1. Brief history of astronomy in Turkey

Turkey descends from Ottoman Empire (1299-1923). In the medieval ages the theoretical framework of astronomy in Ottoman Empire, as was the case in all Islamic world and Europe, was that set by Ptolemy and Aristoteles. An observatory equivalent to that of Tycho Brahe was founded in İstanbul (1570) by Taqi ad-Din, but could not survive for a sufficiently long time to make a strong impact. As no new observatory was built until 1873, astronomers in the Ottoman era were not able to follow up the scientific revolution in the Western world. Yet, astronomical observations, required for religious and practical purposes were done by local astronomers in each town.

The Copernican model was first introduced by translations of catalogs, e.g. that of Noél Duret in (d. 1650), rather than the groundbreaking theoretical works of Copernicus, Galileo or Kepler. This reflects the practical approach of Ottomans to astronomy. The Copernican model was not accepted until the middle of the 19th century.

2. Astronomy and astrophysics education in universities and career of academicals

Astronomical and astrophysical studies are mainly organized in universities. Both educational and research activities are done simultaneously. In astronomy and space science departments students are required to take basic astronomy and astrophysics courses and some fundamental physics and mathematics courses. There is no need to say that they are all learning how to use computers and run basic computational programs that they need in both educational and research activities during their undergraduate and graduate studies.

2.1. Universities

In some universities where there are no formal astronomy departments, there are astronomy and astrophysics courses in which fundamental astronomy and astrophysics topics are covered. Generally such courses are offered within the physics departments.

In the formal astronomy departments a heavy practical astronomy course is compulsory for the undergraduate students. When students are graduated from the department they can carry out observational work independently and confidently.

Following five Turkish state universities have independent Astronomy and Space Science Departments;

About 60 undergraduate students enrol to these departments each year, amounting to about 400 students all together. These universities also offer graduate MSc and PhD programmes.

In addition to seven universities above, the universities below offer astronomy and astrophysics within physics departments by means of the offered astronomy and astrophysics courses in their undergraduate curricula as well as the graduate studies:

Figure 1. Astronomy and Astrophysics Departments in Turkey

Total number of astronomers with PhD degrees, in these universities, is around 100 to 150. Master of Science and PhD students should also be added to this number as being candidates of potential astronomy researchers.

Astronomical observations were done in university observatories and in the National Observatory, TUG in Antalya. With the available telescopes in university observatories, both educational and research activities are going on effectively. In addition, they are also open to public on certain occasions during the year, for popular astronomical activities.

Four years of undergraduate education is performed in astronomy and space sciences departments and astronomy and space technologies department in Science Faculties in Turkey. Graduate education and research are also performed in these departments and astrophysics research groups in Physics Departments. Lectures of astronomy and space science departments contain approximately 30% math, 30% physics, and 40% astronomy and also it can be chosen from other fields. Undergraduate students will have astronomer title when they finished their courses successfully at the end of four years. Graduate programs of these departments mentioned above are accepting applications twice a year.

2.2. Academic degrees

MSc education is taking two years and is considered as a preparation for the PhD program in Turkey. MSc students have must and optional courses in total 21 credit in the first year of program. Students who have succeeded in all courses have a right to write a masters’ thesis. Thesis term is one year and student whose thesis is accepted as MSc study has the right to receive the MSc Degree.

PhD education involves two years of courses and two years of thesis amounting in total to four years. Students who complete a PhD program are required to make an original work or create a new method to have title of PhD.

People with a PhD satisfying certain criteria, determined by the Inter-Universities Council, can apply for an examination to be nominated as associate professor. Files that contain academic performances are evaluated by a jury with five members selected by the Inter-Universities Council. A candidate that passes the pre-assessment stage enters an oral exam/interview by the same jury. Candidates that succeed the exam can use the “associate professor” title. For a staff member to be promoted to an associate professor position, he/she should also satisfy the criteria set by his/her own university. A staff who remains as an associate professor position at least for five years can apply to a professor position as long as one provides conditions of associate professor-ship. A candidate with a positive report from the jury selected by the university owns a right to be promoted to professor position.

