5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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One of the tools for the active participation of young people in social life is their awareness and knowledge of the rights they have. In relation to generalisation of democratic rights and democratic values among young people, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports and nongovernmental organisations have various projects and programmes. Within the Ministry of Youth and Sports, there are more than 380 youth centres throughout Turkey, providing guidance and counselling services to young people, contributing to the personal and social development of young people and helping them to acquire knowledge and skills. The procedures and principles regarding the operation and service provision of youth centres are regulated by the Youth Centres Regulation (Gençlik Merkezleri Yönetmeliği). In this document, the establishment, duties and responsibilities, management, training and activity areas of youth centres are clarified.
One of the main political areas of the National Youth and Sports Policy Document which was drawn up in coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports is “Informing Young People”. The main target of this main political area is stated as; “Young people should be informed in order to be able to participate in social activities and social life or benefit from the services and opportunities presented to them. Informing young people helps to carry out youth activities in a more qualified way, enables young people to easily benefit from the services presented by the state or private sector and enhances the competitiveness of the country's youth in the international area. In order to ensure personal, social, cultural and educational development of young people, user-friendly information channels should be established. The fact that sample studies carried out in the field by youth workers, non-governmental organisations and public institutions are known by other people or institutions, is important for youth studies being more qualified.” With this purpose following policies and targets are determined:
1. Informing young people about the activities in their own field in an efficient and adequate way.
• To establish a national database in the electronic environment in order to announce the activities carried out by public, private sector and non-governmental organisations conducting activities in the field of youth and to collect such activities in a source.
• To set up necessary communication channels in order to inform young people about youth activities.
• To inform young people about activities which have been or may be carried out in the field of youth and to establish communication environments in order to introduce these activities.
• To efficiently use mass media, internet and social networks, national and local media for the introduction of youth activities.
• To support the projects of youth communities within the framework of supporting programmes and within the limitations of the budget.
2. Training individuals, institutions and organisations working in the field of youth on youth activities.
- To provide theoretical and practical training on youth studies.
- To conduct studies in coordination with international youth information systems on youth information training.
- In the trainings in the field of youth, to consider the priorities of the region in which the training will be carried out.
In line with the abovementioned policies and targets, Ministry of Youth and Sports organise various activities to inform the young people in many areas, especially democratic rights and democratic values.
Besides, nongovernmental organisations operating especially in the youth area carry out various projects in relation to democratic rights and values of the young people.
Public organisations, universities, local administrations and nongovernmental organisations carry out various programmes and projects in relation to participation of young people in social life and raising awareness among young people regarding democratic rights and democratic values. In 2016, a grant scheme named “Youth Initiatives for Dialog” (Diyalog için Gençlik Girişimleri) has been launched by the Ministry of European Union. In the scope of this grant scheme, youth projects promoting intercultural dialog and good practices in youth policy have been granted. The activities particularly focused on public information, campaign for dissemination of information in the field of youthwork, guidelines for youthwork and cooperation between foreing youth initiatives.
One of the project areas supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports within the scope of Youth Projects Support Programme is “Participation” themed projects. A number of “participation” themed projects have been supported between 2012 and 2020.
One of the project areas supported by Centre for EU Education and Youth programs (Turkish National Agency) is “Democracy Projects”. Youth Democracy Projects Programme (Gençlik Demokrasi Projeleri Programı) aims to;
• Trigger active participation of young people in democratic life,
• Increase the dialogue between Public/Government organisations and young people,
• Develop strategies to familiarise young people with political decision making processes,
• Fight the adverse conditions which prevent the participation of young people in democratic life,
• Prioritise young people who have certain disadvantages in terms of both education and socio-economy, culture, geography, health and disability.
One of the main political areas of the National Youth and Sports Policy Document which was drawn up in coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports is “Youth in the International Arena and Intercultural Dialogue”. In this political area, following targets are adopted to improve international dialogue among young people:
- To provide the participation of young people in international sports, cultural and artistic organisations.
- To produce projects in order to increase the cooperation with youth and student associations active in the international area.
- To increase the participation of young people from different countries and cultures in the youth activities organised in Turkey and develop relationships between different cultures.
- To organise international youth camps by bringing together young people from different countries and to enable young people from different cultures to spend time together.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports carries out various projects within the context of supporting intercultural dialogue among young people. Some of these projects are:
1. The “Brotherhood for Peace on the Green Field” Project (Yeşil Sahada Barış için Kardeşlik) which is carried out jointly by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Middle East Peace Research Centre (IMPR) aims to increase the efficiency of social integration process of Syrian young people with sports activities and young people socialise with each other and thus social adaptation is initiated. In 16 cities hosting the maximum number of Syrians under temporary protection, 16 football team have been created. Each team has 9 Turkish and 9 Syrian players and these 16 teams took place in a tournement, tournement has lasted two months. During the tournement, besides the football matches several activities aiming at increasing the social integration of Syrians was carried out.
2. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has realised the “Young Explorers Train" (Genç Kâşifler Treni) project in order to enable young people to visit the historical values and natural beauties of the countries within the geography of Ottoman Empire using the railway; increase their historical consciousness; provide environments in which young people can know each other and socialise with activities during the train journey and encourage young people to read books by means of competitions.
3. Within the scope of the “AL-ANDALUS: A Journey to the Civilisation which was Raised with Knowledge” project which was carried out by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, young people had the opportunity to examine the heritage and cultural background of Al-Andalus which is referred to as a civilisation which was raised with knowledge and establish a bridge of ideas from past to the future.
In these projects youngsters get acquainted with their history and come to close contact with the remnants of other civilizations. Thanks to these interactions among youngsters from different cultural heritage, a bond of mutual understanding and consciousness of common heritage of mankind emerge.
Promoting transparent and youth-tailored public communication
Paragraph (d) of the article 8 of the Decree Law No 638 on Organisation and Duties of the Ministry of Youth and Sports includes the provision; “To forward the requests, suggestions and complaints received in relation to the services and opportunities provided to the youth to the related institutions”. In accordance with this provision, all kinds of requests, demands and complaints received from young people are forwarded to related institutions. In addition, young people are able to forward their requests, demands and complaints to the related institutions by means of the communication centres provided within each public organisation and institution.
Within the National Youth and Sports Policy Document, one of the policy areas is “Informing young people”. This policy area comprises three targets concerning the transparent, full, truthful and youth-tailored public communication:
- To efficiently use mass media, internet and social networks, national and local media for the introduction of youth activities.
- To inform young people about activities which have been or may be carried out in the field of youth and to establish communication environments in order to introduce these activities
- To establish a national database in the electronic environment in order to announce the activities carried out by public, private sector and non-governmental organizations conducting activities in the field of youth and to collect such activities in a source.
These targets have been achieved to a important degree.