Istanbul Seminars 2015
Bilgi University
8th Istanbul Seminars | 26-30 May 2015
Philosophers Bridge the Bosphorus

Venue: Istanbul Bilgi University 

For at least two centuries, Republicanism has been the political ideal of the subjugated people around the world, from the French Revolution to the anti-colonial struggles. The Republic has come to be seen as the place that realizes true freedom and self-determination independently from gender, religious or ethnic backgrounds. However, in the last decades, Republicanism has been challenged by the progressive weakening of state borders as guarantee of sovereignty. More and more Republicanism has become the synonym of state nationalism and very often of authoritarianism, taking into account only poorly, if ever, pluralism, cultural differences and the rights of minorities. Republican thought has to face the internationalization of politics, law, economy and communication through the power of information technology and social media. The Arab Spring contested explicitly Republicanism as a political model. Yet, how to move ahead? So far the Arab Spring resulted into political turmoil without bringing forth a viable and legitimate alternative political system. At the same time even in Europe the Republican tradition is threatened by populist and illiberal movements and by independentist parties which challenge the state unity. Therefore we are going to ask at the Istanbul Seminars ’15 what, if anything, remains of the Republican dream in a plural world without borders. Does Republicanism still have emancipatory potential or does it have to be replaced by other, more cosmopolitan oriented models?PROGRAMTuesday, 26 May
10.00 am – 10.15 amRemzi Sanver, Rector of Bilgi University
Giancarlo Bosetti
, Director of Reset-Dialogues: Introduction10.15 am – 11.00 am
Seyla Benhabib
: Opening Remarks
Chair: Alessandro Ferrara

11.15 am – 1.00 pm
Ivan Krastev
: Exit, Noise and Disloyalty
Giovanna Borradori
: Politics of the Secret and the Consequences of Its Global Disclosure

Chair: Nilüfer Göle

2.00 pm – 2.45 pm
Manlio Graziano
: The Long Crisis of the Nation-State and the Rise of Religions to the Public Stage
Chair: Asaf Savaş Akat

2.45 pm – 4.15 pm
: Turkey and the Great Middle East: Between the Jihadist Menaces and Kurdish Affirmation

Speakers: Georges Corm, Ivan Krastev, Stefano Manservisi, Soli Özel
Chair: Asaf Savaş Akat

4.15 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Wednesday, 27 May

10.00 am – 10.45 am
Albena Azmanova
: The Right to Politics and Republican Non-Domination

Chair: Jonathan Laurence

11.00 am – 1.00 pm
Abdou Filali-Ansary
: Transitions to Republicanism? A Few Tentative Questions
Georges Corm
: Can the Notion of Citizenship be Erased from Internationally Accepted Universal Human Rights?

Chair: Alessandro Ferrara

2.00 pm – 2.45 pm
Boğaç Erozan
: Republican Conception of Liberty in Early Republican Turkey and its Contemporary Implications
Chair: Murat Borovalı

2.45 pm – 4.15 pm
ROUNDTABLE: Rising Internal Tensions in Turkey: What Kind of Dialogue with Europe?
Speakers: Marco Ansaldo, Seyla Benhabib, Nilüfer Göle, Fuat Keyman
Chair: Ferda Keskin

4.15 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Thursday, 28 May

10.00 am – 11.30 pm
Max Pensky
: Republicanism, Sovereignty, and the Globalization of Law: What is the Future of the Anti-Impunity Norm?

Diego von Vacano: Post-Republicanism and Transcultural Democracy in Latin America
Chair: Ilay Romain Örs

11.45 am – 12.30 am
Regina Kreide
: Republicanism with a Deliberative Face: Critiques, Protest, and Public Spheres

Chair: Ilay Romain Örs

1.30 pm – 4.00 pm
Micheline Ishay: Islamism beyond Borders: Can Republicanism and Human Rights Prevail?
Chair: Volker Kaul

2.30 pm – 4-00 pm
Mohammed Haddad: The Crisis of the Republican System in the Middle East and its Religious Outcomes

Larbi Sadiki: The ‘Second Republic’: Post-Arab Spring Tunisia’s Search for Republicanism

Chair: Meysam Badamchi

4.00 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Friday, 29 May

10.00 am – 10.45 am
Nadia Marzouki
: The Politics of Compromise in Tunisia from the Constitutional Debate to Elections
Chair: Debora Tonelli

11.00 am – 1.00 pm
Final Presentations of the Discussion Groups
: (1) Republican Political Thought (2) Turkish Republicanism, (3) Arab Nationalism, Republicanism, Nationalism and the Quest for a Modern State, (4) European Republicanism.

2.00 pm – 2.45 pm
Riva Kastoryano
: Negotiations Beyond Borders: States and Minorities in Europe
Chair: Patrizio Fondi

2.45 pm – 4.15 pm
: Kurdish Struggle for Liberation: Challenges and Opportunities for the Republican Ideal

Can Cemgil: The Kurdish Alternative to the Republican Ideal: the Rojava Experiment
Ramin Jahanbegloo:
The Kurdish Solution: An Empathic Republicanism
Ömer Turan
/Cemil Boyraz: Challenging the Turkish Republicanism: Political Imagination of Kurdish Movement
Barış Ünlü:
The Kurdish Struggle and the Crisis of the Turkishness Contract

Chair: Cengiz Aktar


Saturday, 30 May

10.00 am – 11.00 am
Stephen Macedo
: Free Speech, Offense, and Civility: Interpreting and Applying Republican Principles in America, France, and Elsewhere

Chair: Giancarlo Bosetti

11.15 am – 1.00 pm
ROUNDTABLE: Freedom of Expression: Comparative Perspectives
Introduction: Philippe Gaudin: Republic and Laïcité in France: Which are the Tensions and Issues since the Attacks of January 2015?
Speakers: Yaman Akdeniz, Kerem Altıparmak, Stephen Macedo, David Rasmussen
Chair: Giancarlo Bosetti

1.00 pm
Murat Borovalı
and Giancarlo Bosetti: Closing


Workshops are conducted by Boğaç Erozan (Turkish Republicanism), Mohammed Hashas (Arab Nationalism, Republicanism and the Quest for a Modern State), Volker Kaul (Republican Political Theory) and Debora Tonelli (European Republicanism).


The program may be subject to change.  Please check this page regularly for updated information

The Seminars are free and open to all

Speakers 2015:
Asaf Savaş Akat, Yaman Akdeniz, Cengiz Aktar, Kerem Altıparmak, Marco Ansaldo, Albena Azmanova, Seyla Benhabib, Giovanna Borradori, Murat Borovalı, Giancarlo Bosetti, Cemil Boyraz, Can Cemgil, Georges Corm, Boğaç Erozan, Alessandro Ferrara, Abdou Filali-Ansary, Patrizio Fondi, Philippe Gaudin, Nilufer Göle, Manlio Graziano, Mohammed Haddad, Micheline Ishay, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Riva Kastoryano, Ferda Keskin, Fuat Keyman, Ivan Krastev, Regina Kreide, Jonathan Laurence, Stephen Macedo, Stefano Manservisi, Nadia Marzouki, Ilay Örs Romain, Soli Özel, Max Pensky, David Rasmussen, Larbi Sadiki, Remzi Sanver, Ömer Turan, Barış Ünlü, Diego von Vacano.

Please check this website for updates regularly

Applications for students and young scholars



Please consider giving a tax-free donation to Reset this year

Any amount will help show your support for our activities

In Europe and elsewhere
(Reset DOC)

In the US
(Reset Dialogues)