MAY 08, 2014 - 9.00
TAWAKKOL KARMAN GLOBAL PEACE AND DEMOCRACY CENTER INVITES YOU TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Turkish-Yemen Relations and Arab Spring
Conference on Turkish-Yemeni Relations and the Arab Spring was organized by the Global Peace and Democracy Center on January 28, 2014, at the Florya Campus of Istanbul Aydın University. Key speaker of the event was Assistant Professor İsmail Gündoğdu, an expert on Turkish-Yemeni relations, who served as one of the observers at the Yemeni presidential elections in 2012 and the session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Nazım İrem, head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations. The honorary consulate of Yemen at Istanbul, Mr. Muhammed Ahmed Al Maşrahi, the President of the Istanbul, Aydın University and the Director of the Center Tawakol Karman were also among the attendees. In his opening speech Dr. Mustafa Aydın made an appraisal of the activities of the Tawakkol Karman Center for Global Peace and Democracy.
In her speech Tawakkol Karman talked about the Yemeni Spring and underlined that the Yemeni Revolution was a non-violent, peaceful revolution for freedom, justice, human rights and for the dignity of people. Everyone in Turkey, youth and women, she continued, shared the same dream of freedom, justice and peace for Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. Those who has gone through Arab Spring in these five countries, Karman said, aimed to use peace as a means to actualize their dreams, yet were tried to be repressed by violent means everywhere. “Turkish-Yemen relations became stronger, especially after Arab Spring. Turkey, as a powerful country, was not oblivious to the change in Yemen. Turkey preferred to be in the same side with the people and the future.” said Tawakkol Karman. Responding a question on the historical Ottoman-Yemen relations despite a common -not so good- Arab perception of Ottoman colonization, Karman said, “The Ottoman Empire has never been referred as an invader in our history books. It has always been referred as the era under Ottoman control. Turkey and Yemen has many things in common. I do not know the perception in other Arab countries but Yemen has never considered Ottomans as invaders. ”
Dr. İsmail Gündoğdu also talked on Turkey-Yemen relations pointing out that the two countries have a common history since Ottomans. “I was there and experienced the revolution during the Yemen version of the Arab Spring. The Revolutionists’ Headquarters was just next to the Sana’a University and my house was located on the boundary. I needed to pass through the Revolutionists’ Headquarters even to go for shopping. The beginning of the revolution in Tunis excited the people in Yemen. But this excitement, -to tell you the truth- not seemed enthusiastic enough to me for overthrowing an oppressive leader, a dictator. But we witnessed this happened. It began with just a couple of tents before the university and then multiplied exponentially. People began to live in these tents. They were walking and protesting every morning at 10.30 a.m. and as Tawakel Karman said they had no weapons in their hands. They were shouting out as ‘Peace! Peace! or Leave!’” told Dr. İsmail Gündoğdu.
A brain-storming session was held at IAU Tawakkol Karman Center for Global Peace and Democracy. In the three-day brain-storming meetings, academicians and students came together to discuss various issues related to peace building processes and current state of democracy in the Middle East region. Sessions were held at Florya Campus of Istanbul Aydın University. International students studying at IAU or other Istanbul-based universities also participated in the sessions and met with Mrs. Karman to discuss current political situation in the Middle East. Mrs. Karman also gave a lecture to the students at the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
Nobel laurette Tawakkol Karman, now a Turkish Citizen and an Associate of Istanbul Aydın University
Tawakkol Karman is the first Arab woman who was awarded by the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights. She is the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize, after an Iranian lawyer, Shirin Ebadi. Karman, who has three children, has acquired Turkish citizenship. Tawakkol Karman, who had been awarded Nobel Peace Award in 2011 because of her peaceful struggle for the protection of human and women rights was appointed as the Executive Director of the Tawakkol Karman Center for Global Peace and Democracy at Istanbul Aydın University. The Center was established at Istanbul Aydın University under the auspices of Dr. Mustafa Aydın, the President of the university.
Karman, who had been granted Turkish citizenship in 2010, also became as an associate of the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Besides leading the activities of the Center, Mrs. Karman will deliver seminars at the same department.
Director of IAU Global Peace and Democracy Center Denied Entry to Egypt
The Director of the IAU Center for Global Peace and Democracy, Tawakkol Karman has been denied entry to Egypt. While entering Egypt from Sana, Mrs. Karman, the Nobel laureate, was put under custody for a while by the Egyptian authorities and then was released. She was told to fly on the same plane back to the United Arab Emirates. She was denied entry because of her criticism of the Egyptian military leader Abdulfettah Es-Sis’yi who ousted the President Morsi after a military intervention and for her public callings demanding people to resist to the military regime which she named as an "open coup d'etat." Mrs. Karman announced from her social media account that she was planning to visit Rabiatul Adevviye Square to support peaceful protests.
“Iron Lady" Tawakkol Karman is at IAU With Students
In her last visit to Istanbul Aydın University, Tawakkol Karman met with students and informed the public that a scheme has been accepted for the establishment of a research center at IAU.
In a joint press conference Nobel laureate Yemeni journalist and activist Karman and the President of Istanbul Aydın University, Dr. Mustafa Aydın responded to questions about Arab Spring, Yemen Revolution, Middle East, current situation in Yemen, Turkish-Yemeni relations and issues related to education. They also heralded the establishment of a new Center which will be specialized on human rights research and peace studies.
In her lecture to students Mrs. Karman talked about the current situation in Yemen and Middle East and said that "many sacrifices were made to reach at this point. People made these revolutions to retake their liberties. There, youngsters at your age, Karman said, fought not only for their own freedom but also for the freedom of all people all over the world and for the freedom of their geographies. Our youth have fought against all the evils of the world, she added. She said that the Arab youth have believed in their dreams and have hopes for future. In response to a question whether Arab Spring revolutions have achieved all their goals, Karman revealed that the Arab Spring has not achieved all its goals yet. We have completed the first stage, she said. Now, we are getting into the second stage. In the first stage we have succeeded in overthrowing the repressive regimes. In the second stage, we aim to drive all the corrupted elements away from our country. Hopefully, the second stage will start in Syria as well. Then on, our primary goal is to shape all the laws and structures in line with the wishes of the youth and women. She concluded her speech by stating that "our goal is democracy, freedom, equality and good life."
In the press conference Dr. Mustafa Aydın, the President of the IAU, said that in his visit to Yemen he has informed Mrs. Karman about the intention of establishing a center after her name. He added that Mrs. Karman had a positive response and a time schedule was set for this purpose. Mrs. Karman also added that Global Peace and Democracy Center, which would assume ultimate responsibilities for the future of the Middle East and would provide valuable services both to its geography and to the globe, was founded at Istanbul Aydın University. The Center is expected serve as a platform for all people who generates thought and ideas in this field not only in our region but in various other countries as well, she added.