Panel Report: ” Professions Vital for Democracy ” @ European Parliament




“Working in challenging times”
March 30, 11:00 – 13:00
European Parliament


On March 30, 2017 at the European Parliament, European Professionals Network organized a panel discussion on the current challenges of Turkish journalists, lawyers, academicians and civil society members. The event was hosted by MEP Sander Loones. The participants were mostly composed of professionals, representatives of international justice and human rights organizations, media members and reps of journalist and lawyer associations.

EPN PANEL-1Dr. Ugur Tok initiated the panel by giving brief information on the current situation in Turkey. He stated that 7,317 academics have lost their jobs; 4,272 judges, prosecutors have been dismissed; 149 media outlets were shut down and 162 journalists have been arrested since July 2016. These figures are changing on an almost daily basis and subject to constant revision. That means the institutions that symbolize and defend the democratic values are now all crumbled.

EPN PANEL-2Mr. Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) stated that they follow the cases of 152 journalists in Europe; 145 of them are currently jailed in Turkey. According to the latest survey of EFJ, %86 of Turkish journalists suspect that they are under surveillance; 83% feel psychological pressure and thus apply self-censorship; 64% have experienced intimidation by political groups. He also states that EFJ, The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and European Association of Judges (EAJ) will publish a joint declaration on the ongoing crackdown on the rule of law in Turkey. (Click here for the full statement)

EPN PANEL-5Turkish exiled journalist Mr. Yavuz Baydar stressed that the figure of 150 jailed journalists adds up to 60% of the whole world. This dramatic figure is the highest level ever in the history of journalism. He noted that Turkey entered a historical referendum era with no independent media. The public debates on TV stressing diversity, pluralism of views, exchanging of ideas have all vanished since the coup attempt in Turkey. He indicated that these types of TV programs are essential for the public opinion particularly at times of elections or referendums. Mr. Baydar stressed that the members of the opposition groups are being sentenced to starvation, to a life without dignity. Those people are losing their hope and their desire for life. Because they are being deliberately turned into pariahs, third class citizens regardless of their political color — simply because they are opposition. Baydar also thinks that no matter what result will come out from the referendum, Turkey might end up with a society that turns against each other with the poison of hatred, causing not only psychological violence but also physical one.

EPN PANEL-15Ms. Judith Lichtenberg from “Lawyers for Lawyers” focused on the role of lawyers on upholding the rule of law. She points out that in many parts of the world, lawyers that take up sensitive cases are threatened, harassed, intimidated, persecuted and subjected to disciplinary sanctions for simply doing their jobs.  Unfortunately Turkey is one of those countries. There are 7 UN principles that guarantee the lawyers’ rights. Out of 7, 6 of them are violated in Turkey. One of them has particular importance in Turkey — that is to discern the lawyers from their clients. The lawyers are accused of the charges — such as terrorism — related with their clients. In 2011, 46 lawyers were arrested and persecuted; they were all the lawyers representing Abdullah Ocalan. In 2016, the lawyers who were representing those lawyers were also arrested. After the coup attempt, the situation got much worse. There are thousands of people in prison. The lawyers have hardly excess to their clients. Some are able to see their clients one hour in a week. It is not possible to have a confidential conversation with the client. All the conversations are recorded, filmed and accompanied with a prison guard. All the documents exchanged with the lawyer are controlled by the prison staff. Just like journalists’ self-censorship matter, lawyers are afraid of taking sensitive cases. Because they know that they will be the next target.

Mrs. Elif EPN PANEL-18Alduman, president of KYM International, began her presentation by giving brief information on the civil society in Turkey. She stressed out that 1125 associations and 560 foundations were shut down since the coup attempt. She indicated that 85% of the population is not a member of a civil society because they are afraid of to be targeted by the government. The case was similar with KYM Foundation. KYM had the consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC, was the executive partner of the UNHCR, had 3 million individual donators and 224,000 volunteers before it was shut down by the government. Not only the board members but also the employees of KYM were arrested after July 15. Ms. Alduman also noted that there are around 134.000 civil servants who got sacked and these people are not allowed to work in public sphere or at any job that they can work with their diplomas. This figure increases to almost half a million when you consider the families of those sacked. However the case of detained and arrested people is more critical. There are 50 suspicious deaths and many rape allegations in the prisons after the coup attempt. She also gave the following individual example: A detained high school teacher who was denied to have access to his diabetes medics found dead in his prison cell. She also explained how Turkish embassies and consulates not only refuse to give any service to some Turkish citizens but also confiscate their passports.

