The day began with the dance of volunteers. After the dance, the presence of participants was checked for voting and then Board Member candidates introduced themselves once more before the voting. 8 out of 22 board member candidates would be selected as board member after the voting. Before the voting started, a video about TOG was watched. After an hour of voting, the result was announced. The 8 participants selected and in April TOG’s Trust Comittee will make final decision.
1. Fırat Muştak Güneş
2. Berivan Öztürk
3. Alper Serdar
4. Mesut Keklik
5. Ethem Uğur Celep
6. Mesut Bayezıt
7. Isa Demiralp
8. Ceyda Özdemir
21st Diyarbakir Youth Council ended with the summary video of the three days. Once again TOG organized a successful and fruitful Council. Everyone is looking forward to the next Council.
”Burned Bazaar” (Yanmış Pazar)
During the ”Burned Bazaar”, different youth clubs mutually shared the projects, events that they had done.
Youth Bank projects:
• Handicraft workshop for young women - During the project women learned new handicraft styles. After the workshop they had the idea to organize a fairy and exhibit their handicrafts.
• Young women fairy - Young women who benefit fromBatman Yesiltepe Catoman, organized a fairy on September 8 to exhibit and sell their handicrafts. They used the income to help 10 families.
• Ornamentation course - A group of Batman young people organized an ornamentation course to bring together different handicapped young people who don’t know each other. The aim of the course is to create invironment for handicapped youth to meet and socialize with each other.
• Reproductive health training - They talked about known reproductive and sexual health and general health issues. The training was for young people aged between 12-25.
• Medicine cabinet - The project gave information about the medicines that should be in the medicine cabinets.
Canakkale BİGA TOG’s projects:
• Do you play with me- Played theater with children from society for the protection of children.
• Reading Book- To engrain in the habit of reading books to the children from society for the protection of children, volunteers read books to them every day.
• Profession training- Volunteers give information about their profession to the children in villages to help them choose their future profession.
TOG Trakya’s projects:
• Empathy stand - The aim of the event was to understand handicapped people by putting themselves on their situation (closing eyes to understand blind people, putting headphones with high music to understand deaf people, etc.).
• Menzilahir project - The school life for Gypsys in Edirne is hard. The project aimed to tackle this problems, to help children in their education, to bring them in social life and to break the prejudices.
• Profession library- Volunteers being walking libraries give information about their profession to the children in villages to help them choose their future profession.
Ege TOG’s projects:
• Village improvement project - The project aimed to help children’s education, to teach them reading and writing, to help villagers in farms, to help them solve their problems.
• My brother hope - The project aimed to give children with leukemia moral support.
• SUS (only hope’s voice) - The project aimed to insure deaf children’s personal growth. The volunteers had trainings about audiology.
Bartin TOG’s projects:
• Stands about HIV - The aim of the stand was to inform and raise awareness about HİV. They made and distributed red ribbons.
• Street theater about HIV
• Love visits - Visits to orphanages and nursing homes.
• Reproductive health education - education about reproductive and sexual health.
TOG internship is a practice program conducted by TOG to prepare TOG volunteers to working life. TOG internship program supplies youth’s needs by matching volunteer’s internship needs with internship resources.
The end of the 3rd day of the 21st TOG Youth Council is close, but the work here seems to never stop, as there are still lots of exciting things to do. To make TOG’s projects and activities clearer to the youngsters, the organization’s team decided to offer participants several diverse forums concentrated on different aspects of TOG’s work: TOG’s local projects, TOG’s training system, fundraising on a local level and sustainable development, European Voluntary Service (EVS) and Youth in Action programme, etc.
European Voluntary Service and Exchange Programmes turned out to be the most crowded forum that took place at the Youth Council which can easily be explained by the age and curiosity of young people taking part in the event. All of them are interested in travelling, getting to know new countries and cultures, meeting new people and developing themselves. European Voluntary Service is a chance for these young people to make their dreams come true in an easy and joyful way. Therefore TOG’s EVS coordinator Levent Yücel was here to help the youngsters understand what EVS is, how it works, what are the details of the application procedure and main issues necessary to know when going abroad either for EVS or an exchange programme. Except for being able to listen to Levent’s presentation and ask questions, young people had met TOG’s ex-EVS volunteer and current TOG’s employee Agata Fortuna, who shared her own EVS experience with them and gave useful advice. The outcome of the session will be known in the following months as the deadlines for programmes quickly approach.
As Turkey’s Ministry of Sport and Youth is about to organize a National Level Youth Council TOG gathered young people for the forum concentrated on the future event to find out about the ideas young people have to suggest in order to help the Ministry. As the present Youth Council of TOG is already the 21st, it is absolutely clear that TOG and its numerous volunteers have a lot of thoughts and ideas to share.
Another Youth Council’s forum was mostly oriented on TOG’s volunteers who do not have that much of experience yet. The organization has its own system of 5 key-trainings passing through all of which a volunteer-newcomer can be given a status of a real member of TOG’s volunteer community, therefore training department of TOG was happy to share the information on the details of each of the 5 trainings and encourage young people to actively take part in them.
