Symposium about Turkey and Syria focuses on lack of democracy
Evin Morrison, The Oklahoma Daily
A prominent Turkish journalist spoke to students about the reality of the situation in Syria and the influence of Turkey as a whole Monday afternoon.
Mustafa Akyol addressed the ongoing issues in Syria because of its secular dictatorships and how Turkey is trying to help the situation. The symposium, “The War in Syria: Turkey’s Role,” was held in Oklahoma Memorial Union’s Meacham Auditorium.
Akyo, who spoke at OU last year, said he decided to return this year to speak on a different topic that he said was relevant to current events. He pointed out that most of the dictatorships are not Islamic and said in actuality they suppress the Islamic groups. Akyol said a democracy is what is “painfully” lacking in Syria and it’s difficult for a democracy and a secular dictatorship to coexist.
“The problem is that 30,000 people have been killed by Syrian regime forces,” Akyol said. “In the past few months, Syrian airplanes were being used to drop barrels of dynamite into neighborhoods to teach them a lesson. There is a stalemate in Syria, and unless the world does do something the stalemate will go on.”
Akyol said Turkey has made attempts to try to make peace in Syria to stop the attacks on civilians.
After the discussion, Akyol answered a few questions that were submitted by the audience on note cards.
Arabic and economics sophomore Daniel Meschter said he came to the symposium because of his interest in the Turkish perspective Akyol would bring.
“What brought me out here was the concern for Syria and the situation in Syria as a whole as a human rights issue because people are dying due to sectarian conflict is a relic of a more barbarous world,” Meschter said. “And I was really curious as to how the Turkish perspective on this problem might play out because Turkey is a successful democracy in the largely Muslim Middle East.”
The event was jointly sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, Institute of Interfaith Dialog and Interfaith Dialogue Student Association.