2.3. Research Opportunities for Scientific Studies

Astronomy studies in Turkey are supported by scientific research projects (BAP) units of universities, TÜBİTAK, DPT (State Planning Organization) and international projects. Incipient graduate students may receive limited support for their thesis studies by applying to projects to their universities BAPs and having their supervisors as the project coordinator. University staff can also apply BAP for various types of projects and can benefit from high budgets for their researches. TÜBİTAK is another foundation which supports researchers in the country. This foundation economically supports researchers along with international meeting support, hardware and disposable support to succeed in their projects.

The projects that require larger budgets are supported by DPT. These projects generally used to educate and train youngsters to have qualified personnel, and to buy telescopes. Research projects are primarily administered by the university observatories within their capacities. When university observatories are incapable of supporting a project, then TUG’s telescopes which may be considered as middle class telescopes and maintained by TUBITAK are used. Observational project applications to TUG are evaluated and approved by the TUG’s academic council. Observer can complete their project by receiving travel and accommodation support from TUG.

2.4. Space Research Activities in Turkey

In Turkey, interest in space began with Hazerfen Ahmet Celebi in 17th century. He designed and constructed a kind of a simple space vehicle to fly over Istanbul. He managed to fly from Galata Tower across the Bosphorus to the Anatolian side with his simple vehicle. He landed safely in Üsküdar in 1632. It is the time of the Ottoman Sultan Murad the 4th. However this attempt and interest in space studies could not continue as was the case also in astronomical studies. It may be considered as the beginning of space technology.

After a long gap, another attempt to coordinate space studies done in different institutes in Turkey was made in 1990. Under the patronage of the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council, “Space Science and Technologies Committee” (SSTC) was initiated. All parties who relate themselves to space somehow were represented in this meeting. First General Meeting of SSTC was held in Ankara in 1992. Three separate committees were formed:

They were remained active until 1995 and did some positive contributions to the organization of space studies in Turkey. Unfortunately this attempt did not yield a kind of Turkish Space Agency, which was one of the aims of the organization.

In fact, it was discussed and decided, in the meeting of the “Turkish Science and Technology Policies 1993-2003” which is organized by the “Science and Technology Higher Council” that “space technologies” are to be considered as one of the top priority topics. From there on space studies received considerable support from the government. The founding of a national observatory in Antalya (TUG) was achieved. Then TURKSAT communication satellite project was initiated. TURKSAT 1A and 1B were launched on in 1994. Next, TURKSAT 1C was placed in its orbit in 1996. TURKSAT 2A and TURKSAT 3A were placed in their orbits in 2001 and 2008 respectively. In fact, “Turkish Scientific and Technological Council (TÜBİTAK) – Space” was founded long before in 1985 to carry out research in the fields of space technologies, electronics, informatics and related areas. However its mission and vision were renewed in 2006 and it is renamed as “TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute”. A mini satellite project, BILSAT, was realised by this institute and placed in a polar orbit. It was launched from the space station in Russia in 2003 and started to operate. It must also be noted that a mini test satellite, which was displayed in EURSY meeting in Istanbul few years back, was designed and launched by Istanbul Technical University.

Similar efforts on space studies are going on with the impetus that it has gained after indicating space research among the topics to be given priority. A second Turkish satellite designed by Turkish engineers and scientists, RASAT, is on its way to be launched. Its mission is to supply data to use in city planning, forestry, agriculture and in the management of natural disasters.

There are strong evidences that Turkish government is planning to finalize the establishment of a kind of “Turkish Space Agency” which will organize all space activities in Turkey and guide research in this field. To strengthen ties and collaborations with especially European space institutes, Turkey has bilateral agreements and relations with certain space agencies, such as ESA, in Europe.

In connection with communication satellites there is a tracking station on the ground from where satellites are being followed.

In accordance with the developments in space sciences Turkey is in an attempt to make a leap forward to get involved in international organizations. In this respect, Turkish Research Council has become a member of EURISY which cooperates with ESA and supports activities to create an awareness of space sciences in the society.