In the Q&A section, exiled journalist Sevgi Akarcesme stated that the dictators behave true to type; they oppress people. Her question was why the mainstream media and most of the Turkish intelligentsia use the same rhetoric with the government since it helps enable the language of the current autocratic regime in Turkey and further worsens the situation. Mr. Baydar responded that the problem lies with an ethical dilemma of journalists and it is nothing new. A significant part of the media has always demonized certain journalists or groups, such as Kurds, since the beginning of 80s. What we are going through now is a more severe situation, though. The polarization, political fanaticism, pursuing one’s own self-interest, advocating for democracy only for your own group is merely a sickness.

EPN PANEL-20Stéphanie De Windisch Graertz among the participants asked whether the acts of the journalists that mouthpiece the government and propagate its rhetoric are compatible with the core principles of journalism and whether it is accurate to call them as journalists. Mr. Baydar responded that there are four criteria that define journalism: freedom, independence, safety and pluralism. Propagandism falls inside journalism according to this definition as freedom of expression is the bedrock of the freedom of the media. So propagandism can be compatible with journalism only when pluralism exists. But in the case of Turkey, diversity and pluralism are severely damaged because the “independent” segment has disappeared to a large extent. So the pro-government sources dominate the mass media.

EPN PANEL-aaAnother question from the audience was why the European media doesn’t write or speak enough about Turkey. Mr. Baydar told that the high priority is to show solidarity with jailed, fired or persecuted journalists. And many of the western European media such as Belgian, Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Italian and Spanish media are aware of the situation enough to report about it. Also many organizations such as EFJ, CPJ, Reporters without borders etc. have been campaigning about Turkey for months with petitions, visits, conferences in and out of Turkey. They have been doing enough, but the situation in Turkey has hit the wall. As a possible solution, he suggested that let’s say if the city of Ghent adopts one jailed journalist in Turkey, the city of Amsterdam adopts a jailed Kurdish journalist and another German city adopts a Gulen-affiliated journalist, this symbolic act would lead to a social awareness of the situation and bring it to the attention of the local media and thus the civil society members. Declaring him/her as “Honorary Citizen” would make a huge impact in the international media.

Taken together, the picture emerging from the comments drawn on firsthand experience and expert remarks is that Turkey is moving away from its century-old democracy. The main takeaway is that all the segments believing in democratic values, rule of law and human rights should unite their voices and work together against the ongoing oppression, autocratic and unlawful practices. Professionals such as journalists, lawyers, academicians and civil society members play a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy and thus they are to be protected no matter how.



EPN Breakfast Talks 30: “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: Characteristics of Radicalization” Dr. Nadia Fadil

Date: 08 May ’16
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Location: Fedactio – Rue des Palais 27 / 5 Brussels 1030
Language: English
Price: 5 €

As the dust settles on the dual bombings in Brussels in mid-March, questions and worries mount over how this will affect the socio-political atmosphere in Europe and how to deal with what appears to be an act of violent extremism. The tragedy of the Brussels attacks became another reminder of how crucial it is to understand the local context that enables people to yield to the lure of extremist ideas, to understand and address core issues at the root of violence, to respond with concerted, constructive action and to understand the civil society’s role. In an attempt to take a step towards this goal, EPN kindly invites you to join us in this breakfast talk with our guest speaker Dr. Nadia Fadil.

10:00-10:30 Registration
10:30-11:30 Open Buffet Breakfast
11:40-12:30 Talks
12:30-13:00 Q&A Session







Nadia Fadil is an Assistant Professor at the IMMRC (Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre) at the University of Leuven. After having obtained a PhD at this same institute, She’s been affiliated as a Postdoctoral Jean Monnet Research Fellow at the European University Institute (2008-2009) and a Visiting Fellow at the University of California Berkeley (2011-2012) and have been a FWO Postdoctoral fellow at the KU Leuven (2009-2012).

