On February 17, 2016, the GMF Warsaw office hosted a public event titled “The Awakening of Societies in Turkey and Ukraine” that explored rapid developments within Ukrainian and Turkish societies and presented a new study that has recently been completed with support of the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation. Taking part in this discussion were Adam Balcer, Conference Director from College of Eastern Europe in Warsaw and Joerg Forbrig, Transatlantic Fellow from GMF in Berlin. The event was moderated by Michal Baranowski, director of the GMF Warsaw office.
Discussants started with highlighting the fact that Turkey and Ukraine clearly stand out in their strategic importance for Europe and the USA. Whether in the confrontation between Russia and the West, in the refugee crisis, or for broader developments in the post-Soviet and Muslim worlds, Turkey and Ukraine is key. However, European policy towards both countries has not so far equaled this strategic position and potential.
Panelists recognized that EU approach towards Turkey and Ukraine has been largely reactive and often ad-hoc focusing merely on governments and state structures. This EU approach has not taken into consideration, nor actively supported, the important evolution of Turkish and Ukrainian societies.
Both panelists acknowledged the necessary changes in European policy that should be also promoted by Germany and Poland, deeply intertwined as both are with Turkey and Ukraine. Combined with their political weight in the EU, a German-Polish initiative would go a long way towards more effective EU policies toward Turkey and Ukraine.
The event closed with an active conversation between the speakers and audience, whose questions throughout the event spurred an insightful discussion.