Friday, April 26, 2013
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
SEIU Headquarters
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW

In a time when the Middle East has been experiencing unprecedented political change and opportunities for democratic openings, many observers and analysts have turned to Turkey to be a model of democratic transformation throughout the region. As Turkey rises as a regional power, however, its domestic political scene and record on basic rights have increasingly come under scrutiny. With the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world and highly publicized cases of repression, Turkey’s crackdown on journalists, activists, and artists threatens to hinder the country’s democratic progress.

What policies and political forces have driven these restrictions on freedom of expression and backsliding on fundamental rights? What repercussions and connections do they have on other spheres of Turkey’s domestic politics, such as the nation’s ongoing constitution-writing process? How have Turkey’s domestic and international concerns, such as Kurdish issues and the Syrian crisis, affected the domestic political environment? And what can the U.S., European Union, and other international actors do to encourage Turkey to uphold basic freedoms and rights and to prevent further reversal in Turkey’s democratic progression?

Please join us for a discussion of these topics with:

Howard Eissenstat
Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern History, St. Lawrence University

Yigal Schleifer
Independent Journalist and Analyst,and Author, The Turko-file

Susan Corke
Director for Eurasia Programs, Freedom House