VISA HOTLINE PROJECT
The Economic Development Foundation (IKV) has decided to take forward its ongoing work regarding the visa issue and to initiate a project entitled “Visa Hotline Project” in cooperation with TOBB and ECAS(European Citizen Action Service), a Brussels-based NGO renown for its studies and expertise in the realm of free movement of persons. The objective of the “Visa Hotline Project” is to present the state of the art regarding the problems encountered by Turkish people in obtaining visas, documents required and procedures applied, discretionary treatment and all other difficulties involved in this cumbersome process. This project targets first and foremost the Turkish business world, academic circles and students and the Turkish public in general. Two telephone lines and an e-mail address reserved for this project started operating on 17 November 2009. 3 junior experts (IKV staff) responded to the incoming calls and e-mails throughout the project, which was finalized on 18 January 2010. The incoming calls and e-mails along with posts were analyzed and categorized in a systematic manner, and made into a final report to be submitted to prominent officials and policy-makers at the EU and Turkey level. By way of documenting the unfair and differential treatment Turkish citizens are being subjected, we will request the relevant authorities in Turkey and the EU to take the necessary steps to tackle this problem. We firmly believe that this study will fill a lacuna in this field and set a precedent.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS AND TURKISH CIVIL SOCIETY DIALOGUE MEETINGS
“European Parliamentarians and Turkish Civil Society: Dialogue for Better Understanding Each Other” is a programme aiming to create a discussion platform between the Turkish civil society and the Members of the European Parliament and to give both sides the opportunity to better understand each other. A first gathering took place in January 2007. Since the first event, we have successfully organized several meetings in Turkey and in Brussels with the participation of more than 20 MEPs. The Economic Development Foundation (IKV) continues also this programme with the new elected MEPs in order to strengthen the dialogue between the European Parliament and the Turkish civil society.
WINDOW TO TURKEY
The aim of this series of seminars organized under the Project name of “Window to Turkey” is to inform better the experts of EU institutions working on Turkey about the latest developments occurring in the economic, social and political fields of the country. The project’s primary goal is to give participants a better overview of the political, economic and cultural frameworks and structures of Turkey. Therefore it has been foreseen to organize three informative seminars dealing with each of these aspects mentioned above. These seminars were given not only by academicians specialized on these subjects but also by representatives of the civil societies. These seminars organized within the project addressed mainly representatives of the European Parliament, Desk Officer Turkey of the Directorate General Enlargement and COREPER enlargement group.
Window to Turkey - 1: (11 July 2007)
The first seminar of this series was organized by the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) with the support of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Brussels. The opening speech was made by Chairman of IKV, Prof. Dr. Halûk Kabaalioğlu. The other speakers of the seminar were Chairman of TOBB M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, journalist Laetitia Missir di Lusignano, Rector of Işık University Prof. Dr. Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Former Minister of State Tayyibe Gülek and Faculty Member of the Yeditepe University Prof. Dr. Feroz Ahmad.
Window to Turkey- 2: (24 September 2007)
The second seminar of this series was also held in Brussels. After the opening speech of Prof. Dr. Halûk Kabaalioğlu, Chairman of TOBB M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Faculty member of Sabancı University Prof. Dr. Hasan Bülent Kahraman, Director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) Prof. Dr. Güven Sak and Director of Stability Institution of TEPAV and Former President of Central Bank of Republic of Turkey Süreyya Serdengeçti also made a speech.
Window to Turkey- 3: (17 April 2007)
The third seminar of this series was also held in Brussels. In his opening speech, Prof. Dr. Halûk Kabaalıoğlu spoke about the problems encountered within the functioning of the Customs Union established between Turkey and the European Union. He mainly drew the attention on the visa issue, transport quotas and Free Trade Agreements. M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu and Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek spoke about the latest developments occurred in Turkey especially in the field of economics.
