Turkey’s Current Agenda for Theatre – Crisis

This article was published in Turkish and English at the Current Issues Booklet, which I have edited and wrote of Yapı Kredi Publication’s Sanat Dünyamız Magazine’s 132nd issue dated January-February 2013.

Nowadays, debates about theatre in Turkey are absorbed by demonstrations and demolitions. Yet, this is not a new situation for us. We are accustomed to the stories of many as the Dolmabahçe Palace Theatre, which first fell from grace, then got burned but did not have the chance to get restored, being totally demolished at the end with the construction of the İnönü Stadium or the Naum Paşa Theatre and Tepebaşı Drama Theatre that both got burned and then were demolished. Until recently theatres were demolished after getting burned, but nowadays they are revaluated directly by getting transformed into shopping malls or business centers. The decision maker of such profit generating decision making is realized by the government as what happen to Taksim Stage1 or by foundations as in Şan Theatre.2 Or the local municipality can easily take back the venue it had previously donated to a cultural organization without a relevant justification as in the case of the Dostlar Theatre loosing their venue Muammer Karaca Stage.3

The performing arts institutions in USA has been recognized as nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, because of the inherent inequality of income and expenditure in their finances that the American economists Baumol and Bowen were first to define as the “cost disease” in 1960’s. Thanks to this very tax-exempt status, these institutions of the performing arts have enabled their financial sustainability with the donations from the private sector and the individual philanthropists as well as the government.4

In Turkey, though, the nonprofit status is mainly seen in cultural institutions of the visual arts as in the cases of museums and artists initiatives. But unfortunately the status of being a foundation or an association that have been basically developed for the structure of a charity organizations, involve many legal limitations and barriers regarding income generating activities that are vital for the daily endeavor of cultural these organizations. As theatres are generally regarded more as commercial enterprises then as art institutions in need of public support. As a result, the suggested structure for theatres is the structure of companies. Even though the private theatres are obliged to pay entertainment tax from their ticket sales in addition to the same burden of income tax as other commercial companies, are unfortunately not able to create a similar income flow that the commercial organizations do. The only support from the state is the Private Theatres Fund, and although private theatres have been working to improve it further for years, they couldn’t gain much. On the other hand, public funded theatres of the Istanbul Municipal Theatres and the State Theatres are in the process of a privatization campaign with the request of the Prime Minister. In short, looking at the theatres in Turkey, there is no question that we are in a new transformation period in both subsidized and private structures. But which route this transformation will take is still hazy.

The state subsidized era of the Turkish theatre whose past relies on the Ottoman Empire’s Westernization Period of the 19th century and autonomous Levantine theatre companies starts with the foundation of the Istanbul Municipal Theatres in 1914. The State Theatres on the other hand gets initiated with the Theatre and Opera Tatbikat Sahnesi (Application Stage) in 1940 and is founded in 1949 entitled as “State Theatre and Opera” as a phase of Praxis Stage of the State Conservatory.5 “Being legally affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in spite of its being a separate legal entity, insufficiency of its regulations, insufficiency of its personnel and insufficiency of motivation.” are stated in the 2009-2013 Strategic Planning Report as some of the weak points of the State Theatres that have stages in 21 different cities.6

According to the “Report for Performing Arts in Istanbul” that was initiated by the 2010 Istanbul European Capital of Culture Agency’s Cultural Inventory Project, there are only 184 theatres in Istanbul a city that hosts more than 14 million habitants.7

Also documented by this report is the fact that there are more than 160 stages and performing arts spaces that belong either to state, to private or to public institutions and there are more than 200 professional performing arts groups with or without venues in Istanbul. It is beyond doubt that theatre has gained a certain dynamism in Istanbul since the 2000s, thanks to the leading productivity of the private theatres.

