International Conference on Academic Freedom

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ACADEMY OF THE AEGEAN – 22 – 24 September 2017, Nesin Maths and Philosophy Village / Şirince, Izmir, Turkey

The Programme

Background of the Academy:

International Human Rights Academy of the Aegean (IHRAA) has been founded by the Committee of International Law of the ÖHP (Platform of the Lawyers for Freedom) in 2017.  Turkey and especially its Aegean shores are known for its thousands years of history and the contributions to the philosophy, science and democratic institutions of the world. Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heredotus, Homer, Anaxagoras, Heraclitus, Xenophanes were all lived in the areas of which belong to today’s Turkey. Most of them were prosecuted, criminalised, tried, put into the jails and even killed by the rulers of ancient times. However, in spite of all these oppression their works and ideas have given inspiration to the next generations. Advancement of the peoples has never stopped and those who were punished remembered all the time.

Today Turkey is in a catastrophic situation. The fights between the rival reactionary powers ended with a coup attempt in the summer of 2016. In the following days of the coup attempt Turkish government declared a state of emergency which still continues. Many of the fundamental rights has been suspended for an undetermined period of time and the government has not waited long to use its extraordinary powers against the progressive forces of Turkey. Thousands of workers and officers dismissed with statutory decrees, hundreds of journalists were arrested without any legitimate explanation, the rights of the lawyers to represent their clients were denied, human rights activists were faced with harsh penalties. Hundreds of academics were among the ones who lost their jobs.

The founders of the International Human Rights Academy of the Aegean believe that the situation that we are living in is one of the terrible times of the history of Anatolia. However, we are not hopeless. We as the progressive human rights lawyers of Turkey believe that we should raise our voices in one of the darkest times of our history. We should take joint action with our colleagues and comrades in the other countries of the world. We should show the oppressors that we were here in ancient times, we were here before, we are here now and we will be here in future despite all atrocities!

The Goals:

The aim of the International Human Rights Academy of the Aegean is to show that the culture of learning, discussion, production and sharing of this land is still exist even in the most terrible days. Turkey is under a risk to get further away from the modern democracies of the world. Therefore, IHRAA desires to bring the human rights defenders from all countries together and discuss the human rights norms; interpret, develop and disseminate them.

IHRAA’s ultimate goal is to establish a human rights village in the Aegean coast where the educational purposes would be carried out, the largest human rights library would be built and a human rights museum would be founded. The IHRAA is aiming to work all the year round. It will organise different types of human rights activities such as conferences and education programs till to reach its ultimate objectives.

Subject of the Autumn Workshop of 2017: “Academic Freedom”

The Autumn Workshop of 2017 is one of these activities of the IHRAA. “Academic Freedom” has been chosen as the topic of this year. Turkish academics have been faced with all types of oppression during the last year. Most of the speakers of our workshop are among those who lost their positions in the universities and other institutions. There is no doubt that they will share their experiences with the participants naturally. However, the Autumn Workshop of 2017 would like to discuss the matter in a wider academic perspective with the contributions of the national and international participants. The workshop will be translated simultaneously in English and therefore the international dimension would be more apparent.

The legal basis of the academic freedom in human rights law, the concept of academic freedom in international law, academic freedom as a constitutional right, the relationship between a free society and academic freedom, academic freedom and its effect on production of knowledge are some of the subjects that has been planned to be discussed in our workshop. A multidisciplinary method including international law, political science, sociology and philosophy would be followed during our activities. After the morning sessions in larger amphitheatres participants would be gathered in small open air classes and would share their experiences to each other. We expect the participants would decide the subjects of the activities of the following years as well.

Target Group:

Our target group is consisted of the human rights activists and professionals, academics, lawyers, university students and the ones who have an interest in human rights issues in general.

Fees, Application Procedures, Facilities:

Due to the limited accommodation facilities in the Nesin Maths and Philosophy Village the IHRAA Autumn Workshop had to restrict the number of participants to 60 individuals. All the IHRAA activities are free in principle.

However, the participants should pay 20 Euros for the tents and 30 Euros for the dormitory rooms per day. Payments should be made directly to the accounts of Nesin Village/Foundation. Internet, meals (4 times in a day), accommodation and other basic needs are included in this price. Nesin Village is also a non-profit progressive organisation aiming the care and the education of children and others. Nesin Village was founded after the will of the famous Turkish writer and humorist Aziz Nesin. (See:

Cultural Events:

The cultural events and day trips to the ancient cities are also included to our program. There will be a film screening night and Maestro İbrahim Yazıcı has accepted to give a classical music concert in the village theatre as well. (Please see one of Mr. Yazıcı’s works from the link:


The IHRAA Autumn Workshop of 2017 on the Academic Freedom is organised by the support of ÖHP (Platform of Lawyers for Freedom), IADL (International Association of Democratic Lawyers) and ELDH (European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights).

For Contact:
1. Deman Güler:
2. Eda Yakmaz:
3. Fatma Demirer:

Application Link:

The applications should be made online from the following link: