Rotary in Turkey
Birth and Development Phases of Rotary in Turkey
Turkey, who founded the Republic in 1923 and aimed for a pro-western development age with social revolutions, experienced the hard days of the World War II, even before finding an opportunity to fix its resources that were almost completely exhausted in World War I and Independence war.
Multi-party democracy started in 1945 and Turkey joins NATO in 1952. Some developments started in Turkey especially in economic field following 1950. Basic view was establishing closer cooperation with the outer world and getting rid of the worries of capitulations.
Works that started in summer of 1953 were completed successfully early 1954 and the first Turkish Rotary Club, Ankara Rotary Club held it first meeting at Ankara Palas on 24 March 1954.
Ankara Rotary Club became a member of International Rotary with the Chart dated 23 March 1955. On the date Turkey joined Rotary, Rotary was providing service in 84 countries. In the beginning, Ankara Rotary Club was under District 245.
Chronologically, Istanbul Rotary Club was given a Charter dated 24 July 1957; Izmir Rotary Club received official status by the Charter dated 2April 1962 and Bursa Rotary Club received International Rotary charter issued on 18 October 1965
The number of Rotary clubs in Turkey was 4 in 1964 and 6 in 1966.
“Turkey Rotary Clubs Management Consultancy” was established in 1968. The growth rate was less than 1 club per year within the 14 years until the foundation of Management Consultancy.
With the foundation of Management Consultancy, growth of Rotary in Turkey accelerated. Number of clubs was; 8 in 1968, 11 in1970, 14 in 1972, 16 in1974, 22 in 1976, 30 in 1978 .
During the 10 year long Management Consultancy period, the growth rate was 2.4 clubs per year (24 clubs in total).
“District 243” of International Rotary was formed in Turkey in 1980.
Number of clubs during the period of District 243 was as follows, as of the year ends: 31 in 1980, 39 in 1982, 57 in 1984, 69 in 1986, 79 in 1987. Growth rate within this period of 7 years was 7 clubs per year (49 clubs in total).
As a result of this development, as of the start of 1988-1989 Rotary term, International Rotary accepted the division of Turkey into two districts, District 242 with 40 clubs and District 243 with 42 clubs. Growth got bigger with the foundation of two districts, and District numbers were changed as 2420 and 2430 in 1993-1994 term.
In 1994, Turkish Rotarians established a third district as District 2440 to cover the whole of Western Anatolia. There are now three districts with the numbers 2420, 2430 and 2440. District 2430 is now operating as an İnternational one and includes several clubs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The “Polio-Plus” Project that aims to end fatal child diseases such as polio by vaccinating hundreds of thousands of children in Turkey is a great work of Rotary on its own.
Thousands of projects such as construction of permanent ones like schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and hostels, project of transformation of Nemrut Mountain into a National Park. The full inventory of services is so wide that even those clubs who gave these services can not remember them.
Alongside those works, significant services in promoting Turkey in science, culture, arts and sports are accepted and attached great value by official authorities as much as by Turkish public.
Turkish Rotary provides Turkish youth;
• opportunity of attending short term camps in abroad, attending a school for every educational year and studying with voluntary academicians, and
• it organizes forums within the country, gives leadership training, holds camps in various fields, and creates opportunity to know the country by exchanging students between cities.
The first Rotaract group in Turkey formed by the 18-30 age group was founded under the leadership of Ankara Çankaya Rotary Club. Ankara Çankaya Rotaract Club held its first meeting on 11 June 1982.
Second Turkish Rotaract Club was founded on 27 July 1983 by Izmir Rotary Club, third Rotaract Club by Eminönü Rotary Club on 4 November 1983, and fourth Rotaract Club by Kocatepe Rotary Club on 25 May 1984. As of 30 June 2007, there are 119 Rotaract clubs in our country.
Rotary Profile in Turkey
For administrative purposes, Rotary International has established Districts and Zones to better serve the member Clubs. There are 532 Districts and 34 Zones which serves as a link between Rotary International’s Board of Directors and its member clubs.
Turkey, with its three Districts, takes place in Zone 20 B with the other 20 Countries- Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar, Greece, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo (UNMIK), Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Montenegro, Morocco, Rep. of Georgia, Serbia, Sudan, Tajikistan, TFYR of Macedonia, Tunisia, UAE.