What is Sivil Düşün?

Sivil Düşün (SD) is a European Union programme supporting active citizens and civil society organisations throughout Türkiye. SD provides in-kind support and expertise for small-scale, short-term rights-based initiatives. It offers a unique mechanism that easily and quickly enables civic actors to secure support for specific needs and desired outcomes.

Sivil Düşün supports rights-based initiatives.

What is a rights-based initiative?

A rights-based initiative is carried out according to the “rights-based approach.” A rights-focused approach places universal human rights values, standards, and norms at the action’s heart and centre. When applied and internalised, this approach increases the demand and enhances understanding of human rights laws and practices. It enables us to hold ourselves and others responsible and accountable for upholding human rights laws and practices. Adopting a human rights approach brings public and private institutions under pressure; it draws attention to violations and encourages us to seek remedies. By applying this approach, we contribute to ensuring that all rights and freedoms are recognised and protected.

Five elements of the rights-base approach


Everyone is entitled to participate in making decisions that affect the enjoyment of their rights.


Everyone has access to mechanisms to hold duty-bearers accountable and seek redress for rights violated.

Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination

Everyone is entitled to enjoy rights without discrimination of any kind.Discrimination is prevented, prohibited and eliminated.


The capacity of individuals to understand and enjoy their rights are supported.


Everyone has access to mechanisms to hold duty-bearers accountable and seek redress for rights violated.

Sivil Düşün supports efforts to protect fundamental political, social, economic and cultural human rights and freedoms, as well as the animal and environmental rights.

What does Sivil Düşün do?

Sivil Düşün focuses on strengthening the ability of individuals and groups to exercise their rights, especially those whose rights are at risk. As a vehicle for empowerment, SD helps civil society meet its needs.

SD contributes to building a solid foundation for ownership of the rights-based approach. It is a source of financial support and expertise designed to help civil society develop its capacity to carry out rights-based initiatives, reach more people and implement more effective communications, awareness-raising, advocacy and monitoring activities. Sivil Düşün enables civic actors to learn essential skills and techniques, increase their capacity to hear and impact policymaking and expand organisational and financial capabilities.

Sivil Düşün walks side by side in solidarity with the hundreds of active citizens and organisations it supports each year. It contributes to expanding the presence of civil society in villages, neighbourhoods and cities across Türkiye. Sivil Düşün creates opportunities to strengthen experienced civic actors and newcomers and opens the door for networking and cooperation among peers In Türkiye and the European Union.

Sivil Düşün strives to understand the needs of civil society and provide examples to inspire creativity and innovation. The programme is, at the same time, a platform for disseminating valuable information and fostering the exchange of ideas and experience on ways to protect and advance rights.

How does Sivil Düşün work?

Sivil Düşün reflects the European Union’s persistent efforts to advance democratic values and the flourishing of human rights in candidate countries. The European Union Delegation of Türkiye (EUD) issues Terms of Reference and contracts the implementation of the Sivil Düşün Programme to a technical assistance team (Sivil Düşün Team). Eight activists and civil society organisation representatives, together with representatives of the EUD and the Sivil Düşün Team, comprise a Steering Committee that provides guidance and strategic direction during the programme’s implementation.