Her primary research interest pertains to the presence of Islam as a lived and embodied reality in Europe. Her current project deals with the ways in which subjectivities of Maghrebi background constitute themselves as ‚Muslims’ through a distinct and heterogeneous engagement with the Islamic tradition. More broadly, her theoretical interest extends to questions of subjectivity and power, ethical selfhood, postcoloniality, race and secularism. On this questions, she has published extensively in academic journals (such as Social Anthropology, Feminist Review or Ethnicities) and written various book chapters in edited volumes. She has also written on the policies of integration in Flanders, on which she co-authored a book (Leeuw in een Kooi. De Multiculturele verbeelding in Vlaanderen, 2009) and has been engaged amongst various minority organizations involved with the politics of integration in the field. She is also the PI of the research project „Redefining Home” which started in February 2015 and seeks to understand new mobility patterns amongst second and third-generation Maghribi Muslims from Europe to the UAE and Montréal.


Report of the event

On May 8, 2016, EPN successfully realized its 30th Breakfast Talk with Asst. Prof. Nadia Fadil being the honorary guest speaker. Following the colorful breakfast buffet, participants took their seats to brainstorm and discuss about the notion of radicalization.

Ms. Fadil began her speech with the history of the radicalization discourse in Belgium. Her research indicates that the term of “radical” was first used in late 1990s, while the understanding of “radicalization” as a gradual process came much later. The central questions of the session were as such: What does the term radicalization do? How has it been introduced, and what effects does it produce? How is it tied with a particular economy of political violence?

According to the academician, major motivations for radicalization are existential and individual searches like sense of injustice or revenge, psychological traits such as need of solidarity, romanticism or simply too much testosterone/aggression. However, the motivations and methods of action change with historical and social contexts. Ms. Fadil underscored that radicalization is strongly tied with a shift in political violence. It fits in a new understanding of war. It might be fighting against war, but still it is a state of war. The talk ended after the Q&A session.


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EPN WORKSHOP: ” How to Present Yourself ” by Homeira Kroone

EPN Workshop

‘ How to Present Yourself? ‘

Showing the best version of yourself: Tips on self-introduction & presentation

Homeira Kroone


Date: 12 Nov ’15
Time: 19:00 – 21:30
Location: Fedactio – Rue des Palais 27-5 Scaherbeek 1030
Language: English
Price: 20 € for EPN members, 25€ for non-members


When it comes to interviews, presentations, important meetings and any situation where you need to make a stellar impression, a little bit of guidance goes a long way toward making a highly effective presentation. Getting tips about what makes a good introduction, how to go about it, how to budget your time and use body language, what kind of an impression you have on people is immensely important; and getting the chance of practicing these tips at a workshop can be a life-saver. For the purpose of assisting professionals in their careers, European Professionals Network (EPN) has organized a 2.5hrs long workshop on self-introduction and presentation with Communication Coach Homeira Kroone.









Homeira Kroone

Native Persian, Kroone left her country at the age of 19 to seek advance and improvement in her life. She graduated from Technology College in Aalborg, Denmark at the age of 27, which strengthened her rational and result-oriented mind. From the age of 30 she entered the field of personnel establishment where she acquired extensive training as well as personal development and improvement sessions, which resulted in her improved understanding of self and others, as well as increased ability to communicate with and help employees and seniors to reach their goals and purposes.

By the age of 50 she has had 20 years of experience and belief that ‘It is the mindset of individuals involved in any project, team or company which sets their activities and results. Help the individual with a tailor-made program and you help the group as a whole.’ She has been extensively training in the fields of communication (individuals and groups) and relationships. She recently moved to Belgium; and in about 1.5 years she has delivered more than 30 seminars. She has also delivered more than 300 hours of self-improvement sessions. To contact Homeira Kroone click here

Kindly register early via to reserve your spot as workshop space is limited.

18:30 – 19:00 Registration
19:00 – 21:30 Workshop
21:30 – 22:00 Drinks & Snacks


Report of the event

Coming together with the EPN members at the “How to Present Yourself” workshop on Nov. 12th, Ms. Homeira Kroone began her session with the unusual game of asking the participants to find certain objects she described in the room. She, then, asked them to find certain features in one another. Explaining the purpose of the practices in the end, Ms. Kroone said that familiarity with the setting and the audience is one of the key tips for making a successful and effective presentation. In order to get familiar with the environment, one can play little games like finding a “blue item” or “favorite item” in the room, or finding a person wearing glasses among the participants. These practices aim to ease and improve one’s body language and self-confidence.

