WHAT IS AHİ INSTITUTION?
The Ahi Institution is an organization created by the Turkish nations living in Anatolia, in the Balkan regions and Turkestan between the 13 th and 19 th centuries. The Ahi institution contributed to the training in various arts and professions and to the development of moral values of Turkish nations.
The Ahi Is Institution played an important role in attraction of the Turkish immigrants into Anatolia and in creating new lands for them. The Ahi convents provided guest houses for these immigrants and opened work places for the skilled ones. In time, the houses and guest houses built around them by the Ahi Convents formed new slavery. It also requires being honest at work without cheating people and it stresses tolerance.
A person who is called an “Ahi” should either he inloved in science or in a professional activity. Therefore, the Ahi institution acted as a scholl of moral values together with taking responsibility in the development of professional education of all people.
The founder of the Ahi Organization was Ahi Evran, a great Turkish scholar, economist and master of arts, who lived between 1172 and 1262. Born in the city of Hoy in Azerbaijan , he took courses from Fahreddin Razi, himself a great Islamic scholar. Ahi Evran was educated in the Sufi philosophy by the students of Ahmet Yesevi. He is also inflienced by philosophical books of Turkish scholars İbni Sina and Farabi.
He married with Lady Fatma, daughter of a Turkish father named Evhadü’r-Din Kirmani. The Lady was later called as “Kadın Ana” (Mother Fatma) and she was the founder of “Baciyan-I Rum”, the first women’s organization in the world.
MAIN PRINCIPLES OF THE AHI INSTITUTION
The male students of the Ahi organizations were taught the following principles. Be attentive to 1- you hand 2- your waist 3- your tongue
The aim of this principle was to encourage women to be good housewives and to be respectful and attentive towards their husband. The Ahi organizations taught people to be and be able to eam their daily bread. They also taught people to be virtuous and thus be superior to others; to use their minds in every activity; to have knowledge in order to become successful; to be humanistic; to love God, prophets of God and all the human beings. The Ahi institution is an organization encouraging all these principles and it is an organization of good people, the doors of whom open to anyone.
According to the Ahi principles, an Ahi person must always have an occupation. He must not work only for this word. He must be generous and graceful. He must be honest at work, be modest and not to be greedy. He must help the poor, try to increase his knowledge and respect the scholars.
The Ahi institution created his own values in four main areas. These are the moral, economic, social and political areas. The values in all these areas have basic functions. Among these areas, the function of the moral values in professional and trade activities are very important. Thought these moral values originally developed during old nomadic periods of the Turks, by time time they were also integrated with Islamic values of urban life.
Some of the basic developed in the old Turkish societies and reflected also in the Ahi principles are; a) mutual defense and cooperation of all person in the society, a principle which is the logical outcome of the need for solidarity, b) collective opposition to the dangers of threats coming from outside society and c) opening the doors of each person to refugees, to poor and needy people without discrimination of religion, language or race.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE AHI INSTITUTION
The Ahi institution was a well balanced and productive socio-economic system which activated the resources of the society in the most rationl and humanistic way. It was a system based on equitable distiribution of income, on a peaceful qay of life, on brotherhood and solidarity among people. With these features, the Ahi contributed to the formation of economic foundations of national unity.
In the Ahi system of organization, solidarity of people, rather than congilict betwoon them, is important. Peaceful relations between the rich and the poor, the producer and the consumer, the labor and the capital, the nation and the state are basic aspects of Ahi social system. According to Ahi belief system, it is considered as normal for a person to be either
rich or poor. However, an Ahi person is severely against the oppression of the weak by the powerful ones and also against unjust and illegal gains.
The Ahi institution has played an important role in the settlement of Turkish immigrants in Anatolia, in the foundation of Seljuk and Ottoman States . Existence of the Ottoman State for a long period of about 600 years can be explained by the existence of Ahi organizations and the principles that spread throughout the society.
The Ahi Organization defended and spread the principles of indiscrimination towards people, of different religions, languages and races. Virtues of honesty, benevolence, charity as well as the principles like brotherhood of people, hospitality, and faithfulness and also principles relating to professional ethics were spread, too. The Ahi organization transformed the principle of solidarity into almost a new capital source.
The Ahi organization system is the result of a national culture integrating socio-economic and democratic principles. This organization aimed to develop a professional system of education which emphasized creation of productive individuals, in this way, the socio-economic and technological problems could be solved more easily.
