The centre has its origin within a society that accepted violence as a legitimate means of exercising state power and in which extrajudicial murder, the act of people simply "disappearing" and torture were the order of the day. Non-violence was dismissed as "spiritual". Two activists, who had studied the subject of non-violence and discussed it with friends from Germany since 1996, ventured to take the first concrete steps in founding an organisation. In 2014, the Non-violent Education and Research Association was founded and was officially registered as a non-government organisation in 2015. Their premises are in Istanbul. Meanwhile, the team comprises a five-member board of directors, three employees and twelve active volunteers.
The organisation supports the translation of written and visual materials on non-violence, non-violent activities and civil resistance in order to make this information accessible to the Turkish population. New articles are published or shared, publication and training materials are created which enable the spread of the concept of non-violent thought and action.
Civil resistance, non-violent campaign strategies, non-violence, gender, conflict, prejudice and non-violent communication all constitute the subjects of workshops organised by the centre. In some cases, external speakers are also involved. The Centre for Non-violence faces new challenges due to the high demand for these workshops. In 2019, 26 such workshops or training sessions took place.
Research is a further priority set by the centre. A data bank was created to document non-violent activities in Turkey, the focus of which is on the environment, women and peace. An interactive map on the organisation’s website shows the results of the studies.
The non-violent resistance and the activities carried out during the first years of the organisation were repressed by the Turkish government. Consequently, the employees in the centre, in cooperation with other NGOs, academics, researchers and activists, have focussed more on strengthening and expanding civil society groups. Despite the problems and the difficult conditions under which the Centre for Non-violence has to operate, it has thus far been able to carry out its work, grow and find an increasing number of supporters.
"Every day, in all circumstances, all together for a world free from violence!" is the slogan of the Centre for Nonviolence.
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