As YADA Foundation, we carry out studies to increase the impact capacity of civil society, and in this direction, we try to contribute to the strengthening of the dialogue between different actors of civil society. In the events we organize, we bring together many institutions that are quite different in terms of both their fields of work and their backgrounds and motivations, and we pursue negotiations and even collaborations between differences. In this context, we think that dialogue and cooperation between CSOs that work with, represent or represent identity and culture groups should be increased.
Through this motivation, within the scope of our project, “Enhancement of the multiculturalism approaches of CSOs in Turkey and EU” under the programme Civil Society Dialogue, which is supported by the European Union and adopted by the EU Presidency, we cooperated with the platform, AMSED (Migration Association, Solidarity and Exchanges for Application Platform) from France and written out the report “Multiculturalism in Turkey and France/ Living together: Possible Together?”
MAPPING STUDY: MULTICULTURALISM IN TURKEY & FRANCE
LIVING TOGETHER: POSSIBLE TOGETHER?
Our main acceptance when we design our project “Enhancing Multiculturalism Approach of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey and EU” was that Turkey and the EU had different strong points at making different cultural groups a part of daily life and public space, and multiculturalism approaches. The EU countries have a unique position and “power” in terms of recognizing this issue at the legal level, making it visible, and supporting it with different mechanisms from local to national level. However, it is possible to say that they have a very negative past and even today in terms of achieving a consensus at the social level and fighting against daily hate speech. In Turkey, although the laws and mechanisms, though having a visibility problem on the basis of multiculturalism, with a rather unique experience on the practical experience of everyday life in one country. With this project, our main goal has been to bring the strengths of both sides to each other in this sense and to make a strengthening activity in this way.
In addition to serving this purpose, the activities we carried out within the scope of the project provided us the chance to touch on different issues that we did not directly target at the stage we started the project, within the scope of multiculturalism. For example, we found that different disability groups especially the people with autism, are facing common experiences in education with different ethnicities, mainly Syrians. Or, with the pandemic process we have experienced recently, we have seen how important the issue of age discrimination is within the practices of living together. We also saw how little these different groups heard each other’s stories. We realized the grounds that hearing these stories together can provide a common struggle for “living together”. Seeing the potential of this, we always proceeded with the claim of “Living Together: Possible Together” in our project activities.
The sharing of stories of discrimination also brought along some transnational discussions. We had a chance to compare the discussions towards headscarves and immigration policies in France with the debates in the past and present in Turkey. All of them showed us: It is imperative that civil society actors representing or working towards these different groups become decisive subjects in order to prevent the issue of inclusiveness in the activities carried out and policies designed by all stakeholders affecting both the legal level and daily life. Only in this way can we talk about coexistence to be built in the context of different localities.
In this report, we wanted to make a compilation that can be a reference point for civil society organizations that are candidates for this subject. We looked at it as we have written about the multiculturalism concepts and definitions in the report after the first chapter as a historical matter, and in Turkey and Europe, we’ve included a historical analysis of the issues that formed around specifically in multicultural issues in France. Finally, we conducted a list of institutions and civil society organizations working on these issues through the organizations we invited and participated in our own events. We hope this work in the coming period becomes functional as a reference point to a combination of coexistence studies in Turkey.