As for improving and well-structuring the content of the presentation, Ms. Kroone suggested asking oneself certain questions. Presentations should always contain the answers to the questions of “Who am I”, “Why am I giving the presentation” and “What do I want the audience to take away from the presentation?” But before working on these questions, knowing and understanding the audience is crucial to be able to connect with them. Ms. Kroone noted that prior to presentations, she always researches and finds out the audience expectations and demographics. According to the communication coach, by knowing more about the audience and their expectations, and also making eye contacts to involve them, one will be able to tailor the talk to make it more interesting and satisfying.

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BREAKFAST TALKS 29: Students with diverse cultural backgrounds in Belgian educational system, Dr. Altay Manco

Date: Oct. 25, 2015, Sunday

Time: 10:00 – 13:00

Venue: Fedactio – Rue des Palais 27-5 1030 Brussels

Price: 8€

Language: Turkish


It is a widely accepted fact that adapting and contributing to society in social and economic terms is possible only through quality education. And yet, in Belgium, a country guaranteeing the principles of equal opportunities, freedom of expression and social justice, are the students with diverse background receiving quality education and becoming successful in their educational careers? Dr. Altay Manço will share his insights and experiences on the subject at a talk on October, 25, Sunday. We kindly invite you and your friends to the talk and the breakfast held before the event.

Ps. All guests attending this event are kindly requested to register by email to or by calling +32 (0) 2 734 7900 until ​Oct. 24, 2015.



10:00-10:30   Registration
10:30-11:30    ​Breakfast
11:40-12:30    ​Talk with ​Altay Manço
12:30-13:00   Questions&Answers












Dr. Altay Manço

Obtaining PhD degree in social psychology field from Liege University, Manço has conducted a number of researches on Turkish migration, socio-cultural and psychological adaptation and migration psychology. He has given consultation services at institutions in Canada, Morocco as well as many countries in Europe since 1986. He is still carrying out partner projects with Paris Descartes University, Sherbrooke University in Quebec and University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland. He is the academic director of the Institute for Research, Training and Action on Migrations (IRFAM) since 1996 and the editor-in-chief of the online magazine of Diversités et Citoyennetés. For a more detailed CV of Manço, please click


Report of the event

Belgium is a multicultural melting pot with 25% of the total population formed by people of foreign background and their descendants. This adds to the importance of the integration and equal education issues. Making a presentation on these matters at the 29th edition of the Breakfast Talk, Dr. Altay Manço, an academician researching mainly on Turkish migration, socio-cultural and psychological adaptation and migration psychology, highlighted that adapting and contributing to society in social and economic terms is possible only through quality education. However, Belgium needs to make certain improvements in education in order to better integrate people of non-Belgian origin into the society. Statistics show that 90 percent of the Turkish people in Belgium hold high school diploma; but only 60 percent can write a letter in French or Dutch. This puts doubts on the reliability and quality of the education they receive, Manço stated.

The European countries where the rate of vocational high school graduates is higher than many are also the countries with higher unemployment rates. Belgium is, unfortunately, one of the above-mentioned countries and diplomas do not measure true success, the academician noted. It is vital to place migrant and economically challenged students in schools in the country homogeneously. USA and Canada are the most, while Belgium and France are the least homogeneous countries in this sense. And the main difference between the two groups of countries is their approach to the migration issue. According to Manço, Belgium and France have failed to admit that they are receiver countries. The presentation rolled with the audience with questions and comments on the matters.

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Free Movement of Professionals


Free Movement of Professionals

How does it make the EU richer and smarter?
16 June 2015, European Parliament



On 16 June 2015, EPN in collaboration with ECAS and UNITEE organized a panel on Free Movement of Professionals at the European Parliament. The event was co-hosted by Ms. Eva Paunova, MEP and Mr. Jo Leinen, MEP. Mr. Selçuk Gültaşlı, EU correspondent at Zaman Media Group, started the panel by indication the necessity and importance of further developing Free Movement of labor and professionals in order to achieve a functioning single market.

2 Eva PaunovaMs. Paunova was then introduced to give keynote speech. Ms. Paunova underlined that free movement of professionals is one of the key pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy. Moreover she noted that “we do need thriving businesses in Europe and businesses need international professionals”.  The need for new legislation that promotes ease of mobility across borders was also stressed. She also introduced a few ways to help move forward. For instance, ERS has been active in 26 languages which allows them to reach a larger pool of people. Another idea was to encourage legislation for health insurance overseas. This way people working in other countries will be covered, or at the very least reimbursed. It also very important to recognize diplomas given from different countries so those who have completed their education can earn a decent living based on it.

