Understanding Future Values: Youth and Interaction across the EU and Turkey

Understanding Future Values: Youth and Interaction across the EU and Turkey

The European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) in cooperation with the Center for Public Policy and Democracy Studies (PODEM) have implemented a 14-month research project within the “Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Turkey Program”(CSD-V)”, which focuses on youth perceptions in European countries and Turkey, and understanding the socio-political values of the youth and their views on EU-Turkey relations.

ENC and PODEM presented the findings of their project during the final project webinar “Understanding Future Values: Youth and Interaction across the EU and Turkey” which took place on Tuesday 20th of October 2020 and featured keynote presentations by the new Head of EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut and the Director General for Relations with the EU, Ambassador Başak Türkoğlu.

In the midst of the political, social and economic transformations of the recent decade, youth have become dynamic actors in the public sphere, while finding themselves facing a rapidly evolving global context. The global social interaction scaling up with digital tools and mobility has not only shaped the way youth live and work, but influenced their beliefs, fears and aspirations, and also their approach to the global challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Furthermore, the social interconnectedness is reflected in complex bicultural, multicultural and hybrid identities, which are confronting traditional cultural norms and values at the same time. 

Looking at the ideas presented by youth in recent studies on participation in social, political and civil life, we see that youth put emphasis on lifelong learning and mobility with easy access to information on moving and working abroad. With regard to political space, the level or the way they engage with politics may show variance, but they seem to not be alienated from a variety of political and social issues like environment, health care, education, justice and economic inequality, which inspire their engagement through different means such as volunteering, civil society or online social networks. Previous studies done in Turkey also stress that youth in Turkey give priority to independence and individuality, and feel themselves disillusioned from day-to-day politics, although they demonstrate willingness to become active citizens within their communities, and also the wider world.

Against this backdrop, this study focuses on university-level youth in Turkey and the selected countries of the European Union (Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium) with the objective to explore not only their perceptions towards life domains but also their value-sets, including but not limited to life satisfaction, family values, gender values and self-expression values, the latter of which shows the extent of shifting towards a culture of tolerance and political openness. To do so, ENC and PODEM looked at the potential impact of intercultural mobility on youth perceptions and the assumed global consciousness through a robust fieldwork study including university students from Turkey who have travelled to Europe for the Erasmus Program, and those from Europe who travelled to Turkey for the same reason. The study also seeks to gather information that would allow the exploration of university students’ attitudes toward the most pressing issues presently confronting Europe, Turkey and the EU, and how their perceptions towards Turkey and Europe, and Turkey-EU relations are evolved in line with the current political, economic and social agenda. Overall, the study aims to present the future aspirations and expectations of the target group based on their in-depth narratives.

Please find below the project’s final report, both in English and in Turkish, and the Final Project Webinar Recording (in Turkish):

(English Version)




(Turkish Version)




Final Project Webinar Recording (in Turkish)