The Library for The Visually Impaired of Turkey (TÜRGÖK) was established in 2004 in İzmir as a non-govermental organization by Gültekin YAZGAN who was a teacher, a lawyer and a writer.
Gültekin Yazgan being one of the few blind individuals who could receive higher education at the time, became a role model for, mentored and inspired a great number of visually impaired students. “Six Dots Association for the Blind” was Gültekin’s first large scale social initiative that aimed to equip the visually impaired with skills and capabilities necessary for an independent life and full participation in the community.
Gültekin Yazgan recalls in his memoirs dreaming of a library for the blind in Turkey when he first started borrowing books printed in Braille from The Royal National Institute for the Blind People (in UK) in 1943. Almost 60 years after conception of the idea, he was able to lead an effort to establish the Library for the Visually Impaired of Turkey at the age of 75.
In his autobiography “The Blind Flight”, Gültekin Yazgan wrote about his struggle for living a full life with a disability, a time period that overlaps with the first 80 years of the Republic of Turkey. Gültekin Yazgan’s life with his wife and “comrade” Tülay also became the subject of a best selling book, “They Are My Heroes” by renowned author Doğan Cüceloğlu.
TÜRGÖK is the first and the only private library in Turkey serving blind people completely free of charge. The Library is dealing with the production of both audio and Braille books and sending them to the members all over the world.
TÜRGÖK’s MISSION is to increase the cultural and educational level of blind people and to improve their quality of life and happiness and to increase their access to education and consequently improve their career and life opportunities.
TÜRGÖK’s VISION is to provide a basic solution to the blind for their lack of access to the printed material for education, culture, self-development and pleasure by the foundation of a library that will meet the same standards as the libraries for the blind in developed countries.