The Turkish Association for the Study of Liver (TASL) was founded in 1992 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Süleyman Yalçın in Istanbul with the participation of 12 faculty members of Faculty of Medicine in İstanbul, Cerrahpaşa, Marmara, Ege and Ankara University. The founding members of TASL are; Prof. Dr. Süleyman Yalçın, Prof. Dr. Atilla Ökten, Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Gürakar, Prof. Dr. Nurdan Tözün, Prof. Dr. Yücel Batur, Prof. Dr. Özden Uzunalimoğlu, Prof. Dr. Sabahattin Kaymakoğlu, Prof. Dr. Fatih Beşışık, Prof. Dr. Hakan Şentürk, Prof. Dr. Selim Karayalçın, Prof. Dr. Cem Kalaycı, Prof. Dr. Uğur Çevikbaş ve Prof. Dr. Yılmaz Çakaloğlu.
The aim of the association is to encourage all kinds of scientific research related to liver and liver diseases, and to provide cooperation and communication between researchers and working groups in and out of Turkey, that serve the same purpose.
Our association, which currently has more than 200 members, has opened the Izmir branch office on 25 February 2000, which was followed by the opening of Ankara branch office. Thus, the identity of being a national association has been firmly reinforced with the implementation of organizations in the provinces where the largest centers for liver diseases are located. It is planned that these two branches will be followed gradually by the initiatives to establish branches in other provinces.
TASL is an institutionalized organization ant the national level for all medical members dealing with liver diseases in our country. Since 1995, the National Hepatology Congress is held every 2 years, bringing everyone interested in liver diseases together, and each congress facilitates the exchange of ideas with the scientists invited from other countries. So far, our association has organized 12 National Hepatology Congresses in Turkey, and more than 500 physicians participated in each congress.
TASL has been cooperating closely with other associations like the Turkish Association of Gastroenterology and the Association for the Fight Against Viral Hepatitis and has organized scientific sessions on behalf of the National Congress of Gastroenterology and Viral Hepatitis. To make liver transplantation more widespread in our country, TASL cooperates with the associations related with organ transplantation and maintains its contact with the print and visual media to contribute to public awareness. TASL will continue this cooperation with other scientific associations operating in this field in order to reach its objectives.
EASL is an institutional organization authorized to organize Liver Research Association-EASL Congresses in European countries. EASL Congresses are held annually and are the largest organizations attended by around 2500 physicians from all over the world, mainly from European countries. One of the most important goals of TASL is to establish organic ties with the European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) and to include our country within the scope of EASL. Since the establishment of the Association, the efforts made in this direction have been brought to a successful conclusion. In May 1988, a scientific meeting entitled "EASL Postgraduate Course & First Hepatology Day" was held in Istanbul. This meeting was included in the official program of EASL and introduced through announcements at the EASL Congress one year in advance. The meeting was attended by more than four hundred physicians. As a result of this very successful meeting, the initiatives of our association, which introduced itself to other countries for the first time and left positive impressions, continued and as a result, it was decided that the 2003 EASL Congress will be held in İstanbul at the 34th EASL Congress held on 12 April 1999 in Naples. Despite the decision to convene this congress in Turkey in 2003, the meeting was taken to Geneva with a unilateral decision on the grounds that the US operation against Iraq would constitute an unsafe environment, which caused great sorrow in our community.
TASL organized 5 post-graduation meetings in 2006 and devoted one of these to the “Hepatology School” from which especially young researchers benefit. In this 2-day symposium held in Cappadocia, all established and new information about liver diseases were reviewed and ideas for new research projects were discussed. These successful training programs will be repeated every two years.
TASL supports various levels of scientific research and overseas training of researchers. These supports include short-term education, courses or post-doctoral programs as well as research grants.
Liver diseases, especially viral hepatitis, are of special importance in our country. In this respect, liver research in Turkey aims to encourage further scientific researches in this field and to make society more aware of liver diseases in the coming years.