The first Abant Platform meeting, titled “Islam and Secularism,” was held in Bolu, Turkey, on July 17-19, 1998. It was attended by Turkish scholars and intellectuals of different political tendencies.
We who are gathered at Abant believe this: People’s different views and tendencies and preferences for different lifestyles are not an obstacle to their making sound decisions about their country. No matter how large our problems are, they can be solved by citizen initiatives.
Excerpt from the 1st Abant Platform Meeting’s final declaration
Participants discussed the controversial topic of Islam and secularism in Turkey during the three-day event. At the end of the meeting, they came to a consensus and wrote a final declaration summarizing the main points from their conversations.
The final declaration consisted of ten points that addressed topics such as the mind’s role in interpreting Islamic revelation, the main tasks of the state, and the purpose of secularism as a state position. The declaration also included a call for the empowerment of civil society so that more citizen initiatives can be undertaken to resolve Turkey’s problems.
The Abant Platform was established on the premise that dogmatic political biases hinder democratic development in Turkey. The Platform seeks to strengthen democracy by fostering dialogue on important issues and by believing that all different groups should be able to express themselves freely.
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