Since its foundation, the Ottoman Empire attached great importance to keeping records. The first steps for establishing an archive in the modern sense were taken in 1845 by Safveti Pasha, who was the Minister of Treasury at that time. Thanks to his attempts, a great number of historical documents and books that have been kept in Enderun (the inner part of the Topkapı Palace) were placed in storehouses and organized with a system for record keeping. On the other hand, the most considerable modern archival attempt was made by Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşid Pasha in 1846 when he ordered the building of a record office. This building was completed in 1848 by architect Gaspare T. Fossati and named the Treasury of Documents (Hazine-i Evrak). At the same time, the office of Surveillance of Treasury of Documents was formed and Muhsin Efendi was appointed as its manager. In this regard, the Treasury of Documents has formed the core of today’s State Archives of the Prime Ministry.
Building of the Treasury of Documents (Hazine-i Evrak) (1940's)
In 1922, Administration of Storage of Documents bound to Chairmanship of the Cabinet Council Private Secretariat was established in Istanbul and then in 1923, when the Republic of Turkey was declared, it was turned into the Department of Treasury of Documents as a unit attached to the Prime Ministry Private Office Department in order to protect and preserve Ottoman documents and holdings. This organization underwent some institutional modifications between 1927 and 1943. In 1943 General Directorate of Archives of the Prime Ministry and in 1976 the Department of Republican Archives bound to the Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry was formed.
In accordance with the Prime Ministry Organization Law numbered 3056 and dated 1984, General Directorate of State Archives, taking place within the central organization of the Prime Ministry and consisting of three departments as Ottoman Archives (Istanbul), Republican Archives (Ankara) and Documentation (Ankara), was established.