3 Jorg TaggerMr. Jorg Tagger, deputy head of unit at DG employment gave the second keynote speech. Mr. Tagger sees the Free Movement of labor as one of the key pillars of the internal market. He explained that labor mobilization is becoming a hot topic and that the commission is proposing a balanced approach to labor mobility.  Mr. Tagger also touched on the issue of social security and described how regulations have been improved to protect European citizens working within EU and European Economic Area countries. Talking from data, Mr. Tagger noted, “20 percent of Europeans would be willing to move to another country for work”. This is a significant statistic when considering that only around three percent of Europeans work in another country. In order to encourage more people, the commission is working on a labor-mobilizing package that will also revise social security coordination. He explained some of the aspects of his package and how they will help the cause. These however introduced some challenges that will need to be addressed through careful revision and assessment of the deal.

4 Assya KavrakovaMs. Assya Kavrakova, Director of ECAS, focused on the importance of free movement of professionals as a contributor to advances in economy as well as democracy. She indicated “studies reveal that Erasmus students are better positioned to find job after graduation due to their international experience”. This shows that free mobility is not only about economics, but also about a better democracy. She also talked about how certain studies have shown to improve the overall quality of life for those who participate. They also show a higher level of participation during elections which makes them more active in society. Unfortunately, some challenges such as certain delays and requests for documents can pose as threats to the success of the program. Lack of recognition of diplomas was also stressed as an issue again.

5 Giovanni Collot

Mr. Giovanni Collot from UNITEE noted that the Free Movement of professionals aids in creating a common market and cultivating New Europeans. Immigrants that travel to Europe bring with them growth and innovations due to their experience in so many different cultures. He did point out that education, or lack thereof, can be a challenge. Nevertheless, this mobility aids in rise of democracy, creation vibrant economy and also in strengthening of the European identity.

Mr. Melih Erdem Koctepe, business consultant at Benson & Winch, took up the topic from a business perspective. He noted that there is lack of candidates in some sectors, despite relatively high employment rates. For this reason, companies hire talent from countries like India or China rather than Europe. It was also stated that work permits can be difficult for some to obtain and will slow down the hiring process. Decreasing the  need for work permits will allow Europe to expand its competitive market. Encouraging and improving Free Movement of professionals would therefore allow a more efficient allocation of resources and also cause significant economic growth.

Mr. Matthias Busse, researcher at CEPS, indicates that despite all the benefits that the Free movement of Labor would bring, there are still significant challenges. Professionals have sought to move across borders due to the recent crisis, but they experience language and bureaucratic hurdles. There is also uneven mobility of professionals. Most professionals move along East-West corridor, but there is not much of mobility along North-South. As a result of free movement, stock of Euro has increased and there is circular migration that is helping economic growth. In order to enable better conditions, we should tackle language and bureaucratic barriers. While there have been language courses offered, they have been costly and time consuming, but effective nevertheless. Moreover, there is a need for increased communication between institutions and promotion of the opportunities available.

 5 Melih Erdem    6 Matthias Bose    7 Questions

To summarize, there was a consensus that the Free Movement of Professionals is an important driver of economic growth and the creation of a functioning single market. Education of professionals was also mentioned to be very important for an economically stable Europe.  Free Movement of Professionals also strengthens European identity, entrepreneurship and innovation. Barriers standing in the way of personal, social, and economic success of professionals include bureaucratic barriers, language barriers, fear of insurance benefits across borders, and lack of recognition of bordering education systems. Various solutions were discussed to combat these barriers, the most seemingly promising to be the revision of the Labor Mobility Package in December of 2015. The revisions will include revising Social Security rules, consulting with stakeholders, and issuing a targeted review of labor mobility. In accordance to tackling the education barrier, MEP Eva Paunova and Ms. Assya Kavrakova both mentioned how improving the recognition of various diplomas, programs, and related job experiences across borders is a priority of the EU.

