Civil Society Dialogue and Culture
Civil society dialogue is a core EU objective. Strengthening cooperation between civil society in Turkey and the EU is one responsibility among many for the EU's support to civil society in Turkey.
A Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Candidate Countries was drafted in 2005 and launched in 2008. In the first phase (2008–09), €19.3 million were granted for 119 projects designed and implemented by municipalities, professional organisations, universities, and CSOs from Turkey and the EU for dialogue and networking activities. These projects helped to achieve 153 civil society partnerships between CSOs in Turkey and the EU, ranging across 21 member states.
Since then, the Civil Society Dialogue programme has supported hundreds of activities, which have brought the EU and Turkey's communities closer and created mutual understanding. To date, a total of €35 million has funded these activities.
Civil Society Dialogue is co-financed by the EU and Turkey under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). CSOs in Turkey and the EU create partnerships and work together on common topics, share technical knowledge and experience, and develop long-term relationships. The Ministry for European Union Affairs (MEUA) is the responsible institution for the technical implementation of the programme, and the Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) is the contracting authority.
Civil Society Dialogue IV
The ongoing Civil Society Dialogue IV Programme (2015–16) has an extensive outreach in Turkey. With a budget of €10.6 million, it is funding projects around nine policy areas of cooperation with the EU, namely environment; energy; consumer and health protection; justice, freedom, and security; right of establishment and freedom to provide services; regional policy and coordination of structural instruments; enterprise and industrial policy; agriculture and fisheries; and education.
Support for culture
The cultural sector is also an important part of the Civil Society Dialogue. Turkey is part of the EU Culture Programme, and successful cultural cooperation projects are implemented in this area. Under Civil Society Dialogue I and II, the Common Cultural Heritage Project (Sinop) supported the sustainable management of cultural heritage in Turkey and promoted intercultural dialogue on the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites. The Cultural Bridges Programme (2010–12) involved for the first time Turkish cultural institutes/offices and their EU partners in 500 different cultural activities, and a follow-up programme, the EU–Turkey Intercultural Dialogue, is foreseen under 2014 IPA II.