ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Istanbul, Turkey
Dates: 1—10 November 2023
National team: 5 participants + 1 group leader
Please read the info-pack.
Hosting organisation: Demokrasi ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (Democracy and Law Studies Association)
The “Democracy and Active Citizenship For Youth” project, from November 1st to November 10th, 2023
42 participants representing Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Latvia, North Macedonia, and Türkiye.
The project took place in Sile, located three hours from Istanbul. It is a small seaside town on the Black Sea, where even though it was November it was possible to swim most of the time. Which we often did. Organizators provided us a day trip to Istanbul to explore iconic landmarks such as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, or the Galata Tower, which provide for us a cultural context to the discussions on Turkish history.
During the project we did a lot of interesting activities, I would like to highlight these ones, as I found them the most important for the topic:
1)Elections for the Mayor of Istanbul – The five participants vying for the position of Mayor of Istanbul presented their ideas and proposals to address the city’s most pressing issues.
We all received the papers with these current problems faced by Istanbul. And our candidates made a banners, speeches… To convinced us to vote for them.
2)Video Recordings on Democracy and Freedom of Speech: In groups we created “funny” videos about the state of democracy. The first one I participated in as a police officer was about the state of freedom of speech in Turkey and especially its suppression by the police. The second one compared different types of government from Monarchy to Democracy
3)Poster Creation on Democracy Conditions: Each nation created posters and a presentation on the history and current state of democracy in their country. We, as Czechs, have divided our modern history into 4 periods that have defined the Czech Republic of today, where our country is, according to the democracy index: a democracy with deficits. Despite this, we have an upward trend on this index and the level of democracy in the Czech Republic is improving.
At the end of the project the Mayor of Istanbul district Şişli visited us. This encounter facilitated a discussion on the challenges faced by Istanbul and the broader relationship between Turkey and the European Union.
In summary, The project was a very valuable experience where we were able to exchange a lot of experiences and perspectives with the other participants not only during the activities, but especially during the cultural evenings, playing beach volleyball, swimming, trips and a lot of other fun activities!