In the organization of human relations within a society, moral values are as important as laws, customs and traditions. A society which has not created its own moral values cannot continue its existence and the individuals of that society cannot live happily and prosperously. It should be accepted that every powerful and prosperous society which is developed in art, sciences and techniques has also a well established system of moral values, no matter what kind of socio-economic and political system it adopts.
About GALİP DEMİR :
He was born 1938 in Kırşehir, Kaman. He attended the elementary, secondary and high schools in Ankara . After being forced to discontinue his education in the Faculty of Science of Ankara University because of financial problems, he graduated from the Department of Industry of the Ankara Economical & Political Sciences Academy . He won the second prize in the examination he sat in the Academy for education abroad.
He attended the Department ofs English of the University of Georgetown . He took part in anthropological studies conducted in Turkey and assisted Prof. Dr. Joe Pierce in publishing his book titled “Life in a Turkish Village”
He acted as an executive in the private sector, and then founded a publishing company for which he is currently the Chairman of the Board. After becoming a founding member of the Foundation to Research and Education the Akhi Cultire in 1984, he was appointed as Head of the said Foundation in 1987. He had his various about Akhism published in books and peridicals, Demir, who also worked as an apprentice in a printing house while he was a secondary school student, proved his loyalty to this craft by acting as a pioneer during the establishment of the Printing House Apprenticeship Center 45 years later. In 1994, he used efforts the foundation of the Ahi Evran University in Kirsehir along with the members of the Foundation Trustees of the Ahi Evran Technical University . In 1995, he accepted the invation of the Turkish American Associations Federation to give lectures about Akhism in meetings held in the USA .
During the preparation of the Consumer Protection Code in the Turkish National Assembly, the report submitted by Demir to the relevant commission about the relationship of Akhism and Consumers attracted gread attention. He was later appointed as a founding member on the foundations, behalf of the “Consumer Council” formed within the framework of the said Code. In 1999, he received a service award from the President on account of the efforts he used to consumer protection.
He took part in the Ombudsman researches by being the initiator of studies conducted to Generate Ideas in line with the Development Model of the Akhism System, ASKMOD, established within the Foundation.
In 1998, he published his book concerning the Turkish Culture and Akhism. His comprehensive book titled the Foundation of the Ottoman State and Akhism published in 2000 was considered to be a written source of information by authorities. In 2002, his book titled Akhism and Rising Values was published. In addition, many of his papers such as the Consumers and Akhism presented during the Akhism Culture Week and the Role Played by Akhis in the Foundation of the Ottoman State presented during the 2 nd International Symposium were also published by the Ministry of Culture and other institutions.
He presented papers concerning the various aspects of Akhism during symposiums, panels and conferences organized by Universities in Ankara , Istanbul and other Turkish and foreign cities.
Turkish Culture and Akhism is a historical research on the roots of Akhism which is based on Old Turkish and Islamic Culture, and also the influation of Estern Roman (Byzantian), Persian and Indian cultures in Anatolia .
Foundation of Ottoman State and Akhism , Demir pointed out the importance of Akhi Organisation at the structure of Ottomans; for example a prominent Akhi leader of the time, Edebali was the feather in law of Osmen. The founders of Ottoman State was educated through Akhi teachings and they ruled the state according to Akhi principles. After / his anthropological studies conducted in more than 150 villages in different regions of Anatolia , Demir found local cultural traits and also basic dynamics of Turkish culture. He exploited new sources for interpreting the foundation of Ottomans.
Akhism and Rising Values is a study engaged in the adaptation of modern universal values and Akhi institution. For example, Akhism and Democracy, Akhism and Consumer Rights, Akhism and Democracy, Akhism and Consumer Rights, Akhism and Women rights, Akhism and Constitution, Akhism and Moral Values, Akhism and Business Ethics.
In Search for Ombudsman is Demir’s last study. The book contains his research on the Ombudsman institution; which is used in more than 100 countries around the world. The institution was first used in Sweden but there are many proofs in history showing that it originated with Akhi influence, which is one of the earliest non-governmental organization. Nowadays with the EC talks arguments arise on Turkey , having a non secular image and therefore the impossibility of being a model country. Galip Demir strongly believes that it is very wrong to come to this conclusion carefully studying the Akhi institution and its practices in our history, which is simply the solution for many problems. That clearly proves; Turkey can be a role model to the world.
Contact Address: Ahi Kültürünü Araştırma ve Eğitim Vakfı, Topkapı Cad. No:38 İSTANBUL
Tel : +90 212 629 03 39 / +90 212 631 21 10 Fax : +90 212 629 03 82