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MEDIA CONTACT:   Polly Burks

FAU’s Jack Miller Forum Speakers Series Lecture Addresses the Turkish Experience with Democracy

BOCA RATON (November 10, 2008) – Florida Atlantic University’s Jack Miller Forum presents Dr. Mehmet Gurses, professor of political science at FAU, with the lecture “Democracy without Democrats: The Turkish Experience.” The lecture will take place on Wednesday, November 26 at 1 p.m. in General Classrooms South building, room 118   777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. It is free and open to the public.

Despite a long democratic history, Gurses says that Turkish democracy contains serious obstacles against consolidation. In his lecture, Gursues will explain how the military interventions into politics have been worsened with the rise of two serious challenges from the periphery. The Islamists have gained important electoral victories despite the established elites’ constant warning against protecting the secular aspect of the republic. However, the large Kurdish minority’s demands have not been completely absorbed into the system.

Despite these two serious problems, the Turkish elites’ desire to join the Western club by becoming a member of the European Union provides hope, despite the fact that it complicates the democratization in Turkey. Can Turkish democracy survive both religious and ethnic challenges? Can it be a model for both ethnically divided societies and Muslim countries? The lecture will address these questions and more.  

Gurses received his B.A. from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, and his doctorate from the University of North Texas. His publications have appeared in “International Interactions,” “Social Science Quarterly,” “Defense and Peace Economics,” and the “Encyclopedia of the Civil Wars of the World.”

The lecture is the second of five to be presented this school year by the Jack Miller Forum at FAU. Future lectures include “Cynicism and Sincerity in a Democratic Society” on Monday, February 16 at 1 p.m., “History at Your Fingertips: What Wikipedia, Google, E-mail Mean to Students,” on Monday, March 16 at 1 p.m. and “The Future of Conservatism” on Friday, April 17 at 1 p.m.

The Jack Miller Forum, which is organized by the department of political science in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, is a three-year initiative funded by the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.   The Miller Center provides a wide variety of resources to its partner faculty who are working to strengthen the teaching of America’s founding principles and history on college campuses across the United States.

For more information about the Jack Miller Forum at FAU, call 561-297-3212 or visit


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