This past week, from Monday through Wednesday in Smith Wilkes Hall, the Chautauqua Foundation presented the annual Scholar in Residence event, which this year featured Jon Alterman.
Nancy Youssef thinks that democracy may too often be glorified as a golden, infallible form of government, and that Americans may be too eager to throw it as a panacea toward any problem that arises.
When Dalia Mogahed took the Amphitheater stage twice last year, she remained calm and objective, bringing thoughtfulness, modesty and erudition to her display of a breadth of knowledge about Arab and American views of each other.
Finally answering the elusive question in the title of Week Eight’s theme, Kemal Kirişci said at Friday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater that Turkey’s status as a model for the Middle East should not be overstated. He warned against praising the country’s government as something to be emulated.
Kirişci, a senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution, explored the question of whether the protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square had damaged Turkey’s position as a role model for the region. His lecture was the last in this week’s theme of “Turkey: A Model for the Middle East?”
If one grew up in a country where money, capital and finance were rarely talked about, imagine how hard it would be to invest, buy a home or even create a savings account.
As a pioneer of financial literacy in her home country of Turkey where that is that case, Özlem Denizmen wants to start that conversation.
At today’s 10:45 a.m. morning lecture in the Amphitheater, Chautauquans will see the world through the eyes of foreign affairs columnist David Rohde and Nedim Şener, the man who dared to accuse Turkish police of assassinating a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist.
Şener is a Turkish investigative reporter. His work has won him the International Press Institute’s World Press Freedom Hero award — and also prompted authorities to throw him in jail for “collaborating” with Ergenekon, a network of alleged terrorists in Turkey. He currently awaits trial for criminal activities tied to terrorism.
As a country that began its experiment in democracy less than a century ago, the transformation from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey has been nothing less than remarkable. But Ibrahim Kalin doesn’t think of his country as a perfect model for democracy. Rather, he believes it should serve as motivation for other countries.
“Turkey can serve as a source of inspiration, and maybe there are experiences from which other Middle Eastern countries can learn,” he said. “But we don’t impose Turkey as a model, because it’s just too patronizing.”
During his Interfaith Lecture on Monday, the Right Rev. John Chane demonstrated that Turkey and Iran share similar political and economic interests: Both are concerned about the plight of those living in the Palestinian territories, and soon the trade volume between the two countries is expected to exceed $30 billion, he said.
However, Chane noted that Iran and Turkey also have their differences. Iran sees Syria’s Assad regime as its ally and as a distribution point for weapons, arming both Syrian forces and also Hezbollah. Turkey, on the other hand, views Syria as a destabilizing presence in the region and has directly opposed its leadership.
In a week dedicated to exploring whether or not Turkey is a model for the Middle East, Ibrahim Kalin will explain why he believes the country’s political and economic systems are ideal for continued prosperity in the region and for cultivating improved relations with other countries such as the United States.
Kalin is the chief adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the head of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party. The party, better known as the AKP, currently controls parliament and is the country’s largest political party. At today’s 10:45 a.m. morning lecture in the Amphitheater, Kalin will be speaking about how Erdoğan and the AKP are working to improve relations between the Middle East and the West.
Michael Rubin was excited. He had just returned from meeting with key Kurdish political officials in a mountain redoubt in northern Iraq, adding fresh perspectives to his ongoing pursuit of understanding Turkey, the Middle East and the future of U.S. interests in the region.
Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, will open Week Eight’s exploration of “Turkey: Model for the Middle East?” at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.