Liberal Youth in Türkiye
3H Movement XIV. Liberal Youth Congress
Our partner 3H Movement, which has been the most active liberal youth organization in Türkiye since its foundation in 2006, held its XIV. Liberal Youth Congress at the Sun Plaza Maslak with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Changing Paradigms in Türkiye was this year's theme, focusing on the structural changes imposed by the government on academia, economy and media. In four separate sessions, nine speakers who have long time experience in their fields, discussed “then vs now” in a comparative fashion. During the congress, the partners of the 3H Movement, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Freedom Research Association and other liberal youth organizations set up desks and introduced themselves and their plans for the year.
3H Movement Chairman of the Board Kayra Kocagil made remarks about the ongoing conflicts around the world, specifically the Middle East. He emphasized the importance of peace for prosperity, freedom, and individual rights. In the first session of the day, Burak Bilgehan Özpek and Murat Erdoğan discussed the polarization in Turkish academia and the limitations imposed on academics about what they can or cannot say. Then they mentioned the effect pandemics had on academia and how the government used it as an opportunity to tighten its grip on universities. Lastly, they shared their opinions on the importance of solidarity between academics, students and all other components of academia.
In the second session, Kerim Rota, Özge Öner and Nesrin Nas talked about the radical shift in governments economic policies in the last 20 years. They discussed the mistakes that were done in the past and how they are still continued with no end in sight. Discussions then moved to the future of the Turkish economy and the possibility of a positive change with the new economic team.
In the third session, Aynur Tekin, Orhan Şener Deliormanlı and Erkan Saka discussed the limits set on the Turkish media by the judicial power of the government and how it is used to silence any dissidents. Along with the technological advancements, they argued, governments focus shifted on social media and began to get threatened by it for the last 5 or 10 years. Finally they talked about the misinformation in the media and how it is used for propaganda purposes by many different parties.
In the fourth session, newly elected Balıkesir Member of Parliament, Burak Dalgın gave a short speech about the last election and 100th year anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Dalgın then answered questions asked by the young participants of the congress. The questions were picked randomly without any filter and they ranged from political questions to personal ones.
At the last part of the Congress, Bulut Öncü’s mother, Betül Öncü, came to the stage to present the 5th Bulut Öncü Courage Award, given on behalf of the 3H Movement volunteer Bulut Öncü, who passed away six years ago. In her speech, she talked about the importance of Gezi protests on the democratic culture of Türkiye, commemorated those who were tried and arrested in the Gezi Trials and announced that the award was given to them this year. Meriç Demir Kahraman accepted the award on behalf of them.
Finally, 3H Movement Secretary General Emre Koca closed the congress by expressing the importance of liberal solidarity, thanking the organization team, speakers and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.