Wikimania:Expressions of Interest/2024/Wikimania 2024 Istanbul, Türkiye
Expression of interest: Türkiye[edit source]
We, as Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey and the Turkic Community, are interested in organizing Wikimania in Istanbul, Türkiye. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, country's economic, cultural and historical center. The city has a population of over 15 million residents, comprising 19% of the population of Turkey. Istanbul is the most populous European city and the world's 15th-largest city.
One of the most dynamic cities in the world, Istanbul is literally a metropolis. Istanbul is a transcontinental city straddling two continents by its inland sea, Marmara. The city is divided into four regions and has a natural harbor, the Golden Horn. One of the world’s busiest waterways, the Bosphorus, is situated in northwestern Turkey between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Connecting the two seas, Bosphorus also separates Istanbul to two sides known as European side and Asian side.
Over 13.4 million foreign visitors came to Istanbul in 2018, eight years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making it the world's eighth most visited city. Hosting two international airports (Istanbul Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Asian side), Istanbul is reachable by most of the major international airlines and charters. The city is from 2 to 5 hours from European destinations and 9 hours from North America.
As the turnaround port for many cruise ships, Istanbul is mostly reached from the Aegean Sea. Besides, GalataPort is also used as a stopping point for a number of international ferries. The Bosphorus is an important passageway for international cargo ships and tankers, and a crucial stopping place for Mediterranean cruises.
Istanbul has two railway stations: Haydarpaşa on the Asian side and Sirkeci on the European side. The city can be reached from Belgrade (via Balkan Express), Bucharest (via Bosphorus Express), Budapest(via TransBalkan Express), Kishinev (via Prietenia Express), Pythion (via IC 90/91) and Munich (via IstanbulExpress).
Istanbul has a very extensive road network requiring Green Card and appropriate insurance for coming from Europe. Speed limits are 120 km/h for motorways, 90 km/h on main roads, and 50 km/h in towns. The city's international bus terminal is about ten kilometers from the city center and serves all international and domestic lines.
Istanbul has also hosted local and international Wikimedia events. The most recent event took place at the end of October - Wikidata Trainings For Turkic Wikimedians 2022.
Istanbul has previously hosted such international events as Eurovision (2004), 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, EuroBasket Women 2005, 2009 UEFA Cup Final, 2010 FIBA World Championship, EuroBasket 2001 & 2017 (finals), WTA Tour Championships 2011, 2012 & 2013, 2012 Chess Olympiad, 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships, Euroleague Final Four 2012 & 2017, 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, 2019 UEFA Super Cup, Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix (9 times) International Istanbul Jazz festival (every year) and 2023 UEFA Champions League Final will play in Istanbul.
Venue + lodging[edit source]
- Conference venues
Istanbul is home to the largest convention centers in the country and university campuses which are good candidates to host Wikimania including below:
- Halic Congress Center stands on the shores of the Golden Horn. It is possible to access the venue within 25 minutes from Istanbul airport by car and in 40 minutes from Sabiha Gökcen Airport. Taksim, the main center of the city, is 7 minutes and the Sultanahmet district is 10 minutes away by car. The venue offers 5 auditoriums and 17 meeting rooms in 4 four buildings linked to each other by galleries and foyers. The largest auditorium is for 3008 participants, and the second largest auditorium is for 1138 participants. Link
- Istanbul Congress Center is situated in the Congress Valley at Taksim-Nişantaşı district within easy walking distance of hotels. Various cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping facilities surround the center. It is possible to access the venue in 37 minutes from Istanbul airport by car and in 55 minutes from Sabiha Gökcen Airport. The largest hall, Harbiye Auditorium, hosts up to 3555 people and Usküdar Hall has a capacity of hosting up to 1280 people. The venue alo has medium and small halls and workshop places. Link
- Lütfü Kırdar Convention & Exhibition Center is the first congress center of Istanbul and located in the Congress Valley, on the heart of the European side of the city. Surrounded by Various cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping facilities.It’s 41 km away from the Istanbul Airport and 50 km away from Sabiha Gökcen Airport. Anadolu Auditorium hosts up to 10 900 people. link
- Grand Cevahir is located in the Şişli district of Istanbul and is a very easily accessible place to the main attractions of the city. It’s the only venue having a hotel, shopping center, and congress center under the same roof. The 1013-person capacity auditorium is the largest hotel-auditorium of Turkey. In addition to the auditorium, the venue has 22 meeting rooms. Link
- Uskudar University is located in a very central place on the Asian side of Istanbul; surrounded by hotels, shopping places; and easily accessible by public transportation. Previously hosted several Wikimedia events; has 4 conference halls, many classrooms for parallel multiple tracks of events and meetings; garden and sports hall available for plenary sessions Link
- Bilgi University Santral Istanbul Campus is a unique place located by the Golden Horn. The campus is not only the home of some faculty and departments of Bilgi University but also an art and culture center attracting outside visitors to its museum and art gallery serving in a historically renovated power plant. The venue also houses some dining, refreshment and entertainment facilities. Link
Istanbul has more than 2300 accommodation facilities having a total of around 232.000 bed capacity. In terms of room number, the majority of the hotels in Istanbul are located on the European side. Accommodation options in Istanbul include a range of facilities from the super modern deluxe category hotels and holiday complexes to the affordable ones.
