”För att få respekt måste man först respektera sig själv”

Violence against women is a widespread problem in Turkey and organizations funded by Sida have been working on the issue for many years. When Haskar Erdoǧan particpated in courses in self-knowledge, she realized that the psychic violence she had grown up with were not normal. 

Photo: Hasan Aҫan


Our work in Turkey

Updated: 6 August 2015

The overall aim of the Swedish reform cooperation with Turkey is to help strengthen the public administration and judicial system and increase the respect for human rights, by supporting the EU accession process.

Despite several reforms, Turkey still needs to increase the respect for human rights, which is also required for EU membership. While Turkey has signed and ratified all relevant international treaties on human rights and gender equality, the major challenge remains the implementation of the relevant laws. Civil society is a key actor in demanding accountability in all democratic societies and Sida supports efforts to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations.

Sida also supports the capacity building of state institutions that are most closely related to the protection and promotion of fundamental rights includıng transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. It is also important to bring state institutions and civil society organizations together in a constructive dialogue.

Strengthening the public administration

A capacity-building program with the Ombudsman Institution (OI) of Turkey was launched in 2015 to make the institution more efficient and bring its work in line with international standards, and raising the awareness of the public at large regarding the possibilities of redress offered by the OI. The objective is for the OI to become an independent voice in the polarized political scene in Turkey today.

Turkey is affected by the unrest in Syria and Iraq, and it is also a transit country for many migrants heading for Europe. These are vulnerable groups whose fundamental needs, including education, health and employment, require urgent attention. Following Sida's technical assistance to the drafting of the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection, Sida has engaged the Swedish Migration Agency to strengthen the capacity of the Turkish migration agency DGMM to manage migration issues in accordance with European standards and set the basis for a future bilateral relationship between the two institutions.

Judicial reform

Sida's long standing support to judicial reform in Turkey is currently focused on strengthening and spreading the use of alternative dispute mechanisms such as mediation in civil disputes, in order to make the judicial system more effective. The work is done through the Council of Europe and Turkey's Ministry of Justice. Improving access to legal help for vulnerable groups is also a major focus. Sida supports the work of UNDP and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations that will make it easier to be assigned a legal representative and also includes the training of lawyers in the specific needs of disadvantaged groups, especially Syrian women and girls.

Sida supports several civil society organizations promoting human rights, such as the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) and the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (KAOS-GL). The objective is to increase their capacity for advocacy, networking and lobbying.

Gender equality

Violence against women is a widespread problem in Turkey and organizations funded by Sida have been working on the issue for many years. KAMER and Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) focus on prevention and empowerment aspects, while the reporting site Bianet reports on the topic with a focus on the victims.

Another challenge is to increase women's participation in political, economic and societal spheres, which continues to be very limited as a consequence of a strongly patriarchal society. The work is carried out through our UN partners. Sida also supports effective communication methods to prevent gender based violence, with a special emphasis on mass and social media as important tools to change patriarchal mindsets. Sida is also encouraging efforts to include boys and men into work on gender equality.

Page owner: Department for Europe and Latin America

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