3. The Observatories in Turkey

The Royal (Kandilli) Observatory

A one meter size telescope was bought for educational applications in Army (Harbiye) School, but it was fully destroyed in a big fire during Crimean war (1853-1856). The first observatory, after demolishing İstanbul Observatory in 1579 was built as a meteorological station, 289 years later in 1868 known as “Rasathane-i Amire” (Royal Observatory) at Pera/İstanbul. Rasathane-i Amire meaning magnificent, majestic, glorious observatory, can be considered to be the national observatory of Ottoman Empire. It was supported by the Empire on a report of a French engineer Aristide Coumbary who then became the first director of the Observatory. It was moved to Maçka/İstanbul, mostly as a small meteorological station and largely destroyed during 1909 rebellion. New (Kandilli) Observatory was built initially as a meteorically station by Fatin Gökmen in 1910 at the present location Kandilli (İcadiye Peak, Kandilli). The first two directors of the observatory before Fatih Gökmen were French Scientist Aristide Coumbary and Turkish mathematician Salih Zeki. Other units (such as solar physics, radio astronomy, time measurement, seismology, geo-magnetism) in the observatory was developed after 1925. After the Turkish Republic was established (1923), Fatin Gökmen proposed to establish astronomy and geophysical observatory. The proposal was accepted and full-fledged astronomical observatory with equatorial refractor of 20 cm diameter and 207 cm focal length has been started to work in 1935. The name of the “Royal Observatory” was abandoned, and “Kandilli Observatory” as a new name was accepted. The Royal (Kandilli) Observatory thus can be considered to be the National Observatory of the Ottoman Empire until 1923. The Kandilli Observatory was specialized more on solar observations, and since 1982 the observatory continues its work and research mostly on the seismology and solar activity as an Institute (the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute) belonging to Boğaziçi University.

İstanbul University Observatory

Istanbul University Observatory is the first modern observatory (built in 1936) of the Turkish Republic. It was built at Beyazıt - İstanbul by Erwin F. Freundlish as the laboratory of İstanbul University Astronomy Institute which was formed just after 1933 university reform in the Republic. The 30cm Carl-Zeiss astrograph installed in 1936 in the observatory is still used in solar activity observations. Two small reflectors (30cm and 20 cm) in the observatory are used in science & public activities. The observatory site became crowded living area, and thus under heavy light pollution after 1960’s. For the development of research on stellar astrophysics the observatory started in 2011 operating a joint 60cm robotic telescope at Çanakkale 18 March University Observatory site.

Ankara University Observatory

The idea of building Ankara University Observatory was initiated by Edberg A. Kreiken in 1958 at Ahlatlıbel/Ankara and The Observatory was opened formally in 1963 with an international NATO summer school at the Observatory. In 1964, a 15 cm Zeiss Coude refractor, another 15cm photographic refractor a small radio antenna were installed in the Observatory. A 30 cm Maksutov telescope in 1974 started using in photometric research on different classes of variable stars. Three more telescopes (D=12.7cm, 35.6cm and 40cm) were added to the observational instruments of the observatory. Due to large increase in light pollution, the observatory staff submitted a project to the State Planning Department for a modern observatory with a two meter size telescope at light pollution free area, 75km away east of Ankara.

