Localising information provision and dialogue is key to outreach programmes for large institutions, especially in a country as big and diverse as Turkey. A large information network of 13 relay offices were operating in provisional cities, as well as a number of documentation centres in universities. Key offices in the network were the EU information centre in Istanbul, and the Ankara information centre opened in 2006 by then commissioner Olli Rehn and Minister Babacan. Each EUIC ran extensive outreach programmes to communities in the two largest cities of the country and were known as key focal points for questions, queries and EU related activities.
Developing television programmes of interest to audiences is never easy. I developed a grant scheme to co-finance EU-related programming in 2007 and it proved such a success that it is now in its third round of funding.
Although publications may not be the most effective way to reach mass audiences, they do play a role in any communications campaigns - particularly when targeting decision makers.
A key change in the publications policy in Turkey during my time was to commission new publications for Turkey, not translated publications drafted in Europe. This made them more impactful and effective as communications tools.
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Designed specifically for the Turkish market 'Lokum' (Turkish Delight) was a mascot for children, telling stories to younger audiences to help them get to know more about Europe. The mascot was used across a number of media - as a book (three in the series so far), an audiobook, an interactive game and portal on the web, and a puppet theatre which wowed smaller children at specialist events across Istanbul and Ankara.
Donated for the summer by Ankara municipality, the EU bus criss-crossed the nation from Edirne to Trabzon, stopping at large and small cities on the way. At each stop, children painted their own story on the bus, a great audio visual hook for the media. At the same time, EU officials set up shop on the street, part of a listening exercise to bring the EU closer to citizens. And as the bus arrived in each destination speeches and cultural events made this an effective way to raise the profile of the EU in Turkey.