This application is submitted by Wikimedia UG Turkey for the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2024 in Istanbul, Türkiye.
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, the 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 into two sides, the European side and the 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 an extensive road network requiring a 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 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.
The Turkish community is trying to be more active in the global movement and also bringing more international projects and events to Turkey, which will inspire the local community. In order to involve the local community, as well as to familiarize our regional community with Turkey, we decided to apply for a conference in Turkey.
Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey (WMTR) is a group formed by the members of the Turkish Wikimedians community who are active participants in Turkish Wikipedia and its various sister projects, as well as in some other global Wikimedia projects such as Commons, Meta-Wiki, Outreach, Wikidata, etc. Furthermore, most of the current members of the user group have been active Wikimedians for several years, and some of them have participated in various meetings and conferences abroad, representing the community of Turkish Wikimedians and also actively participating in various events held in universities throughout Turkey, doing presentations and workshops in order to reach students and young people with the purpose of introducing the Wikimedia and its projects to new people and thus, bringing in new people with potential for the community. At the moment, more than 40 people are members of the UG.
Also, a local non-profit for Wikimedia UG Turkey is Dijital Bilgi Derneği. Information technologies allow everyone who is an internet user to participate in digital information and content production. Dijital Bilgi Derneği works for internet users to evaluate this opportunity.
Proposed event venue
- Uskudar University is located in a very central place on the Asian side of Istanbul, surrounded by hotels and shopping places, and easily accessible by public transportation. Previously hosted several Wikimedia events; has 4 conference halls and many classrooms for parallel multiple tracks of events and meetings. 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
Both universities are ready to provide their facilities for the Wikimedia CEE Meeting free of charge.
Istanbul has more than 2300 accommodation facilities, a total of around 232,000 bed capacity. Accommodation options in Istanbul include a range of facilities from the super modern deluxe category hotels and holiday complexes to the affordable ones.
Based on the fact that Wikimania mostly takes place between July and August, it can be assumed that Wikimania 2024 in Krakow will take place in this time range. Therefore, we propose the following dates for the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2024:
- 11-13 October, 2024
- 18-20 October, 2024
- 25-27 October, 2024
This will give us about two months between big events in our region.
Expected total budget
After exact calculations, which are based on data from our previous conferences, such as Wikidata Istanbul and Turkic Wikimedia Conference, our conference totaled 125,790.00 USD. The budget is designed for 90 scholarship recipients and a total of 150 conference participants.
More details about our budget can be found on this Google sheet.
Both universities have different sizes of classrooms and conference rooms for meetings, which are ready for use during the conference. All halls are equipped with all necessary technical equipment.
- Like all previous conferences, Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2024 will occur over 3 days.
- In addition to the main program days, if there is demand from the community, we can organize learning days a day before the main conference days.
- We will provide as many tracks during the program days as needed after receiving submissions and programming.
WMTR, together with a specific university, will provide all the necessary logistical needs for organizing conferences, including:
- Video recording
- Live stream
Also, on Saturday evening, we plan to arrange a Bosphorus tour of the historical places of Istanbul and organize dinner on the shore of the Bosphorus.
- Mehman Ibragimov (User:Mehman) - Finance and WMF liaison
- Basak Tosun (User:Basak) - Program Committee (Together with CEE Hub)
- Zafer Batik (User:Zafer) - Logistics and WMF liaison
- Hakan (User:HakanIST) – Scholarships
- Yilmaz Caner Ozyayikci (User:Kurmanbek) - Designer and Media outreach
- Adem Unsal (User:Adem) - Photographer
We will also be assisted by volunteers from the following clubs:
The WMTR team and individual members of the organizing committee have sufficient experience in organizing and hosting international, regional, and local events. The team has successfully held WikidataCON Istanbul before and is going to hold the second Turkic Wikimedia Conference.
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 the 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.
At the moment, CEE and CA citizens don't need a visa to visit Turkey.
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 the world tourism list in 2021, according to the 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.
More details about our budget can be found on this Google sheet.