On April 16, a narrow majority of the Turkish electorate voted in favour of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proposed constitutional amendments. The changes enable a substantial extension of President Erdoğan’s powers, transforming the country’s political system into an executive presidency. Given the scale of this shift, we have gathered an expert panel to discus the implications of the result, including what it means for the future of Turkish democracy.

The Middle East Studies Forum is bringing together leading experts on Turkey, including Professor Ihsan Yilmaz, Dr David Tittensor and Tezcan Gumus from Deakin University, and Dr Ozlem Susler from La Trobe University. Please join us on Wednesday May 3 from 10:30am – 12:30pm on Level 2, Building BC, Deakin University Burwood campus. Lunch will be served following the panel discussion.

RSVP to mesf@deakin.edu.au by April 27 for catering purposes.

Read Professor Yilmaz and Dr Tittensor’s initial reaction to the result in The Conversation here, and longer pieces by Tezcan Gumus in Open Democracy or Professor Yilmaz in The Conversation Global. Professor Yilmaz was also interviewed by the Turkey Institute on the topic.

Panelist bios:

Professor Ihsan Yilmaz is Research Chair of Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), Deakin University, Australia. He was professor of political science at Istanbul Fatih University between 2008-2016, lecturer in law at SOAS, University of London between 2001-2008 and research scholar at Center for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford between 1999-2001.

Dr Ozlem Susler is a Lecturer in Law at La Trobe University, where she co-ordinates Contract Law in the JD and LLB programs. She also teaches International Commercial Arbitration in the LLM. She has been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and completed her doctorate on international arbitration and has been published globally.

David Tittensor is a Lecturer in Studies of Religion in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Australia. His research interests are transnational Muslim movements, Turkish politics and society, and religion and development. He is the author of The House of Service: The Gülen Movement and Islam’s Third Way and editor (with Matthew Clarke) of Islam and Development: Exploring the Invisible Aid Economy.

Tezcan Gumus is a PhD candidate at Deakin University. His work and research interests lie in Turkish politics, leaders and party politics in particular, democratic theory and contemporary politics of democratisation, specifically the role of elites in shaping the nature of democracy – its transition, consolidation and its failure. His doctoral thesis examines leaders in Turkish political history – their practices and characteristics both as party leaders and whilst holding high office is in order to better understand reasons behind Turkey’s inability to consolidate democracy. He spent 2016 in Turkey conducting fieldwork.

Download the flyer here.