Congress for Liberal Thought, 31 Oct.- 2 Nov. 2014, Urgup, Cappadoccia

Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) conducted its traditional Liberal Thought Congress that has been run nearly 15 years in Cappadocia, between the dates October 31-November 2 2014.

Many academics, journalists, writers, opinion leaders, lawyers, political scientists, NGO activists, and participants from all around the country, who have liberal perspective came together and exchanged their views in a productive discussion atmosphere for two days.

The congress started with opening remarks of Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla, Chair of ALT’s Executive Board.

First panel was on “Social Media, Freedom of Expression and Violation of Personal Rights” that was chaired by Gülay Göktürk. Main focus of this panel was on social and classical media tools and their relation with freedom of expression and violation of rights. In this panel, speakers Melih Altınok, Arda Akçiçek and Aşkın Baysal discussed limits of freedom of expression on social media, measures of violation of rights, alternation in media sector and so forth.

Second panel was designated to discuss reform in judiciary and judicial activism. Dr. Murat Yılmaz took over the chair of this panel and speakers Dr. Serdar Korucu, Dr. Murat Okutan and Assist. Prof. Dr. Levent Korkut focused on the need of reform in judiciary and how this can prevent judicial activism.

Prof. Dr. Yusuf Şahin was the chair of third panel that was on individual, community and democracy. Prof. Dr. Berat Özipek, Dr. Bengül Güngörmez, and Prof. Dr. Erol Göka were the speakers of this panel and they mainly discussed the relation between identity and personality, how being a member of a community effects this, and status of an individual in liberal democracies.

Fourth panel’s theme was corruption, free market and democracy. The chair Prof. Dr. Birol Kovancılar, and speakers Assist. Prof. Dr. Buğra Kalkan, Prof. Dr. Fuat Oğuz and Prof. Dr. Tanel Demirel conceptualized corruption and rent and made an evaluation on contemporary Turkey.

In the fifth panel, Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla moderated a meeting with Selim Gökdemir, the CEO of Metropo Group on entrepreneurship in Turkey. Gokdemir shared his experience on how to come an entrepreneur in Turkey.

Ceren Kenar, Özcan Tikit and Prof. Dr. Birol Akgün were the speakers of the sixth panel. Prof. Dr. Nuri Yurdusev chaired this panel. Speakers had deep discussion and comments on freedom and democracy in the Middle East and evaluated recent developments in the region.

Seventh and the last panel of the congress was on government systems. Prof. Dr. Haluk Alkan and Dr. İrfan Çelik spoke on checks and balances, democracy theories and rule of law. The discussion was carried on with arguments related to parliamentary, semi-presidential and presidential systems and Turkey’s current position on government systems.

There was an intense participant attention in every panel and breaks hosted an active networking.

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