Scouting and Guiding in Turkey - History


The start of Scouting in Turkey is attributed to the brothers Ahmet and Abdurrahman Robenson, who were sports teachers at the Galatasaray and Kabataş high schools in Istanbul in 1909, and to Nafi Arif Kansu and Ethem Nejat, with first units organized at Darüşşafaka, Galatasaray, and İstanbul high schools, during the late Ottoman period.

During this same period, Scouting was created independently in outlying areas of the Ottoman Empire, most notably Lebanon and Syria.

In 1915 an Austro-Hungarian Scout unit in Constantinople was founded and served up to 1918. This unit was a member of the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund This Scout Association supported the foundation of Scout groups in Damascus, Beirut and Aleppo.

The Scouting efforts were put to a halt during the Balkan Wars and World War I, and again gained momentum after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In 1926, Scouting activities began to be organized nationwide in schools.

Ahmet Han, the Director of Scouting, and Muhittin Akdik, the Director of Education in İstanbul, visited France, the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 1946 to study Scouting and its administration, and returned determined to build up the movement on fundamental and modern lines. Sıtkı Sanoplu was responsible for starting the Cub Scout program in 1950. Cub packs existed in the coeducational primary schools, and were themselves coed, but boys and girls were placed in separate sixes, or dens. Practically all the Cubmasters were women.

J. S. Wilson, Director of the Boy Scouts International Bureau, began his 1952 tour of Asia visiting Cub Scout packs, Scout troops and Girl Guide companies in İstanbul and Ankara.

With the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, it was suggested that the Turkish Scouting and Guiding Federation should assist in the creation of Scout movements in the Turkic Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, but it is uncertain if this plan ever materialized.

The current Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey was legally organized in 1992 as administratively bound to the General Directorate of Youth and Sport. In February 2007, the federation gained autonomous status.

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