In Turkey, just like all the other cultural institutions, private theatres have existed as cases of cultural entrepreneurship despite all the structural deficiencies, missing aids and inadequate support. In our recent history, those groups who have flourished from university theatres in between the military coup d’etats of 1960 and 1980 and who can be identified as the pioneers of today’s autonomous private theatres, in their times, created an avant-garde and innovative theatre space by carrying their social and political voices to t stage and surviving only with depending on the support of their audiences.8 After 1980’s, those new groups being influenced from the innovative stage approach that Bilsak initiated as the most progressive autonomous theatre structure of the time, begun performing in alternative spaces. This tendency later initiated today’s acknowledged contemporary theatres and enabled a continuous search for an innovative alternative theatre. Shutting down of the Istanbul Arts Center in 2006 that had been an alternative venue and a facility of practice spaces in Tarlabaşı for the last 18 years leaving innovative performance groups like Kum Pan Ya and ISM 2. Floor (Theatre Oyunevi) without a house. These developments showed both the transformations at Beyoğlu and the start of a new era where the other theatre would need support and capital to exist. Thus, the private entrepreneurship we witnessed in the whole of culture sector in 2000s, displayed itself in theatre as well. With Semaver carrying theatre from Beyoğlu to the “other side of the Golden Horn”, Oyun Atölyesi making theatre visible in Kadıköy, DOT opening its doors in 2005, Garajistanbul in 2007, Talimhane in 2008 and Krek’s Santral Stage in 2010; Istanbul witnessed new groups that performed continuity not only as a theatre company but also with venue management, and managed international collaborations. These contemporary theatre venues became possible mostly by the dedicated investments of their founders and partially by private sector support. Today, Garajistanbul mainly turned into an entertainment venue, and Talimhane Theatre lost its venue because of a license problem. Nevertheless, with this period, contemporary art audience in Istanbul began including theatre among its cultural activity agenda with cinema, concert, museum, gallery and festivals and hence, theatre expanded its outreach by gaining not only the theatre but also a more diverse contemporary art audience.

Independent theatres coming together through pluralist and sharing interferences like the Contemporary Performing Arts Initiative (http://bagimsizbulten.blogspot.com/), 7- Common Initiative of Alternative Theatre Venues (http://mimesis-dergi.org/2011/03/ alternatif-tiyatro-mekanlari-ortak-girisimi/) and Istanbul Alternative Theatres Platform (http://www.iatp-web.org/) introduced innovative approaches in contemporary theatre to the audiences. Meanwhile, they have lobbied to force the existing system that had been established to the benefit of subsidized theatres with many seats to also include those small alternative spaces with less number of seats. Yapı Kredi Afife Theatre Awards that is one of the few theatre awards in Turkey, has started as of this year to include alternative theatre spaces within its award assessment abolishing its rule of evaluating only those venues with a minimum capacity of 75 seats.9 Unfortunately, such initiations did not always end with such success. In 2007, Private and Independent Theatres Platform, which was formed in order to create dialogue and solidarity between theatres, in its short lifetime, appealed to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for amending the existing articles of the Support to Private Theatres and preparing a new By-Law that would meet contemporary standards in vain.10

While Turkish theatres seems doomed to the fate of dead ends in their local problems, their international adventures have always been more inspiring. Turkish theatre entered the international stage once again thanks to private attempts and artist networks, rather than state support. The international platform created by the Istanbul Theatre Festival, founded by IKSV in 1989, developed even more in the following years. Today, not only festivals, but artist exchange programs, co-productions and multi-collaborative cooperation programs help performing arts groups become a part of the global network.

