Liberty Academy Beginner Seminar, 27-28 September 2014, Ankara

Association for Liberal Thinking, in cooperation with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, held an Introductory level- Weekend Seminar of Liberty Academy titled “Principles of a Free Society” on September 27-28, 2014 in Ankara at ALT’s premises. Through out two days, 35 students from 6 different cities and 15 different universities attended this seminar. Students actively participated the seminars and contributed with heated debates.

The seminar started with orientation program on Friday. On Saturday after the opening speech, Assist. Prof. Dr. Cennet Uslu gave a presentation titled “Human Rights and Freedom”. Uslu emphasized the differences between negative liberty and positive liberty. She also pointed out that the most significant factor to protect human rights is that it is directly related with freedom of individuals.

Second lecturer was Prof. Dr. Fuat Oğuz. His presentation was on “Free Market Economy and Property Rights”. Prof. Oguz analyzed “egalitarianism” in economical terms. He explained that by human nature as egalitarian ideals are impossible to be real, differentiation is natural and that urges competition. After that, he explained the knowledge problem and the significant relation between free markets and private property.

The third lecturer Ozlem Caglar Yılmaz made a presentation on “Civil Society”. She explained the conceptual background of civil society as well as its connection with the theory of classical liberalism along with practical examples from history and Turkey’s experience.

Last lecture of the first day was “Liberalism in Turkey: Historical Perspective” by Dr. Murat Yılmaz. He expressed that in late Ottoman’s modernization process, liberal ideas and liberal intellectuals were very influential as he continued with the impact of liberal ideas and intellectuals in the republican period particularly during the criticial periods and social change.

In the second day of the seminar,  Research Asist. Arda Akçiçek made a speech on “Spontaneous Order”. He mentioned the differences between constructivist mind and natural order. He expressed that constructivist mind and central planning idea need to transform themselves in time standing against the spontaneous order taking place.

Last lecture of the seminar on “Liberal Democracy” was delivered by Prof. Tanel Demirel.  Prof. Demirel examined the questions “What is Democracy? And what is not Democracy? Finally, he gave theoretical framework of liberal democracy as he discussed with the students on related actual problems.

The program continued with group works and group presentations; and concluded with overall evaluation of the seminars.

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