International Archon Religious Freedom Conference: “Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey” – Berlin, December 3, 4 and 5, 2013



The 2nd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom in Turkey
Set to Take Place in Berlin, Germany

(Berlin, Germany) The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in cooperation with the Patriarchal Liaison Office to the European Union and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany will host the 2nd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom December 4-5, 2013at the historic Adlon Hotel in Berlin, Germany. Taking place in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate, the theme of the Conference is “Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey.”

The Conference will focus on religious freedom issues affecting minorities in Turkey stressing the concepts of equality, state neutrality and pluralism as they relate to religious freedom and the status of religious freedom under Turkey’s current and proposed new constitutions.

“Now, more than ever, the measure of religious liberty and freedom of conscience will be the foremost benchmark to determine the true democratic intentions of any society. This Conference will not only speak this truth to power, but will demonstrate real and tested means of societal transformation by stressing inclusion over exclusion.” says Dr. Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, human rights lawyers and activists, scholars, journalists, political commentators and members of religious minorities including Alevi Muslims, Armenians, Catholics, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Protestants and Syrics will all come together to discuss freedom of faith issues in Turkey and discuss first hand the day to day challenges religious minorities encounter in order to survive and how to overcome those challenges. Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, United States Senator and First Lady will address participants by video. The conference will feature over 35 world-renowned speakers and panelists from the interfaith, diplomatic, journalistic, legal, and academic communities.

One of the most critical discussions at the conference will be on the forcible closure of the Halki Theological Seminary.  The shuttered seminary has become the Berlin Wall of religious freedom, exemplifying the repression of religious minorities. This repression was exposed to the world by the CBS News program, 60 Minutes in their December 2009 segment titled The Patriarch in which His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew boldly stated that he felt “crucified in his own country.”

For more information on the conference, the Archons and to view a complete list of speakers and panelists, please visit



Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey

International Archon Religious Freedom Conference
Berlin, Germany – Hotel Adlon, Kempinski
December 3, 4 and 5, 2013

 With the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate invite you to attend and witness the Archon Second International Conference on Religious Freedom: “Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey.” It will take place in Berlin, Germany, December 4 and 5, 2013. This upcoming conference promises to be an extraordinary, historic and watershed event, just as the first Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom was in November 2010 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Once again, politicians, diplomats, human rights lawyers and advocates, scholars, religious leaders, journalists and members of minority communities will come together to see how the walls of intolerance and misunderstanding can come tumbling down, and a new future for all people of goodwill can begin.

The conference is being organized and hosted by the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America in cooperation with the Patriarchal Liaison Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union. The coordination of the local political and church partners is undertaken by the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Germany with the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Augoustinos.

December 3, 2013 – Day One

6:00 P.M.7:00 P.M. Opening Reception – Hotel AdlonWelcome Dinner – Hotel Adlon

December 4, 2013 – Day Two

Tearing Down the Walls

8:00 – 8:10 A.M. Conference Introduction

George C. Rockas, Conference Planning Chairman

Honorable Theodore Bozonelis, Conference Planning Co–Chairman

John Zavitsanos, Conference Planning Co–Chairman8:10 – 8:20 A.M.Welcome

Anthony J. Limberakis
National Commander, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate8:20 – 8:30 A.M.Greetings and Welcome

His Eminence Metropolitan Augoustinos of Germany8:30 – 8:40 A.M.Greetings and Welcome

Dr. H.C. Nikolaus Schneider
Chairman of the Council of Evangelical Church of Germany8:40 – 8:50 A.M.Patriarchal Exhortation

His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France8:50 – 9:05 A.M.Opening Remarks

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America9:05 – 9:15 A.M.Tearing Down the Walls of Religious Intolerance

Hillary Clinton, Former United States Secretary of State,
United States Senator from New York and
First Lady of the United States (Video Address)9:15 – 9:45 A.M.Religious Tolerance and Pluralism – a Global Perspective

William Antholis, Managing Director,
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies,
Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.9:45 – 10:15 A.M.Building a New Pluralism in Turkey Based on Lessons Learned From the Ottoman Empire

Professor Ilber Ortayli
Professor of History, Galatasarary University, Istanbul and Bilkent University, Ankara10:15 – 10:45 A.M.Religious Inequality in Turkey – An Overview

Professor Ayhan Kaya, Director of European Institute,
Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey11:00 – 11:15 A.M.Morning Break10:45 A.M. –
12:00 P.M.The State of Religious Equality – The View of Minority Communities


Emre Oktem, Associate Professor of International Law and Head of the International Law Department at the Faculty of Law, Galatasary University, Istanbul, Turkey


Paris Asanakis, Representative of Orthodox Community,
Lawyer, Athens, Greece

Dogan Bermek, Representative of Alevi Muslim Community, President, AVF Federation of Alevi Foundations,
Istanbul, Turkey

Rober Koptas, Representative of Armenian Community,
Editor-In-Chief of Agos, an Armenian newspaper, Istanbul, Turkey

Rinaldo Marmara, Representative of Catholic Community, Director, Caritas, Turkey

Johny Messo, Representative of Syriac Community, President of World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)