Ege University Observatory

The construction of the Ege University Observatory (EUO) was initiated at the end of 1963 and completed in 1965, just after 10 years of the foundation of Ege University in 1955 with the Faculties of Medicine and Agriculture in IZMIR, the third largest city in Turkey.
In 1962 the Science Faculty started to education. At the beginning of 1963 Abdullah Kızılırmak, from Ankara University, was appointed to the faculty to establish the department of Astronomy and the Observatory.
The first instruments of the observatory were 15 cm Unitron telescope, the Foucault pendulum and an Iris photometer. The telescopes used in the Observatory with their sizes and the construction years are as follows: 13 cm spectrograph (1967), 48 cm Cassegrain telescope (1968), 30 cm Meade telescope (1999), 35 cm Meade telescope (2004), 40 cm Meade telescope (2004).
Now, 17 researchers with Ph.D. and 7 research assistants form the staff of both the institute and the observatory. About 30 researchers completed their PhD thesis using the facilities of the observatory. 350 undergraduate students and 20 graduate students are still continuing their education. The number of the papers published in the most-cited journals and the citation counts to these papers reached to 18 and 64 per year, respectively.
Furthermore the observatory performs an intensive educational program both for schools and public, including short courses and one-week multi-faceted international public outreach program. The observatory is open to the public and schools on Friday evenings. EUO produces special programs for hundreds of elementary and secondary teachers and students. A popular night-time Public Program includes a presentation, observing through a 30 cm telescope with assistance from a telescope operator, and a sack dinner. Visitors can get fine views of the moon, the planets and some of the best-loved features of the sky. One-week Educational programs are designed to inspire and motivate students and are suitable for years 8–18, vacation care, and tertiary and adult education students. Programs are also available for groups who have special needs and access requirements. All educational programs are conducted by highly trained astronomy educators. Participants are divided into groups of 15 students and are accompanied by the astronomy educators at all times. Students are encouraged to ask questions throughout the courses. Observatory provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to learn about astronomy and space exploration for 12 years old youngsters (?). The courses include: Exploring the heavens, astronomical concepts, stargazing skills - choosing and using a small telescope, variable stars, stellar evolution, universe and cosmology About 800 participants completed these courses. Light pollution is an increasing problem for observatories everywhere. One of the reasons Kurudag was selected as the site for the observatory was its dark skies that would allow observation of the faintest stars without the interference of city lights. Since 1990s, rapid urbanization of IZMIR has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of sky glow. If such light pollution continues to increase, it will seriously reduce the effectiveness of the Ege University Observatory for many types of research. The observatory already applied to the State Planning Department for a modern observatory with a two meter size telescope at light pollution free area, around Izmir.

Çanakkale University Observatory

ÇOMU Observatory started operation in 2002 with a 40 cm reflector. In order to obtain more photometric data on variable stars, three more reflectors (D= 20, 30 and 30 cm) were bought in five years and used mostly for post-graduate studies and research projects. About 30 researchers, half of which holds a PhD degree form the Observatory staff. To extend the research area, the spectroscopic observations were planned and a relatively large telescope (D=122 cm) was bought by a State Planning Department Project and installed in the observatory in August 2009. A site and a dome was provided in the observatory for the joint 60cm robotic telescope of Istanbul University Observatory in 2011. An infrastructure of the science & society activities with a 30cm telescope, a Focault pendulum and a detailed sundial was also activated in 2011 in the observatory.

Astronomy and Space Science Observatory Application and Research Center (UZAYBİMER)

This center was founded in Erciyes University in 2009. The primary research area of the center covers both radio astronomy and optical astronomy. The center hosts the first radio observatory of Turkey. The aims of the center are as follows:
To support undergraduate and graduate level education on related subjects such as radio astronomy, optical astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, remote sensing and satellite technologies in astronomy and space sciences; to support thesis studies and scientific projects; to acquire observational data in order to build necessary equipment; to organize and perform all necessary maintenance work relating to the observatory; and to make plans for necessary future buildings such as a planetarium, as well as for all educational and technical equipment.
In addition to university observatories, we have a national observatory named TUG that supports Turkish astronomers.
One final note is that there are a few projects for large size telescopes: two of them by Ege and Ankara University Observatories, and other one by the Anadolu University, and two projects for 3-4 meters size telescopes; one by TÜBİTAK National Observatory, the other which is an infrared telescope by Atatürk University, to be installed in the Erzurum, in eastern part of Turkey.