Authors: M.Kafi Citci, Fatima Naqvi & Uroosa Khalid


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EPN SEMINAR: ” Transformational Talent” by Melih Erdem Koctepe, Business Consultant @ Benson & Winch


Transformational Talent


Melih Erdem Koctepe

Business Consultant at Benson & Winch


Date: May 27th, Wednesday

Time: 19:00 – 20:30

Where: Fedactio – Rue de Palais 27 – 5 1030 Brussels

Price: 5 €

Topic: Transformational Talent

Language: English


Nowadays, employers are asking more and more from the employees to have new skills and talents. So how do you transform your talents according to the requirements? The concept brings that anything can be transformational; therefore any talent or skill can be as such. Having transformational talent means knowing how to take advantage of multiple skills to drive different outcomes. In this seminar an essential aspect of the professional succes, being innovative and knowing how to combine talents together will be elaborated.

European Professionals Network kindly invites you to the event where Mr.Koctepe will discuss the attributes of transformational talent in an interactive environment.



18:30-19:00 Register

19:00-20:00 Interactive Seminar

20:00-20:30 Snacks & Drinks







Melih Erdem Koctepe

As a Master in Nanotechnology Engineering, Chemistry and MBA, Dr Erdem combined both his technical skills and managerial skills into the development of technology consulting business within Benson & Winch, in Brussels. Dr Erdem started working for Benson & Winch in 2012, first as a recruitment consultant, and then from 2014 as a business consultant. Previous positions include Associate to McKinsey & Company, and Research Engineer. His professional experience as a recruitment consultant made him an expert about human resources, talent acquisition and talent management.


Report of the event

On May 27th, EPN hosted a seminar with the participation of business consultant Dr Melih Erdem Koctepe, in order to discuss about the concept of transformational talent. The audience was composed of professionals from different business sectors.

Dr Erdem explained the notion of transformational talent by illustrating the attributes that people in possess of this talent hold. Among the most interesting character traits, it appears that transformational talented people are in general life learners, collaborative, storytellers, and natural leaders. Nowadays, employers are asking more and more to the employees to have and show transformational talent. According to Dr Erdem, to have this kind of talent means mostly to be innovative and to know how to combine talents together. The key to find transformational talent is to give the employees the right opportunities to reveal and use it.

After a short Q&A session, participants gathered around a few tables to enjoy networking and a small reception.


​BREAKFAST TALK 28: ​Democracy and Anatolia , SELÇUK GÜLTAŞLI, Zaman daily’s Brussels Representative ​​

Democracy and Anatolia


Zaman daily’s Brussels Representative​​


Date: May 10, Sunday

Time: 10.00 – 13.00

Venue: Fedactio (Rue des Palais 27 – 5 Bruxelles 1030)

Price: 8€

Lecturer: Journalist Selçuk Gültaşlı

Language: Turkish


Turkey has a history of 200 years of democratization. However, since democracy, by its nature, is a process rather than a conclusion, its goals are never to be done away with. This process includes obstacles, fights, steps forward, steps back; and so does Turkey’s. Yet the key point is to never abandon the path to democracy. In order to discuss this path lying before Turkey, recent course of events, cornerstones of democracy and core democratic values’ counterparts in the Anatolian culture, Selçuk Gültaşlı, the Brussels representative of Turkey’s highest circulating newspaper, Zaman, will be the guest speaker of the 28thBreakfast Talk. We kindly invite you and your friends to join us for a day of thought-provoking discussion organized by EPN and Golden Rose.



10:00-10:30    Registration
10:30-11:30    Open buffet breakfast
11:40-12:30    Talk with Selçuk Gültaşlı
12:30-13:00    Q&A



Selçuk Gültaşlı

Born in Ankara in 1969, Gültaşlı obtained undergraduate degree at Boğaziçi University’s International Relations and graduate degree at Leuven University’s European Studies. He, later, started working at the Zaman daily’s Ankara office as a diplomacy correspondent in 1995. Between 1999 and 2001, he worked as the diplomacy editor of the Turkish Daily news, the only English newspaper of Turkey at the time. Since then, he has been Brussels representative of the Zaman daily. Also since 2008, Gültaşlı has been hosting the TV program “European Desk” on the Samanyolu Haber TV channel.


