The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) Brussels office jointly organized with Instituti Affari Internazionali (IAI), Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) and Stiftung Mercator a conference on Turkey’s global role. Held on December 5, “Global Turkey in Europe” featured policy experts and scholars on Turkey including Nathalie Tocci of IAI, Anne Duncker of Stiftung Mercator, Senem Aydin of Istanbul Bilgi University/IPC, Fuat Keyman of IPC, Ergun Özbudun, of İstanbul Şehir Üniversitesi, Dilek Kurban of TESEC, Suat Kiniklioglu of STRATIM, Michael Emerson of the The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Dimitar Bechev of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), and Ian Lesser and Michael Leigh of GMF.
The first session began with a short presentation of Keyman and Aydin on their report on EU-Turkey Relations. The report reveals that the current stagnation of Turkish democracy goes hand in hand with stagnation in EU-Turkey relations. It was argued by some of the presenters that having the EU as an anchor when searching for answers to key political challenges would help to weaken the forces opposed to reform in Turkey’s society, however others stressed that this alone is not sufficient and that additional domestic dynamics are needed.
The second session discussed the European economic crisis and its impact on Turkey. In the discussion, it was pointed out that the ongoing economic crisis has not affected Turkey very much because its strong trading partners have not been very affected. However, there is fear of social tension in Turkey if Greece leaves the European Union. Therefore, several speakers pleaded for a pro-active Turkish attitude in its foreign relations.
Turkey’s foreign policy and its potential for cooperation with the EU was the focus of the final session. This discussion revealed that Turkey-EU relations have been stagnated as Turkey looks toward a more active global and regional role, which could result in Turkey as a bigger power in its neighborhood. But while Turkey is expanding its interest to the Middle East, it is not abandoning its necessary ties to the West. Hence, a broader vision is needed for a stronger Turkey-EU commitment. This event was part of a series of events in Europe and Turkey on Turkey-EU relations.
Click here to listen to a podcast interview about economic and political developments in Turkey with Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institute.