Travel + visas[edit source]
Istanbul is a global transport hub, mainly an air hub. Istanbul has two international airports (New Istanbul Airport and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport), which connect Turkey with more than 150 countries of the world. At the same time, Istanbul Airport is the second busiest airport in the world. Located at the intersection of Asia, Europe and Middle East, Istanbul Airport is a strategic connection point for all destinations.
Istanbul is also connected to European capitals with a railway. There are also bus links with neighboring and European capitals.
Two large national airlines operate in Turkey, one of which is Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey. As of 2022, it operates scheduled services to 340 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, making it the largest mainline carrier in the world by the number of passenger destinations. The airline serves more destinations non-stop from a single airport and flies to 126 countries.
The second airline is Pegasus. This is a Turkish low-cost carrier. At the moment, the airline flies to 120 destinations.
Turkey has a very flexible visa policy and provides citizens of foreign countries with various options for obtaining a visa. At the moment, citizens of 91 countries can travel to Turkey without a visa, and in addition to this, citizens of 21 countries can obtain an electronic visa to travel to Turkey.
Visitors of most nationalities must hold a passport valid for no less than 150 days from the date of arrival. The passport validity requirement does not apply to citizens of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland who can enter with a passport expired for less than five years, citizens of Germany who can enter with a passport or an ID card expired for less than one year, citizens of Bulgaria who are only required to have a passport valid for their period of stay. An identity card is accepted in lieu of a passport for citizens of Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Northern Cyprus, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine. The validity period requirement also does not apply to nationals of countries whose identity cards are accepted.
As of 2019, Turkey has embassies and consulates in 246 locations around the world. Turkish diplomatic missions are represented on all continents. Turkey is the fifth country with the highest number of diplomatic representations in the world. You can see the full list of Turkish diplomatic missions on this link.
Facilities + services[edit source]
- Thanks to technological advancement and high service quality, Istanbul is well-known for its hospitals and health care system. It has 220 hospitals, 29 of which are JCI* accredited (which equals 3% of all JCI accredited healthcare organizations in the world) are operating in Istanbul.
- Istanbul provides efficient communication tools via internet and cellular phone services. Those services are available around the clock 24 hours 7 days a week. Even providers for home users offer up to 1000 Mbps speeds.
*Joint Commission International (JCI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs across the globe.
Safety + security[edit source]
As a rule, Turkey is safe. The country remains one of the most popular destinations around the globe. 40-45 million visitors come to its shores every year, with the vast majority experiencing no problems and enjoying their stays. Following a sharp drop in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; Turkey ranked 4th on world tourism list in 2021 according to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Maintaining a safe environment for foreign tourists is a top priority for Turkey and the majority of its population, as tourism is a major part of the country’s economy.
Generally, crime levels are low, but street robbery and pick-pocketing are common in the major tourist areas of Istanbul. Visitors should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in other touristic places in the world. For instance, visitors visiting any major attractions around the world, including those in Turkey, are advised to keep an eye on their belongings, to avoid street robbery and pickpocketing. This simple piece of advice will keep travelers safe anywhere around the world, including Turkey.
Turkish law enforcement agencies protect the rights and safety of international visitors at a high level. Turkish courts are free and protected from the influence of third parties. Thus, freedom of thought in Turkey is guaranteed by the country's constitution and protected by the country's courts.
- What about the Wikipedia block?
One point of concern for Wikipedians visiting Turkey might be the unfortunate fact that Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey for 2,5 years between 2017-2020. The block was removed at January 15, 2020; when the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that the block of Wikipedia violated human rights and ordered it to be lifted. As the legal process was being taken care by the Wikimedia Foundation teams; the active wikipedians continued their contributions to Wikipedia even during the block by using VPN; as there is no law against VPN; they even celebrated the birthday of Wikidata with an event open to all public and hosting a Wikimedian guest-spekaer from abroad.
Right after the removal off the block; Turkish wikipedians wanted to use the increasing curiosity of people about wikipedia editing for promoting wikipedia editorship and Wikimedia values more actively. The user group registered by as a legal organization based in Istanbul, received a non-profit status, organized many outreach activities organized by partnerships with different civil and public institutions and became much more visible in public. The first big international Wikimedia event in Istanbul after the block and after the pandemic was celebration of 10th birthday of Wikidata with participants and speakers from 10 countries. The use group continues organizing min. two outreach events every month -mostly in Istanbul - and is very proud from their work and progress.
Alternate locations[edit source]
- July or August 2024
- July or August 2025
Any other details that you think would be helpful for the Wikimania Steering Committee.