Theatre Oyunevi (http://www.tiyatrooyunevi.com/), emerging with its engagement to French collaboration; the panel and workshops series entitled “British Playwrights Talk at DOT” that DOT (www.go-dot.org) bringing new energy to contemporary theatre in Istanbul since 2005 realized in partnership with the British Council; Talimhane (http://www.talimhanetiyatrosu.com/)  of Mehmet Ergen who conveyed network of his Arcola Theatre in London to Istanbul;and the Visibility Project and the New Text New Theatre Festival where Galata Perform (http://www.galataperform. com/) transformed its neighborhood outreach to overseas have been the leading projects bringing Istanbul the examples of world theatre. Various different kinds of artists’ initiatives alongside theatres have been developing projects enabling international performing artists to realize collaborations in Istanbul. IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) was hosted by European Culture Foundation (http://www.europist.net/projects) in 2006 and by İstanbul Contemporary Utopia Management Association (http:// www.c-u-m-a.org/tr/projects/ieex/ietm-uydu-toplantisi.php) in 2010 transporting Europe’s oldest performing arts network to Istanbul. In 2010, Simya Sanat organized the 2010 EUROPEAN- OFF MEETING (http://meditativedance.com/EN/index.php/festivaller/eon-2010-istanbul-) for the EON (European Off Network), another theatre network. In 2012, PARC (International Performance Arts Research and Production Foundation) (http://perform2012. org/) hosted Turkish-Dutch joint productions carrying the heritage of Garajistanbul’s Kosmopolis project in 2010 (http://www.haber- link.com/haber.php?query=19383#.UKomD-PZ_qI).

Despite all the international success, networks and visibility, domestic problems continued to exist. As Kumbaracı 50 (http://kumbaraci50.com/) was attacked by some hostile “neighbors” and a “certain” fraction of the media accused the theatre housing a performance that was allegedly insulting Islam, the venue was immediately shut down by the Beyoğlu Municipality for an incompliance in theatre’s licence.11 As this case prevails, many private theatre groups and stages are surviving on a highly slippery and insecure ground. On the other hand, we can assure that subsidized theatres are facing an increasing number of problems every other day, too. The moment when these ever growing debates and unresolved issues reached the highest at the local media has been the crisis of the City Theatres in 2012.

The Crisis of the Istanbul City Theatres

When İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Theatres Directorate announced its collaboration with PEARLE – Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe for the project entitled “European Union Live Performance Sector Social Dialogue”, they were also the subjects of an ongoing debate that was closely watched by the media.12 The debate began with the announcement at April 12th 2012 that the “Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theatres Regulation” was changed as “Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture and Social Affairs Department City Theatres Branch Directorate Duty and Work Regulation”.

With this amendment, the City Theatres which had been” governed by its own artists for 98 years” was officially terminated as an arts institution to be restructured as an office Directorate of the Metropolitan Municipality. Claiming that the governance of theatre hence was transferred from artists to municipality bureaucrats, İSTİŞAN (İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theatres Artists Association) called the public openly to protest this verdict declaring that “Municipal Theatres Cannot Be Demolished!”13.

On the other hand, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Council Commission approved and signed the verdict and Kadir Topbaş as the Mayor of Istanbul defended the new regulation on the grounds that this change would even provide more democratic governance for theatre by enabling a pluralist board as authority.14 Resignation of Ayşenil Şamlıoğlu, the Artistic Director as well as six board members of the City Theaters and Kenan Işık who acted as the Arts Consultant to the Mayor with the claim that the amendment to by-laws was realized without their knowledge nor consent, triggered new discussions.

The writers from various fractions who got involved in these discussions all agreed that this debate has progressed as part of the discussions around “conservative art”. From the perspective of the state, Presidency General Secretary Prof. Dr. Mustafa İsen said “as we the conservatives hold an understanding of democracy, we also feel responsible for building the structure and norms for a conservative aesthetic and conservative art.”15 Discussions after this remark especially flamed when conservative writer İskender Pala wrote an aggressive critique in the newspaper Zaman for a play staged by the Municipal Theatre. In his review, Pala accused the plays in Municipal Theatre’s repertoire as “80 % of them are sexual juiciness and obscenity”. Pala claimed that it should not be job of the Metropolitan Municipality nor the state to run institutions “that impose unaesthetic and shallow issues to the society by presenting them with sexual and erotic sauces.”16 Yet, Turkey Writer’s Association proclaimed that “City Theatre Belongs to Us All!” and claimed that new regulations will “help to integrate people more to theatre and refrain theatre from being positioned distant/indifferent/feeling content to its own people”. They also stated that they were immensely pleased with “the mission of forming a repertoire in a broader range”.17

