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TUSEV Shared Its Observation Notes After the Kahramanmaraş Earthquakes

The Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV) has prepared an observation report assessing civil society activities in the region following the February 6 Kahramanmaraş earthquakes.

The first observation note, dated February 16, 2023, noted that CSOs are active in a wide range of areas to meet the urgent needs after the earthquakes and emphasized that strengthening and supporting CSOs operating in the earthquake-affected regions is of great importance for the rehabilitation and restructuring process.

Regular donations can spread as a result of a trusting relationship

The observation note noted that innovative donation methods (e.g., cryptocurrency donations), which had long been on CSOs' agendas, became possible for a limited number of organizations after the earthquake.

Moreover, it was emphasized that donations from individuals and companies, which are one of the most important issues for CSOs, will become even more important in the coming period. In the note predicting that open communication, in line with the principles of transparency and accountability, will become more important, the following statement was included.

"...regular donations are expected to become widespread because of the trusting relationship that individuals will build with the CSOs with which they are associated."

Increasing participation in volunteer activities

The observation note highlighted that individual donation practices have diversified and participation in volunteer-based activities has also increased.

"In order to respond to the needs in the earthquake area, individuals are implementing initiatives such as creating websites, developing software, and creating lists of relief resources within their own expertise. In addition, the number of organizations using their own resources and expertise to address the same needs in the region is increasing."

It was noted that people demand effectiveness, transparency, and accountability from the organization to which they donate.

"Donations are not proportionally distributed among CSOs working on the ground, and some CSOs stand out in donor preferences."

International solidarity is strong

The observation note noted that international philanthropic organizations are in contact with their partners and stakeholders in Turkey to address urgent post-earthquake needs and support civil society. It was also noted that some of the international donor organizations were able to be flexible in their accreditation procedures.

Barriers in front of civilian space should be removed as soon as possible

The observation note made suggestions for civil society organizations to effectively continue their work in the medium and long term as well as in the short term.

Some of the suggestions are:

  • Restrictive legal regulations related to CSOs, especially the law on aid collection, which are far from meeting the needs of the time, should be designed to provide a conducive environment for civil society while meeting dynamic and urgent needs. However, restrictive practices regarding foreign aid and donations should be eliminated and the necessary facilitation should be provided to civil society organizations in this area.
  • In order to learn the priority needs of civil society organizations working on the ground, especially in and around the earthquake zone, and to provide them with the necessary support, there should be continuous communication and cooperation with these organizations or with the civil society organizations and institutions that support these organizations.
  • The state of emergency declared in the earthquake zone has highlighted the problems faced in the field of fundamental rights and freedoms, especially in the civil sector, in the process that has been ongoing for two years since 2016. The state of emergency should not lead to restrictive practices in the civil sphere, and this sphere should be regulated by laws and not by emergency laws. The state of emergency should not be prolonged, but the necessary steps should be taken as soon as possible to return to normality.

You can read the full information note here.


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