42