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The Civil Society Initiative Association (SiTi) was established with the aim of strengthening civil society and contributing to the creation of an enabling environment for civil society to fulfill its role in society actively.

Joint Efforts
Democratic Governance

Joint Efforts, Democratic Governance

Civil Society Initiative (SiTi) was founded in 2019 by a group of civil society volunteers and activists who have been actively involved in different thematic areas in north Cyprus for many years. The initiative was registered as an association in 2020. The association set its core values on joint efforts and the value of democratic governance and have been pursuing the cause ever since. The Civil Society Initiative Association aims to strengthen civil society and at the same time contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for civil society to fulfill its role in society actively.

SiTi is a rights-based organization that acts in accordance with universal human rights conventions. The association aims to develop data-driven, effective, and transformative policies and conduct coordinated advocacy in cooperation with other civil society organizations in north Cyprus. In doing so, the association aims to further contribute to a democratic, pluralistic, and continuously developing civil society that is protected by various mechanisms and is able to take an active role in decision-making processes.

Our vision is to achieve an active, democratic, and pluralistic civil society structure.

  1. Enabling civil society to operate in a favorable environment (physical, social, legal and financial).
  2. Conducting advocacy, campaigning, research, education and lobbying activities in its priority areas and cross-cutting areas so that civil society can develop more effective and transformative policies. In doing so, the initiative prioritizes solidarity and networking.
  3. Carrying out activities to enable the active participation of non-governmental organisations in decision-making mechanisms.
  1. Under no circumstances will the association be in the position of or act as a superstructure.
  2. It is autonomous, impartial, and independent against all real and legal persons and entities.
  3. It is anti-discrimination of any kind. It perceives differences as richness and is pluralistic and inclusive.
  4. It is ethical, transparent, and accountable.
  5. It adopts a participatory and pluralistic understanding of democracy.
  6. It bases its works on the principle of collective decision-making, both within the organization and in its work with all stakeholders. It prioritizes compromise and solidarity in working with stakeholders.
  7. It is environmentally conscious, and sensitive to the integrity of life and ecosystem values.
  8. It always prioritizes the safety and interests of the subjects, especially in working with vulnerable groups and works according to the principle of no harm.
  9. It follows a rights-based approach and respects all rights and freedoms accepted in universal human rights conventions. It carries out its work with a multidisciplinary and intersectional approach to fully realize these rights and freedoms.
  10. It is an accessible organization that produces practical and fast solutions, incorporated into local life.

Executive and Supervisory Boards

The core members of our executive and supervisory boards are Didem Eroğlu, Emete İmge, Eralp Kortaç, Hilmi Tekoğlu, Melis Eroğlu, Osman Enver and Süreyya Çelmen Değer.

Süreyya Çelmen Değer, has been actively involved in civil society organizations since her postgraduate education for the past 15 years. She has served voluntarily and professionally in organizations such as KADER Ankara, Cyprus Turkish Women's Solidarity Association, SOS Children's Village Association, PeacePlayers Cyprus, and Cyprus Turkish Association of Managers. She has adopted the principle of productivity in her civil society work and aims to contribute to social transformation and progress. She takes part in civil society to be able to live in a Cyprus where everyone is treated with dignity, where equality and justice exists, and lifelong learning conditions are created in multi-communal works. She is one of the founding members of the Civil Society Initiative.

Born in Nicosia in December 1981, Didem Eroğlu studied at the faculty of communication and worked in this sector for a while. She states that she spent six very enjoyable and instructive years at the European Union Support office, due to her interest in different cultures and approaches. During these years, Didem Eroğlu completed her master's program in "Environment and Development" at Reading University to gain skills which would enable her to become a beneficial member of society. As a person, Didem is curious and open to learning new things, and she has been involved in various fields and tasks in civil society, from the environment to the arts. Enjoying contributing to social life, learning, and sharing something new every day, and working for a fairer society in line with principles such as democratic values ​​and equality, Didem Eroğlu is one of the founding members of the Civil Society Initiative. Didem Eroğlu, who currently serves as the Secretary General of the SiTi Board of Directors, also works as the Democratic Rights Program Coordinator at the Human Rights Platform.

