Turkey's national and amateur organization in the fields of tourism and automobiles, Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey was established on 6 November 1923 under the leadership of the deputy Reşit Saffet Atabinen, under the name of "Turkish Traveler Society". Among its founders, deputies, and well-known diplomats of the period; there are Mr. Damat Saffet, Mr. Damat Hami and Mr. Ziya, Cultural Member of the Grand National Assembly. The first president of TTOK is Reşit Saffet Atabinen. In the following years, the institution, which also took the name of Touring Club Turc, was recognized as a public benefit association in 1930. It took special powers and duties with the customs and traffic legislation and started to operate under its current name.
In the first years of the Republic of Turkey, Touring served as a government institution in the fields of tourism, culture-art, and automobile by meeting an important need and was known for its firsts. The first promotional posters of Turkey, the first city guides, the first museum brochures, the first highway map were printed by Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey, the first language courses were opened, the first translator guide exams were held, the first tourism reviews were written and published, and tourism congresses and conferences were held.
Along the history of Touring, the institution became a member of the International Automobile Federation (Federation Internationale de l'Autumobile - FIA) on 01.10.1937. It is the most competent and well-established organization in Turkey in the field of automobile and mobility, with the work it has done between 1937-1991.
The history of automobile sports in Turkey started with Touring. The activities carried out after the membership of the FIA in 1937 continued in a more regular and organized manner with the establishment of the Turing Sports Committee in 1968. In this period, the first European Championship rally was held. In the last period, the institution has controlled the races organized by other associations, local automobile clubs and companies, and has given racing and athlete licenses. As a result of the programs that Touring implements intensively every year, today there is a staff of automobile athletes trained in Turkey.
Yet another milestone in the history of Touring is that the first automobile roadside assistance service was established, and a towing fleet was established. Towing vehicles have been seen on Turkish roads since 1965.
Touring established the system of providing emergency support, roadside assistance and credit opening system for the first time in our country in cases of vehicle accidents, vehicle breakdowns, hospitals, etc. for the tourists who come to Turkey with their cars and continued to this system until the 1990s.
In history, Touring introduced for the first time the system of giving triptyques, which are a guarantee for customs, at half the price compared to European clubs, at the borders when the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, whose numbers have increased abroad, come to the country by car.
In 1977, Kapıkule Customs was rebuilt and thus Europe's most equipped border gate was opened.
When it comes to 1987 in the history of Touring, "Technical and Touristic Service Center" was established on an area of 70 decares behind Kapıkule Customs. Thus, the project of extending such facilities to Ankara Road was started. Izmit Tütünçiftliği service center, Adapazarı service center and Bolu Mountain service center have been added to the 24-hour free road assistance service chain provided by Istanbul technical service center teams on the Bosphorus and Golden Horn Bridges. With this organization, road assistance tow trucks have the opportunity to work in a more modern system.
Touring is an institution that has been the pioneer of studies in the fields of culture and tourism since its establishment. When looked at the history of the institution, in the 1960s, the publication of guidebooks in Turkish and foreign languages began, aid to museums and archaeological excavations was initiated, and the first tourism information services were provided.
Assuming the responsibility of restoration works in important areas for the preservation of cultural assets and transferring them to future generations without changing them, Touring took an active role in the inclusion of Safranbolu on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The institution bought and restored the Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion, one of the largest mansions in Safranbolu, and undertook the restoration of many mansions here.
By 1977 in history, Istanbul Yıldız Park arrangements were started, and the restoration of the Bâb-ı Âli and the gardening of the Galata Mevlevi Lodge were completed during this period.
In 1979, a protocol was signed between Istanbul Municipality and Touring on the development, improvement and operation of parks and mansions in Istanbul. The Malta Mansion and the Tent Mansion in Yıldız Park were restored, and the restorations of the Yellow Kiosk, White Kiosk and Pink Kiosk in Emirgân Park were completed and opened to the public. With the restoration, the Malta Mansion received the "Europa Nostra" medal and certificate of appreciation in Europe, making it the first award given to Turkey in this field.
