Date : 23rd of
Topic : European Union Membership would have Negative Consequences for Turkey
Classes : A3 / A4
Between the 21st and 28th of November 2006 Atılım University Preparatory School staged a series of debates between its A and PRO classes. On 23rd November it was the turn of A3 and A4, and the topic for debate was European Union Membership would have Negative Consequences for Turkey.
Before the proceedings started the Director of the Preparatory School, Mrs Aytuna Kocabıyıkoğlu, took the stage to welcome the contestants and audience. She reminded the teams to observe the protocol of debating and to enjoy this opportunity to put the language they had learned into practice.
Being the team proposing the motion, A4 began the proceedings. Their first point was made by Fulya Tutar, and it was that extensive reforms would have to be made to the economy, particularly in the agricultural sector, and the cost of implementing these reforms would have to be met by Turkey.
Countering this claim, Ali Andaç pointed out that the reforms already undertaken in the Customs Union process have produced impressive results regarding export levels and the fight against corruption. Full E.U. membership would be a catalyst for further positive change.
A4s second major argument was outlined by Atıl Uluyüce, who maintained that the cultural gulf was too wide. The E.U. was at heart a Christian Club, and the sense of conflict so deeply rooted in history would manifest in a fear that Turkeys entry would be the first step in the Islamisation of Europe.
Eren Telekoğlu rejected this claim on the grounds that, by granting full membership to Turkey, the E.U. would prove to the world that it was run on inclusive principles. Membership of the E.U. would give Turkey the chance to promote its culture and help to overcome global prejudice against Muslims by acting as a bridge between the Christian and Muslim worlds.
Murat Açar on the A4 team replied by reminding the large audience that, geographically, Turkey has much stronger links with Asia and its culture has more in common with the Arab world than European values.
Against this, Alper Yılmaz put forward that there is simply no alternative to the E.U.. Failure to join would result in problems for both sides. An isolationist policy would deny the hope of prosperity, happiness and freedom. Through the E.U. Turkey can rise to world standards.
Çağrı Ektirici responded that this was a dream, and that the sense of history, with its catalogue of conflicts, would prove insurmountable.
Aybike Ispir went on the offensive for A3, claiming that E.U. inspired reforms to Article 301 of the Turkish legal system improved human rights, and added that increased democracy would be a further benefit of E.U. membership.
In response, Tamara Dursun reminded her friends in the A3 team that Turkey is a big country, large enough to stand on its own two feet and that it was not good policy to forfeit the right to self-determination to the Brussels bureaucrats. She also pointed out that some of the benefits promised by the E.U. would not be immediately forthcoming-everything came with conditions attached.
As a last remark particularly relevant to the assembled audience Pelin Özyurt emphasized the point that Turkeys education system could continue the progress already made in the integration process in terms of quality and effectiveness.
After congratulating both teams on their performances, notably in respect of their observation of the protocol of turn-taking respect for opposing views and the skill with which ideas had been linked and expressed, the Master of Ceremonies, Ian Airey, called upon Feride Güven, head of the Freshman Unit and Nilüfer Ünal, Chief Librarian, to award certificates to both teams. A round of applause was also given to the team coaches, Mrs. Liliana Seçer (A3) and Mr. David Boddington (A4) in appreciation of the time and effort they had put into preparing their respective teams.
While the award ceremony was taking place the panel of judges Aysel Sütçü (Teacher Trainer), Aycan Başgöz (Academic Coordinator) and Sevim Güngör (Curriculum Development Officer) totalled their scores. On behalf of the panel Aysel hanım announced that it had been impossible to separate the two teams, so well had the arguments been researched and presented. The official verdict was therefore a draw.