The artists who did not give up protesting this verdict and organized street demonstrations to keep public interest, emphasized that the “state has to support theatre in all means but shouldn’t intervene”18 underlining the critical character of theatre19 and stating that the City Theatre is first of all belongs to the city.20 The declaration that spurred the ongoing debates of artists and writers came from the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan affirmed his decision of privatizing of the state theatres following the changes of the City Theatres. As the Prime Minister became a subject of the debate with his intervening statement that “there should be no theatre with state’s doing”, he named the opposing artists as “despotic intellectuals” and stated that he would make a motion to the Council of Ministers to privatize state theatres. Thus, the scope of theatre debates expanded from City Theatres to State Theatres and then to an overall discussion of current changes of the Turkish Republic’s cultural politics since its beginning.21 On the other hand, the CHP (Republican Public Party) group members of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Council filed a lawsuit in İstanbul Administrative Court demanding the verdict on cancellation and ending of the implementation of the “City Theatres Branch Directorates Duty and Working Regulations”.22

While the discussion thus expanded from a debate on City Theatres to a debate on the research report that would be submitted to the Council of Ministries. Other than the public declarations and meetings organ- ized by Members of the Union of the Actors of the City Theatres, rep- resentatives of private theatres and the Actors Union, a wide scope talk was held by the Culture Politics Department of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts on 17th of May 2012, where Culture Offices of Foreign Consulates presented the practice of state support in Europe and America. The conclusion drawn from this meeting indicated that in these countries, the state establishes and sustains significant cultural institutions, including national theatres and also backs up culture by related laws and regulations. Yet, the very next day the newspaper headlines announced that the state theatres would be terminated as a result of the work of Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Prime Ministry.23 But the response that was received the very next day was that the state theatres would not be terminated but be privatized: The claim that the AKP deputy Nabi Avcı has been working on a draft regulation with which “the State Theatres will be closed down as the aged artists would be forced to retire and pensioned on the government, while those who still have time to retirement will be on pay roll at home, and the management of the existing 60 stages of the state theatres will be delegated to the Governor’s Office” was denied by the Ministry.24

The Changing City Theatres

The main subject of these discussions, the City Theatres, exist in only three cities of Turkey: İstanbul (1914), Kocaeli (1997) and Eskişehir (2001). The City Theatres with a minimum 120 and a maximum 600 seats have 11 stages in İstanbul, 4 in İzmit and 6 in Eskişehir, with a total of 21. The first article of the by-laws of the Istanbul City Theatres reads as “… to contribute to people’s cultural production of arts that is secured by the Constitution as a fundamental right and specifically theatre in accordance with its social duty; to foster the level of arts and awareness of contemporary arts education; to present prestigious examples of national and international theatre plays to the audience, and lead the way for creative attempts of the Turkish theatre to the future.”25 Yet with the changes in regulations made on the 12th of April 2012, Istanbul City Theatres was converted to a “Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture and Social Affairs Department Directorate City Theatres Branch Directorate” loosing its identification as an “ as an arts institution that is governed with an annexed budget under the auspices of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality that it had since 1934.

In 1914, Mayor of Istanbul Cemil Topuzlu, started the first City Theatres under the name of Darülbedayi-i Osmani (The Fine Arts Institute of the Ottoman), thanks to a verdict of the Municipality Council; and in 1931, Darülbedayi-i Osmani was officially augmented under the auspices of the Istanbul Municipality. Till its name was changed to City Theatres in 1934, Darülbedayi-i Osmani continued to sustain itself financial with ticket sales, tour incomes and the allowance that the Istanbul Municipality spared for charitable foundations.26. City Theatres continued to exist as a separate institution with the budget pro- vided by the Municipality from 1934 to 2006 when this annex budget was terminated due to the amendment to the Local Administrations Law with verdict no 15/09/2005-1927 of the Municipality Council, This change was followed in 2007 by the controversial demolishment of the biggest venue of the City Theatres – the Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage to be rebuilt as part of the Congress Valley; in 2008, the transformation of the status of the artists to civil servants; and finally in 2012, City Theatres it- self lost its institution identity becoming a directory of the Municipality.

