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The role of youth in Turkey’s European quest

Youth activism in Turkey is influencing the country’s direction as its rocky journey on the road to Europeanisation falters. New, better-informed policy recommendations can help face the emerging challenges concerning organised civil movements.
The role of youth in Turkey’s European quest
Turkey’s identity and position between east and west have opened up many opportunities for the nation but have also created many challenges. Organised civil society and youth movements have been instrumental in shaping the country’s future as political instability weighs in on the possibility of European integration.

Against this volatile backdrop the EU-funded project EUROCS examined Europeanisation through organised civil society in relation to youth.

To achieve its aims, the project team analysed youth policies related to political participation, civic engagement and youth activism. It reviewed key research and policy documents on the topic and developed an approach to study active citizenship in the youth sector. This also involved interviews and surveys involving NGOs and contact with policy officers.

Among its research findings, the project highlighted the top-down component of active citizenship in the country, influenced by the government but also by the EU, noting the dynamic between the two poles. While Europeanisation has led to more social projects, there was no noticeable rise in the participation of civil society in public policy processes.

Keeping in mind recent youth protest movements, the project found that civic and political engagement are well established, although active citizenship remains a fluid concept with different meanings to different groups and causes. It noted that bottom-up mobilisation is spontaneous, manifesting at opportune moments to challenge issues of public concern and the political system.

EUROCS findings led to the formulation of policy recommendations designed to optimise European funding in Turkey, enhance engagement with activists, and further EU policymaking in the Turkish context. Supported by guidelines and insights on the opportunities and challenges for civil society, the policy recommendations were published in English and Turkish, aimed at policymakers, journalists and NGOs. The EU’s engagement with Turkey is destined to benefit from these outputs.

Related information


Youth, Europeanisation, youth activism, civil society, European integration, EUROCS
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