On Thursday, April 28, the Berlin office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) invited members of its Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) for a roundtable discussion on youth, media, and political activism under Erdogan’s rule moderated by Alida Vračić, research fellow at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. The driving question in the discussion was the state of civil society and youth engagement in Turkey.
The participants discussed key forces in Turkish politics and society today, focusing in particular on polarization along political, ethnic, religious, and regional lines. In mapping out these divides, they discussed the concepts of social capital, different modes of political participation, and social power distance. Özgur Ünlühisarcıklı, GMF’s Ankara office director, offered his insight into Turkish state institutions, which work with youth, in particular the Turkish school system and educational culture. The group also considered the tensions between Turkey’s Kemalist legacy and the increasing role of religion in Turkey.