CSD hazelnuts project in Ordu

Improving the dialogue between the EU and Turkish civil society


The development of civil society is an important aspect of Turkey’s democratisation process and one where significant progress has been made since Turkey became a candidate country for EU membership. The EU has contributed to this progress through the funding of the Civil Society Development Programme, launched in 2001. Civil society dialogue helps shape public opinion in both the EU and candidate countries in relation to future enlargement and promotes mutual understanding and cooperation between the EU and Turkey in various fields.

The project’s aims and core activities

This project established a framework for cooperation between Turkish and EU civil society in two major fields, namely art and culture and agriculture and fisheries, through bilateral exchanges and the sharing of experience.

In the art and culture component of the project, Turkish NGOs, academia, local administrations, and chambers worked together with partners from the EU member states to organise activities ranging from festivals to archaeological studies and exhibitions. The aim of this cooperation was to enhance skills, promote traditional crafts, and facilitate the circulation of artistic works. Opportunities were sought for organisations and cultural and artistic operators to collaborate on joint projects.

In agriculture and fisheries, Turkish NGOs, universities, local administrations, cooperatives, producer unions, and consumer organisations were encouraged to participate in European networks and to strengthen dialogue with their counterparts in member states through joint projects in such fields as sustainable production methods and competitiveness, food safety, veterinary services, and controlling plant diseases.