Freedom Means Change: What is next for Turkey? What is next for the liberals?
"A liberal knows that the only certainty in this life is change but believes that the change can be directed toward a constructive end."
In our rapidly changing world, the primary task that Liberals currently face could not be described better. Borders open, continually improving technologies pour into our everyday life, lifestyles are changing, and new topics dominate the social debate. Simultaneously, obstacles arise. Many feel powerless in the face of the challenges of change, such as polarizing political ideas or quick technological transformations. In this environment, extremist voices get louder. Only if we as Liberals adapt ourselves, we can find tomorrow's answers for today's questions. We want to live up to our aspiration as liberal, forward thinkers. That is why we have initiated a Foundation-wide process that sharpens our messages internally and externally and strengthens our persuasive power. The goal of this joint transformation process is our vision: "The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is the creative innovation platform for the social communication of Freedom." With this slogan in mind, we invited liberals to the event “Freedom Means Change – What is next for Turkey? What is next for the liberals?” on October 9 in Feriye Palace, Istanbul, to learn more about changes in Turkey and Europe and, of course, in the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom itself. While the world around us rapidly changes, the FNF Turkey Office also undergoes significant transformations. Therefore, we used the occasion to say together with colleagues, partners, and friends “Goodbye” to our outgoing Head of Office, Dr. Hans-Georg Fleck, and to welcome his successor, Dr. Ronald Meinardus.
The journalist Nevşin Mengü, who works among others for Deutsche Welle Turkey, lead the guests through the evening and started the event with a speech on the current situation of Turkey regarding especially the political, economic, societal and legal situation in Turkey. Her introductory remarks were followed by a moving speech of Bariş Altıntaş, the Head of the Media and Law Studies Association and a close partner of FNF Turkey. She described the path that the Republic of Turkey took during the years of Dr. Fleck's mission as Head of Office of FNF Turkey. Afterwards, the Chairman of FNF, Karl-Heinz Paqué, analyzed the situation of liberalism in Europe. Although he identified and characterized increasingly worrisome popularity of populism, he underlined that we should not ignore the parallelly increasing expansion of liberalism, too. In his subsequent speech, Dr. Klaff, the Head of the International Department of FNF, traced the way that Dr. Fleck’s liberal career took and highlighted its biggest successes. In the end, Dr. Fleck himself took the word and used his chance to say Goodbye to the foundation and those who accompanied him during his years as Head of Office in Turkey. Last but not least, his successor Dr. Ronald Meinardus introduced himself and was welcomed by the participants as new Head of Office in Turkey.
We wish Dr. Fleck, who will be dearly missed in the FNF Turkey Office, all the best. At the same time, we warmly welcome Dr. Ronald Meinardus and are looking forward to working with him and learn from him.