Another advancement in the history of Touring is that Big Camlıca Hill in 1980, and Cubuklu Hıdiv Summer Palace in 1984 were repaired, furnished and put into service with garden and landscaping. In 1985, the historical houses around the Kariye Museum were repaired and supported by landscaping works.
In 1986, the restoration of the series of wooden houses in Sultanahmet Soğukçeşme Street was completed and opened to service under the name of Hagia Sophia Pensions. The repair of the Cedid Mehmet Efendi Madrasa, which is derelict next to the Yeşil Ev, was completed and opened to tourism by giving the function of Istanbul Arts Bazaar. Calligrapher Besir Aga Fountain was restored in Sultanahmet Square.
In 1987, Fenerbahce Park landscaping works were completed, and Romantika Cafe was put into service.
In 1994, the restored "Guest House" was added to the series of Hagia Sophia mansions on Soğukçeşme Street.
The 120-year-old ruined Fabiato Mansion in Büyükada has been completely repaired, restored and its garden reorganized and opened as a library, concert hall and cafe under the name of "Culture House”.
The facilities that Touring previously restored and operated; Malta Mansion and Tent Mansion in Yildiz Park; Yellow Mansion, White Mansion and Pink Mansion in Emirgan Park; The Çubuklu Hidiv Pavilion and Çamlıca Hill businesses were transferred to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 1993 upon the expiration of the contract. The Fabiato Mansion, which was used as the Culture House in Büyükada, was transferred to the General Directorate of Foundations.
Coming to the present in the history of the institution, Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey continues its social responsibility projects and culture-art studies, in addition to the triptych services it has given in 12 different branches apart from the Touring Central Office.
The ownership and operation of Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion, Cevizli Mansion and Taş Mansion in Safranbolu, which are among the touristic facilities of TTOK, belong to the institution. Yesil Ev Hotel (Sükrü Bey Mansion, Minister of the Regiment in Sultanahmet); The ownership of Ayasofya Soğukçeşme Mansions, Guest House and Sarnıç Restaurant belongs to the institution and the operating rights are leased to professional companies for a period. Restoration works of all the mansions on Soğukçeşme Street have been transferred to the company that leased the facilities and are operated by the brand "Hilton, Curio Collection", one of the most prestigious hotel chains in the world in the field of hotel management. The Romantika Café in Fenerbahçesi Park continues to be operated by revenue sharing.
The ownership of the Cedid Mehmet Efendi Madrasa, located next to the Yeşil Ev, belongs to the General Directorate of Foundations, and the operating rights belong to Touring. After the restoration, there are marbling, porcelain, calligraphy, illumination and miniature workshops in the Istanbul Arts Bazaar, and examples of Traditional Turkish Art are introduced to the visitors. There is also a book sale and a gift shop in the Madrasa. Istanbul Coffeehouse, located within the Cedid Mehmed Efendi Madrasa, where Turkish coffee and tea are served by adhering to the classical style, continues the Turkish coffee culture having an important place in daily life, with the place that reflects the coffeehouse spirit of Ottoman Istanbul.
TTOK has always been involved in cultural life since the day it was founded and has been shaping culture and art with its activities. Touring Central Office Hall has become the center of conferences attended by well-equipped academics in different disciplines such as history, literature, psychology, sociology, medicine, architecture, engineering; and solo concerts, Classical Turkish Music being in the first place, chapter assemblies performed by the Istanbul Fasıl Ensemble, Turkish Folk Music, and world music, as well as many concerts.
Located at the central office of the Institution, the "Touring Library" has been put at the disposal of readers with a rich book collection of more than 15,000 since December 2013.
Most of the cultural and artistic activities taking place in Touring Central Office has been presented to the audience on the YouTube channel "Touring Culture and Art".