foreign policy

My Inner Voice Can't Stop Comparing

posted by
Derya Kaya
Program Officer
Women for Women's
Human Rights-New Ways

Whenever I leave Turkey, I can't stop myself comparing everything to home. The things I compare the most are related to my work.

The United States and Turkey are completely different when it comes to the nonprofit sector. The conditions that created and expanded the nonprofit sector in the U.S. are non-existent, inconsistent or immature in Turkey. Naturally I cannot explain all the differences and similarities in the nonprofit sectors of the two countries in this post, but I wanted to share a few insights and observations that caught my attention. 
Let's start with terminology. First, we do not use the term “nonprofit organization”; we use “civil society organization” or “non-governmental organization” instead. Secondly, we do not use the term “sector,” we use words such as area, arena, and field. Why? In the United Sates, the nonprofit sector is not so different from the private sector in terms of professionalism and organizational structures. The two are, however, extremely different in Turkey, and nonprofit organizations avoid using any term that will associate them with the for-profit sector such as “sector”, “client” and “marketing”. The Turkish “nonprofit sector” has its own terminology.

 According to the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) Global Giving Index 2013, the U.S. ranks first while Turkey ranks 128th out of 135 countries.*