Youth NGOs mobilised in Turkey

01 Aug 2008

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As it was indicated in Turkey’s latest Human Development Report on Youth in Turkey, NGOs working in the area of youth in Turkey do not seem to have sufficient cooperative connections and thus seem to be ineffective when it comes to push for youth policies. However, this scene is slowly changing with the youth NGOs mobilised over the Turkish Human Development Report.

New Horizons -
Just after the launch of the National Human Development Report in March 2008, nearly 50 NGOs working in the area of youth had published a joint press release calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the report by the government. They also had decided to establish an NGO platform to further discuss the policies which the government can implement in this area and prepare policy documents and further recommendations.

As a first step in this way, the platform members came together in western town of Bursa on 17-21 July 2008 and strengthened their cooperation and bonds further. 26 of the platform members could join the Bursa meeting, which was held in an ancient Turkish Hamam which was restored and modernized by the Osmangazi Municipality in Bursa as a new convention centre.

Osmangazi Municipality did not only open its premises for this purpose but also funded the entire organisation. The host of the first meeting was a locally based youth NGO called E-gençlik (e-youth). E-gençlik, an active member of the newly established youth NGOs platform will act as the secretariat of the platform together with another NGO, Genç Birikim Association, from eastern town of Muş.

At the meeting, all participant NGOs agreed to establish commissions to work on policy suggestions for the government. One commission will work on the content while another will work on the organisation of the second meeting of the platform. Another commission will work on the formation of a GENCLINK (Youthlink) web site.  

At the meeting, there have been trainings aiming at the capacity building of the NGOs. UNDP’s National Human Development Report Coordinator Aygen Aytaç reminded the findings of the report and gave a training on human development approach. Mehmet Arslan, the General Manager of the Youth Services Centre in Turkey gave a training on the previous youth movements in Turkey.

Arslan said that NGOs in Turkey are usually using the Human Rights approach in their activities especially due to the EU process, however, human development approach which includes human rights approach but goes beyond it, should be adopted by the youth NGOs. According to Arslan, Human Rights perspective does not see youth as a special category but human development approach allows and in fact as the latest National Human Development Report shows, it gives great importance to youth and sees the youth as the key element of development. Mehmet Arslan emphasised that youth policies based on human development would be more realistic.

The local NGOs competed with each other to host the next meeting of the youth NGO platform and it was at the end agreed that the next meeting would be held in eastern town of Muş in autumn.