I.P.O. Information Service

Religion, State and Society in Turkey

International and interdisciplinary research seminar discusses issues of multiculturalism

Istanbul/Vienna, 26 May 2011


In co-operation with Turkish foundations and research institutions, the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.) organized from 6 to 13 May 2011 a series of lectures and seminars in Turkey on the role of religion in contemporary society. A group of researchers and students from Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Pakistan and the United States, representing the disciplines of Philosophy, Religious Studies, Political Science, International Law, and International Relations, discussed issues of multiculturalism, inter-religious dialogue and Muslim-Western relations with scholars and students from Turkish Universities and cultural foundations. The meetings and debates were related to the seminar on "Religion and Society," organized by Prof. Hans Köchler at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) during the summer semester 2011.

Consecutive sessions were held in the cities of Istanbul, Mardin (Southeast Anatolia) and Ankara. The meetings in Istanbul were organized in co-operation with the Center for Global Studies and the Center for Civilizational Studies at the Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BISAV), and the Inter-cultural Dialogue Platform (KADIP). Discussions and consultations in Mardin were held with the support of Mardin Artuklu University and Atak College. The participants also met with the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church for Mardin and Diyarbakir, Archbishop Filuksinos Saliba Özmen. The meetings in Ankara were held at Hacettepe University and Bilkent University. In a joint session with the seminar "Religion and Politics" at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of Hacettepe University, the President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Köchler, delivered a lecture on "Secularism and the Politics of Religion in Europe."

On the sidelines of the seminars, Dr. Hans Köchler met, among others, with the Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish Review, Mr. Kerim Balcı, who also delivered a lecture on the role of Islam in Turkish society; the Rector of Mardin Artuklu University, Prof. Dr. Serdar Bedii Omay; the Rector of Plato College in Istanbul, Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla; the Governor of the Province of Mardin, Mr. Turhan Ayvaz; and Prof. Dr. Türkkaya Ataöv, former Director of the Dept. of International Reactions at the University of Ankara.

The discussions in Turkey were preceded at Innsbruck University by a lecture of Prof. Mohamed Andaloussi (Moulay Ismaïl University, Morocco), and will be continued in Austria with  a panel discussion on "Islam in Austria."

  • Documentation of events in Turkey

  • Report on seminars at the Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BISAV)

  • Semester program of the seminar "Religion and Society" (Innsbruck, Istanbul, Mardin, Ankara, Innsbruck, March - June 2011)

  • Introduction (German)

  • Meeting with the Rector of Mardin Artuklu University

  • Meeting with Archbishop Filuksinos Saliba Özmen

International Progress Organization 
Enquiries: info@i-p-o.org, phone +43-1-5332877, fax +43-1-5332962, postal address: A-1010 Vienna, Kohlmarkt 4, Austria