The Future of Turkey’s Model and Role

EPC | 18 - 19 May 2014
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The ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Turkey presented a model which combines the modern state with Islam. This model was well-received by Sunni Islamist movements in the region and masses supporting these movements. This has paved the way for JDP to invest the yield of promoting this support by trying to play a leading regional role that interprets the aspirations of the model which is dubbed as “Neo-Ottoman”. At the same time, this model meets the aspirations some of world powers looking to cement the position of Islamist movements as an element of balance in the region. Ankara perceived these movements as more acceptable among the grassroots as an alternative for the traditional regimes in a number of countries in the region to rein in the rising hardline religious movements. These extreme movements have produced terror and extremism in various areas in the world, but Turkey enjoys strong ties of partnership and cooperation with the West, notably the US, it is a member of NATO, aspires for membership in the European Union, enjoys good ties with Israel at all levels. All of this raise several questions about the sustainability of this model and the extent of its harmony with the components of the Turkish identity and the slogans of Islamism. The decline of the impact of Sunni Islamist forces in the power equation in some Arab countries might have posed another challenge for the role which JDP aspires for; in other words, the Turkish model and role are surrounded by question marks and challenges abroad. The Turkish model presented by JDP faces a series of transformations related to the dynamics of the Turkish political scene and the possible change in influentials. The recent struggle between JDP and the “Gulen/Hizmet Movement” has raised a bunch of questions about the role of religion in the struggle. In addition, the factor of integration the ethnic and religious minorities in the state structure may affect the nature of the model and its regional role as well. The Turkish regional role is intertwined with the interests and priorities of the international and regional players; therefore, we must understand the limitations of the ties with those players, the impact of all of this on the role which the ruling party wished to undertake and foresee the possible scenarios for Turkey’s regional and international role. Due to the importance of the geo-economic factor in determining the direction of the foreign policy, the workshop will discuss this factor by touching on three themes: the internal economic situation, foreign investments and competition for energy supply lines. Furthermore, foresee the prospects of GCC-Turkey economic cooperation to make the ties between the two sides based on an accurate reading and an objective evaluation. The workshop aspires to foresee the following: - Transformations of the influentials in the political scene; - The impact of the minorities’ issue on Turkey’s political scene, the possible effects of this issue on this scene by providing several scenarios; - Future scenarios of Turkey’s role in NATO, its membership in EU and its ties with the United States and the impact of all of this on Ankara’s regional role; - Possible scenarios for the “Neo-Ottoman Project”; - The impact of the Arab Spring on Turkey’s internal situation and the extent of this impact on adjusting or limiting the Turkish model; - The future of entanglement between the Turkish model with other models, such as the Iranian model or nascent models in the Arab Spring countries; - Prospects of GCC-Turkey’s cooperation in the energy field and how might this have an impact on Ankara’s role and policies in the region? - The possibility of boosting economic partnership with Turkey to have a positive impact on Ankara’s policies in the region and how harmonious is this partnership with other economic partnerships with other countries, notably Iran and Israel; - Possible future scenarios for Turkish-Israeli ties? - The future of competition created by JDP for the representation of Sunni Islam with Saudi Arabia for example.

Venue Details

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.