Turks to discuss whether democracy is failing

Istanbul, March 28, 2015 – A controversial public forum here will examine the health of Turkey’s democracy amid growing international concern over restrictions on free speech and the internet.

The special session of the New Arab Debates (NAD), to be held at Istanbul’s Bogazici University  – Albert Long Hall – at 4.45 pm on Monday, March 30, 2015, will discuss the motion: “Turkish democracy is in grave danger”.

British television journalist Tim Sebastian, who founded the NAD in 2011 will moderate the session – part of a series, designed to stimulate free speech across the Middle East and the Levant.

The Debates focus on a single controversial motion – with two speakers on opposite sides. Once they have outlined their main arguments, each speaker is questioned by Sebastian before the discussion is opened up to the audience, who decide the winner by electronic vote.

Commenting on the upcoming session, Sebastian says the Turkish government and opposition are far apart on the premise of the debate.

“The government seems to feel under constant attack by enemies and plotters – the opposition accuses the state of authoritarian behavior and a disregard for the institutions and practice of democracy.  It promises to be a lively event

Speaking for the motion is Binnaz Toprak,  member of  the Grand National Assembly of Turkey since 2011. Dr. Toprak is member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and has written extensively on secularism and political Islam.

Arguing against the motion is Turkish-Armenian journalist and writer Etyen Mahçupyan, who was appointed Senior Advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in October 2014.

The NAD, supported by the Norwegian Foreign  Ministry, offers an extensive outreach campaign in schools and universities, aimed at encouraging young people to participate in political life.

The debate will be transmitted for the fourth year on Deutsche Welle TV in English along with its global network of partners.

Twitter hash tag is #newarabdebates

 

 

 

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