2011 Liberal Dusunce Kongresi
This Annual Congress is one of the most important activities of ALT to gather friends of liberty once a year and to make them acquainted with each other to network for liberal causes and discuss liberal solutions to Turkey’s actual problems.
As ALT has been holding these Congresses for a long time, there is a good network of academics, freelance authors, researchers, lawyers, bureaucrats, ngo representatives, civil society activists and others who believe in the cause of liberty and ready to promote these ideas around his/her environment. So, one aim is to create an atmosphere for a friendly community of liberal individuals.
The Congress was announced among ALT’s academic and intellectuals’ network e-group and participants were again invited by ALT as well as upon reference. This was also to maintain a minimum climate so that people do not feel insulted due to their freedom of expression.
This year’s Congress was realized with the contributions of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and Union of European Turkish Democrats and SMHO in the Netherlands. In the meantime, to encourage the participation of universities and the academicians to engage more in civil programs ALT cooperated with Aksaray University where ALT’s prominent friend Prof. Dr. Mustafa Acar, former director of ALT’s Center for the Study of Religion and Liberty was selected as the rector.
The Congress was held in the Guzelyurt province of Aksaray in Capadoccia. The program started with an opening dinner upon the arrival of participants from various cities of Turkey on Friday Oct 28th.
Next day, the Congress started with the opening speeches of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bican Sahin, president of ALT acknowledging the supporters of the program. Then Rector Prof. Acar, made a speech that Turkey is changing in terms of having more academic freedom and a free market, liberal academician who had difficulties in his academic promotion had now been elected as a rector.
The first session was on “debates about Liberalism” Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla spoke on American Liberalism and Classical Liberalism. Prof. Dr. Tanel Demirel mentioned about the orientalist approaches of classical liberals and how Turkish liberals can develop perspectives on these. The Session was chaired by Asst. Prof. Dr. Cennet Uslu at Gaziosmanpasa University in Tokat city.
Second session was on Rule of Law and Fair Jurisdiction. Lawyer Mustafa Karaman mentioned about specific cases and how the practical process is lead in judiciary, and mentioned about the problems regardless of any law suit. Fatih Birtek from Nigde Police Academy talked about the legal codes and the practical problems in the process of filing a law suit. Following the discussions, the session offered a clear perspective in analyzing Turkey’s legal problems.
Third session was on the Totalitarian Stances of Turkey’s Political System. Prof. Dr. Halis Cetin from Cumhuriyet University of Sivas city, Ufuk Coskun from the Board of Free Education Union and Asst. Prof. Dr. Ali Gaip Baltaoglu, historian at Usak University talked about the official ideology in Turkey and its consequences in academy, social life and educational curricula.
Fourth session on the first day was on Conservatism in Turkey. Speakers Prof. Dr. Ahmet Nezihi Turan, historian from Anadolu University, of Eskisehir city, talked about the cultural effects of conservatism through some historical figures. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ergun Yildirim, of Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, talked about sociological impacts of the conservative political movements in Turkey. Mr. Serhat Buhari Baytekin, the Publisher of Quarterly Conservative Thought, offered an intellectual tradition of conservative thought promoting limited government and free markets which needs to be promoted in Turkey unlike the present statist conservative understanding.
Second day started with a comprehensive session on the new Civil Constitution. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kasim Karagoz from Kayseri city mentioned in details what we need in a new constitution. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bekir Berat Ozipek, columnist and who joins various constitutional movements/groups analyzed the possibility and barriers before achieving one.
Final session was very successful with its outstanding speakers on “2008 Financial Crisis, a Possible Crisis and Free Market Economy”. Economists Unsal Cetin and Alper Akalin of 3H movement made inspiring and instructive speeches. And chair Bugra Kalkan made challenging interventions about the popular disagreements on the crisis.
There were around 120 participants from various cities of Turkey.
The Congress attracted academicians and young academicians from all around the Country. The consistency of the program offers an attraction center and strength for those people working in their home cities and who need moral and academic support for studies on liberal themes.