TÜBİTAK National Observatory

Early ideas and intentions to own a National Observatory for Turkey can go back as early as 1968. Nüzhet GÖKDOĞAN, the first Turkish astronomer of Istanbul University, Abdullah KIZILIRMAK, the founder of Ege University astronomy and observatory, and Dilhan ERYURT, from the Middle East Technical University, persuaded the idea of a National Observatory among the new generation astronomers through the years 1968-1978. First kick off meeting dedicated especially for the National Observatory held on May 26, 1978 at Ankara University. Conclusion of Ankara Meeting was, then, improved within a wider audience during a National Astronomy meeting in September 11-16, 1978 in Silivri, Istanbul. Nevertheless, an actual step was taken after establishing the “Space Science Research Unit” within TBAG (Basic Science Research Group) at TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) in 1979. This unit has been renamed and organized as Site Selection for a National Observatory project and this was the point when actual site selection studies started 1983. Seven investigators representing Ankara University, Istanbul University, Ege University, Boğaziçi University and Middle East Technical University cooperated and seventeen candidate locations were pre-examined. Among them with 1612 m altitude Kurdu, Muğla, with 2159 m altitude Ödemiş, İzmir, with 2206 m altitude Nemrud, Adıyaman and with 2547 m altitude Bakırlıtepe Antalya were chosen for simultaneous site testing observations. Many observational astronomers contributed observations at those locations. After four years continuous site testing observations from 1982 to 1986, finally, a concluding report has been published by Aslan et al. (1989). Bakırlıtepe, located on the north west of Antalya on Taurus Mountains were selected for the location of the National Observatory.
Foundation of the National Observatory, as a project, was started by the State planning office in 1991. The project is realized with the leadership of principle investigator Zeki Aslan, who later became the first director of the observatory. Transport and electricity services were completed up to the top of the hill (Bakırlıtepe) where the observatory was materially to be built. On June 17, 1995 running and administrative rules and regulations were put in force. Construction of central building and main observatory buildings were completed within two years from 1996 to 1997. Finally, the TÜBİTAK National Observatory was officially opened on September 5, 1997.
The first telescope of the Observatory is 40 cm Utrecht made equatorial reflector. The first light was in January 1997. This telescope later replaced by robotic 40 cm aperture Meade LX200GPS model telescope in 2006. At last, this telescope too was replaced by an American made OMI (Optical Mechanics Inc.) robotic telescope with 60 cm aperture which is currently named T60. T60 serving scheduled CCD observations and is dedicated to long period variables since August 2010.
The main telescope of the National observatory is owned by Kazan State University, Kazan, Tatarstan. It has been operated on time sharing basis since its first light was received in September 2001, according to a trilateral protocol among TÜBİTAK, KSU (Kazan state University) and IKI (Russian Academy of Sciences) signed in 1995. The name of the telescope RTT150 implies Russian Turkish telescope with 150 cm aperture. Telescope has three changeable focus capabilities. The two is used commonly by interchanging manually, one: COUDE focus (f/48) used high resolution (R=40000) spectroscopy; two: Cassegrain (f/7.7) focus used for low resolution spectroscopy and imaging.
The Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE) operates as a group of four optical telescopes around the world for observing gamma-ray bursts. The four telescopes scattered around the world so that astronomical events could be observable at least by one of the telescopes. ROTSE IIId telescopes are 45 cm aperture and fully robotic. One of them placed at Bakırlıtepe within TÜBİTAK National Observatory site according to cooperation between Michigan University and TÜBİTAK since 2003. One of the recent telescope placed on the Bakırlıtepe is T100 telescope with 100 cm aperture equatorial reflector made by Astronomical Consultants and Equipment in USA. T100 is an Richey Cretian type telescope that has a wide field of view, thus equipped with 4kx4k CCD with a an image size 21.5x21.5 arc minute square. T100 has been serving for project based observations since October 2010. It is dedicated primarily to solar system objects, wide angle field studies and any other kind of imaging. Other telescope placed on the Bakırlıtepe is T60 telescope which is a fully robotic telescope made by Optical Mechanic Inc. in USA. T60 is an Richey Cretian type telescope that has a 17x17 arcmin field of view equipped with 2k2k CCD. T60 has been serving for project based observations since October 2010. It is dedicated primarily to long-term variable stars and Gaia alerts.

