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An interview with Erdem Güney and Şeyma Kara, National Coordinators for Turkey

14 December 2020

What role do you both play in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?

As national coordinators, we are responsible for promoting EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Turkey, informing municipalities about the campaign, and supporting them with registration.

To meet this aim, we organised a EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK introductory meeting for local municipalities on 19 June. During the meeting, we provided participants with information about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and answered their questions on registration.

Throughout the year, we were available 24/7 to address questions or problems from local municipalities, including information via e-mail, phone and face-to-face meetings.

In addition, we published a EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK booklet containing national and international good practice examples and contact information. We also prepared a registration guide in Turkish to help municipalities register for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK.

Turkey had a record-breaking year in 2020, with 551 towns and cities participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. In addition, Turkey registered the highest participation numbers overall, and the highest number of Car-Free Days. What caused this huge increase in participation compared with 2019?

This year, we prepared very well for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. In order to encourage our municipalities to register and participate in the campaign, we offered a free bicycle to municipalities that registered and signed up. In addition, we launched a website – – to share information with municipalities on registration and participation in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK.

We also organised a competition for ideas and projects in the area of bicycle transportation, to provide good solutions for municipalities. Within the scope of this competition, monetary support was provided to municipalities that put forward sustainable and permanent projects across two stages – idea and implementation.

In order to promote EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK among the general public, we made videos with ministers, mayors, and high-level representatives of public institutions, and shared these on social media.

Alongside the EU Delegation to Turkey, we organised many events promoting EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to different municipalities. These included bicycle tours and live broadcasts, with the participation of metropolitan mayors, NGOs, and other relevant parties.

We also organised national EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards to identify and promote participating municipalities and share best practice examples.

One of the reasons a higher number of municipalities registered for Car-Free Day is because of the COVID-19 restrictions. As Car-Free Day celebrations are held on a single day, many municipalities were able to organise events with strict physical distancing that complied with COVID-19 restrictions.

What do you think Turkish cities and towns gain from taking part in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK?

Turkish municipalities have become increasingly aware of sustainable transport thanks to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. People in many municipalities were encouraged to use public transport, to cycle, walk, or try out different transport options such as scooters, especially during Car-Free Day and during the focal week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK.

As a result of awareness-raising campaigns undertaken by municipalities and organisations in Turkey, such as the Turkish Union of Municipalities, and the EU Delegation to Turkey, people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of zero emission mobility. In turn, more Turkish municipalities are working to implement zero-emission public transport.

Did COVID-19 pose a challenge in getting towns and cities interested and engaged in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Turkey?

Unfortunately, some of our events were cancelled due to the pandemic, because some governorships had introduced curfews. As a result, many municipalities organised awareness-raising campaigns through social media. In addition, many activities, such as bicycle tours, were adapted to physical distancing requirements, with a smaller number of people allowed to participate.

What are your hopes for the 2021 campaign in Turkey?

First of all, we hope that Covid-19 will be under control by September 2021. Secondly, we started our work on EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK rather late in June 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. Therefore, we hope to start our work earlier in 2021.

Thanks to our successful work in 2020, more municipalities are aware of the importance of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. We hope to build on this success in 2021.

In addition, we plan to highlight the fact that municipalities can invest in campaign activities not only during the focal week of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, but also throughout the year by improving their permanent infrastructure.