The Institute of Turkic Studies at Marmara University has been initially established as “Turkic Research Unit” (Türklük Araştırma Birimi) in the assembly of the executive board of the Faculty of Science and Letters held on October 15, 1985 in order to research on political, social, demographical, economical and cultural situations of Turkic people living in the Republic of Turkey and abroad, to educate professional personnel who will work on aforementioned fields, to hold symposia, conferences and seminars on these fields, to give education on Turkish culture, history, language and art in graduate level, to expand research staff and to train teaching personnel. The Unit was transformed to a research and application center under the name of “Research and Application Center of Turkic Studies” (Türklük Araştırmaları Uygulama ve Araştırma Merkezi) in the meeting of Marmara University’s Senate held on May 13, 1986. Higher Education Council (YÖK) changed the name of the center which had been established within Marmara University to “The Center for Turkic Research and Application” (Türkiyat Araştırma ve Uygulama Merkezi) and the legislation about this subject was issued in The Official Newspaper numbered 19600 and dated October 10, 1987. It became the Institute of Turkic Studies according to Law No. 3699 published in the Official Newspaper No. 20765 of January 24, 1991 and the decision of the Council of Ministers.
Among prominent scientific activities carried out by the Institute: “Symposium of Turcology in the World and Turkey” which was held on October 18-20, 1986 in order to examine political, social, economical and cultural developments in the Turkic world; The 5th Congress of Social and Economic History was held on August 21-25, 1989 with participation of 140 scholars both from the country and abroad; “Symposium of Contemporary Turkic Alphabets” which was achieved on November 18-20, 1991 with participation of more than 30 professionals from 14 different Turkic regions of former the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and it brought up, for the first time, the problem of a common alphabet for Turks of the world. Additionally, “Symposium of Yunus Emre” on May 2, 1991, “Symposium of Stalinism and the Turkic World” on December 17, 2003 and “Silkway From Past to Present: Symposium of Expectations and Realities” held on October 17-18, 2007 may be added to this list.