THE IMPACT OF HORIZONTAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACQUIS COMMUNAUTAIRE ON THE LEADING TURKISH SECTORS
With the start of negotiations, the reforms undertaken by Turkey to adopt the acquis communautaire in its legal system will bring fundamental changes in all areas related to the economic sectors. Considering this fact, the Economic Development Foundation presented an informative project under “The EU Civil Society Dialogue : Europa – Bridge of Knowledge Programme (DG ELARG/MEDTQ/12-02) entitled “The Effects of Horizontal Implementation of the acquis communautaire on the leading Turkish Sectors” and signed the financial agreement of the project in December 2006. With the financial support of the European Commission, the Economic Development Foundation carried out a research on the impacts of horizontal implementation of the acquis communautaire on six leading sectors of the Turkish economy. The sectors considered in this project are the following: Cement, Food, Chemical, Automotive, Ceramic, Textile and Clothing sectors. The aim of the project was to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation capacity of the EU harmonization process by the representative of the sector, non-governmental organizations and public institutions in order to encourage their active participation in the process.
Aim of the Project and the Targeted Groups: The aim of this project is to foresee the impacts of the horizontal implementation of the acquis communautaire on the leading sectors of Turkish economy (cement, food, chemistry, automotive, ceramic, textile, clothing industries). The objective of the project is to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation capacity of representatives of the sectors, syndicates, trade bodies, non-governmental organizations as well as of public institutions in order to ensure their active participation in the process. The final beneficiaries of the project have been the members of the participating institutions.
Scope of the Project: Within this project, informative seminars were organized with the participation of experts from Turkey, the European Union and the new Member States for the sectors concerned by the implementation of the acquis communtaire. The Economic Development Foundation has prepared a brief note which gathers the opinions of participant institutions in the project on the sectoral situation in Turkey and information on the EU legislation on these sectors. This brief notes were sent to the participants along with the invitation letters to the seminars. After the seminar, sectoral reports have been prepared by taking into account the opinions of sector representatives. These sectoral reports aimed to constitute a reference point for the strategies that will be developed for these sectors.
Project Partner: Within the framework of the project, IKV cooperated with CERIS (Center for Study of International Relations). CERIS was responsible for the invitation of experts from the European Union in the seminars, for the preparation of the seminars’ reports and for their publication.
Participating Institutions: The Economic Development Foundation has enable the participation of the sector representative in this project thus enabling their active interaction and contribution. The participating institutions in this project are (in alphabetic order) : The Cement Industry Employers’ Union (ÇEİS), the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters’ Associations (İTKİB), the Automotive Manufacturers’ Association (OSD), the Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (SERKAP), the Association of Automotive Parts & Components Manufacturers (TAYSAD), the Turkey Cement Manufacturers' Association (TCMA), the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association (TKSD), the Union of Dairy, Meat, Food Industrialists and Manufacturers (SETBİR) and the Turkish Textile Employers’ Union (TTSİS). These participating institutions have contributed in the drafting of thebrief notes prepared by the Economic Development Foundation. They have also cooperated with the İKV in making the announcements of the organization of the seminars, in choosing the speakers and in ensuring the participation in the seminars of sectors’ representatives. The have also joined the workshops organized after the seminars and contributed to the preparation of the sectoral reports.
Project Activities: During the whole stage of this project, the Economic Development Foundation has worked in close cooperation with the sectoral representatives.
The project had been announced in a press conference on the 16th February 2007 and the closing meeting, where publications related to the project were introduced was made on the 16th November 2007 in Istanbul.
This project was carried out within 5 main outlines of activity which are the presentation of the informative seminars, the realization of the seminars, the conduction of workshops, the preparation of sectoral reports and their publication along with seminars’ presentations and the results of the project.
The informative seminars organized within the project are constituted of two sections. In the first section, the sectoral representatives of the EU spoke about the horizontal impacts of the adoption of the acquis on the sectors in the EU Member States. And in this second section, experts coming from the Member States of Central and Eastern European Countries spoke about the difficulties they have encountered when implementing the acquis communautaire. However, it is noteworthy to point out that in this second section, since the cement and ceramic sectors are not developed in these countries, these two sectors were excluded in the programme of this section
After each seminar, a workshop was organized with the collaboration of the Economic Development Foundation and the other participating institutions. It was aimed with these workshops to create a platform that will enable sector representatives to present their point of views and strategies on these issues. The active interaction of sectors’ representatives enables to increase the awareness about the impacts of the implementation of the acquis communautaire on these sectors. This information will be useful as well during Turkey’s negotiation process.
