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TAAF’s Kaya Boztepe was one of the panelists at Commonwealth Club SF’s “Turkey at 90” panel discussion on October 25, 2013.

TAAF was represented in the Commonwealth Club SF’s “Turkey at 90” panel on Oct 25, 2013 by our VP Kaya Boztepe. Other panelists were Bonnie Joy Kaslan (Honorary Consul General, Republic of Turkey), and Jeffrey Collins (Former White House National Security Staff Director for Turkish Affairs; Senior Counsel, Chevron). The panel was moderated by Joel Brinkley (Pulitzer winner journalist; Professor of Journalism at Stanford University).
Mr. Brinkley opened the panel and highlighted Turkey’s dismal record on large number of journalists who are either in jail or on trial with requests such as “3,000 years imprisonement.”  Mr. Brinkley said that according to Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey is the #1 jailer of journalists in the world in 2013 and that is not a title any government should be proud of.
Ms. Kaslan presented gender equality issues in today’s Turkey. She said that Turkish women gained suffrage (right to vote) way ahead of their peers in the US and most of the Europe under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s leadership in early 20th century. Turkish women has been quite active in the business world, however in the Turkish Grand Assembly the average share of the representation for women hovers at a measely 4%. She also highlighted high violence rates (mostly by their relatives and husbands) against women in Turkey. She finished her presentation on a hopeful note, indicating that as Turkey’s relations with EU get better, it should provide impetus to women’s rights issues domestically as well.
Mr. Boztepe made a great presentation on Turkey’s declining record (under the AKP government and primeminister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) of human rights and the Turkish judicial system.  He gave examples from Ergenekon and Balyoz trials to highlight his case. It was a high-octane presentation, also showcasing Kaya’s excellent presentation skills and his command on Turkish history and the Gulen movement. It can be watched in the link below.
Mr. Collins’s viewpoint was US – Turkish relations during the Erdogan government. He noted that after its peak in 2010, the relations between the two countries has been declining rapidly and is at its lowest point nowadays. Some reasons are disagreements on how to handle the crisis in Syria, Turkey’s (alleged) expose of 10 Iranians who worked for Israel’s Mossad, and most recently Turkey’s decision of purchasing a missile defense system from China.  Mr. Collins doesn’t see any chance of immediate improvements in the US – Turkish relations due to upcoming Turkish local and presidential elections in 2014.

Watch Kaya’s presentation>>>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB-7hM6wUdM


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