ARU in Turkey – the work of Anadolu University

The ARU in Turkey is managed by Anadolu University located in Eskişehir. In order to build the Research Unit, Anadolu University relied on active relations with various stakeholders from the local community. These stakeholders include civil society organisations, special and specific centres, local government-municipalities, bar association, private sector, chamber of commerce and industrial field establishments, media, education sector, research and others. At the same time, besides the institutional relations, the ARU also built upon individual relations established through various projects and events. Right at the beginning of the RAISD project, the Anadolu University team started establishing semi-formal talks and exchanges about establishing the ARU team, which would hold the members of those stakeholders. Moreover, these actors (particularly centres and civil society organizations) were able to suggest other potential members and most importantly to involve FDPs directly into the ARU team. Simply, the Anadolu University team followed these suggestions. The main contribution was from WGSS-Women and Girls Safe Spaces centre. Through those centres, the Anadolu University team established and continued strong relations with FDPs on behalf of the ARU and necessary for the ARU work. The COVID-19 outbreak and the particularly growing tension and conflicts in the country (also connected to the hate in public towards FDPs), have produced an unfortunate constant change in the members of the Turkish ARU. But, their commitment in ARU and TAIS work was very effective despite the difficulties.

The Anadolu University team guided the process of TAIS definition and design, with a strong commitment and involvement in the TAIS implementation and training on behalf of the ARU members. All in all, 16 members joined the Action Research Unit, including representatives of the business and industry, policy-makers, researchers and FDP. The aim of the TAIS in Turkey is to create capacities, awareness and understanding for various stakeholders in terms of inclusion and diversity – overall for integration – for forcibly displaced people. Through the workshops on understanding the concepts of diversity and inclusion, and the way monitoring functions, vulnerable populations – forcibly displaced people are the main beneficiaries while society in general through various stakeholders is the beneficiary for a better integrated society.

Diversity and inclusion, monitoring and advocacy

The Turkish ARU, in its work towards the inclusion of FDP, has set three levels of expected results. First, to develop an understanding on diversity and inclusion concepts for all participating sides. Second, to understand the role of monitoring and use it as a tool for advocacy. Third, to put monitoring into action and utilize it in a systematic way. For their contribution to the ARU stories, the ARU members and TAIS target audience produced the following text. All indicated that they would prefer not to produce the video and/or being on records. Therefore, their experience has been narrated as below.

“Diversity training, inclusion training and monitoring training”

As defined in the descriptions, particularly for the TAIS, Anadolu University team worked with ARU members that are NOT project members and also directly the target audience of TAIS. Accordingly, all the team members wanted to see if we could come up with something innovative and something new that has never been done before and would also have a unique solution for the core of the project. During the series of ARU meetings, it was realized by ARU members and particularly by FDP members, that the “service” area was the crucial one on which to direct attention and efforts. There was a significant dimension in the service providers that ARU members and FDPs underlined the importance of developing capacities that in return would help their lives. Long discussions and questions helped all members to understand and realize that “local authorities” (municipalities in Turkey, particularly in the city of Eskisehir) were lacking in services in terms of their qualities. Then, discussions were directed towards the local government and all members understood that service providers (particularly to FDPs) in local government (municipality of Eskisehir- ‘Greater Municipality of Eskisehir’) did never take any training on sensitivities and awareness towards FDPs and other related communities.

Series of discussions with ARU members, target audience of TAIS- municipality service providers and participants of city council, local government and others as a result underlined the importance of ‘rights-based approaches’, ‘needs based approaches’, ‘community-based approaches’, and ‘value-based approaches’ as behalf of the foreseen trainings. All teams agreed on training. FDPs and local government members were in full agreement and they defined the great need for those trainings so they would totally benefit service providers and beneficiaries of those services – which they were FDPs.

Discussions between groups came to the final conclusion, in which all members agreed to conduct a series of trainings, which are ‘diversity training’, ‘inclusion training’ and ‘monitoring training’. Local government members, as defined, had never had those trainings. Particularly, all members underlined the importance of diversity and inclusion trainings. Later, they also indicated that monitoring training would be also essential because it would bring a kind of follow up and would give elements to understand the qualities of services produced. Meanwhile, all members also underlined that ‘monitoring’ would also serve as an ‘advocacy tool’ for the service providers in terms of policy development and other related reasons, because they would accumulate a significant amount of experience. Then, the local government realised another need. They shared that it would be great to have a basic and easy to follow ‘monitoring tool’ for their services so they can be more aware of the principles of their work that can produce meaning and value for FDPs in their services.

All decisions were made with open discussions and with full agreements. ARU members, uniquely FDPs and target audiences (local government) produced the outcomes. They defined the needs, so it can be said that no decision and conclusion was given but defined by the groups in need. In the end, everyone, particularly FDPs and local government as service providers to FDPs, were very happy that it will bring something new and first time to do for the lives of vulnerable people and FDPs. Local government members happily indicated that this means a new dimension for service quality and capacity for the employees. FPD members indicated that it would produce qualified services for their needs in short and mid-term, and also create new policies for their well-being long-term.