Espaces2: Meeting of a theological Working Group in Istanbul (Turkey)


[12.7.2015] From 6th to 9th of July 2015 Dominicans from Italy (Pistoia and Bologna), Belgium (Brussels), Turkey (Istanbul) and Germany (Berlin) came together in Istanbul for a theological discussion about the challenges of Religion in modern Europe. On the part of Institut M.-Dominique Chenu Thomas Eggensperger OP, Ulrich Engel OP and Bernhard Kohl OP participated in the convention, which took place in the second historical priory near Galata Tower (since 1475).

In a first session Luca Refatti OP (Bologna / Istanbul) gave some remarks about "Youth and Islamic Revolution between Tahir Place and Gezi Park". His Point of view was the view of a Young scholar. Following Halil Yenigun (Istanbul), PhD in Political Theory, talked about "Islamism and nationalism in Turkey". His interest was focused in the question of a new social sensibility in Islam after Gezi Park protests. In the second session of the Meeting Mine Yildrim (Istanbul), PhD in Human Rights, gave a paper about the protection of the right of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey. She looked for the Situation of Christian minorities, especially through the eyes of a Turkish Christian woman. Yildrim was followed by Dr. Nagihan Haliloglu (Istanbul), who is working as lecturer in literature at one of the new Istanbul Universities. Her theme: "Breaking the Headscarf Ban in Secular Turkey: an alternative educational Establishment in Istanbul". She asked what about we talk when we talk about the headscarf. In the third session Father Vissarion Komzias (Fanar-Istanbul), “right hand” of His Holiness Bartholomew I., informed about the engagement of the Patriarch on environment and ecology. His meditation pointed out especially the spiritual aspect of the question of human ecology. At the end of the meeting Antonio Visentini OP (Istanbul), Superior of the Dominicans in Turkey, marked some highlights of the last encyclical “Lauda to si” of Pope Francis (2015) in an ecumenical perspective.

Most of our good long discussions which took place after the papers and informal statements touched the relationship between state, civil Society/public sphere and religions or interreligious dialog respectively. The group prepares a short statement of some points of the very interesting debate.

Espaces2 is a platform of Dominicans in Europe, where questions of the mission of the Order in Europe are discussed in a philosophical and theological perspective. The reflection is starting in the social, political, religious, ethical and cultural practices of ‘real life’ of people and takes responsibility to this practices (“Salamanca Process”).

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