The phenomenon of volunteering may appear in different shapes and manners depending on the cultural and traditional backgrounds of countries albeit it rests on the shared conception of goodness without seeking self-interest and remuneration. The individuals' unconstrained and uncompulsory consent and desire to be good and beneficial for the society they live in and for the humanity of which they are part can be motivated from diverse origins. Besides, in our age the phenomenon of volunteering means more than practices of personal feelings of altruism. It signifies an organised, focused and well-planned agglomerate of independent personal strivings for the good of society and humanity, particularly of worst offs. The traditional notion of volunteering in Turkey rests on the deep-seated moral principle of selflessness coming down from the culture of foundation (vaqif) with its historical and cultural background. Foundations and associations inspired by the traditional roots of volunteering principles, as being the most prominent volunteering organisations in Turkey, increase in number and strengthen their institutional capacities in a favorable social-economic environment provided by economic and social improvements made in last decade. In addition, awareness about the significance of well-organised and specialized volunteering activities among Turkish people has been reinforced with the life-saving activities of the volunteers after the Marmara Earthquake in 17 August 1999. Also “Associations Law” (Dernekler Kanunu) adopted in 2004 and “Foundations Law” (Vakıflar Kanunu) put into force in 2008 have been the noteworthy developments on the organisational-structural level contributing to the participation in volunteering activities with a more sound legal ground for volunteering activities.
Although Turkey lacks a legislative-legal basis for defining the volunteering and laying out the framework for non-governmental organisations’ status concerning volunteer management, policies and targets in the field of volunteering are stated in several legal documents in a scattered manner. Policy heading entitled “Volunteering and Mobility” in the National Youth and Sports Policy Document is viewed to be a central document setting out the principles and procedures for the organisation of volunteering activities, this policy field purports to ensure a sustainable cooperation and coordination among the relevant institutions and organisations.
There is not an independent law on volunteering or youth volunteering in Turkey but there are some laws including the term “volunteering”: Special Provincial Administration Law (İl Özel İdaresi Kanunu), Municipal Law (Belediye Kanunu), Environmental Law (Çevre Kanunu), Police Organisation Law (Emniyet Teşkilatı Kanunu), Law on Disabled People (Engelliler Hakkında Kanun), Law on Mobilisation for National Forestation and Erosion Control (Milli Ağaçlandırma ve Erozyon Kontrolü Seferberlik Kanunu), Basic Law on Health Services (Sağlık Hizmetleri Temel Kanunu), Civil Defence Law (Sivil Savunma Kanunu), Law on Social Services (Sosyal Hizmetler Kanunu), Law on Probation Services (Denetimli Serbestlik Hizmetleri Kanunu), National Education Basic Law (Milli Eğitim Temel Kanunu), Law on Primary Education and Training (İlköğretim ve Eğitim Kanunu) .
One of the primary issues in the 2016 Action Plan of the 64th Government (2016 64 üncü Hükümet Eylem Planı) is the introduction of civil society law by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The issue is mentioned in the 2016 Action Plan of the 64th Government as: A framework law will be introduced on the improvement and strengthening of civil society. In this context, legal statutes of civil society institutions, their institutional structures, activities, their relations with public institutions and financial resources will be regulated.