There was a symposium on Thursday, September 15 th, at the St John’s University in Staten Island organized by as a joint program both St. John University and the Turkish Cultural Center
September 15, 2011
Kiernan Suite, Kelleher Center, St. John’s University, Staten Island Campus
Dr. Azzedine Layachi, Professor, Government & Politics, St. John’s University
Dr. Murat Somer, Associate Professor of International Relations, Koç University, Istanbul
Dr, William Byrne, Associate Professor, Government & Politics, St. John’s University
Dr. Joshua Walker, Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C.
Outcomes and Detail of Program
There was a symposium on Thursday, September 15 th, at the St John’s University in Staten Island organized by as a joint program both St. John University and the Turkish Cultural Center. The context of the symposium was Constitutionalism in Turkey and the United States. Three academic experts attended to the panel and analyzed the constitutionalism from different point of view pertaining to Turkey and the United States. The participants consist of different professionals, academicians, students etc.
Dr. Murat Somer , Associate Professor of International Relations at Koc University in Istanbul , focused on Turkey’s secular democracy, constitution and freedom. Moreover, Dr. Somer discussed in his argument that Turkey passed thru four different constitution since 1923 until the present, which he stressed the importance of these constitutions were prepared by military officials and the generals. Therefore Dr, Somer argued that a good civil constitution is necessary to embody the different ethnic minorities and religions in Turkey. He believes that the United States is a good model for Turkey’s new constitution based on the US longest democracy experience and the government structure.
Dr. William Byrne, Associate Professor of Government and Politics at St. John’s University, mostly argued the American constitutionalism starting from the historical origin which dated back to British model of government structure in the eighteenth century. Dr. Byrne explained the distribution of power along with the Federal and National government. Moreover, he also argued the current two party systems since 1860 and the two term of presidency since 1951 and the separation of church and state in the constitution
The last speaker was Dr. Jashua Walker, Transatlantic Fellow German Marhall Fund in Washington, D.C. gave a historic explanation from Ottoman State to the modern Turkey pertaining to changes in the structure of the state and emphasized the importance of the strong leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a founder of secular Turkey versus founding fathers of American constitution. Dr. Jashua praised about Turkey’s market economy, the 6 th largest economy in Europe. However, he analyzed Turkey as a regional power in the Middle East and Balkans. He believes Turkey should be model state for the region especially after the Arab Spring has begun. According to Dr Walker, on one hand, Turkey should work with U.S shoulder to shoulder about Turkey’s new constitution on the other hand he believes that it may be risky to copy of American constitution to Turkey based on two different religions and cultures for two different states.
The panel ended with some questions from the participant’s questions to the related speakers