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Abbreviation of the Center’s Name to IRCICA And the Center’s Logo

Abbreviating the Center’s name was not a straightforward procedure. In 1983, members of the Executive Committee agreed on the necessity of having an abbreviation, however, pronouncing the combination of the initials (R.C.I.H.A.C.) was impossible. After giving it some thought and considering all possible combinations, the Executive Committee conceived (I.R.C.I.C.A.) which contained the letters I for Istanbul or international, R for Research and C for culture. It was easy on the ear and easier to pronounce. In a short span of time, the Centre came to be identified with this abbreviation.

As to the logo, it was adopted almost by coincidence at the beginning of 1985, while the Centre was working on the production of documentary films on calligraphy. Mr. Ozkul Eren, an architect from Istanbul, who was assisting the Centre in this work, presented a logo -the present one- that he had designed for the Centre on his own initiative. After examining the logo, the Executive Committee agreed that it carried the necessary Islamic character and it was also convenient from the point of view of simplicity, form, etc.

IRCICA Headquarters

Yildiz Palace is a typical example of Turkish palace architecture. It is a co
mplex of buildings and gardens constructed by different Ottoman Sultans on an area of 15 acres. The palace has four big gates and three courtyards. In the forecourt are the Büyük Mabeyn (“grand apartment”), which was used by Sultan Abdulhamid II as state offices, Çit Qasr, and Yaveran Qasr. The palace has a number of other buildings that served various functions in the past, among them a theatre and a museum.

They were restored recently and are now used on special occasions. There is an artificial lake in the palace garden which, in the old days, was surrounded by a zoo and a birdhouse. There were repair shops, a carpentry shop, a foundry, a sawmill on the grounds, and a porcelain factory which still functions today as the Yildiz Porcelain factory. The Directorate of Yıldız Palace is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture of Turkey.

Three buildings were allocated to IRCICA as its headquarters. They were all restored by international fund-raising campaigns. The Centre is deeply appreciative and grateful to the Government of the Republic of Turkey for having allocated these centrally-located admirable historical premises for its use. Member States of the OIC also expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Republic of Turkey in the resolutions taken at Islamic Summit Conferences and Islamic Conferences of Foreign Ministers.

Seyir Pavilion: IRCICA started its activities in the Seyir Pavilion, also known as the “Set Pavilion”. For several years until the other two buildings were added to its premises, the Centre carried out all its activities and established the nucleus of its library in this building measuring 130 square meters. Seyir Pavilion now houses the office of the Director General and the secretariat.

This small pavilion was built during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1878-1908), on the eve of the official visit of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia. The German Emperor was able to watch the ceremony of the Friday prayers and the military parade from this building which is located next to the Sultan’s office, the Grand Mabeyn overlooking Yıldız Mosque. It was used for the same purpose on many other official occasions.

Çit Qasr was officially allocated to the Centre in 1982. The official procedures that led to the signing of a protocol between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey and the Centre (18 April 1982) were initiated upon the instructions of H.E. Mr. Bülend Ulusu, then the Prime Minister of Turkey, who had visited the Centre on 25 December 1981.

At the time, the Center’s premises were confined to the Seyir Pavilion and a serious shortage of space was already being experienced because of the rapidly increasing number of staff and the growing library collection.

The Centre gratefully recalls that as the situation was explained to him, Prime Minister Bülend Ulusu immediately took the necessary steps to put the Çit Qasr to the use of the Centre, specifically to house its library. This building of 990 square meters was badly in need of repairs and restoration. The Centre launched an international fund-raising campaign. The Government of the Republic of Turkey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Crown Prince of Jordan H.R.H. Prince Hasan Bin Talal gave donations for the restoration, as well as the Arab-Turkish Bank, International Islamic Call Society (Tripoli, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Mr. Aydın Bolak (Istanbul), Mr. Muammer Şahin (Ankara), Mr. Şarık Tara (Istanbul) and the staff of the Centre. The restoration of Çit Qasr was completed in 1983. The Center’s library and the large hall used for conferences and exhibitions are in this building. It was first used as part of the Centre’s headquarters on the occasion of the Second Session of the Governing Board of IRCICA held on 16-17 April 1983, followed by the international symposium on “Common Principles, Forms and Themes of Islamic Arts” organized by IRCICA on 18-22 April 1983 and the preliminary meeting of the International Commission for the Preservation of Islamic Cultural Heritage (ICPICH) which was held on 21 April 1983. On these occasions, Çit Qasr hosted a concert given by the State Turkish Classical Music Chorus that included a piece composed by Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876), during whose reign the construction of Çit Qasr was completed.

