Project information

Supporting Multiculturalism in Turkey's education

To contribute to the promotion and acknowledgement of multiculturalism and the development of multilingual education models in the formal education system of Turkey.

20 months

Charity information: Minority Rights Group International (MRG)

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) logo
  • Need


    The Turkish constitution specifically forbids the teaching of languages other than Turkish as a mother tongue. Schools which do not comply with this provision face various discriminatory and burdensome bureaucratic restrictions in terms of enrolment of students, renewing textbooks, and contracting teachers. Although some NGOs & academic institutions work on this subject, not all minority linguistic groups have the necessary skills to advocate for their right to be taught in their native tongue.


    The project will provide linguistic minority activists with the necessary tools to strengthen the quality and level of their engagement with policy makers and demand implementation of their human rights, and the specific consideration of a multicultural approach to education. This initiative aims to monitor discrimination in the field of education so that linguistic minorities can advocate for policy change respecting social, cultural and minority rights in the educational sector.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase awareness among decision makers, NGOs, & academics of the needs of linguistic minorities.


    » Publish a report on the issues linguistic minorities face in accessing education.
    » Conduct interviews with parents, school pupils, teachers and NGOs in 20 cities where at least one language other than Turkish is the first language.
    » Assess the adequacy of the current curricula, state policy on education, and level of dialogue with linguistic communities.
    » Offer tangible recommendations for policy change in the field of education.

    Concerned stakeholders (various linguistic groups, decision makers, NGOs, trade unions and academics) gain a better understanding of linguistic minorities' needs.

    Aim 2

    Strengthen the dialogue between linguistic groups and decision makers.


    » 3 dialogue meetings in Istanbul between project partners, associates, linguistic minority groups, NGOs, trade unions and university departments.
    » A two-day visit to Ankara for project partners and minority linguistic activists to attend advocacy meetings with decision makers & the EC delegation.
    » Disseminate the report to inter-governmental bodies monitoring human rights & education policies in Turkey: the European Parliament, Council of Europe

    Linguistic groups and decision makers are increasingly committed to addressing the educational needs of linguistic minority groups in Turkey.

    Aim 3

    Promote gender equality within the targeted groups.


    » Pay specific attention to the needs of women (and children) during the research and publication process and in the roundtable meetings.

    The needs of women (and children) are effectively incorporated into the research and publication process and meetings.

  • Impact


    With its specific objective of Improved quality of engagement between linguistic minority activists and CSOs and relevant decision-makers regarding multiculturalism in Turkey’s formal education system, this project directly seeks to strengthen civil society’s involvement in the making, implementation and monitoring of human rights policies at local and national levels. It will leverage and strengthen minority position, regarding reform of the current educational system.


    Risks include fieldwork and community based activities jeopardised by civil/political unrest. However, MRG has a contingency plan that would be put into place and would encompass this project.


    Reporting to donors will take place on an annual basis, in conjunction with our main donor’s reporting guidelines.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £178,025

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      Amount Heading Description
      £121,350 Human resources local and UK staff, seminar participants
      £27,675 Travel and meetings international and local transportation, dialogue meetings, press conference
      £19,000 Report publication research, editing, translating
      £10,000 Auditing auditing and evaluation costs
  • Background


    Turkey, all regions, in particular Hemşin, Rize, Tunceli, Urfa, Mardin, Siirt, Hatay, Mardin/Midyat ,Istanbul, İzmir, Sakarya, Bursa, Marmara region, Edirne, Kırklareli, Mersin, Bodrum.


    The final beneficiaries of the proposed initiative are all members of linguistic minority groups in Turkey (including but not limited to Aramaic, Arabic, Lazuri, Circassian, Kurdish, Zaza, Romani, Armenian and Greek) whose minority, social and cultural rights will be promoted through this invaluable work in the field of education and anti-discrimination.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There is no other NGO with MRG’s broad mandate on minority issues, nor its high reputation among minority communities, governments and UN human rights bodies. Between 2006 & 2009, with the financial support of the EC Delegation in Ankara (EIDHR funding) and the British Embassy, MRG was the lead partner of a highly successful project focusing on minority rights & discrimination in Turkey. The project made a significant contribution to raising awareness on the situation of linguistic minorities.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Helsinki Citizen Assembly

    The partner will assist with its expertise of the situation of linguistic minorities in Turkey.

    History Foundation, (Tarih Vakfı)

    The partner will assist with its expertise of the situation of linguistic minorities in Turkey.