2011 İstanbul Summit Schedule

Public Agenda for 2011 Nahda Network Summit


Friday, November 18


10:00- 10:30 Welcoming Remarks 


10:45-12:00 Keynote Speech by Khaled Abol Naga (Egyptian Actor, Filmmaker, Activist, and UNICEF Goodwill ambassador): “A Unifying Arab Consciousness”

Khaleed Abol Naga is not only among the most popular actors and filmmakers in the region, but has also been one of the earliest outspoken - icons in Egypt promoting social justice, freedom and democratic change in the Arab world in general and Egypt under Mubarak’s regime in particular. Mr. Naga played a pivotal role in explaining to the world media and supporting the Egyptian Revolution from January 25th till now. What is unique about the latest democratization wave that hit the region? How was solidarity among the protestors maintained ? What was the spirit that haunted the Arab lands? You will find the answers to all these questions, if you don’t miss this speech…

13:30 – 15:30 Panel 1: Seizing the moment: how did we topple down the all-powerful, all-oppressive life-long dictators in the Middle East?

Speakers: Wael Abbas (Egyptian Activist, Misr Digital), Fatma Riahi (Tunisian Activist, Arabicca), Adham Bakry (Egyptian protestor and Graffiti Artist), Aly Hazzaa (Independent Egyptian Journalist), and Ayat Mneina (Libyan Activist, Libyan Youth Movement)

 Moderator: Mete Çubukçu (NTV)

Remember last year, when nobody could not even dare to question the rule of the “life-long rulers”, Bin Ali, Mubarak, and Gaddafi? Then a man burned himself to death, and millions took streets following this outburst. This revolutionary process has crashed the orientalist clichés and prejudices on the Middle East and the Arabs, and impressed all the world audience. It has been followed by the emergence of the Arab masses and people as actors of their own and gained the respect of many. This panel will explore how the unthinkable became thinkable, in fact the very reality itself.  We will be delighted to hear the breathtaking story of the Arab revolutions as told by the activists themselves who marched in the streets and toppled the all-oppressive regimes.

15:45-17:15 Panel 2: Turkey’s silent revolution: standing against army, standing with people…

Speakers: Bilal Macit (The Youngest MP of Turkey, Justice and Development Party), CerenKenar (Nahda Network, Director), and Fatih Demirci (Young Civilians)

Moderator: Yıldıray Oğur (Taraf)

Turkey is frequently praised as the “pearl” of the region, due to its consolidated political system. Is it so? If it is so, how has Turkey attained (to make tenses consistent) this label in the last 10 years? What has Turkey undergone (or gone through) to be able to get rid of military tutelage and which obstacles has the Turkish civil society  tackled during its bid to democratization? This panel will overview civil society mobilization and its impact on the retreat of the political influence of the Turkish military and the broadening of democracy in the country as told by the actors of the youth civil society mobilization.

17:30 – 18:45 Panel 3: Beware Assad you are next: how to deal with Assad?

Speakers: Husam Alkatlaby (Member of the Syrian National Council), Omar Al Muqdad (Syrian Activist),

Moderator: Mustafa Akyol  (Journalist,  Star)

We are at a tipping point. The death toll in Syria is estimated to be over 4,000 as of November 2011. While the international public opinion is wary of the atrocities perpatrated by Assad, the dictator seems to be keen on massacring and torturing people. How can we resist the brutal crackdown of Assad? What could be done to prevent innocent people from being exposed to these crimes against humanity? This panel will analyze the current situation of the Syrian uprising and protests, and reflect on the future and the much-awaitedoverthrow of the regime.

