The young population is the most dynamic and sensitive group in Turkey. The number of youth in the 12-24 age group constitutes 31 percent of the population in Turkey, which has a rather young population. Today, problems related to youth are among the important subjects dwelled upon on the agenda of Turkey. The expectations for the future of youth has been increasing gradually. The State engages in activities with the cooperation of national and international institutions, organizations and universities in order to determine the problems of the youth and to find solutions to these problems, within the framework of the economic, social and cultural structure. Significant progress has started to be made in recent years on the subject of the organization of youth by means of foundations, associations and youth organizations in the social and cultural fields.

The State and Youth. The services on subjects, such as education, health, working life, social security, employment, cultural life, utilization of free time and protection from harmful habits of the youth are provided by different ministries. Close to 14 ministries are directly involved with these subjects and other ministries, institutions and organizations are indirectly involved. It is planned to establish a Higher Council of Youth, formed by the representatives of public institutions and organizations and private organizations engaged in providing services for youth because these services and activities are multi-faceted and involve many institutions and organizations. Thus, it is projected that youth services will be carried out in a more effective manner and their productivity will be increased.

The utilization of the free time of youth is carried out by the General Directorate of Youth and Sports. The General Directorate besides providing sports services and activities, also provides services to youth and coordination of activities such as youth camps, youth centers, youth clubs and international organizations.

The celebration ceremonies of the "19 May Youth and Sports Holiday" that was presented to youth by Atatürk.

The Youth Centers are cultural institutions that provide the opportunity and prepare the environment for utilizing the free time of youth in social, cultural and sports activities connected to the Provincial Directorates of Youth and Sports. These centers organize activities to increase the knowledge and capabilities of the youth in various fields, such as art, science, sports, cartoon and handicrafts, and awards youth in these fields. The Youth Centers which also provide guidance and consultation services to assist in the solution of youth problems, organize various activities which provide the opportunity for youth to exhibit what they have done throughout the year. Furthermore, they inform the youth to protect them from harmful habits through conferences, panel discussions, symposia, competitions and other activities. Positive results have been obtained from the activities made to increase the functions of the youth centers, and to have more youth become members of these centers. A total of 104 youth centers with 22,000 members are active in Turkey's provincial and county centers as of 2000. The youth in the country is also provided with guidance services through 52 Youth Information and Guidance Bureaus.

Central and Regional Youth Camps organized by the General Directorate of Youth and Sports in the summer, provide the opportunity for the utilization of the free time of the youth outside of their fields of education and work. In 1999, 6,293 young people attended the youth camps numbering 14.

The week, including the "19 May Commemoration of Atatürk, and Youth and Sports Holiday", has been celebrated as "Youth Week" in Turkey since 1983. Youth Week helps young people between 12-24 years of age living in the cities, towns and villages to get together every year and engage in cultural, artistic and sports activities in an atmosphere of fraternity and friendship and to become acquainted with each other. Youth Week have been celebrated at an international level since 1998.

Celebrations of the 62nd Anniversary of the General Directorate of Youth and Sports.

The General Directorate of the Institution of Higher Education Loans and Dormitories was established in 1962 to solve the loan and housing problems and give assistance for the education of the youth in higher education. Student Information Offices have been established in large cities, in order to provide the various needs of youth who are attending schools. Dormitories and student boarding houses give services to solve the housing needs of the students receiving higher education.

International Activities. Turkey is cooperating and coordinating on the subject of youth services with international organizations such as the CDEJ, DSJ, UNESCO, ECO, and especially the European Council. Young people are encouraged to participate in the international organizations and activities organized for youth. Furthermore, an opportunity is provided for cultural and information exchange among youth through the Youth Exchange Programs made with foreign countries. Within the framework of these activities, the Youth Exchange Programs that were envisaged in the "Cooperation Protocol on Policies Related to Youth", which was signed in Ankara with the Federal Republic of Germany in 1994, are continuing. As of 2000, besides Germany, the youth exchange programs withcountries like Japan, Jordan, Morocco and Philistine are also organized. Since 1998 courses have been started to be arranged with the aim of educating international youth leaders able to organize Youth Exchange Programs.

Reference: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey

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