Conference: “Legal Personality of Belief Communities in Turkey- Seeking a Path”

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Date: May 30, 2014 Friday
Time: 08.30-16.45
Place: Dolapdere Campus, Court Room

The conference is organized by İstanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Freedom of Belief Initiative.  

The conference will hopefully increase the understanding on the right to acquire legal personality which remains a key right for democratisation and the effective protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief for all belief communities in Turkey.  

Similtaneous translation will be available.

Information and RSVP: 0533 338 29 61 /


8:30        Registration

9:15- 9:25 Welcome - Prof. Turgut Tarhanlı (İstanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center)

9:25-9:35 Welcome – Gunnar Ekelove-Slydal (Norwegian Helsinki Committee)

9:35-11:30 Session 1 – Problems Encountered by Belief Communities as a Result of Not Having Legal Personality 
Moderator:  Prof. Turgut Tarhanlı  (İstanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center)
Arif Koçer (Mazlum-Der), Laki Vingas (Representative of Community Foundations to the General Assembly of Directorate of Foundations), Suzan Karaman (Bahai Representative), Doğan Bermek (Head of the Federation of Alevi Foundations), Makuta Eleuthère (Latin Katolik Kilisesi), Umut Şahin (Protestan Kiliseler Derneği), Ali Kenanoğlu (Hubyar-Sultan Kültür Derneği), Selahattin Özgündüz (Caferi Community)  

11:30- 11:45 Break

11:45- 12:45 Session 2 – International Law and Comparative Law 
Moderator:   Assoc. Prof. Bülent Şenay (Uludağ University Faculty of Theology and Advisor on the Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the OSCE )
“International Law Standards” – Associ. Prof. İdil Işıl Gül (İstanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center)
“Various Models – A Comparative Analysis” – Prof. Cole Durham (Brigham Young University, Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law; Director of Centre on Law and Religious Studies)

12:45-13:45 Lunch Break

13:45- 15:15 Session 3 – The Right of Belief Communities in Turkey to Acquire Legal Personality– Seeking a Legal Framework  
Moderator:  Mine Yıldırım  (Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Freedom of Belief Initiative Project Manager)
“Turkish Law and Possible Moldels?”- Assoc. Prof. L. Bertan Tokuzlu (İstanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center)
“The Problems of Community Foundations” – Legal Counsel Setrak Davuthan 
“The Need of Representative Institutions for Legal Personality” – Legal Counsel Ali Elbeyoğlu
“Human Rights Obligations of Belief Communities”  –  Mine Yıldırım- (AAbo Akademi Institute for Human Rights)

15:15- 15:30 Break

15:30- 16:45 Session 4 – The Right to Acquire Legal Personality- A Need for Mentality Change?
Moderator:  Özge Genç (TESEV Director of Democratization Program)
“The Role of the Presidency of Religious Affairs?” – Prof. İştar Gözaydın (Doğuş University)
“Islamic Communities and Legal Entity Status” –   Dr. Necdet Subaşı 
“Alevi Demands from Freedom of Religion or Conscience Perspective” – Cafer Solgun  (Journalist)