Feryal Clark MP to host exiled journalist Can Dündar talk on ‘Türkiye and democracy’ in UK Parliament

British think tank CEFTUS, or the Centre for Turkey Studies to give the organisation its full name, has given a platform to a range of politicians, journalists and analysts casting a critical eye over the affairs of Turkiye.

In December, the group will be staging an event with renowned journalist, author and documentary maker Can Dündar to assess Turkiye’s “dangerous tag of war between democracy and autocracy” under its long-time leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The event will be hosted in the British Parliament by Labour politician Feryal Clark, who is originally from Malatya and is of Turkish Kurdish heritage. The Enfield North MP has regularly used her political platform to highlight and question democratic deficiencies in the country of her birth.

Turkiye, of course, is not unique in facing an assault on its political and social freedoms; many countries around the world are facing similar challenges as populists seek to grab more power while curbing the rights of others.

Dündar, 62, will be reviewing how Türkiye reached its current position and how can it move towards more democratic norms.

The former editor-in-chief of centre-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet has been living in Germany since 2016, in part to evade a Turkish arrest warrant after Cumhuriyet exposed weapons being transported to Islamist fighters in Syria in trucks belonging to MIT (Turkiye’s National Intelligence Organisation) in 2015.

Dündar and his Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül were accused of espionage and revealing state confidential documents. Dündar was tried in his absence and in 2020, was sentenced to 27 years in jail.

Prior to working at Cumhuriyet newspaper, Dündar was a popular writer and columnist for leading Turkish daily, Milliyet. The paper came under new ownership in 2011 who were close to the ruling AK (Justice and Development) Party. Dündar was sacked for his increasingly critical reports on the Erdoğan Government’s harsh response to events such as the Gezi Protests in 2013.

Unwilling to be censored or intimidated, despite there being an attempt on his life outside an Istanbul courtroom in May 2016, Dündar has continued to critique political events in his home country from Germany.

Dündar is editor-in-chief of the bilingual media platform Özgürüz [We Are Free] and a columnist for Die Zeit. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Reporters Without Borders’ Human Rights Award and was named European Journalist of the Year in 2017 as part of the Prix Europa. He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Today, Dündar is one of 25 leading figures on the Information and Democracy Commission launched by Reporters Without Borders.

Event Title

Title: In Conversation with Can Dündar

Date: Monday 11 December 2023

Time:  19:15 to 21:00

Venue: Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House, UK Parliament, 1 Victoria Embankment, London SW1A 2JR

Admission: The event is open to all, but prior registration is required via the CEFTUS website – click here to access.