Pastor Ihsan Ozbek, Representative of Protestant Community,
Ankara Kurtulus Church and Association of Protestant Churches

Lakis Vingas, Representative of the Greek Orthodox Community Council Member, General Directorate of Foundations Representative of the Non Muslim Foundations12:00 – 12:30 P.M.State Neutrality and Pluralism – Important Components of Religious Freedom

Mine Yildirim, Humanitarian and Religious Freedom Advocate, Director, Freedom of Belief Initiative Project in Turkey, Norwegian Helsinki Commission, Doctoral Candidate, Aabo Akademi, Institute of Human Rights, Istanbul, Turkey12:30 – 1:30 P.M.Lunch Break1:30 – 2:30 P.M.Panel Discussion on the Status of Equality, Pluralism and State Neutrality in Turkey


Dr. Steven Ealy
Senior Fellow, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, Indiana


Fatma Benli
Lawyer and Human Rights Activist,
Turkey’s Representative to the International Jurists Union

Doctor Aykan Erdemir
Member of the Turkish Parliament representing Bursa, Member of Turkey – EU – Joint Parliamentary Committee

Doctor Tugba Tanyeri – Erdemir
Deputy Director of the Center for Science and Society,
Member of American Research Institute, Ankara, Turkey

Doctor Murat Somer
Associate Professor of International Relations
Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey2:30 – 3:00 P.M.Legal and Political Obstacles to Achieving Equality, Neutrality and Pluralism

Orhan Kemal Cengiz
Lawyer, Human Rights Defender and Newspaper Columnist Izmir, Turkey3:00 – 3:15 P.M.Afternoon Break3:15 – 4:00 P.M.Why Does Religious Freedom Matter – The Relationship Between That Freedom and Other Civil, Political and Economic Liberties


Dilek Kurban, MA, JD, Stiftung Mercator-IPC Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, Germany and Former Director of the Democratization Program, Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey


Willy Fautre, Chairman, Human Rights Without Frontiers International, Brussels, Belgium

Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director, American Center of Law and Justice, Washington, D.C.4:00 – 5:00 P.M.Tearing Down Walls – Legal and Humanitarian Perspectives on Equality, State Neutrality and Pluralism


Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Harvard University, Center for European Studies, Former Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom


Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C.

Cole Durham, Susan Young Gates, Professor of Law, Director, International Center for Law and Religious Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

Yannis Ktisakis, Assistant Professor of Human Rights Law, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey and Democritus University, Thrace, Greece and Legal Advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Muna Ndulo, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, Director of Cornell’s Institute for African Development, Human Rights Advocate and Humanitarian
Ithaca, New York6:30 – 8:00 P.M.Reception – United States Embassy

December 5, 2013 – Day Three

The New Constitution

9:00 – 9:30 A.M. Keynote Speaker
9:30 – 10:00 A.M. The Status of Religious Freedom Under The Current Constitution

Dr. Ergun Ozbudun
Professor of Constitutional Law, Bilkent University, Ankara
Turkey and Turkish Representative to the Venice Commission, Council of Europe10:00 – 11:45 A.M.Equality, Pluralism and State Neutrality Under The Current Constitution – Needed Areas of Change

– the judiciary
– education
– property rights
– places of worship
– legal personality
– religious training and
– funding


Sahin Alpay, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Bahcesehir University, Columnist Zaman and Today’s Zaman, Istanbul, Turkey


Dr. Osman Can, Constitutional Scholar and Reporting Judge at the Turkish Constitutional Court, Member of Central Committee of AK Party, Selected as Jurist of the Year 2010 in Turkey

Ozge Genc
Director, Democratization Program
Tesev, Istanbul, Turkey

Ozgur Sevigi Goral
Advisor of the Peace and Democracy Party for the Parliamentary Constitution Commission, Istanbul, Turkey

Riza Turmen
Former Judge, European Court of Human Rights, Member of Turkish Parliament and Member of the Constitution Committee, Izmir, Turkey10:45 – 11:00 A.M.Mid Morning Break11:45 A.M. –
12:30 P.M.The Status of the Proposed New Constitution

Dr. Levent Koker
Professor of Public Law
Atilim University Law School
Ankara, Turkey12:30 – 2:00 P.M.Lunch2:00 – 2:30 P.M.Halki – The Berlin Wall of Religious Freedom

His Eminence Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa
Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Holy Trinity on the Island of Halki and former Chief Secretary of Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate2:30 – 3:15 P.M.Obstacles to Effecting Meaningful Change

Mustafa Akyol
Author, Journalist and Political Commentator, Istanbul, Turkey3:15 – 3:30 P.M.Break3:30 – 4:15 P.M.Removing Obstacles Through the European Court of Human Rights and Other Institutions

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Washington, D.C. and to European Center for Law and Justice, Strasbourg, France4:15 – 4:45 P.M.What Achieving Equality, Neutrality and Pluralism Means for Turkey

Speaker to be Determined4:45 – 5:00 P.M.What to Expect Going Forward7:00 – 7:30 P.M.Farewell Reception7:30 – 9:30 P.M.Grand Banquet





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