CEFTUS online talk: “Moment of rupture in Turkey-EU relations: from post-candidacy to open clash”

CEFTUS online talk “Moment of rupture in Turkey-EU relations: from post-candidacy to open clash” with Prof Cengiz Aktar and Yavuz Baydar

About this Event

“Time is running and we are approaching a watershed moment in our  relationship with Turkey.” These words by Josep Borrell – the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief – which came repeatedly during the autumn of  2020, describe at best the discourse on the state of ties between the  European Union and Turkey.

Indeed, the relationship has become, particularly since the attempted coup in mid-2016, so venomous on so many aspects that it caused a  major question mark, on whether or not the sides have come to an impasse.

On the eve of the European Council meeting on December 10-11,  distinguished scholar, a top expert on the European affairs, and commentator with Ahval News, Prof Cengiz Aktar, will offer his “tour d’horizon” on the shattered state of relations.  The online talk will be chaired and moderated by Yavuz Baydar,  Editor-in-Chief of Ahval News Online.

The event is open to all and to join you must register via the link below


When: Dec 8, 2020

Time: 18:00 GMT


The event is available only to the registered audience.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

*The event is 2 hours long. The last 30 minutes will be a Q&A session.

Cengiz Aktar is a professor of political science presently teaching at the University of  Athens  EKPA.  He is a former director at the United  Nations specializing in asylum policies.

He is known to be one of the leading advocates of Turkey’s integration into the  EU.  He was the Chair of  European  Studies at  Bahçeşehir  University-Istanbul. In 1999, he initiated a civil initiative for Istanbul’s candidacy for the title of  European Capital of  Culture.  Istanbul successfully held the title in 2010.

He also headed the initiative called “European Movement 2002” which aimed at putting pressure on the lawmaker to speed up political reforms necessary to begin the negotiation phase with the EU.

In December 2008, he developed the idea of an online apology campaign addressed to Armenians and supported by a number of  Turkish intellectuals as well as over 32.000 citizens of Turkey.

In addition to EU integration policies, his research focuses on politics of memory regarding ethnic and religious minorities, on the history of political centralism and on international refugee law.

His latest book “​Le Malaise Turc” (The Turkish Malaise) was published in November in France.

Yavuz Baydar ​is the Editor-in-Chief of ​Ahval,​ a trilingual, independent online news and podcast site on Turkey.

His opinions articles have appeared in the  Guardian,  Süddeutsche  Zeitung, New York Times, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, Yomiuri Shimbun, the Arab Weekly, and Index on Censorship.

Baydar was among the co-founders, in 2013, of the independent media platform ​P24 to monitor the media sector and the state of journalism in his home country.

In  2014,  as a  Shorenstein  Fellow at  Harvard  Kennedy  School of  Government, he completed an extensive research paper on self-censorship, state oppression and threats over journalism in Turkey – in the wake of  Gezi  Park protests. The extended version of the paper was published in book form in German and Turkish, under the title “Newsroom as an Open-Air Prison:  Corruption and Self-Censorship in  Turkish Journalism”.​

Baydar  is  the  author  of  the  book, ​“Die Hoffnung Stirbt am Bosporus –  Wie die Türkei Freiheit und Demokratie Verspielt” (“The Hope dies at Bosporus: How Turkey Squandered Freedom and Democracy”). He was given in 2018 the prestigious ‘​Journalistenpreis’ by the (Munich-based) SüdostEurope Gesellschaft in Germany; and, t​he Special Award of the European Press Prize (​EPP), for ‘​excellence in journalism’,​ in 2014.

Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999,  Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. ​He served as president of the U.S.  based  International Organization of  News Ombudsmen ​(ONO) in 2003.

He studied Informatics, Cybernetics and Journalism at the University of Stockholm. He worked as a reporter and editor with Cumhuriyet daily, Radio Sweden, BBC Turkish, and Yeni Yüzyıl daily throughout the 1980 and 1990’s.


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