Participants in the 33rd Abant Platform, which ended on Sunday in the northwestern town of Akçakoca, agreed that Turkey has lost its direction in both its domestic and foreign policy, saying the way to rectify this is to restore its commitment to the accession process into the European Union and the rule of law at home.
The 32nd Abant International Forum, in line with the recommendations of the 29th Forum with the theme “Africa: Between Experience and Inspiration” was convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 08-09 March 2014 to discuss the topic “Freedom of Speech and Respect for the Sacred”.
Tens of educators, bureaucrats and representatives of civil society organizations and private education foundations from Turkey and 15 other countries, have said the Turkish education system should not only focus on transferring information but also on improving students’ functional skills and capabilities.
Religious sociologist Muhammet Çakmak is of the view that the logic of, “You are either with us or you are nothing,” threatens all religious groups and communities in Turkey. He also holds that this approach has no scholarly value or validity.
Tens of educators, bureaucrats, civil society organizations and private education foundations from Turkey and 15 other countries have come together to discuss the problems of Turkish education system and to propose possible solutions to those problems at the Abant Platform’s 31st meeting that kicked off on Saturday in İstanbul.
Abant Platform and African Union Commission are jointly organizing an International Forum titled “Freedom of Speech and Respect to Sacred” on 8-9 March, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Sessions will be in the form of free discussions in the spirit of the Abant Platform. The program will be held at the Large Conference Hall of the African Union Commission Headquarters.
It must be realized that religion is a matter for individual citizens. It is likely that the Gülen community will face restrictions and pressure from the government [as the AK Party government’s supporters have accused the Gülen movement of discrediting a number of ministers and their relatives in relation to a recent investigation into alleged bribery in public tenders, which saw the sons of three Cabinet ministers taken into custody alongside construction moguls and bureaucrats]. What we have been defending are universal rights, including the freedom of religion and belief. If these can be achieved, everybody will benefit from them, not just the Alevi community.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed it would minimize the space the state occupies in people’s lives and reduce bureaucracy and downsize the public sector when it was first elected to office. During the early years of its rule, it really moved to achieve these targets. But as it increased its control over the entire state apparatus, it has increasingly become yet another typical Turkish ruling party that prioritizes the state.
Alevis have been traditionally considering themselves a minority because their interpretation of Islam differs from the state’s understanding. In such a climate, the Abant Platform organized [a Gulen Movement affiliated organization] a three-day-long meeting by Lake Abant over the weekend, bringing representatives from the Alevi and Sunni community. Personally, I learned a lot from the meeting which almost served as a channel for venting for Alevis.
SEVGİ AKARÇEŞME, ABANT/TURKEY At the end of the three-day Abant Platform meeting on Alevi relations with Sunnis, one of the fragile fault lines of Turkish politics, Alevis raised their voices higher, demanding equal citizenship against the backdrop of several past and present disappointments with the state. The pursuit of the end of discrimination both at […]
Alevis have expressed at Abant meeting their uneasiness over pro-government comments claiming that the Gezi Park protests were an “Alevi uprising,” warning against a “dangerous approach that encourages wrong perceptions.” The title of this year’s Abant Platform, which started on Dec. 13, was “Alevis and Sunnis: Searching for Peace and a Future Together.” It was organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), a group affiliated with the Gülen Movement.
On the first day of the 30th Abant Platform meeting on Friday on the Alevis issue in Turkey, Alevi and Sunni intellectuals and opinion leaders agreed that the problems date back to centuries ago and are more complicated than they seem. The event, titled “Searching for peace and a future together,” brought together representatives of various Alevi communities as well as Alevi and Sunni pundits, journalists and academics in an effort to have a comprehensive debate on one of the lingering problems of Turkish society.