First debate: City Theatres at the Congress Valley

The Implementation of the Harbiye Congress Valley Project, which was designed for the World Bank’s International Money Fund (IMF) 2009 Governor’s Meeting, has been initiated in 2007 in spite of all of the civil protests of the artists and the City Theatres Administration on the grounds that the new building would be a mere part of a multi building complex of the Congress Valley and loose its singularity.27 Hence the “Muhsin Ertuğrul Alliance” whose mission was to keep the Muhsin Ertugrul Stage as an independent venue and transporting the administrative offices to another place failed.28

Civil Servant Artists

The new Public Personnel Law, which came into effect after the Municipality Council verdict no: 15/09/2005-1927, terminated the artists and technicians on pay roll, replacing it with tendering of services. As it was announced at the website of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality that a “public” service procurement would be realized on January 28th 2008 at 10:00, to get 168 artists and technicians for the City Theaters where the base price for 5 premium actors, 35 junior actors, 25 extras, 20 actors with special quality would be 2.8 million TRY, with the expression that “ the most financially advantageous bid will be assessed as the lowest price”, changed the headlines of the newspapers on January 3rd as “Actors: You Cannot Open Tenders for Artists”. The President of the Turkey Branch of the International Theatre Critics League, Üstün Akmen, said that leveling the actors in the same category with unskilled workers can only be described as a political buffoonery.29

The New Regulation*

The by-laws of the City Theatres was first formed in 1981, then amended with additional articles consecutively in 1985, 1987 and 1990. Even though there had always been a discussion about making the required amendment that would provide self-governance to the City Theatres, it could never be realized. And with the new by-law that went into effect as of 2012, the City Theatres became branch di- rectorate instead of becoming an autonomous structure. Here are the main articles that have been amended with the new by-law:

  • The mission that was stated in Article no: 2 before as “… to foster the elevation of cultural production, contemporary art education, level of art and awareness of the public in accordance with the social duties of the arts and theatre that the Constitution secures as a vital right”, was replaced in the new by-law with the Article that defines the duties of the Director as “ To develop the artistic and aesthetic emotions of the society without diverging from the founding prin- ciples of the theatre and caring for the common ethics values of the society in its service of arts to today’s people.”
  • Department of the Services was rearranged under two groups as the Administrative and the Artistic Units. And the Administrative Units became superior to the Artistic Units.
  • The Repertoire Committee of seven members was replaced with a Literary Committee of again seven. Literary Committee was now composed of the Department Head to which the Directorate is at- tached to, The Artistic Director, and the single committee mem- ber who would be chosen directly by the stage directors and artists on payroll in the previous by-laws was now changed to be elected by the Director of the Department among those Contracted Civil Servants of the Directorate. Those four members who –in the pre- vious by-laws- would be formed by two that would be appointed the Mayor from candidates offered by all those theatre related pro- fessional civil bodies; one member who would be appointed by the Mayor of Istanbul among the candidates suggested by the deans and directors of the Universities in Istanbul with Theatre Departments,

Faculties and Conservatories; and another member suggested by theatre critics, translators, researchers and writers to the Mayor. The four members now would be filled with the Director of the City Theatres, and three members assigned by the Director from those professional bodies related to culture, arts and literature and members of the press.

