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Debate-night: Agora for Cumhuriyet

The end of press freedom and human rights in Turkey?

Prof. Guido Van Huylenbroeck, Director of Internationalization, Ghent University

Panel members:
prof. Selin Esen, Ankara University, Public Law Department
Mustafa Kuleli, Journalists Union of Turkey
Mehmet Koksal, European Federation of Journalists
Jenny Vanderlinden, coordination of Amnesty International Belgium
Özgür Mumcu, Turkish Journalist of Cumhuriyet newspaper
Muratcan Sanbuncu, son of Murat Sanbuncu, emprisoned chief-editor of Cumhuriyet newspaper

Prof. Eva Brems, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University

Why this debate?
During an Erasmus exchange in the fall of 2016 in Hamburg, one of our students, Blanche Devos, met a Turkish student, Muratcan Sanbuncu. The breezy Erasmus atmosphere changed when the news came out in October that Muratcan’s father, Murat Sanbuncu, chief-editor of the Turkish  newspaper Cumhuriyet, was arrested in Instanbul.

The arrests of more than 10 Cumhuriyet journalists were based on unfounded claims. Similarly in February, Turkish authorities struck at universities, dismissing without good cause 330 academics at 49 universities.Under the state of emergency, Turkey is destroying the freedom of expression of the press as well as academics, thus undermining democracy.

We will discuss these events with journalists and other experts from/on Turkey. Ghent University is explicitly committed to the protection of human rights and academic freedom. The meeting will convey the solidarity of the Ghent University community with journalists, academics and other individuals whose rights are under threat in Turkey.

Following the great success of similar events that were held at the Sorbonne University in Paris in December and at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg in January, Muratcan and Blanche will host this event with the support of the Human Rights Centre and the Scholars at Risk project at Ghent University.

A get-together will take place after the event.


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