On Jan 27th, 2015, TAA held an event titled, “Press Freedom and Human Rights in Turkey” at the Cannon Office House Building. The distinguished panelists included Sevgi Akarçeşme, correspondent and columnist at Turkish Daily Zaman; Dr. Savaş Genç, Associate Professor of International Relations at Fatih University.
The event highlighted the sharp turn towards authoritarian practices weakening rule of law, undermining separation of power and judicial autonomy, and diminishing freedom of expression in Turkey. Since the corruption probe in 2013 and the recent attacks on the turn media by the country’s ruling party, there has been increased concern and interest by the international community on the nation’s democratic reputation and stability, including its position on foreign policy. According to the corruption perception index (CPI), published by Transparency International in December last year, Turkey’s ranking dropped to 45, behind China, Angola, Malawi and Rwanda in the span of one year.
Sevgi Akarçeşme holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Istanbul Bilgi University and another M.A. in Political Science from Temple University. She was also part of the the Turkey Project at CSIS in Washington D.C. She also worked at the Office of the President from 2008 in Turkey until the end of 2010 and an advisor at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for Strategic Research from 2010-2011. Sevgi Akarçeşme’s Master’s thesis was published as a book in 2010 entitled Military or Civilian Supremacy in Turkey? The New Framework of Civil-Military Relations in the Post- Feb 28 Era. In addition to academic articles she co-authored with Professor Bülent Aras in the International Journal and Europe’s World. She has published articles and commentaries in Insight Turkey and Al Jazeera English and appeared on CNN International
Dr. Savaş Genç studied Political Science at Heidelberg University, where he also received his PhD. He also taught in different European Universities as Erasmus Visiting Professor. Genç is the director of a project, which is named “The Perception of Turkish Foreign Policy in the Middle East”. He was the director of Research Centre for Contemporary Civilizations and the head of the Department of International Relations at Fatih University between 2009-2012.