  • The Artistic Director who was the natural Chairman of the Board of Directors according to the previous by-laws, is now only in a superior position to that of the Literary Board of Directors.
    • The new bay-laws repositioned the Directorate that was originally a unit in between theatre and administration as a superior administrator position. The director who does not now need to have a background in theater, still though holds responsibilities and duties that are both artistic.
    • The Board of Directors that was before composed of Artistic Director; the Director of the City Theatres; one member to be select-ed by the Mayor of Istanbul from three candidates brought forward by the Artistic Director among the stage directors and the artists on payroll; two members that would be selected by the Mayor from the candidates from the members of the Municipality Council, the staff of the Municipality and the City Theatres; and two members selected by the payroll stage managers and artists of the City Theatres. The Board of Directors is with the new by-laws restructured to be com- posed of two members assessed by the Deputy General Secretary overseeing the Directorate, the Department Chairman superior to the Directorate, the Artistic Director, Director and contracted civil servants of the Directorate; and one more member will be determined by the Chairman from the members of the Municipality Council. None of these new members of the Board of Directors are obliged to be an artist.
  • In the new by-laws, the City Theatres is represented no longer by the Artistic Director but by the Director both administratively and artistically. Performance assessments of the artists are even made by the Director together with the Artistic Director. The Director who previously was responsible of only the administrative budget, is now responsible for both the administrative and the artistic budget.
  • Director as the Chairman of the Board of Directors with the new by-laws, is also assigned as the Head of the Discipline Committee and the authority in charge as the first Discipline Manager to send people to the Discipline Committee.
  • The new by-laws compose crowded meetings that contain more staff for the Technical Committee.
  • With the new by-laws, the Stage Director is now changed to the Stage Officer with the necessity to be appointed from C level civil servants instead of A level civil servants as before.
  • General Arts Director now will have to be someone known with his/her works in the fields of “arts and culture” and someone “eli- gible to be a civil servant” meaning there will be no requirements involving a background in theatre. The Artistic Director becomes an implementer with the new by-laws. .
  • City Theatre is forced to prepare an annual repertoire.
  • The actors are no longer allowed to work regularly outside the institution.

*This comparative study of the two by-laws has been realized under the auspices of the Cultural Policy Department of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture an Arts with involvement of several artists who have worked or still working for the City Theatres.

The Current Situation

Today, Istanbul City Theatres that have 11 stages does not have a single real estate of its own.30 This fact as the actors of the City Theatres have also commented on, leads nowadays the usage of the stages and the facilities to be used for the Municipality organizations and meetings based on municipality ruling. Meanwhile, the newly built or renovated theatre buildings face many difficulties and deficiencies for us-age due to the lack of proper theatre architecture. It is currently discussed that the salaries of the actors and civil servants on pay roll of the City Theatres, that the Ministry of Finance pays in accordance with the State Civil Servants Law no: 657 are an unnecessary burden for the state.31

On the other hand, Kültür A. Ş. (Culture Co.) that was established in 1989 under the auspices of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality as a “a joint-stock company active for commercial purposes aiming to present culture, arts and tourism services”. Kültür A. Ş. managing the cultural enterprises of the municipality has also started to buy out plays from both the City Theatres and private ones opening bids for theatre plays to be performed at those Municipality Cultural Centers that have lately been increasing in numbers with investments. Recently, CHP İstanbul Parliamentary Umut Oran carried this problem to the parliament questioning the related news, which revealed that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had paid 2.750.000 TL to the Kültür A. Ş. for three plays, “Harput’ta Bir Amerikalı”, “Bir Adam Yaratmak”, and “Hasan Ağa’nın Karısı”32

In the frame of all these debates and issues, it is talked how neither an artist nor a cultural institution today should be owned by the state and that an Arts Council as in UK will be replacing the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This new model that is specific to Turkey, it is claimed, could set up a model for the whole world. One vital point that is lacking within this information flow is that state’s support to films is set as an example for theatre. The film industry that generates big incomes and the performing arts that suffer from “cost disease” exist in two different economies.

Today, as state support for arts is becoming less and less effective in the whole world, that of the private sector and foundational support increases in stead. Nevertheless, based on the fact that access to culture and arts is one of the basic civil rights for all citizens as all those other rights provided by the state, the governments in Europe and USA do enable the rights to culture with some necessary legal regulations. In other words, a decline in the direct state financing of arts does not necessarily imply a lack of cultural policy. “Culture Policy” that was first coined in 1960’s by René Maheu, the Director to UNESCO, is based on the concept of “cultural rights” in the 27th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as accepted in 1948.33 The affirmation that the state is liable to prepare the necessary infrastructure necessary for the creation, development and dissemination of culture without any implementation of censorship or enforcement/coercion is one of the most crucial rights that have been attained.