With the contributions gathered during the workshops organized, a report was prepared to enable leading sectors in Turkey’s EU accession to realize the areas where they are lagging behind the acquis communautaire. This report prepared by the Economic Development Foundation and the participating institutions was aimed to constitute a roadmap for sectors during the negotiation process and for the public institutions in their elaboration of sectoral strategies.
ENHANCING THE CAPACITY OF TURKISH BUSINESS COMMUNITY ON REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Following the decision taken to start the accession negotiations with Turkey on the 3rd October 2005, Turkey-EU relations has entered a new phase in which Turkey have to accelerate the harmonization of its legislation with EU acquis communautaire. This will inevitably affect and change the structure of economic and social life in all aspects. In this complex process of EU accession negotiations, public governance and the business environment of Turkey will go through a fundamental restructuring. Based on the experience of new EU member states as well as OECD countries, Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) has revealed to be an essential tool not only to improve the quality of laws and regulations but also to strengthen the consultation and dialogue between the private and public sectors.
Therefore, considering the fact that Turkish public and private sectors are in early stages of capacity building regarding Regulatory Impact Assessment, IKV has prepared a project consisting of training courses and an executive seminar on RIA with the aim to increase awareness on impact assessments among the public.
IKV launched the project with a seminar at Lütfi Kırdar Convention & Exhibition Centre Haliç Hall in Istanbul on the 23rd May 2007 with a large participation of competent experts on RIA. Following the launching seminar, the first and second training courses took place in Istanbul on 24-25 May 2007 and on 27-28 September 2007 consequently.
The project also included the organization of another seminar on the 14 February 2008 which targeted top executives and decision makers both in public and private sectors and the realization of a two day long training course that took place on 15-16 May 2008.
IKV has conducted this project with its own financial resources in collaboration with Jacob & Associates which is a well-known consulting company on impact assessments.
The Economic Development Foundation (IKV) launched an information project with the aim to increase awareness on the European Union and Turkey’s accession process among primary school teachers and through them primary school students. The project aimed to better inform the targeted group on the effects of Turkey’s EU accession.
Within this perspective, IKV organized two training seminars on 9-11 May 2008 and 6-9 November 2008 covering all of the Marmara region except Istanbul with the participation of 72 teachers. In these seminars, experts informed the participants about the history of Turkey-EU relations, the accession negotiations, the misperceptions about Turkey’s EU membership and the effects of the accession process and membership on Turkish citizens’ daily lives. At the end of each day, the participants identified the main points to be communicated to the primary school students and discussed the methods and tools that should be used to raise children’s interest in these subjects.
During the course of the project, the teachers acknowledged the lack of reliable information on EU-Turkey relations and realized the importance of the project as a valuable tool to fill this gap and spread basic information to all segments of the society. The participants also showed their eagerness to share the information not only with their students but also with their colleagues and parents in their cities thus enabling a domino effect.
Within this respect, IKV also gave lectures on the 10-11 and 13-14 October 2011 on EU and Turkey-EU relations to nearly 50 teachers within the framework of the “Awareness on EU is contoured in Istanbul” (AFİŞ) under the coordination of Istanbul Governorship and with the collaboration of Istanbul Provincial Directorate for National Education and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Directorate of European Union Relations. IKV experts gave general information to the participants on EU history, EU institutions and its functioning, on the history of Turkey-EU relations, negotiation process, the benefits brought by this process and the impacts of membership on our daily lives. In return, the teachers trained under this project, have to inform nearly 150 students and 4 teachers about the EU and Turkey-EU relations. Thus, starting with the training of 50 teachers, it is aimed to reach out to more people based though a multiplier effect.
AFİŞ project is funded under the program of “Our Provinces Preparing for the European Union” of the EU Ministry. Within the framework of this program that entered into force on the 2nd February 2011, several projects are carried out in 25 different provinces to raise awareness on EU membership process.