IV. Abant Platform "Pluralism and Societal Compromise"

Final Declaration:

Pluralism conveys the recognition of differences in ideas, belief, identity and interests and the lack of obstruction to the representation of these differences in a democratic regime. However, the current conditions in Turkey are not on a level that would allow for the establishment and continuity of pluralism. For this reason, the "4 th Abant Platform" felt the necessity of taking up the subject of pluralism and its natural result, the question of social reconciliation.

1) Pluralism can only be realized in a democratic and secular regime that takes the supremacy of the law as its basis and which is based on human rights. Civil and political freedoms, headed by the freedoms of belief, thought and expression, education and organization, are the prerequisites of pluralism. Just as in this sense there can be no pluralism without freedom, neither can permanent social harmony and agreement be established.

2) Democratic pluralism eliminates polarization and enables political and national unity to gain strength and continuity. Social harmony that takes pluralism into consideration should be expressed in a new constitution based on social reconciliation. This issue is tied to understanding being reached among different segments of society that come together as equals and conform to the principle of "unity in plurality."

3) The main goal of pluralism based on the recognition of differences is social harmony. What is meant by this harmony is not changing those who are different, but rather the establishment of peaceful co-esistence together with these differences.

4) Just as pluralism, which aims at reconciliation, and different identities living together can enrich every identity and culture, they also allow for interaction and change. It is important in this process to strengthen the society's common values and to produce new ones.

5) Social reconciliation is a moral issue at the same time. In this respect, the necessary reconciliation cannot be reached without accepting the other to be as "worthy of respect" as we are.

6) Political pluralism does not contradict the law of " majority rule." However, while implementing the choices of the majority, observing the rights of those who remain outside the majority comprises one of the basic and irrevocable principles of a democratic regime.

7) The society's material well-being plays an important role in the application of pluralism. On the other hand, a democratic pluralistic way of life makes a big contribution to economic development. The distribution of economic well-being among citizens not only consolidates the foundation blocks, but it serves to increase belief and trust in democracy as well.

8) The pluralism of each society is nourished by its own historical and social experiences. Our society's historical and socio-cultural heritage and experience comprise an important resource for pluralism.

9) Efforts to create a homogeneous society in the name of modernization are unacceptable; politics can not be a vehicle for social transition in the direction of homogeneity. One of Turkey 's basic problems is the conflict between government administration and the demands of the people. The government must stop seeing the society as a construction site and forego "social engineering." It must recognize the differences in society and take their demands into consideration. Turkey needs an understanding that allows the government to remain at an equal distance from all citizens and social segments and to represent all differences in the public sphere.

10) In order for the door to political pluralism to open, there is an immediate need for changes in democracy in accordance with universal laws to be made in the constitution, political parties and election laws. In this respect, it is important that parties that do not include any kind of violence in their ideas or activities should not be prohibited from politics. In addition, arrangements must be made to provide for more transparency in the financing of politics and public spending and for the strengthening of local administration.

11) In order to put into action these decisions related to pluralism and social reconciliation, education should be reorganized with the help of civil organizations along the lines of Turkey 's socio-cultural realities.

In summary, while speaking of "pluralism" in all our recommendations, our not naming various social groups was due to our concern that giving a name would lead to a political posture. Our wish is for a Turkey in which every kind of name and political posture can express itself. Pluralism and social reconciliation necessitate that every individual can benefit from all basic rights and freedoms without prejudice based on gender, race, language or religion and especially on inequality between the sexes.


Prof. Dr. Mehmet S.Aydin
Prof. Dr. Mete Tuncay
Prof. Dr. Kemal Karpat
Prof. Dr. Ilber Ortayli
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Yasar Ocak
Prof. Dr. Kenan Gursoy
Prof. Dr. Mustafa Erdogan
Prof. Dr. Mithat Melen
Prof. Dr. Ali Yasar Saribay
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Inam
Prof. Dr. Suleyman Hayri Bolay
Prof. Dr. Hayrettin Karaman
Prof. Dr. Naci Bostanci
Prof. Dr. Orhan Kavuncu
Prof. Dr. Burhan Kuzu
Prof. Dr. Bekir Karliga
Prof. Dr. Hayri Kirbasoglu
Doc. Dr. Ihsan Dagi
Doc. Dr. Emin Koktas
Doc. Dr. Huseyin Celik
Doc. Dr. Omer Caha
Doc. Dr. Davut Dursun
Doc. Dr. Durmus Hocaoglu
Dr. Cuneyt Ulsever
Dr. M. Ali Kilicbay
Dr. Kadir Canatan
Dr. Tahsin Gorgun
Dr. Rifat Atay
Dr. Adnan Aslan
Dr. Hidayet Tuksal
Dr. Nazif Ozturk
Mehmet Dulger (Politician)
Muharrem Naci Orhan (Lawyer)
Cengiz Candar (Journalist-Writer)
Mustafa Armagan (Journalist-Writer)
Ali Bulac (Journalist-Writer)
Ahmet Tasgetiren (Journalist-Writer)
Huseyin Gulerce (Journalist-Writer)
Nazife Sisman (Writer)
Riza Akcali (Member of Parliament)
Abdulbaki Erdogmus (Member of Parliament)
Celal Adan (Member of Parliament )
Bulent Arinc (Member of Parliament )
Cemil Cicek (Member of Parliament)
Nevzat Kosoglu (Writer)
Hirant Dink (Journalist-Writer)
Soli Ozel (Lecturer of The Bilgi University )
Kazim Berzeg (Lawyer)
Suleyman Celebi (President of DISK )
Salim Uslu (President of HAK-IS)
Nuri Gurgur (President of Turk Ocaklari)
Mehmet Bozdemir (President of Demokraside Birlik Vakfi–Unity in Democraciy Foundation)
Yahya Akengin (President of TURKSAV-The Foundation of Writers and Artists for Turkic World) 13-15 July 2001

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