Monday, October 15, 2012

Abant Platform discussed Democratization in Turkey

(Video Duration: 1 min. 19 secs.)

Members of the Abant Platform met for a two-day meeting in the mid north province of Bolu in Turkey. Supported by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), a civic organization championing the principles of diversity, multiculturalism and dialogue, the meeting brought together scholars, writers, intellectuals and community leaders, who brainstormed on the subject of “Democratization: Political Parties from 12 September to the European Union.”

At this 19th forum, the Abant Platform hosted Emine Bozkurt, a member of the European Parliament; Reha Çamuroğlu, a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy and the party's pioneer in Alevi outreach; and constitutional expert Ergun Özbudun, who discussed the issue in terms of the contemporary juridical framework, along with many other prominent academicians.

The past and the future of the current political parties were the center of the discussion. Politicians who made the inaugural speeches complained about the interruptions to the democratic process by the Turkish military interventions. Other discussion topics included the electoral system in Turkey, democracy within political parties, financing politics, the modern state and politics, and Turkey's transition from the single-party period to the multiparty system, etc.

Vice Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and State Minister for EU Affairs and Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bagıs, participated in the meeting to represent the government. Bagis evaluated Turkey's democratization as a struggle from the EU perspective. Meanwhile, Bolu Governor Ibrahim Akpinar made a surprise appearance at the meeting. The governor said one of Turkey's struggles is the military making their own constitutions.

Launched in 1998 with the aim of organizing a platform in which people representing different schools of thoughts could come together and debate problems of common concern in open discussions, the Abant Platform has held more than a dozen workshops discussing a variety of topics concerned with Turkey, including secularism, religion, the EU, the Constitution, education, globalization, social contracts, democracy, modernity, war and peace.

Related Video: Abant Platforms' contribution to societal wellbeing