Turkey Conference, UK 2016- Rationale

Thursday December 8th, 2016

The geo-strategic position of Turkey plays a crucial role on the international platform, functioning as not only the crossroads between Europe and Asia, but also as a core member of the NATO alliance. Regionally, it neighbours eight countries, sharing a border with different regimes: Iran, Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave Nakhchivan to the east; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west, and Iraq and Syria to the south.

With its fast growing economy, military strength and its ability to maintain diverse diplomatic and economic relationships, Turkey has steadily gained recognition as a regional power. It has played a critical part in working to stabilise the diaspora from Syria and refugees within the region. However, the continued conflict in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine has in particular brought Turkey to the limelight of the international community. With the growing rise of extremist insurgents in the region, the stability of world peace is ever more threatened and has raised beyond control the challenge to secure regional and international stability. Turkey plays a much more critical role in the maintenance of world peace than it ever has in its entire history.

Resolving extremism is a global challenge, with the year 2016 signifying an ever-increasing rise in links to terrorist attacks that have claimed responsibility from the United States to Somalia, France to Iraq, and from Pakistan to Turkey. The recent military revolt attempt against the government took place at a pivotal period in world affairs. However, the challenge is not to respond to these problems by antagonising and thus escalating the cycle of reactive politics. It is thus imperative to address these developments in the region, as they collectively concern Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. The conference will initiate and introduce a major conversation and opportunity to critically observe how these stressors interact, by bringing various elements together in an interactive, historical, contemporary and international framework. Our goal is to both better understand these complex issues and work towards innovative, sustainable solutions.

Topics that shall be covered in this conference include: understanding the relationship between the current Syrian refugee crisis and its possible implications on Turkey; Turkey’s evolving system of governance; conceptualising and examining the relationships between relevant factors and the rise in terrorist activity; the fears of and possible continued rise in jihadist insurgents; the policy towards Turkey’s minorities; and the foundations of Turkish-Russian rapprochement. The conference seeks to follow up with critical workshops for diplomatic and cooperative engagement in international relations, to compassionately evolve a clear agreed approach to preventatively address these impactful issues.

The Rt Hon and Rt Rev the Lord Dr Rowan Williams of Oystermouth- Lord Dr Rowan Douglas Williams is a Welsh Anglican bishop and theologian, poet and academic. He has been acknowledged internationally as an exceptional theological writer and scholar whose interests also involve contemporary culture and interfaith related issues. Lord Dr Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England (Dec 2002-Dec 2012). He was also previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, which made him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in contemporary times, who was not appointed from within the Church of England. Lord Dr. Williams also taught as an academic at the University of Cambridge and Oxford, successively. He is a Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge since January 2013, and was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords on January 15th, 2013.

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