Join us for a discussion with James C Harrington on his book, “Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gulen” on May 29 at 6:30 pm.

The political trial of Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Turkish religious scholar and leader, at the turn of the 21st Century, helped greatly to expand civil liberties and strengthen democracy in Turkey. The trial began in 2000 in an Ankara state security court (now disbanded) and ended in 2008 in an appeals court in Gülen’s favor. Jim Harrington explores Gülen’s trial, examines the evolving process of Turkey’s efforts to enter the European Union, and discusses ways that the EU’s insistence on expanding civil liberties in Turkey and reforming the judicial system affected the outcome of the trial (and vice versa). He also discusses how the Gülen movement has helped the progress of democracy and civil society in Turkey and its prospects for the future, especially in light of the current government’s sustained attacks on civil and human rights generally, and on Gulen himself and Hizmet in particular. Harrington provides helpful in-depth background information for understanding the Gülen-related Hizmet movement in Turkey and around the world and the civil society movement it fosters, as well as reasons for opposition to the movement, especially in Turkey.

James C Harrington, a human rights attorney with nearly four decades of experience, is founder and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. He graduated from the School of Law at the University of Detroit, from where he also holds a Masters in philosophy. He has taught at the University of Texas School of Law as an adjunct professor for twenty-six years. Harrington has handled landmark civil rights cases, written and published widely, and served on human rights delegations in different areas of the world.Jim Harrington was born in Lansing, Michigan, and received his law degree in 1973 from the University of Detroit, from where he also had earned a Master’s degree in philosophy (1969)

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