Best examples in this frame are the British Arts Council, founded in 1946, and the American National Endowment for the Arts, established in 1965. These two national institutions are the only institutions that are devoted to culture and arts yet these two units never became rigid instruments of politics and bureaucracy guarding the official culture but work as official approval of art institutions with the prestige they furnish. These institutions that have been providing operational budgets for art institutions also disseminate project grants in various categories. Arts Council’s supporting upto1100 arts institutions as well as hundreds of artists and projects within whole England with its arms length principal from politics and the fact that it has no obligation to support to the parliament secures its autonomy.

In 1946, the Arts Council supported only four art institutions and had a budget of £ 235.000. In 2005/6, its budget was composed of £410 million coming from the Treasury and £160 million from the National Lottery. Between 2006 and 2008, the total investment of the state and National Lottery was £1.1 billion. And it was again £1.1 bil- lion for the years between 2008 and 2011. The Arts Council that has nine regional units as East, East Midlands, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands and Yorkshire, develop cultural policies to financially invest in art institutions and artists.

In the USA; state has a multi-layer system of support to arts even though it is mostly acknowledged with the support given by the private sector and the system of philanthropy and foundations. Other than the Federal State Support that evolves through National Endowment of the Arts, National Humanities Foundation and Museum Services Institute, there are also Federal Arts and Humanities Councils, Community Support Programs and civil society organizations that are composed of 2000 private, nonprofit institutions acting together doing cultural lobbying without any direct links to municipalities. Among these institutions, the biggest supporter of art in America is without any doubt NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), that is an independent, federal institution supporting the perfection of American government in arts, carrying art to all Americans and be- coming the leader in art education. NEA annually evaluates the applications of cultural institutions in 15 main categories of arts education, dance, design, traditional art, literature, local art institutions, media arts, film, radio, television; museum, music, musical theatre, opera, interdisciplinary presentation, state and regional art institutions, theatre and performing arts, pro- viding 50 % of the budgets of these institutions.34 Yet in USA, the system that initiated the creation of the civil enterprises and supports has also been realized by the state. As the tax incentive laws initiated in 1917 for individuals and in 1935 for companies, made it possible for supports as charitable and real estate do- nations to be tax exempt, it also enabled each donation to nonprofit organizations to be exempt from tax and deducted from the taxed in- come. These unpaid taxes are out of state control and they are twice as big of the direct support of state for arts.

In Turkey, two consecutive bills that have been passed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism-Law number 5228 on “Amendments to Certain Enactments and to Statutory Decree Number 178” in 2004 and Circular number 2005/13 on “Promotion of Sponsorship Activities in the Field of Culture” in 2005 were some positive moves for the fostering the support of state for arts. In 2007, as the only fund- ing program to the private theatres was restructured as “Regulation of Support by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to Projects of Local Governments, Associations and Foundations “issued in the Official Register on 15.03.2007 no: 26463, it became a new exercise for the state to give support to the artistic activities of a more diverse range of NGO’s. However, the bureaucracy and obscurity in the procedures of implementation of these regulations and laws still prevents a direct and a visible effect to take place to the scene of arts and culture.

Still, the deficiencies in the structural and legal definitions of the non-subsidized cultural institutions in Turkey; absence of sources for civil arts institutions as grant giving foundations; flaws in the implementary procedures of the sponsorship laws; and the unclearness regarding how the companies that value being in search of best visibility and maximum accessibility to their target audience will be convinced to give sponsorship to small theatres are essential dilemmas that the state that plans to privatize its theatres should resolve in priority The most crucial fact is the obligation of the state to reach this solution through a multiple voiced decision making process in collaboration with diverse constituencies.35

