Istanbul home to the largest number of NGOs

ISTANBUL - According to research on nongovernmental organizations in Turkey, there are a total of 80,212 associations, most of which are in Istanbul, and 14,744 of those are related to organizing courses on the Koran or the building of mosques

New research on nongovernmental organizations in Turkey has revealed there are a total of 80,212 charities and 4,471 foundations.

The Istanbul Public Accountant Financial Adviser, or İSMMMO, released new research findings titled, "Nongovernmental organizations, or NGO’s in Turkey."
İSMMMO took into consideration organizations that work in the public interest and food banks.

According to research findings, social welfare NGOs contribute to the economy and have become a focal point of transparency discussions.

Istanbul is the city that hosts the largest number of NGOs. Ankara, İzmir and Bursa follow as a popular location for NGOs in Turkey. The cities of Ardahan, Şırnak, Tunceli, Kilis and Hakkari do not host any such organizations.

Unfair competition
These new research findings revealed the competition for donations has generated unfairness between NGOs. While some NGOs crave new sources of finance, a small number of NGOs take advantage of government regulations.

Donations made to food banks are excluded from income and corporate taxes under a regulation that came into effect in 2004. This provides an advantage to those organizations. Twenty associations received authorization from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to form a food bank foundation. According to 2007 statements, those 20 foundations collected 897,051 lira in donations.

Out of the total number of NGOs, 14,744 work to raise funds to build mosques and organize Koran courses, 13,860 are concerned with sport, and income support and protection foundations rank third with 13,382. NGOs related to citizenry, women and craftsmanship issues follow. There are only 227 student union organizations.

Half of NGOs operate for social welfare
Of the total number of NGOs in Turkey, 42 percent are related to social welfare, 1,105 are related to education, 605 to culture and 519 to charity.

Human rights, women, children, the environment and the elderly are largely left out of matters of concern to NGOs. Earning the status of a foundation or of an association working for society’s benefit has many advantages. These organizations can offer facilities in public areas.

The new research findings state all foundations and associations are exempt from corporate tax and that NGOs that operate in the area of social welfare have many advantages. İSMMMO lists 15 receive organizations that operate solely by donations, such as the Ankara Children with Leukemia Health and Education Foundation, U.N. Children Aid Fund Turkish National Committee Foundation, the Turkish Myopathy Foundation, the Education Health and Culture Foundation, the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) Foundation, the Turkey Religion Foundation, the Red Crescent Association, the Turkey Education Foundation and the Turkey Education Association.

According to the research, 19.49 percent of NGO headquarters are located in Marmara. The data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs shows that in 2008, 8.5 million people were a member of an NGO.
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