18:45-19:30  The Challenge of Lebanon: when Syria comes in between
Skype Interview with Ali Fahry (Lebanese journalist, human rights/ political activist) by Merve Alıcı (Young Civilians)
Ali Fakhry, the co-founder and chairman of the Lebanon Anti-racism will not be able to join our summit because of the brutal attack perpetrated by the pro-Syrian Tashnaks against the headquarters of the movement in the Armenian quarter Bourj Hammod in Beirut. The tension between the tashnaks who oppose the Kurdish refugees settling in Bourj Hammod had instigated violence against the Kurdish refugees in the last weeks. Ali Fakhry will join us via Skype and tell us about the Syrian challenge Lebanon is facing. What does it mean to be against the current Syrian regime in Lebanon? What are the risks? We will listen to what is going on from Fakhry. This will be a chance for us to give our full support to his heroic anti-racism movement and condemn this brutal assault.

Saturday, November 19


10:00-11:00 Keynote Speech by Robert Fisk (Independent): “The past and future of Arab Revolutions: why did they rebel, what do they want?”

Robert Fisk, considered as one of the most prominent and eminent experts on the Middle East, will adress the key questions that trouble the future of post-revolutionary Arab regimes. Probing the reasons as well as the prospects of the revolutions, Fisk will provide an insightful analysis of the Arab Spring and its aftermath.  Well, there is not much to say, when it comes to Robert Fisk… We are enthusiastically looking forward to benefiting from Mr. Fisk’s insights and erudition



11:30-12:30 Post revolution problems: “How the post revolution Egypt confiscated my passport?”

Skype Interview with Mohammed Maree (Egyptian Activist and Blogger, Egytimes) by Işın Eliçin  (Journalist, TRT Türk)

This interview will focus on the shortcomings and failures of post-revolutionary  regimes and on the issue of how to confront post-revolutionary troubles. The new regimes not only include some powerful and imposing ancien regime actors, but are also prone to corruption and tainted with authoritarianism. We should be alert and vigilant not to loose what we have gained and build mechanisms of checks and balances.This panel will explore the transgressions of post-revolutionary regimes and discuss the reasons to be optimistic and pessimistic regarding the future of the Arab spring.


13:30-15:15 Activists without borders: Why and how to support the Syrian cause?

Speakers: Fawaz Zakri (Syrian Activist) and Firas Al Ghannam (Syrian Activist and Journalist)

Moderator: Bekir Berat Özipek (Star and Today’s Zaman)

The holy grail of the Syrian issue is simple: how does Assad manage to survive despite the unabating – in fact increasing – domestic opposition and the pressure coming from international public opinion? This panel will address several questions, notably the question of why we should support the Syrian opposition. Then we will elaborate on the actors supporting Assad and their motives. We will end up with a discussion on the ways we can assist Syrian activists in their audacious struggle against the brutal regime of Assad and promote regional and global awareness of the Syrian uprising and protests.


15:30-17:45 Round Table: We will do better: problems awaiting the post revolution middle East

Speakers: Sofiane Chourabi (Tunisian Journalist, Kandil Journal), Asmaa Alghoul (Palestinian journalist and activist, Alghoul) düzelt, and Assaad Thebian Takreem (Social Media Consultant)

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Abbas Vali  (Boğaziçi University)

As they say, there is no such thing as democracy, but a never-ending struggle for the democratic ideal… Our struggle is not over. We will take the streets, show our dissent in each and every way, till every citizen in the region enjoys the same political and cultural rights and liberties. This panel will examine the emerging new social and political parameters of the “Arab street” and Arab politics after the Arab spring. It will also discuss the problems and dangers clouding the new political and social realities in the region.


18:00-19:00 Keynote Speech by Egemen Bağış Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs and

Chief Negotiator

Turkish government has been vocal in support of the wave that hit the region and encouraged the demands that were advanced in the Arab spring. Minister Egemen Bağış, who is one of the most influential political figures in Turkey, will tell us about the stance and policies of the Turkish government vis-a-vis the Arab spring. How has Turkey, as a relatively new actor in the region, managed to position itself on this shaky ground? How has this wave been percieved by the Turkish government and what could the implications of the Arab spring on Turkey be? What is the agenda of the Turkish government on the post-revolution period? Answers to those will be provided by one of the top figures in the Turkish cabinet…Stay tuned, you won’t regret it…