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  2. http://www.sabah.com.tr/Yasam/2011/12/25/ san-tiyatrosu-san-city-olmak-icin-yikiliyor
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  5. http://www.devtiyatro.gov.tr/hakkimizda-tarihce.html; http://www. mevzuat.adalet.gov.tr/html/937.html
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  7. www.istanbulkulturenvanteri.gov.tr/files/yayinlar/ISTANBULDA_ GOSTERI_SANATLARI.pdf
  8. http://www.freietheater.at/?page=europeanoffnetwork&subpage=count ry_report#19
  9. The report prepared by Nihal G. Koldaş, the founder of Maya Sanat, for the IGFT/ Austrian Association of Independent Theatre:“TURKEY – Report of the Year 2006: The Short Story of Turkey’s Autonomous Theatre Movement.”
  10. http://www.zaman.com.tr/newsDetail_getNewsById. action?haberno=1325645
  11. http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalDetayV3&ArticleI D=819237&CategoryID=113
  12. http://www.siyahbant.org/?page_id=747
  13. http://www.tiyatronline.com/haberler/haber/2879/istanbul-sehir- tiyarolari-na-ab-den-proje-destegi.html
  14. http://www.cnnturk.com/2012/kultur.sanat/sahne/04/13/sehir.tiyatrolari. yok.edilemez/657143.0/index.html
  15. http://wap.ntvmsnbc.com/Haber/Goster/25341404
  16. http://www.suricigrubu.net/?Syf=18&Hbr=312116&/Suri%C3%A7i-Grubu- Mustafa-%C4%B0sen%E2%80%99i-A%C4%9Farlad%C4%B1
  17. http://www.zaman.com.tr/yazar.do?yazino=1244776
  18. http://haber5.com/kultursanat/sehir-tiyatrolari-hepimizindir
  19. http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/id/25346685/
  20. http://www.fikiranaliz.com/ferhan-sensoydan-tiyatro-ile-ilgili-bir-yazi 20 http://www.tiyatrodunyasi.com/makaledetay.asp?makaleno=2048
  21. http://www.ibb.gov.tr/tr-TR/Pages/Haber.aspx?NewsID=20252
  22. http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/id/25347141/
  23. http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalEklerDetayV3&Art icleID=1088345&CategoryID=77
  24. http://www.dunyabulteni.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=210520
  25. http://www.ibb.gov.tr/sites/sehirtiyatrolari/tr-TR/Sayfalar/KurulusAmaci. aspx
  26. http://www.ibb.gov.tr/sites/sehirtiyatrolari/tr-TR/Sayfalar/Tarihce.aspx
  27. http://v3.arkitera.com/h20597-harbiye-kongre-vadisi-tesisleri-uygulama- projesi-onaylandi.html
  28. http://muhsinertugrulsahnesi.blogcu.com/muhsin-ertugrul-ittifaki/2383594
  29. http://www.tiyatrodunyasi.com/makaledetay.asp?makaleno=542
  30. Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage, Kadıköy Haldun Taner Stage, Fatih Reşat Nuri Stage and Üsküdar Musahipzade Celal Stage belongs to İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Gaziosmanpaşa Stage, Gaziosmanpaşa Ferih Egemen Children›s Theatre Stage, Üsküdar Kerem Yılmazer Stage, Kağıthane Sadabad Stage, Kağıthane Küçük Kemal Children›s Theatre Stage, Küçükçekmece Sefaköy (KSM) Stage and Ümraniye Stage belongs to local municipalities.
  31. Wages for 12 months + 6 month bonus (January, April, June, July, October, December) Min. 1300- maximum 2500 TL artists wage
  32. http://cadde.milliyet.com.tr/2012/05/09/ YazarDetay/1537421/-devlet-eliyle-100-oyun
  33. Hıfzı Topuz, Dünyada ve Türkiye’de Kültür Politikaları, Adam Yay., 1998, İstanbul. (p.8)
  34. http://www.nea.gov/
  35. The preparatory work of the 10th Five-Year Development Plan 2014– 2018 has been initiated by the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Development on June 5, 2012. The Ministry is progressing with several meetings of specialized committees that involve representatives of public, private and civil society. Yet their impact is still unclear.

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