8.1 General context
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Although there is no research conducted on the cultural participation of young people at national level, there are some statistics that can be included in cultural participation. In this scope, the statistics of the public libraries of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the data of the National Library which young people use intensively can be deemed to be an indicator. In this context, 366,182 people visited the library and 44,996 materials were used as of July 2017. The number of users of the Internet access center is 20,877. 13,161 people became a member in the current year. The number of people that visited the website of the National Library is 496,266.
Furthermore, the following statistics are also available regarding the public, children and literature museum libraries of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism:
In the first half of 2017, 5,494,881 children and 6,617,819 adults visited the libraries. As of June 30, 2017, there are 765,713 child members and 1,048,243 adult members. Statistics on public libraries used by children and adults are available. Since children’s age range is 0-14 and adults’ age range is 15+, the statistics on adults include the young people as well.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to conduct a survey on “Participation in Cultural Activities” throughout Turkey in the forthcoming period. As this survey will contain information on age groups, it will provide more reliable information concerning the cultural participation of young people.
Culture is defined as the style of living and thinking that distinguishes one community from another, has been continuing for a long time with numerous changes and builds the identity of the communities with specific arts, beliefs, manners and customs, understanding and behavior. It is the entire material and moral values that give an identity to the society and maintain order with the feelings of solidarity and unity.
The scope of the concept of cultural heritage is very extended, and it can be grouped into two as tangible cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage.
Tangible cultural heritage includes the structures, historical places and monuments that need to be protected so that they can be passed down to next generations. Archaeological, architectural and scientific/technological works are addressed as tangible cultural heritage. These structures carry the development of societies and the places they live beyond time and are the areas that illustrate the natural environment, social, economic and cultural aspects of the societies and give information on those societies.
Intangible cultural heritage refers to the cultural products and production processes such as oral narration, oral tradition, performance arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, folklore, practices concerning the universe and nature, and handicraft tradition.
It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to design surveying, restitution and restoration projects for immovable cultural property and to carry out maintenance, repair and restoration practices under such projects, and any action or work concerning the movable and immovable cultural property is carried out within the framework of Law no. 2863 on Protection of Cultural Propert (2863 sayılı Kültür Varlıklarını Koruma Kanunu). Some legal definitions used in this law regarding tangible cultural heritage are given below:
Cultural property: It refers to movable and immovable property on the ground, underground or underwater pertaining to science, culture, religion and fine arts before and after recorded history or that is of unique scientific and cultural value for social life before and after recorded history.
Natural property: It refers to all assets on the ground, underground or underwater pertaining to geological periods, prehistoric periods until the present time, which are of unique kind or require protection due to their characteristics and beauty.
Conservation area: It refers to areas that are the product of various civilizations from prehistoric ages up to the present and containing cities, ruins and cultural property reflecting the social, economic, architectural and similar characteristics of the respective times as well as areas where important historical events occurred with a concentration of cultural property and areas the natural characteristics of which have been documented to require protection. (As per the Decree no. 648 (648 Karar Nolu Kanun Hükmünde Kararname), published in the Official Gazette no. 28028 of 17.08.2011, the authority on natural protected areas and natural property was delegated to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.)
Street improvement projects and their implementation: They refer to any project for conservation and documentation of the immovable cultural property and other structures on the streets required to be protected along with all elements defining the texture of the streets in urban protected areas and conserved areas, including survey, restitution, restoration and urban design projects as well as any project required to be carried out in the branches of engineering and their implementation.
The concept “Conservation” refers to the safeguarding, maintenance, repair, restoration, functional change of immovable cultural and natural property and safeguarding, maintenance, repair and restoration of movable cultural property.
Since 2006, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been a party to the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” (Somut Olmayan Kültürel Miras'ın Korunması Sözleşmesi), adopted by UNESCO in 2003, and the convention has been executed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Within the framework of Article 3 of the Convention, which says “Safeguarding means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.”, activities are carried out with a view to passing down Intangible Cultural Heritage to next generations and enhancing visibility and awareness of Intangible Cultural Heritage among young people.
In this scope, conservation programs are designed in relation to the items included into the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO Somut Olmayan Kültürel Mirasın Temsili Listesi), Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory of Turkey (Somut Olmayan Kültürel Miras Türkiye Envanteri) and Living Human Treasures National Inventory of Turkey (Yaşayan İnsan Hazineleri Türkiye Ulusal Envanterleri) in order to pass down historical items to next generations, raise awareness of and sustain them.