At their forum the stuff of the Project Department of TOG informed young people on the current activities the department implements. As what TOG basically does is by the hands and for young people it is extremely important to meet face to face and collect the ideas that can be brought to life in the nearest future.
There’s a certain degree of excitement and joyful impatience on the faces of young people who gathered at the Youth Council’s venture this mid-day. The event long awaited by everyone has finally started – the selection of the new TOG’s board members. It may seem that there’s nothing special in this procedure, but not when it comes to the board of TOG, as each young active volunteer of the organization has a chance to take his or her place in TOG as a new board member. Generally TOG counts 16 board members and it is obligatory that a half of this number is represented with young people coming from all over Turkey. Nearly a month ago TOG called all of its volunteers to apply for the positions of new board members of the organization for the period of 1 year.
Out of a solid number of applications TOG chose 23 candidates that today have a chance to tell all Youth Council’s participants about themselves, their past and present volunteer experience, their suggestions on the activities TOG brings to life. Every young person present at the selection procedure is welcomed to ask candidates questions and make sure he or she is going to give his/her vote to the right person. Tomorrow the names of the 8 lucky ones will be known to TOG’s Trust Committee which will make the final decision.
Who will be the new faces of TOG’s board in 2013? We will keep you updated!
This Saturday the 21st TOG Youth Council is reaching its culmination point: the meeting of present board members of TOG with the numerous volunteers of the organization and selection of the new members of the board who will be responsible for the most important decisions that will be taken at TOG during the new year period. The participants of the Council had a chance to listen to İbrahim Betil, Mehru Özturk Aygül, Tugba Jabban, Mehmet Pekarun, Adnan Turan, Erol Battal, Mahir Karahan Gözde Şahin and Murat Kuru in 4 different groups.
Find out more on the process of decision-making process at the organization, ask their questions and understand the principles of TOG’s youth work.
Each of them concentrated on various aspects of social rights, democracy, peace building, HIV & AIDS,
Since the day is close to its end, a little bit of tiredness is felt among the Youth Council’s participants. Therefore the time for the entertainment has come. Keeping in mind that all of the event’s activities should be not only fun, but truly useful, the organizers of the Youth Council suggested young people to try their strength playing the board games – games which are aimed at providing basic knowledge on human rights issues. There were 4 board games to choose from. Each of them concentrated on various aspects of social rights, democracy, peace building, HIV & AIDS, reproductive health, sexual equality and others: Rengarenk, Hayat Zor, Kendine Iyi Bak and Barış Zamanı. For more information on the games, follow the links:
Kendine İyi Bak; http://toplumgonnullulerivakfi.tumblr.com/post/32583887871/kendine-iyi-bak-the-atmosphere-of-the
Hayat Zor; http://toplumgonnullulerivakfi.tumblr.com/post/32658951982/hayat-zor-life-is-difficult-is-a-game-which
TOG organized a panel about Gender mainstreaming. The panel aimed to strengthen women, to inform about positive discrimination, trainings, projects, workshops. During the panel women participation problems within TOG and Turkey were discussed. The speakers were Başak Tuğsavul from Social relations department, TOG board member Tuğba Jabban, Ankara TOG Zeynep Meltem Torun, Izmir TOG Aycam Sahin.
Though the Saturday’s programme of TOG’s Youth Council is pretty tough in terms of schedule and amount of various activities, young people coming from all over the country are still ready to go on getting to know more, share their experiences and discuss problems Turkey’s society faces at present. Panel discussions that took place during the first part of the day finally gave the floor to different workshops dealing with various issues such as human rights, discrimination, fight against it, hate speech, etc. They were the following: Bir İhtimal Daha Var, Biz Ayrılamayız, Engelsiz Üniversite, Kim Demiş Kadınlar Yapamaz Diye, Farklı Kimlikler Benzer Ayrımcılıklar, Matruşka, Muha(bir)imiz Olur Musunuz?, Saçı Uzun “HAK”kı Kısa. To better understand the structure of the workshops let’s have a closer look at some of them.
The main issue opened for discussion at Saçı Uzun “HAK”kı Kısa workshop was the discrimination of women’s rights. Tuğçe Aktepe and Reyyan Can, active TOG’s volunteers , moderated the activity. They suggested the workshop’s participants to divide into 4 groups and study several real cases of brutal women’s rights violation. Each of the groups had an opportunity to learn the details of their stories through the newspapers which contained the necessary information. After a brief discussion young people had a chance to present the stories they got and share their vision of the problems main heroes of these stories faced and suggest their own solutions. As a result the participants of the workshop agreed on a common thought stating that whenever a woman faces discrimination in terms of the rights she naturally possesses , the judicial system of Turkey somehow refuses to take victim’s side. Therefore the state has to take certain steps in order to assure that the rights of women are not violated and judicial system is fare.
The 2nd day of the 21st TOG Youth Council started with a panel discussion on a topic that can’t leave anyone indifferent – social peace. 5 prominent representatives of various social initiatives, human rights workers: Deniz Rojda Solmaz, Hidayet Tuksal, İbrahim Betil, Osman Baydemir and Takuhi Tovmasyan Zaman came to Diyarbakır to talk about their vision of peace and answer participants’ questions. Mehru Aygül – TOG’s board member and Osman Baydemir – the mayor of Diyarbakır’s municipality joined the 5 speakers as panel’s moderators.
