From Consultation to Coexistence: A Methodological Approach for Improving Turkish-Arab Relations

This article analyzes practicable methodology for facilitating a meaningful discourse between Turks and Arabs in Turkey with a purpose and scope of improving Arab-Turkish cultural relations. The originality of this article is in its description and analysis of two group types established by academicians in Konya, Turkey, formal academic roundtables and informal Stammtisch meetings (regular informal discussion meetings), which could be used to facilitate discourses between Turks and Arabs leading to more mutual familiarity with both Arabic and Turkish language and culture. A series of interviews was conducted with participants as a field study, regarding their experiences with formal and informal meetings to determine the utility and effectiveness of these groups. Importantly, these two groups in Konya have involved not only academics but also involved non-academics within the public sphere. The example of these two group types in a Turkish context, roundtables and stammtisch meetings, presents the possibility of an alternative option of method for academicians in arts and humanities, and also an option of method for Turkish civil society organizations (non-governmental organizations.) For academic and civil society organizations, these two group types should be economic and can be made available as methodology which can be dedicated to topics relevant to improving Turkish-Arab relations.