Yeditepe University Tricontinental Conference 2017
The Postcolonial Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in the Past, Present, and Future
İstanbul, 22-24 November 2017
“The world is crazy but at least it is getting regular analysis”, says The Economist. “The world is complicated, but at least it is getting regular analysis”, hedge it, the academics. Such complexity offers a myriad of opportunities to analyze. To cite examples, one can enumerate the 500 people who died along with 1.6 million people who were displaced in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in one year, a conflict between the Seleka and former government supporters that resulted in the death of 15.000 and displacement of 400.000 people in two years in Central African Republic, over 50.000 people who lost their lives in the South Sudanese civil war since 2013, a famine that carried 20 million people into the status of emergency in 10 months in Nigeria-Somalia-South Sudan-Yemen rectangle, 40.000 people who were killed by Boko Haram since its emergence in the Lake Chad region, 400 people who died in one day while attempting a military coup in Burundi, 200.000 civil servants who staged a protest against the government that had not paid their salaries for 3 months in Ivory Coast, dozens of demonstrators who lost their lives in the latest wave of anti-government protests in Venezuela, major corruption cases in which the political class are implicated across Latin America, Mexico registering the highest number of murders in 20 years only as recently as June 2017, the repercussions of the peace deal in Colombia and the concerns surrounding the post-conflict era, the increase in the legal cultivation of coca as the raw material of cocaine from 12.000 hectares to 24.000 hectares in Bolivia, an uncalculated thousands who died in the conflict between Israel and Palestine since 1948 and the recently rising tensions, 465.000 people who were murdered in the Syrian civil war since 2011, a dozen of states that decided to cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar in three days, 10.000 people who died in addition to the 40.000 who were injured in the conflict between the Houthi and the government forces in Yemen since 2015.
Motivated by the motto stating “Analyzing is good but not enough without understanding”, nevertheless, we the academics at Yeditepe University Political Science and International Relations Department decided to organize the Tricontinental Conference 2017 to understand this complex set of events in three continents- actually two continents and one region - Africa, Latin America and the Middle East since the beginning of the postcolonial episode. The origin of our decision to organize such an event was inspired by the 1966 Havana Tricontinental Conference of course, and also the Legacies of the Tricontinental Conference organized by the University of Coimbra in September 2016, but with a small change that replaced the Asian continent with the Middle Eastern region to signify our department’s regional focus priorities. Since we are enjoying the advantage of having three academics specializing on Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in our department, we wanted to get derive the highest scientific efficiency from it. By demonstrating how much we equally care for the non-Western and the Western world alike, we aimed at highlighting the non-imperialist, non-colonialist, non-exploitationist “Peace at home peace in the world” philosophy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, commemorating also his 1921 interview with a French journalist where he said, to describe his position, “we can wage war in order not to die in the hands of those who want to kill us, and yet, when and if the nation’s life is not under threat, every was is murder”. For all these reasons, our preference has been for categorizing potential papers to be presented under the theme of “The Postcolonial Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in the Past, Present and Future”. Considering mainly the postcolonial political and national structures, all the different colors in the flags of the countries inhabiting each continent and the region were mixed in shaping our logo. Africa was painted into dusty rose as a combination tone of red-green-yellow- white-orange-light blue-dark blue-black, Latin America into dark lemon green as a combination tone of light blue-yellow-green-red-white, and the Middle East into dark brown as a combination tone of red-green-white-black and dark red. Two important hallmarks of İstanbul, the Bosphorus Bridges that link two continents and a region were then added to locate the venue of the Tricontinental Conference 2017.