Beşiktaş Municipality Achieves European Council’s Local Democracy Award!

Beşiktaş Municipality Achieves European Council’s Local Democracy Award!


The Beşiktaş Municipality was awarded with the European Democracy Week Partner Prize by the European Council…

Owing to their works as part of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) throughout 2019, the Beşiktaş Municipality was granted the ‘Partner of the European Local Democracy Week 2019’ prize, which is coordinated by the European Council. The award ceremony took place in Strasbourg on February 25, 2020.

The European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), launched in 2007 as an initiative of the Council of Europe and its Congress, is held annually around October 15th by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, with the purpose of commemorating the European Charter of Local Self-Government signed on October 15th, 1985 and raising citizens' awareness of and participation in local democracy in Europe.

The annual ordinary general assembly and the certificate ceremony of the European Local Democracy Week 2019, which has been organized since 2007 with the purpose of laying emphasis on local democracy, was held in Strasbourg this year on February 25th, 2020. Chaired by the thematic spokesperson on the ELDW, Bryony Rudkin (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD), the meeting brought together around 45 local elected representatives and municipal officials representing 5 European countries (Armenia, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine). The participants evaluated the 2019 edition, shared their best practices in participatory democracy and discussed new perspectives for the 2020 edition on the theme of “Local Democracy – Building Trust”.  Only 19 institutions were granted the ‘Partner of the European Local Democracy Week 2019’ prize.

The event started with the Annual Coordination Meeting and the presentations of the representatives from the member states of the European Council. The works of the Beşiktaş Municipality as part of the ELDW in 2019 were presented by our Foreign Affairs Director Ms. Özge Önsen Belen. The Erasmus Days event and the Beşiktaş International Meeting ’19 event, which started to be held by the Beşiktaş Municipality after Mayor Akpolat took office in 2019, were widely praised by the spokesperson Ms. Bryony Rudkin, who is also the ELDW representer and a member of the European Council from the UK.          

The Open Mic events, aimed at the active participation of the People of Beşiktaş in the decision making processes of our Municipality where Mayor Akpolat personally listens to the residents of Beşiktaş and tries to come up with solutions for their problems, which was one of the promises of our Mayor during his election campaign and put to practice soon after he came into office, was one of the events that were deemed worthy of the Prize by the European Council. The other events that won our Municipality the Partner of the European Local Democracy Week Prize included the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan meetings which were held with the participation of many NGOs operating in Istanbul on various fields; the Erasmus Days event aimed at encouraging Beşiktaş youth on participation and offering a medium where they can share the experiences of those who already participated in Erasmus events; the Beşiktaş International Meeting ’19 event which was hosted by the Mayor Akpolat with the participation of the consul generals and other diplomatic missions in Istanbul where they shared their opinions on certain thematic subjects; and finally the events performed by our Municipality as part of the European Local Democracy Week 2019. 

After the award ceremony, Mayor Akpolat paid a visit to Mr. Anders Knape, who is the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the European Council, and they exchanged ideas on strengthening local governments and possible global cooperations. Mr. Knape congratulated the young Mayor of the Beşiktaş Municipality for the award and wished him success in his efforts.

The Beşiktaş Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat paid a series of visits during his trip to Strasbourg. Mayor Akpolat met with the Turkish Ambassador Mr. Kaan Esener, who is the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe, and exchanged ideas on possible cooperation opportunities between the Beşiktaş Municipality and the institutions of the European Council. Mr. Akpolat also visited the Turkish Consul General in Strasbourg Mr. Muzaffer Rami Şaylıman and discussed about possible means of partnership on specific and thematic topics with the local governments in the region of the Turkish Consulate.  

About ELDW:

During the week, local elected representatives and citizens across the 47 member states of the Council of Europe are brought together at public events and discussions to meet and engage with their citizens on issues of current interest and are fostered to develop targeted programs and activities according to their own priorities. The local governments attending the event are awarded with the tittle of ‘Partner of the European Local Democracy Week’ by the Council of Europe. The organization also aims to promote and support democratic participation on local level.


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