Turkish Aviation Turns 85

ANKARA 16.02.2010 – FAI President Pierre Portmann and new Secretary-General Stéphane Desprez were the guests of Türk Hava Kurumu (Turkish Aeronautical Association) in Ankara on February 16, at a ceremony marking the association's 85th anniversary.

The association was founded (originally as Türk Tayyare Cemiyeti) on 16 February 1925, at the instigation of Turkey's legendary leader Kemal Atatürk – whose pioneering awareness of the importance of aviation was reflected in his prophetic words "The Future is in the Skies!"

Turkey became a member of FAI in 1929 and was renamed Türk Hava Kurumu in 1935 – exactly 75 years ago. The Türkkusu Flying School was founded at the same time, and Kemal Atatürk attended its opening ceremony with his adopted daughter Sabiha Gökçen (whose name means 'of the sky') – soon to become Türkkuşu's first female trainee, the world's first female military pilot, a chief instructor at the Türkkuşu flying school, and a member of the Turkish Aviation Executive Board. In 1990 she received the FAI Gold Air Medal and her memory is honoured through one of the FAI's most highly-prized awards, the Sabiha Gökçen Medal, marking the year's most outstanding female achievement in any AirSport.

WAG Pioneers


President Portmann thanked Türk Hava Kurumu's President, Mr Osman Yildirim, for his kind invitation and expressed his pleasure at being back on and above Turkish soil for the first time since the Open Paragliding Championships in Akşehir in 2006. He also recalled Turkey's pioneering role as hosts to the first-ever World Air Games in 1997.

"The FAI greatly appreciates the superb record of your Association in providing free training in all branches of sporting aviation throughout Turkey" added Portmann, praising Türk Hava Kurumu for "encouraging the youth of Turkey to enjoy the wonderful world of air sports," and praising the association's bi-monthly magazine Uçantürk for publishing a children's supplement, Uçan Çocuk.

Homage to Atatürk


During their stay in Ankara the FAI President and Secretary General visited the majestic Atatürk Mausoleum, the Türk Hava Kurumu Aviation Museum, and met officials, female aviators and young pilots. They were especially impressed by the association's extensive staff and facilities, and discussed the prospects of Turkey bidding for further FAI events in the near future.

Pierre Portmann & Stéphane Desprez in front of Atatürk's tombP.Portmann & S.Desprez in front of Atatürk's tomb
THK President Osman Yildirim makes a presentation to Pierre PortmannTHK President Yildirim with Pierre Portmann
THK's Yellow FlyerTHK's Yellow Flyer
Turkey's Young High FlyersTurkey's Young High Flyers
FAI + THK = Smiles All Round!FAI+THK = Smiles All Round