Abant Platform Attendees Discuss Democracy in Turkey
Predominantly non-Turkish scholars, journalists and NGO leaders are meeting on Friday for the first day of the Abant Platform, a conference to discuss present cultural and political issues in and around Turkey.
Bosporus University Professor and Greek national Vangelis Kechriotis discussed the influence of Turkish student arrests in his classes. While saying he no longer felt like a guest but like a member of Turkish society, Kechriots felt very uncomfortable when he saw one of his arrested students led into his classroom by Turkish national police to take her final tests.
Jenny White of Boston University stated one main issue Turkey is dealing with is that of group dynamics and the “inside” group trumping the individual freedom and minority or “outside” groups in Turkey.
Journalist and Armenian citizen Lili Gasparian related that when she first came to Turkey in 2010 many thinkers were debating Hrant Dink’s murder. However, Gasparian stated that within the past two years, those who were criticizing the Turkish justice system and the murder of Dink have found themselves in jail. Gasparian wondered why this situation has occurred.
American academic William K. Knapp created a metaphor between democratically sharing power in Turkey. Meanwhile Sean Michael Cox of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University explained that one paradox of developing Turkish democracy was how to
move from majority parliamentarian politics to a more American political system of consensus politics.
The Abant Platform will continue for the next two days, ending on Sunday afternoon.
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