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4 May 2002

Turkey Country Report to 2002 Worlds Council

At the 2002 Worlds Council countries were invited to submit a report to the council to let other nations know about debating in their country.  It was not compulsory but a number of nations gave reports.

Turkey Country Report to 2002 Worlds Council

The origins of debating in Turkey can be traced back to 1960’s. Yet the format was different, a predetermined motion would be debated without any points of information or time constraints. It was a group of students from Bogazici University who has attended to World Universities Debating Championship 1996, in South Africa. It was then, when debating in terms of British Parliamentary Style started in Turkey.

The institutionalisation of debating societies in Turkey is somewhat different than in many others countries. Debating societies in most universities are functioning under the umbrella of student clubs. These student clubs have their own distinct areas of activities varying from bridge to climbing; furthermore these clubs are not united under one student bodies like a union or a society.

In Bogazici University there is no separate debating club, but a debate subcommittee performs under Management & Economics Club. Management & Economics Club, being one of the largest clubs in Bogazici University, as far as the number of members is Concerned, has 11 subcommittees ranging from Model United Nations to Finance and Investment.

As previously mentioned, debate subcommittee was established in 1995 and it was this subcommittee which introduced British Parliamentary Style to Turkish Universities. The same year 1st Turkey Universities Debating Championship was organised in Bogazici University with the participation of 28 universities. This year the tournament which is going to be held in Uludag University has reached a number of 57 participant universities. One of the main problems of debating in Turkey is that the British Parliamentary rules have not been quite internalised. This problem usually materialises in definitions to be made by the opening propositions. Most other common problems are either related to structural concerns or adjudication. Since BP debating is a relatively new phenomenon in Turkey, it’s difficult to find adjudicators who can judge debates in tournaments. Turkey Universities Debating Council tries to overcome this problem by organising adjudicator training programs and making attendance mandatory for those who will adjudicate.

Another problem of Turkish Debating is, participation in international contests. Neither the governmental agencies nor the universities are in the position to offer financial support to cover up the expenses of participants. The only alternative left to debaters is to find sponsors, which is neither permanent nor reliable. There are limited things debaters can offer in return to the sponsors: Opening stands in the University Campus (upon permission from the administration), having their names mentioned in bulletins and newspapers. So far, the only university which could make to the Worlds is Bogazici University. One of the two reasons for that is, the teaching language in most of the universities in Turkey is, naturally Turkish. The other one is, although there are several universities in which the teaching language is English, they are both reluctant in searching for sponsors and training someone to debate in English.

We are encouraging other debating clubs to debate in English in order to attend international Tournaments with more people from Turkey.

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