As Deniz Rojda Solmaz – human rights worker, president of Siyah Pembe Üçgen LGBT Derneği, stated: “Peace is the biggest problem in Turkey”. The state doesn’t accept LGBT people and doesn’t recognize them as the ones who have their own personality. Each time the rights of LGBT people are tried to be authorized and protected at the governmental level, the state creates more and more problems. The speaker talked about frightening examples from our daily life when not only government, but families of LGBT people do not want to put up with these people’s nature and decide on committing a crime against their own family members (the case of Ahmet Yıldız).
During her speech Hidayet Tuksal, a representative of Başkent Kadın Platformu and a columnist for Taraf newspaper, raised the question on media and religion, particularly on the perception of religion which is created by various media sources within the modern society. The speaker noted that religion does have a great importance nowadays just like it was in the past, but at present it is often used by extreme religious communities in different other than noble purposes. Therefore Hidayet Tuksal called young people present at the discussion to question each and every word they read or hear and learn from mistakes of the past.
A mayor of Diyarbakır’s municipality Osman Baydemir followed up Hidayet Tuksal with his thoughts on the problems Turkey faces with the integration of different nationalities into its society. Long ago 48% of Diyarbakır’s population consisted of armenians, assyrians, keldanis, jews, yezidis, etc. It was thought that peace would easily come if these people leave the territory, nevertheless now that there are almost none of them, peace stil didn’t come. Therefore Osman Baydemir stated that there will be no peaceful future if we don’t take our past mistakes into consideration and don’t try to learn from them.
Takuhi Tovmasyan Zaman
My grandfather Ghazaros was conducting a casino. Casino was a park, where people were sitting and talking to each other. He was married and he had 3 children. After his wife passed away, he wanted to marry, but it was hard because he was widower and had 3 children. They searched in Corlu and find my grandmother Takuhi who agreed to marry him. They had lied to her telling that my grandfather Ghazaros had 2 children. She learned about the truth only after marriage. She got angry, not because he had one more child, but because they had lied to her. So She wanted to send the little child to Corum without thinking that she might regret it later and feel guilty. My grandmother also had 2 children and she loved them all the same way.
Here comes 1915 genocide.7 years later the little child with all his relatives migrated to Samatya. When my grandmother learns about it she excitedly goes there to find him. She does it 3-5 times a year, but in vain. She dies longing for the little child. After my grandmother died, my father took the responsibility to find him. He also tried for many years but died in disappointment.
After my father’s death, i took the responsibility. I was thinking how can i find him. They always considered the fact that he could have moved to USA, he could have turned Turkish, Kurdish,etc.
But they never considered the fact that he might have died. Now I think he is dead, because of his age, that’s why i make semolina helva every time for his memory.
In 2006-2007 human rights violation increased. The number of people who lost their lives, who committed suicide, who died because of formal faults, tortures, violation of freedom of expression, violations in prison, etc.
21107 people died, got injured, suffered and this statement was not shown to us. Armenians, Alevis, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Yezidi, Kurds were exposed to discrimination.
”The only thing that a human being cannot change is its origin. Everything else can be changed”.
”I hate the word tolerance, it resembles to look down on someone. I also hate the word brotherhood. I don’t want to be brothers. I want to be equal citizens, to have equal rights”.
It should not be ”I have my conditions. If you approach me, i will approach you”
”If we view everyone as equals, we can end the discrimination”.
”The biggest obstacle for peace is our thoughts, our prejudice, not laws”.
Civil society should overcome the biases. It’s so important that can not be left to the state and politics. It’s not enough to say ”i want peace”, we should take steps.
Though everything seems to be usual this winter day, Diyarbakir will obviously remember 2013’s 7th of February as a day when there was something very special about the city. Despite a quite ordinary for Turkish winter gloomy weather, Diyarbakir welcomes 328 young people from 98 universities of 70 Turkey’s cities for the 21st TOG Youth Council. This time the Youth Council is brought to youth by Diyarbakir Buyuksehir Belediyesi, Heinrich Boll Stiftung Dernegi, Gelecek Otomotiv San. Tic. A.S., Ozdiyarbakir Seyahat Tic, Ltd. Sti., Diyarbakir Sur Belediyesi. While there are 3 more days of intensive work ahead, today young people had an opportunity to meet Diyarbakir’s mayor Osman Baydemir who greeted all of the participants with his welcome speech on peace; Adnan Turan – current TOG’s board member and M. Bahri Telli – TOG’s office employee. Content team followed the speakers with the information on the council’s programme: panels, workshops and forums that would take place in the following days. And since the aim of the Youth Council is not only in training and informing, here came the entertaining part – a welcome ceremony for all of the participants supported with the tunes of traditional music from a local band. The air is full of joyful impatience, energy and excitement. What’s going to happen next? Let’s find it out tomorrow!