Report of the event

Following an intimate breakfast time on May 10, Sunday, Selçuk Gültaşlı, a veteran journalist covering European politics for the Zaman newspaper, started his talk on “Democracy and Anatolia”. Giving a brief introduction about the history of the development of democracy in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey founded afterwards, Gültaşlı noted that elections took place during the Ottoman rule, but still, there was no “genuine democracy” until the multi-party elections in 1946. And since then, the democratic experience of Turkey has been rather challenging, he added. According to Gültaşlı, democracy is perhaps the most complex and difficult of all forms of government; it is a system of rule by laws, not individual and the exercise of political power must respect these laws as well as the free will of the people, he underlined. The talk ended with some thought-provoking questions from the attendees.


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BREAKFAST TALKS 2​7​: Belgian Groen Party Leader MEYREM ALMACI​ Life story, Political Career and Success Tips

21 March 2015 10:00

Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27, 1030 Schaarbeek, België



Belgian Groen Party Leader: MEYREM ALMACI

Life story, Political Career and Success Tips


European Professionals Network (EPN) and Golden Rose will proudly host Flemish Groen Party Leader Meyrem Almaci as guest speaker at the 27th Breakfast Talk. Having actively being involved in the Groen, Belgium’s Flemish-speaking Green party steadily increasing its share of votes with successful environmental and social policies, for a considerable length of time, Almaci is the first person of Turkish origin to become the leader of a political party in Belgium. You are kindly invited to this talk in which the Groen leader will share her success story, political career and success tips following an open-buffet breakfast.



10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-11:30 Open Buffet Breakfast

11:40-12:30 Talk

12:30-13:00 Q&A Session


Brief Biography of Almaci

Born in Belgium in 1976, Meyrem Almaci has obtained master’s degree in comparative cultural science at Ghent University.In 2000, she founded the Agalev section Sint-Gillis-Waas and became councillor in the same year. She has taken part in research projects about migrants’ educational success at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

In 2006, she moved to Berchem where she has become the district councillor. On 10 June 2007, Almaci was elected into the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and she has been the leader of Groen!


Report of the Event

Belgian Groen Party Head Meyrem Almaci made an inspiring talk on her life story, how she made her journey to becoming the leader of a political party that garners an increasing share of support for its environmental and social policies at the 27th Breakfast Talk on March 21, 2015. Almaci said Belgians of Turkish origin are often encouraged to pursue vocational education and training, but she fought her way to graduating from a university. Perseverance and working hard have been the key elements for her success, she underlined. Almaci also noted that her family and the community she grew up in have been the driving force behind her rise to the position she has now. “As citizens of non-Belgian origin, we also have the responsibility of contributing to our country. My aim is to bring positive changes to the country and community I live in. I disagree with the idea ‘the duty of the opposition is to oppose.’ We all should make contributions and solution suggestions,” the Groen leader stated. For those who wish to pursue career in politics, Almaci suggested asking themselves the questions of ‘What do I want to change in the society?’ and ‘Which political party do I feel close to?’.

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EPN SEMINAR: The Belgian Social Law

25 February 2015 19:00

Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27, 1030 Schaarbeek, België

Seminar : The Belgian Social Law

Abstract :

European Professionals Network (EPN) organizes a seminar about ‘The Belgian Social Law’. This seminar aims at giving basisof social law to young professionals and it’s essentially based on the law of 3th July 1978 related to contracts of employment. The social law supports the integration of professionals by having good working conditions.

This project doesn’t want to develop an overall legislation. Its aim is to focus on the young professionals’ needs. For instance; how many days off could they take? What does the probation periodmean? These and many other questions which will be answered during this seminar.

The social legislation is divided into three components : the labour legislation, the employments regulations and the social security. To be more effective, the seminar will focus only on the first two points.

The first chapter on the labor legislation will provide a clear view and understanding of key concepts. At first, we will stress necessary elements of the labour regulation. In other words, it will define: 

– employment contract, employment, salary, link of subordination;

– permanent employment contract, fixed-term contract, part time job, full time job.

Then, the seminar will study the probation period which refers to the period allowing employers and employees to appreciate the qualities of employee for the first one and the qualities of the job for the second one. Another topic of discussion will be employer’s duty and its liability but also employee’s duty. In that way, young professionals will understandtheir rights towards their employer as well as their responsibilities.Finally, the case of employees suspending or putting an end to the contract employment will be highlighted.  

In the second chapter, we will explain briefly the employments regulations by dealing with the social documents, the working time, the regulation of holiday. Indeed, the understanding of these concepts is necessary when starting a job.