Hilmi Tekoğlu completed his education in Cyprus and the Netherlands (as part of an exchange program) and carried out his volunteer work in civil society throughout his studies. Following his volunteer work, Hilmi started to engage with civil society professionally by taking part in the EU-funded Civic Space technical support program in 2015. Within the scope of the Civic Space program, Hilmi focused on strengthening the role of civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community, disseminating EU values, and promoting trust, dialogue, and cooperation among the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. Hilmi further took part in studies that contributed to the development of an enabling environment for the betterment of bi-communal relationships. Tekoğlu, who also works in the field of asylum seekers and refugee rights, currently resides in Belgium, and works in an international network organization in the fields of social rights and migration. In addition to his professional experience, Hilmi also took part in many events and projects organized by inter-communal civil society oorganizations and grassroots organizations as a peace activist. Continuing to work towards the goal of ensuring that everyone living in the world has access to basic human rights, Hilmi Tekoğlu is one of the founding members of the Civil Society Initiative Association.

Since 2011, Melis has been taking an active role both voluntarily and professionally in various non-governmental organizations to create a favorable environment for youth, arts, the environment, and civil society. Melis, who directs her life with the goal and principle of a world ruled by compassion, love and peace for all living things is one of the founding members of the Civil Society Initiative. She also works as the Project Coordinator in the Association's Unite, Act, Change Project.

Upon completing his education, Osman Enver moved to London in 2010. In his professional life, Osman worked in various different sectors in the field of communication and since 2019 he has been actively working in civil society organisations in Cyprus. In the early days of his return to Cyprus, Osman worked with Gigem and EMAA. Currently, he is working with the Committee on Missing Persons and the EU Infopoint as a Communications Specialist. Osman dreams for Cyprus to become a more liveable place with better conditions. Osman also owns a dog named Ruffles.

Emete İmge completed her undergraduate studies in Economics at Hacettepe University and later obtained her master’s degree in Communication Studies and specialized in Media and Public Relations. After her education, she professionally worked in the finance industry both in the UK and Cyprus. She has been retired since 2020. Emete İmge has been actively carrying out voluntary work in non-governmental organizations in Cyprus for the past 29 years. For the past 16 years, she has been acting as the president of the Diabetes Association, which she was the founding member of following her son’s diabetes diagnosis at the age of five.

She is also a founding member and the current chairman of the Universal Patient Rights Association, which aims to protect the rights of patients. She further took part in the establishment of many platforms and networks such as the Smokeless Island Platform, the Health Associations Platform and the Cyprus Non-Governmental Organizations Network that aim to bring NGOs together.  After having had numerous trainings aimed to increase the capacity of civil society activists, she started to conduct civil society capacity-building trainings in the areas of advocacy, volunteer management, networking, and strategic planning. She voluntarily worked with various CSOs as a mentor, facilitator, and consultant in the Turkish Cypriot civil society in Cyprus.  She also conducted civil society trainings in “networking” with youth organizations in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2010 and 2011. At present, she is supporting a project as a local expert which aims to enable the environment of TC CSOs in Cyprus. Emete İmge is one of the founding members of the Civil Society Initiative Association.

After completing his education in Cyprus, Belgium, and England, Eralp Kortaç worked in different institutions and companies in the fields of marketing and communication. After living abroad for 13 years, he returned to Cyprus and worked on many projects in different non-governmental organizations. Eralp Kortaç, who worked as a communication consultant and project coordinator in the projects of organizations such as PeacePlayers-Cyprus, YEU Cyprus, EMAA, and KTYD still works as the communication specialist of the EU Information Technical Support Team.