ARCH462 | Profession and Practice | History of the Profession in Turkey

In the continuation of the lecture of Bilge İmamoğlu about the architectural practice, we saw how the professionalism process proceeds in Turkey.

The evolution of professionalization in Turkey has similar order. Due to the need to produce and circulate knowledge centralized educational institutions emerged. Higher education system was created as a western based, modern and contemporary education system. The first technical school for developing navy which is Mühendishane-i Bahri Hümayun, today’s Istanbul Technical University, had opened in 1782. And after that, chronologically, Mekteb-i Berri Hümayun (1795), Mekteb-i Mülkiye (1859), Mekteb-i Sanayi-i Nefise-i Şahane (1882), today’s Mimar Sinan University, Hendese-i Mülkiye (1884) and Dar-ül Fünun (1845) was opened. In later times, technical profession education is required around the country therefore METU, KTU, EAU was opened.

At the same time, there were some other progress in terms of ‘publication of scholar and professional journals, formation of professional organization, social legitimacy of explicit rights for occupational privileges and the state’s legal approval for those rights and privileges’. In 1908, the Ottoman Society of Engineers and Architects, in 1927 the Society of Turkish Architects, also, in 1954, Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers were founded. There were some law regulations about the use of titles of Engineer and Architect in 1927. In 1931, Mimar (Arkitekt) which is the first architectural journal in Turkish was published.

After the proclamation of the republic, there were revolution in country and everything was changing very fastly. In this era, architecture became more contemporary and in this period some important architects became up to date. Vedat Tek who is architect of second assemble building in Ankara and Sirkeci train station in İstanbul and Mimar Kemalettin are the examples of first professional architects of Turkish Republic. And also there are some other architects that came from other countries such as Bruno Taut and Ernst Arnold Egli and they had the professional rights in Turkey. However, because of political environment, share of the market became problematic. There were some debates in terms of nationalism and professionalism. Also, this situation created some protests in time, in order not to provide Turkish architects to be professional in their own country.

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ARCH462 | Profession and Practice | Architectural Practice

Lecture is conducted under the topic of architectural practice by Bilge İmamoğlu. Firstly, lecture concentrated on the terms profession, professional, professionalism, professionalization and their dictionary meaning. Profession refers to ‘type of a job that requires special education’; professional refers to ‘set of skills, judgement and behaviour that expected from well-trained people’; professionalism refers to ‘the skill, quality and high standards of behaviour expected of a professional person’, also professionalism refers to ‘act of profession’; professionalization refers to ‘a process of becoming professional’. Equivalent of the term profession in Turkish is an Arabic verb meslek, ‘from the root of süluk, entering a route, an occupation or a religious act, an attitude’.

Profession and practice are a kind of communication between person and society. Being professional is a declaration to society. Educational institutions such as universities and certificates are official and public declarations, they are proof to perform a specific job.

The evolution of professionalization is related with enlightenment, industrialization and urbanization. For example, until the modernization period medicine is a practice but after modernization it become a profession.

The process of being professional starts with a system of production and circulation of knowledge specific to the occupation within centralized educational institutions. Publication of scholar and professional journal is a medium to continue the distribution of knowledge produced within and after an academic institution. After that this process continues with formation of professional organization and they defence rights of professions and also establish relation between state, society and profession. RIBA (1834) and AIA (1857) are the first examples of these institutional organizations. Also, social legitimacy of explicit rights for occupational privileges is another step for being professional and this refers to that you are acknowledged by society. And final step is the state’s legal approval for those rights and privileges and it is an exception by law, society and state.