News Archive, 2001
|Civil Society Series Concludes with the Turkish Experience|
In his presentation, Professor Kalayçioglu explored the relationship of civic movements in Turkey with the State apparatus. He illustrated that Turkey’s low membership in voluntary organisations may be partly explained by a culture that is deeply distrustful in interpersonal terms, leading to a fragmented civil society with low citizen participation.
He observed that the State tends not to combat or promote civil society, but is more likely to welcome economic, labour and gender-related organisations rather than religious groups. Consequently, the relationship of the State with civil society is one of disinterest, as long as there are no regime-resisting protestations. Professor Kalayçioglu conjectured that a strategy of secular human rights-based activism by religious groups in the long term would likely be a more acceptable, non-threatening strategy for religious groups to become an integral part of Turkish civil society – based on the recent experience of women’s groups in the country.