Given how the international system is unfolding of late, there are an increasing number of questions about how to resolve some of the existing and future global problems. From the refugee crisis, the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, the humanitarian tragedies in Somalia, the emerging territorial problems in different parts of the world to trade wars and civil wars – there are so many global issues that need to be dealt with. These wide-ranging problems necessitate discussions that involve experts from different walks of life, including intellectuals, policymakers, scientists, businesspeople and journalists.
Considering the depth of the problems, the solutions need to bring together different perspectives, visions and contributions from different parts of the world. This makes international forums that bring together people and provide an atmosphere for free and stimulating intellectual exchange extremely important.
For the last two years, TRT World has been taking the initiative to organize one of the world's most important forums to debate problems and suggest solutions.
The 2nd TRT World Forum was held recently held in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest metropolis. For two days, there were important debates on regional and global problems. With the concept of "envisioning peace and security in a fragmented world" the participants from different countries discussed the topics on the agenda of the conference. The topics of the conference included issues like terrorism, the Syrian conflict, the U.S. foreign policy, the rise of populism, the future of the European Union and the Palestinian question. They were discussed by prominent current and former policymakers as well as scholars. The conference also brought together experts in the rise of the global south and the leadership of women in conflict zones.
The panels and discussions raised several issues. First of all, the forum demonstrated that the concern over the future of U.S. foreign policy is a universal one. The participants raised this issue of unpredictability in U.S. foreign policy and lack of a coherent and organizing strategy in it. This raises concerns about the future of the international system and potential intra-regional disputes and conflicts.
Secondly, in regards to the fight against terrorism, there is a need for a more official prehensile, long-term strategy. Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, stated in his keynote remarks that the current strategy failed to curb terrorism in different parts of the world. Although the territorial gains of Daesh were pushed back, there are still concerns about the future of terrorism and the potentially destructive impacts of the foreign fighters.
Thirdly, it is important to see the prospects in the EU integration process. The rise of far-right groups and political parties in the EU does not only threaten the future of EU but also risks the multiculturalism and minorities within the union. The anti-refugee and immigrant sentiments can lead to the rise of xenophobic policies by the parties that win popular votes. This can also cause an economic destabilization within the union that can spill over to other regions.
Finally, it is important to see the rise of the actors of the "global south." It can either contribute to today's international system or can generate major problems that can destabilize it. It will depend on thewillingness to take responsibility.
All of these issues demand further discussion and deliberation. Therefore, we need more events like the TRT World Forum.