D10.1 Country Report | May 2023
Author: Hasret Dikici Bilgin, Istanbul Bilgi University
D10.1 country report for Turkey focuses on three major deradicalization programs in terms of their content, the extent of civic education measures as preventive strategies and the lessons that can be driven from these programs.
Turkey has yet to develop a comprehensive deradicalization legal and policy framework, and this reflects on the limited success of the deradicalization programs. The most extensive program remains as Adana Police Department’s pilot program to this date. The program focused on contacting the individuals and their families at risk for radicalization at an early stage of their affiliation with the radical organizations. It also included support for psychological counseling and finding jobs to reduce recidivism. The program was terminated in 2015 for reasons that could not be found out in this report. The most long-lasting deradicalization program has been carried out by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) since 2001, which mainly includes the activities of the preachers in prisons targeting religious-oriented radicalization. Participation levels remained very low, preachers have not been adequately trained to respond to the prison conditions and the programs’ success remained limited as the activities did not go beyond religious conversations to include civic education measures. The third program, SARE, was a cross-country project with civic education activities on self-reflection, conflict management, communication in culturally diverse environments, empathy, and teamwork; however, most of the activities could be realized as the Turkish prisons’ physical conditions were not suitable, some activities were not considered culturally suitable, and many prisoners could not participate as they work in the prison facilities.
The report shows that Turkey has to develop a wholistic deradicalization framework by including stakeholders from education and social policy fields, and collaborate with civil society organizations for the success of the future deradicalization programs.