Vehbi Koç Science, Art and Literature Prize Contest, an initiative begun by the Vehbi Koç Foundation to distribute prizes to citizens of the Turkish Republic based on topics chosen every year in the fields of the sciences, literature, social sciences and art. “Just as these prizes could be awarded as the result of a competition, they could equally be awarded without a competition for someone who creates a work of copyright or who is involved in a creative endeavour.”
In 1973, the topic of the first prize competition was “Legal, administrative, economic and financial precautions necessary to alleviate difficulties in the establishment, operation and development of foundations subject to the Civil Code from the perspective of problems that have emerged or could in future.” The first prize in this contest was awarded to Dr. Ahmet İşeri. It was decided that the second contest, held in 1975, would aim to keep Turkish handicrafts alive and that its topic would be the art of procelain tiles. In line with this aim, tile-making courses for young people were organized under the tutelage of Professor Muhsin Demironat in Kütahya and a prize was awarded to the person producing the best work, which was Hakkı Ermumcu for his porcelain tile panels.
From 1980 onwards, the funds allocated for the Science, Art and Literature Prizes were used to support a variety of inititatives and events: bookbinding (1980), the tile course and competition held in Kütahya (1983), the excavations at Aphrodisias (1985), and the promotion in Turkey and abroad of copies of an album of Ottoman clothing by Fenerci Mehmed Efendi (1986). In 1988, the fund was used to buy artworks from a variety of artists.