Living Stone Gateway to Turkey
Istanbul and Central-Anatolia
Turkey From Empire To Republic - And Back?
President Abdullah Gul : “If you look at all the issues that are of importance to the world today, they have put Turkey in a rather advantageous position”. The lack of future prospects in their own country for the youth, and the often excluded religious dimension by western modernization caused a deep malaise and an assertive Islamization in all Muslim countries. This situation put the secular state and the Islamic nation Turkey in an extremely favorable position. In 2010, the Turkish economy reached its level from before the crisis. It is the 6th largest economy in Europe, the 17th in the world.
In 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the modern Turkish Republic rose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922), proclaiming a new era in the Middle East. The Justice and Development Party (JDP) in power today is shifting Turkey's secular vision set by Ataturk, to a 'neo-Ottoman' one. Neo-Ottomanism is essentially about projecting Turkey's soft power: a bridge between East and West, the Balkan and the Middle East, Muslim nation and secular state, a democratic political system and a capitalistic economical force.
Indicative Travel Plan
We offer a 6-days journey starting in cosmopolite Istanbul and leading to Kayseri and fairy Cappadocia, one of the wonders of mother nature.
- D1: Arrival and exploration of cosmopolitan Istanbul.
- D2: a cross-cultural walk through Istanbul, from bazaar to Taksim district. We meet Flemish entrepreneurs on the spot. We discuss with students at the social sciences faculty about Turkey's near future scenarios.
- D3-4-5: Flight to Central Anatolia and discovery of Kayseri, home to the Anatolian Tigers. We visit a village (Mustafapasa) to discuss Greek and Turkish issues. We visit a vinyard and share the enthusiasm of the wine producer. Meetings are arranged with an Imam, teachers and parents to learn about authority and beliefs. We reflect on the issues with Turkish immigrants in Belgium. We enjoy the local cuisine and get along with some simple expressions in Turkish.
- D6: dedicated to business meetings and the visit of a plant in Kayseri. The journey ends with a Turco-Belgian banquet.
- D7: returnflight Kayseri - (Istanbul)-Brussels
Living Stone Exclusive
In Flanders, Turkey has a reputation as “the place to be” to conduct business in a growing market without the burden of a common practice that is too different from ours. These and other assumptions on the future of the EU and Turkey will be challenged during the trip. Facilitator is Cathy Van Crombruggen-Donmez. Group discussions, exchanges and banquets with Turkish and Belgian entrepreneurs will enrich the Gateway experience:
• "Changing the axis of Turkish foreign policy does not imply that Turkey will draw away from her alliance with the Western world", Ambassador Ersavci, KULeuven, Oct.2010. The Turkish political elite sees Turkey as the leader of the Islamic world and its involvement in the Middle East almost as the country’s manifest destiny.
• Despite foreign investments flock to Turkey, there is a concern of some Islam dynamics against globalization. Turkish conservatives will argue that there is no problem with Islam and globalisation. Turkish secularists would argue that they are first Turkish citizens who happen to be belonging to the Islamic faith not vice versa.
For sure enough material to discuss long evenings!
GOCEK Fatma Müge (2011), The Transformation of Turkey. Redefining State and Society from the Ottoman Empire to the Modern Era, I.B. Tauris (London, NY), 310p. ISBN 978 1 84885 243 3.
Book With Confidence
- Price is € 3319 per person for a single room and € 3169 per person in a twin/double room (ref.2011).
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