TÜSEV, TÜRKİYE ÜÇÜNCÜ SEKTÖR VAKFI (THIRD SECTOR FOUNDATION OF TURKEY), an organization founded by 23 of Turkey’s leading civil society organizations, including the
Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV). It aims to develop the legal, financial and functional infrastructure of the third sector, which is composed of voluntary groups and non-profit organizations, such as foundations and associations, working for the public good. TÜSEV receives regular support from the VKV and is a member of numerous international bodies concerned with the third sector, including the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS).
TÜSEV activities fit specific program themes: the Civil Society Law Reform program aims to promote a more suitable and facilitative infrastructure for foundations and associations; the Social Investment program creates an infrastructure for social investment and philanthropy, promoting models and mechanisms which ensure transfer of funds to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), improving the legal and financial infrastructure related to social enterprises and promoting social enterprises; the International Relations and Networking program tries to create common platforms for sharing good practices and experiences, raise awareness of civil society in Turkey on an international level and develop relationships by creating opportunities for cooperation; the Research and Publications program aims to increase the visibility of the third sector, identify positive or negative trends and create a suitable environment in which to develop civil society.
The “Civil Society Index Project” (STEP), initiated by CIVICUS in 60 countries worldwide, was led by TÜSEV in Turkey from 2004 to 2006 and repeated between 2009 and 2011. As part of the project, civil society was examined under the key headings of structure, impact, environment and values; the results of the research and analysis were compiled in a report and published by TÜSEV.
Numerous meetings were organized as part of the Social Entrepreneurship Project, which was set up in 2009 by TÜSEV with support and collaboration from the British Council. The initiative aims to promote and encourage social entrepreneurship in Turkey.
The TÜSEV Civil Society Monitoring project began in 2011. The annual monitoring reports published as part of the project discuss developments in civil society in Turkey, including its strong points and impact, also making comparisons with findings from previous years.
The Monitoring Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development project was set up in December 2012 in partnership between the European Network of National Associations (ENNA) and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) with financial support from the European Union. The project was introduced simultaneously in the West Balkans and Turkey and coordinated by the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN); subsequent reports were published in 2013 and 2014 discussing civil society and its development in Turkey and other countries. Further related reports on Turkey and the region were published in 2015 and 2016.
The Civil Society Public Cooperation Project, led in partnership with the Civil Society Development Center (STGM) and the YADA Foundation, is supported by the European Union and aims to create an ongoing dialogue between civil society and the state, increasing the participation of NGOs in social debates and decision-making processes.
Various activities are run as part of the Donate for Change project, which aims to develop the culture of donating money in Turkey. The “Individual Giving and Philanthropy in Turkey Research”, led by Ali Çarkoğlu and Erdem Aytaç, was supported by six leading Turkish foundations, including the VKV, and a report detailing the results was published in 2016.
The results of TÜSEV projects, research and studies are published in print and online and also shared via its social media accounts under the name TÜSEV Atölye.
The New Approaches in Civil Society Conference, held in Istanbul from November 21-22, 2013 marked the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of TÜSEV’s foundation. It received support from the VKV and Sabancı Foundation and took as its theme “the next ten years in civil society”.