LAB meeting, Turkey

Istanbul, January, 14 2015. Koç University organised a Local Advisory Board Meeting with the participation of Istanbul Bilgi University Civil Society Research Centre, Youth Studies Unit. The main goal of the meeting was to discuss and share ideas about youth policies in Turkey, and recent changes in youth policies. KU-SPM firstly introduced the content of the STYLE project, with detailed information about Work Package 3, 4 and 8, and the tasks under KU-SPM’s responsibility. After the introduction, the main reasons of youth unemployment, and the structural problems of NEETs were debated.

Main issues of debate

School to Work Transition

Compared OECD’s average of % 16, Turkey’s NEETs ratio reached to 35%. Formal education itself does not provide adequate resources for the employability of young people. Many surveys indicate that after graduation, young people register to private teaching institutions for the preparation of national exam for entering universities or public jobs. Interestingly, even though they are neither in employment nor education, they do not consider themselves as “unemployed”. The fact that they are enrolled in some sort of preparatory course creates a new status for the youth. The instruments for finding jobs for recent graduates were discussed in the meeting. Approximately 40% of young people initially search for a job through network ties such as family, relatives, etc. After the graduation, the welfare level for young people is decreasing immensely, even they find a job. Around 60% of young people take financial support only from their parents. Therefore, the participants pointed that how long young people can survive without family’s financial support provide crucial information about young people’s living conditions.

The institutional framework of youth policies in Turkey

Istanbul Bilgi University Civil society Research Center experts presented the policy note on Turkey’s National Youth and Sport Policy Document. How the document was prepared, the definition of youth and the perspective of youth from state’s perspective were elaborated. During the process of preparation of policy document, the role of young people (through youth councils, youth NGOs, etc) were relatively limited. Thus, the participants indicated that the role of NGOs needs to be strengthened in the policy making, since they actively work in the field with young people. Also, how these policies were implemented needs to be questioned, rather than which policy reforms they initiate. The selection criteria for policy reforms and how the resources distributed were debated by all participants. The majority of expenditures on youth concentrate on education expenditures, specifically formal education. However, excluding education expenditures, there is still lack of resources for the youth. For instance, the participants point out that while many studies focus on unemployed young people in Turkey, the condition of working young poor is underestimated. Related to this, job turnover is another issue that need to be considered for working young people.

Returning to parental home

There are number of reasons for young people not to leave parental home, such as loans for tuitions, military service, etc. This trend also can be analysed together with data on “marriage” statistics. The participants discussed young people’s inability to leave parental home due to unaffordable living costs, rather than the phenomena of returning parental home, in Turkey’s case.

Support for contacts to interview policy makers for qualitative analysis

The participants provide recommendations for the possible administrative units (Ministries, directorates, etc.) to interview about policy learning and policy transfer of youth policies. They advised to contact with upper-level managerial positions for grasping fruitful information about the essence of youth policies. Also, the importance of different NGOs’ opinions about recent policies was emphasized.

Location: İstanbul Bilgi University

Date: January 14, 2015


Koç University

Fatoş Gökşen

Deniz Yükseker

Sinem Kuz

İbrahim Öker

Hazal Çolak


İstanbul Bilgi University

Civil Society Studies Center

Nurhan Yentürk

Laden Yurttagüler

Volkan Yılmaz

Yörük Kurtaran

The Civil Society Studies Center of Istanbul Bilgi University

The Civil Society Studies Center of Istanbul Bilgi University has been hosting the Children Studies Unit, NGO Training and Research Unit, Disabled Studies Unit, Bilgi Social Incubation Center, the MA Program on Civil Society Studies as well as the Youth Studies Unit. The Center hosts 12 full time staff; 4 project based and rest academic. The Youth Studies Unit currently has 3 full time staff.

The Unit was founded in 2006 and has been working on 4 main programs namely the Networking Program, Advocacy Program, Research Program as well as the Modelling Program.

The main areas of interest of the Unit are youth research, youth work related innovative projects and youth policy. The Unit has been trying to implement a right based approach in the area of youth work policy in Turkey since it has been founded.!english/c23ag