Eastern Anatolian Observatory Project

DAG (Eastern Anatolia Observatory) Project is the newest observatory with the optical and near-infrared largest telescope (4 m class) and its robust observing site infrastructure. This national project consists of three phases with DAG (Telescope, Enclosure, Buildings and Infrastructures), FPI (Focal Plane Instruments and Adaptive Optics) and MCP (Mirror Coating Plant) and is supported by the Ministry of Development of Turkey. The tenders of telescope and enclosure have been made and almost all the infrastructure (roads, geological and atmospherical surveys, electricity, fiber optics, cable car, water, generator, etc.) of DAG site (Erzurum/Turkey, 3,170 m altitude) have been completed.

4. National and International Organizations

Turkish astronomers hold national general meetings in every two years. Most of the astronomers participate to these meetings and present either an oral or a poster paper. Some foreign astronomers are also invited to give a talk on a selected topic which is a current research subject or a relevant topic to Turkish astronomers. National or international papers to be presented are selected by a scientific committee. Besides this national and regular meeting, astronomers have small group meetings which do not have to be regular, on certain and specific topics, such as “Data Reduction Techniques” in various observational branches of astronomy and astrophysics.

Turkish astronomers collaborate also with Turkish Physical Society in whose general meetings there is always a section that belongs to astronomy and astrophysics.

TÜBİTAK is the main body that supports fundamental research. It has several programs under which it gives money to scientists to do their research. Supporting of research activities is done via projects which should be decided by a committee formed of university scholars.

If there is a need of a large sum to found a laboratory/observatory or to buy an instrument State Planning Division is the body to apply to. They support big scientific projects, such as buying a telescope of apertures 3-4 meters, which has large budgets, but this is done after a very strict analysis of its feasibility.

As for international activities Turkey became a member of International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1961. As of today there are about 40 Turkish astronomers who are IAU members. Turkey is a member of this organization via Turk Astronomi Derneği (TAD) (Turkish Astronomical Society). As it is known there are certain criteria to become a member of IAU. TAD, in every two years, before the General Assembly of the IAU prepares a list of Turkish astronomers who satisfy the criteria to become a member of IAU. If they are accepted by the general Assembly they become a member of the IAU. This is the procedure how to become a member of IAU from Turkey. Currently there are 53 Turkish astronomers registered as IAU members.

Most of the astronomers on the list are currently active in astronomy, but some who have been passed away still appear on the list.

Turkish astronomers are generally very active in demanding observing times from international observatories through international projects. Apart from such direct involvements in international projects, Turkish astronomers benefit from data made available by international space organizations and satellites.

5. Turkish Astronomy in Global Scale

From the evaluation of the articles that are published in journals within the Science Citation Index (SCI) in the last 30 years one can understand where Turkish astronomy stands in the world. To do this web site known as ISI WEB OF SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE was used. When regarding the Astronomy and Astrophysics articles that are published in journals within SCI that addressed to Turkey in between 1980 to 2010, the distribution of articles over the years are shown in Figure 2. In the past 30 years, 774 articles have been published by the astronomy and astrophysics staff in the country.

Figure 2: The number of articles which are addressed to Turkey published in journals within SCI, in astronomy and astrophysics between 1980 and 2010 years.

In Figure 2, the number of articles in astronomy and astrophysics can be analysed in three different time periods: The first period is between 1980 and 1986 with an average of five articles per year, second period is between 1987 and 2000 with an average of ten articles per year and the third period is in between 2001 and 2010 with average of 54 articles per year.

The following arguments may explain sudden jump in the number of the published papers in astronomy and astrophysics articles, in SCI journals especially after 2000s.

The main research areas that were popular within these years are stellar astrophysics, Galactic structure, galaxies and cosmology, high energy astrophysics, binary stars, stellar evolution and Solar Physics.

