Home | Deutsch | Legals | Sitemap | KIT

World Science Café

In the event series World Science Café, fled and threatened scientists offer insights into their research

Since the winter term of 2016/17, the ZAK, in cooperation with the International Scholars & Welcome Office (IScO) has been hosting a new series of events during which refugees report about their scientific work. In line with the title-giving café concept, a brief outline will be followed by a discussion about the state of academia in the speakers’ country of origin, in dialogue with a partner who is familiar with the situation in the respective country. What are the consequences a society faces when scientists are unable to continue research in their own country? How can threatened scientists be enabled to continue their work in Germany? How do they enrich and amplify the academic world and German society?

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was launched by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation together with the German Federal Foreign Office. It enables universities, universities of applied science, and independent research institutions to grant threatened researchers fellowships for research stays in Germany. The initiative has been made possible through generous support from the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Stifterverband, and the Stiftung Mercator.

World Science Café winter term of 2016/17



Wednesday, 19 Juli 2017, 6 pm 
Dr. Zafer Yilmaz
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Potsdam University



The Rise of Authoritarianism in Turkey

Transformation of Rule of Law and Suppression of Freedom of Speech

Wednesday, 19 Juli 2017, 6 pm, Venue: Foyer of the Presidential Building (Adolf Würth Building, bldg. 11.30), Ehrenhof, Engelbert-Arnold-Str. 2, KIT Campus South - Campus Map (pdf, approx. ca.1 MB)

Dr. Zafer Yilmaz

Dr. Zafer Yilmaz

Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Potsdam University

Turkish democracy is currently experiencing one of its most crucial crises since the failed coup in mid-July 2016. Right after the declaration of the State of Emergency, the government started a huge restoration process which found its repercussion in public administration, civil society and politics. The talk will discuss this recent transformation of Turkish democracy, focussing on the latest constitutional amendments, the extended State of Emergency and current political developments. Furthermore, recent political developments have been affecting the institutional structure of the state, public space and democratic politics in Turkey. Hence, they will be analysed in order to highlight the potential impact of them on the regime change in Turkey. In this context, it will be argued that these developments paved the way for the transition from authoritarian populism to “plebiscitary authoritarian regime” in Turkey. After clearing the characteristics of Turkish politics and the main tendencies which support rising authoritarianism today, the extended State of Emergency – that provides the current regime change with the necessary authority – will be at issue. Current measures towards the suppression of the freedom of speech remain right at the centre of this transition. Finally, the general characteristics of the emerging plebiscitary regime in Turkey will be outlined so as to shed light on the specific form and defining aspects of this regime. Will the current policies increase the de-institutionalisation of the state and possibly result in further erosion of state power, de-politicisation of society, suppression of the opposition and intensification of the authoritarian tendency in Turkish politics?

Dr. Zafer Yılmaz studied at the Departments of Sociology and Political Science and Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara from 1999 to 2004. He held research positions at the Department of Sociology at Free University of Berlin, the Department of Politics and History at Brunel University London and at Ankara University, where he finished his PhD on “Poverty and Uncertainty: Management of Poverty and Constitution of Social Question” in 2011. From 2013 to 2014 Yilmaz was a visiting scholar at the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2017 he works as a visiting scholar at Potsdam University, at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity. Dr. Yilmaz has published widely and has taken part in several international conferences and workshops concerning his research interests in labour and the role of the state, tradition and the culture of political protest and, more recently, the rise of authoritarianism, transformation of rule of law and the suppression of free speech in Turkey.


World Science Café winter term of 2016/17

Foreign Involvement in the Syrian Conflict: Status Quo and Prospects
Prof. Dr. Hussein Almohamad (Syria), Anthropogeography
Institute of Geography, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen

Syrian Cultural Heritage during the Crisis
Prof. Dr. Ammar Abdulrahman (Syria), Archeology
Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES), Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

On Refugee Lives, or A Note on Human Condition
Prof. Dr. Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Turkey), Institute of Sociology
Institute of Sociology, Goethe-University Frankfurt