During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, Çit Qasr was used as the reception hall for foreign missions and guests. In the period of the Turkish Republic, the whole Yıldız Palace complex was used for some time as the Military Academy, while Çit Qasr housed the Academy’s library.

Yaveran Qasr was allocated to the Centre in accordance with the protocol drawn between IRCICA and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey on 7 May 1984. This building was designed by the famous Italian architect D’Aranco. In Ottoman times, it was used by high-ranking military officials and adjutants in the Palace. It was a seriously worn out building but was repaired and restored with the remaining funds from the restoration of Çit Qasr.

The construction materials were supplied by Kale Seramik Co. and Sezai Türkeş-Fevzi Akkaya Construction Co. Yaveran Qasr was put to use in 1986. This building of 850 square meters now houses the research departments, archives of historical photographs, photographic laboratory, finance and administration sections. Following its restoration in a short period of one year, Yaveran Qasr was opened with an official ceremony on 29 July 1986, the first day of the Fourth Session of IRCICA’s Governing Board. The Governor of Istanbul Mr. Nevzat Ayaz, high officials, members of diplomatic missions, the presidents and members of universities and the members of the Governing Board were present at this ceremony.

On this occasion, IRCICA Director General presented plaques of appreciation to: the Governor of Istanbul for the interest and assistance extended to the Centre, Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Al-Sharif, Secretary General of the International Islamic Call Society (Tripoli, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) and Mr. Farag Shallouf, General Manager of the Arab-Turkish Bank, Istanbul Branch for their material support, and Mrs. Hikmet Öğüt (Istanbul) who lent her family collection of art objects for display in this building. The participants went through the building and examined the photographs showing its former and present state. They also saw two other buildings restored by the Centre in the framework of the same project: one is the much smaller building known as the “Nöbet Mahalli” (guard house) annexed to the Yaveran Qasr where the palace sentries stood guard, and the other one is the Hamidiye Fountain, which was built in 1902 by Sultan Abdulhamid II.

In 1998, another building within the palace complex was allocated to the Centre. This is a four-room apartment of 150 square meters which now serves as an extension of the library and archive and houses part of the Center’s collections. The Minister of Culture of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Istemihan Talay, who participated in the opening of the Fourteenth Session of the Governing Board of IRCICA (Istanbul, 20-22 November 1998) kindly, took note of the Center’s need for additional space which was expressed during that meeting. With the Minister’s initiative, the necessary official procedures were completed soon after and the apartment was officially allocated for the Center’s use.

Establishment Stage

IRCICA started its activities in 1980 as the first subsidiary organ of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) concerned with culture.
Its establishment was proposed by the Republic of Turkey during the Seventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul, in 1976, and adopted by the Conference by Resolution no. 3/7-ECS.

The Establishment Statute of the Centre was adopted by the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Dakar, Senegal, 1978) by Resolution no. 1/9-C. The Statute was amended later and readopted by the Twelfth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Baghdad, Iraq, 1981). Finally, the Sixth Islamic Summit Conference (Dakar, 1991) adopted the Framework Statute of the Subsidiary Organs of tshe OIC by its Resolution no. 1/6-Org (IS).

The Centre started its activities in 1980, after its first work program and first budget proposal, prepared and submitted by the Center’s newly appointed Director General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, were adopted by Resolution no. 11/11-C of the Eleventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Islamabad, Pakistan, 1980).

IRCICA’s headquarters are located in the three buildings named Seyir Pavillion, Cit Qasr and Yaveran Qasr in the historical Yildiz Palace in Besiktas, Istanbul. These buildings were allocated to the Centre by the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

Work programs of the Centre were officially announced to the international cultural and academic circles on 23 May 1982 at a ceremony inaugurated by H.E. Turgut Ozal, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State of Turkey at the time, who years later would extend his patronage to the Center’s Tenth Anniversary ceremony on 10 October 1990 and honor us as the President of the Republic of Turkey. As to the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Centre, it was commemorated with a ceremony held under the patronage and in the presence of H.E. Suleyman Demirel, President of the Republic of Turkey, at IRCICA’s headquarters on 7 November 1995.


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