6. Amateur Astronomy in Turkey

Amateur astronomy in Turkey began in 1980s with the initiatives of students from astronomy and space sciences and physics departments in order to learn the sky via small telescopes and to have necessary practical experience. These experienced amateur groups organized several activities to share their knowledge and experiences. These activities reached at the other amateurs with presentations, competitions, panels and sky observations and attracted public attention. Popular astronomy topics became widespread with astronomical photographs and variable stars observations done by amateurs.

With the fast development of computer technology in the early 1990s, high resolution images taken from large telescopes and especially Hubble Space Telescope created great curiosity in people and made a big sensation in astronomy. People who do not have any amateur telescope could have a chance to get interested in astronomy with popular software which teaches the sky. Especially in the mid 1990’s, the internet became widely distributed all over the country and through electronic bulletins, e-mail lists, forums and portals, amateurs from distant regions have come close to each other. Within the same period, some private secondary schools founded their own observatories and planetariums to attract the attention of students and their parents. These initiatives led to create the awareness of people who then choose astronomy and space sciences departments for their university education.

From the mid-2000’s public and university groups introduced a new trend to amateur astronomers such as making mirror and telescope. On other hand, a big change in the focal plane instruments was just happened after CCD cameras became widespread. Amateur sky photographs taken by CCD cameras and professional SLR machines started to publish their products in the most famous web sites and astronomy magazines like APOD, TUG and Sky & Telescope.

Another turning point of amateur astronomy in Turkey was International Year of Astronomy (IYA) activities in 2009. These activities, 100 hours astronomy, Astronomy and World Heritage, Understanding the Universe, Female Astronomers, Universal Almanac, Galileo Nights, Galileoscope, Earth at Night and Cassini the Scientist, were carried out by Turkish Astronomy Association (TAD) and reached at thousands of people. All of activities done in universities, schools and other corporations were advertised in a private web site of TAD which was prepared for IYA2009. This web site was followed by approximately 100 thousand people in between February 2009 and January 2010. TAD made a contribution to popularizing the astronomy with a magazine which can be found astronomy news, popular articles and announcements of activities. This magazine, which has approximately 1200 fans, is published monthly and subscribers are increasing day by day.

The biggest amateur astronomy meeting in our country is organized every year by the lead of TÜBİTAK National Observatory (TUG) since 1997. This activity also known as Sky Observation Fest happens with participation of approximately 500 amateur astronomers. Presentations about some popular astronomy topics are presented during day and observations of constellations, planets, satellites, galactic objects and other galaxies are made till the first light of the morning.

One week period summer schools are organized for the public which contain astronomy education and observations with the cooperation of Staff and club members of Ege University and Çanakkale 18 March University. Courses about astronomical subjects, sky and objects, telescopes, Sun and Solar system, Milky Way, other galaxies and the universe are given in this summer school. On the other hand staff of İstanbul University shared their theoretical and observational knowledge with primary school students in the content of Kid’s University in 2010.

Another education facility about space technology is Space Camp Turkey which is located in Free Zone İzmir. Space Camp Turkey which is a space and science centre concentrates to motivate the youth having a career and getting interest in math, science and technology. Both children and adults can have education about space, communication, team working and leadership with using simulations in a very dynamical ambiance. Space Camp Turkey is the fourth in the world, and the first and the only camp in Middle East, South East European and West/Middle Asia. Active amateur astronomy clubs, groups and forums are listed in Table 2.

7. Concluding Remarks

The state of astronomy, in Turkey, has been summarized. From what has been said it is clear that the number of astronomers when the total population is considered is rather low. In spite of this fact, statistics show that Turkish astronomers showed a great performance in publishing their research studies in respectable journals. Besides it is really motivating that Turkish astronomy is getting reasonable support from both Governmental (State Planning Organization and TUBITAK basically) sources and private sources. All these supports are given on project based applications. Meanwhile, authors of this paper would especially like to acknowledge State Planning Organization and TUBITAK for their continuing support to space science projects in Turkey.

It is a common belief in Turkey that Turkish astronomy will make a good leap forward in coming years, both in education and in research.

© South West and Central Asia Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (SWCA ROAD) 2015