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Contemporary Challenges Facing Social Work in Turkey: Would Global Agenda Be Relevant?

The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development (GA) aims at strengthening the social work profession by building linkages between global challenges and local responses. Against the neoliberal conservative policy transformation in the last two decades, this article focuses on the effects of neoliberal policies on social work education and practice in Turkey and discusses the relevance and operationalisation of the Global Agenda in Turkish context. The thematic analysis of the qualitative data from focus group interviews held with social work academics and representatives of Turkish Association of Social Workers (TASW) reveal that the role of the profession has significantly been narrowed down; together with the degrading in the quality of social work education, professional values have considerably eroded and thus resulted in further deepening of the identity crisis of the social work profession in Turkey. The research findings also indicate relatively limited knowledge and recognition of the GA in Turkey so far. However, the GA was identified as potentially useful in dealing with local professional challenges. In this regard, the effective operationalisation of the GA in Turkey would be possible with the commitments of both social work educators through the curriculum and engagement of the professionals.

Hakan Acar
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Journal article - open access
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