At the end of this seminar, young professionals will be able to understand their rights according the law of 3th July 1978 related to contracts of employment. They will be also able to introduce an appeal in case of violation of their rights. 


Siham Lechkar

Born in Brussels, Siham earned a Bachelor degree in Law at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (EPHEC). In 2014 she graduated at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and at Université Saint-Louis (FUSL) with a Master degree in European Studies. Siham is particularly interested in the Euro-Arabic relations. Her Master thesis discussed “Les migrations maghrébines à l’épreuve des ‘Printemps arabes’. Etude de cas: Tunisie, Maroc, Algérie”. Siham is also interested in the political situation of the Middle East. During her academic career she had the opportunity to write several short articles about the Arab spring. At the same time, Siham worked as a volunteer for Intal, a Brussels-based association that aims at promoting human rights in developing countries. She had an active role in programming and planning activities across Belgium. As she became further passionate about human rights, in 2014 she started to work for Amnesty International.

Siham joined EPN in December 2014 as EU Project and Communication Manager. She speaks fluent French, English, Arabic and she has basic knowledge of Dutch and Spanish.


 Report of the event

On the 25th February 2015, EPN and For Youth hosted Mrs Siham Lechkar to talk about the Belgian Social Law. Following a pleasant drink during which members took the chance of chatting with one another, Siham Lechkar began her presentation by explaining the component of Social Law and highlighted the main difference between the right to work and the right to social security. Then, she explained to us the legislation on 3rd July 1978 related to the employee working contract. She stressed the rights and duties of employers and employees, for instance how they can suspend or cancel the contract according the legislation.

She further noted that the 2014 reform doesn’t bring a lot of changes in practice but nevertheless represents a big step forward by questioning the worker and employee status. Finally, she opened a debate and let people expressed their feelings vis-à-vis the 2014 reform.

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BREAKFAST TALKS 26: Prof. Dr. Niyazi Oktem, Dimensions of freedom of faith and freedom of expression

22 February 2015 10:00

Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27, 1030 Schaarbeek, België



Role of faiths in restoring peace & Dimensions of freedom of faith and freedom of expression

Author and Academic Prof. Niyazi Oktem

Although almost all the faiths of the world essentially share the values of peace and tolerance, they are often viewed as inherently related to violence and leading people to conflict rather than peace. This superficial association between faith and violence has been once again brought to people’s attention in the aftermath of the hideous assault on Charlie Hebdo last month, revealing the fact that unless faiths are seen as part of the solution, they will continue to be seen as part of the problem. But what kind of a role should faiths undertake on the road to peace? Is the freedom of faith being applied effectively and fairly? At the 26th Breakfast Talk organized by European Professionals Network (EPN) and Golden Rose, the guest lecturer Prof. Niyazi Oktem will share his insights and studies about the topic and will answer the questions of the participants. We kindly invite you and your friends to this thought-provoking talk followed by an open buffet breakfast.



10:00-10:30 Registration
10:30-11:30 Open Buffet Breakfast
11:40-12:30 Talk
12:30-13:00 Q&A Session

Brief Biography of Oktem

Born in Elazig in 1944, Niyazi Oktem is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Fatih University. Graduating from the Galatasaray High School in 1964 and then the Law Faculty of Istanbul University in 1971, Oktem became a professor in 1988. He taught Public Law, Philosophy of Law and Sociology of Law in the Faculty of Law at Istanbul University, Istanbul Bilgi University and Dogus University respectively. The Turkish academic was named to the Legion d’Honneur, a distinction rarely granted to foreigners, by the Palmes Academiques in France. He is president of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, the most prominent inter-faith organisation in Turkey.


Report of the event

 EPN and Golden Rose were proud to host Prof. Niyazi Oktem as guest lecturer at the 26th Breakfast Talk at Fedactio on Feb. 22, 2015. Oktem, whose areas of specialization include law ethics, sociology of religion and inter-faith dialogue, discussed the role of faiths in restoring world peace and dimensions of freedom of faith and freedom of expression following a delightful breakfast time. The professor indicated to a lack of understanding between people as the main reason of the strife among countries in the world. And understanding one another is possible through dialogue and learning more about other people and religions; we are seeing today that true believers and true democrats can come together and embrace one another, he added. The talk was concluded with the idea that faith leads to world peace only if it is combined with education.

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