British, Turkish experts discuss Syrian crisis and its effects in London
by Mehmet Solmaz
LONDONMay 27, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Mehmet Solmaz
May 27, 2015 12:00 am
A panel was held in London supported by Daily Sabah on Wednesday, which brought together Turkish security and regional experts to provide an updated account of the Syrian civil war and discuss its effects on Turkey
A panel organized jointly by the Daily Sabah Centre for Policy Studies and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in London on Wednesday discussed the five year Syrian civil war, its effects on Turkey and Ankara's Syria policy.
The panel titled, "Turkey and the Syria Crisis: From Border Security and Regional Politics to Opposition Support and the Refugee Influx," focused on Turkey's evolving response to the crisis in neighbouring Syria with leading Turkish officials and experts.
With the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and shifting dynamics inside Syria and across the region, Turkey's role has come under increasing international scrutiny, particularly in the context of Turkey's forthcoming parliamentary elections. Border security has become a major issue between Turkey and its Western allies given the high number of foreign fighters that transit through Turkey and the activities of ISIS on the Syrian side of the border. Increasing attention is also now being paid to the support for Syrian opposition factions, including claims of enhanced coordination with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in light of apparent recent opposition gains on the battlefield.
The panel brought together Turkish security and regional experts to provide an account of the Syrian crisis and recent developments from a Turkish perspective, including Ankara's efforts to improve border security, address the ISIS problem and manage the question of refugees.
Speakers at the panel included Fatma Ceren Yazgan, the deputy director for security and intelligence at the Foreign Ministry; Şaban Kardaş, the director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies and associate professor of international relations at TOBB University of Economics and Technology and Daniel Levy, the director of the ECFR Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme.
The Daily Sabah Centre for Policy Studies is the think-tank extension of Daily Sabah. It's main focus is politics, society and economy both in the regional and global context. It aims to hold conferences in order to provide in-depth analysis and invaluable knowledge.
The ECFR is an award-winning international think tank that aims to conduct cutting-edge independent research; provide a safe meeting space for policy-makers, activists and intellectuals to share ideas and offer a media platform to get Europeans talking about their role in the world. It was established in 2007 by a council of 50 founding members, chaired by Martti Ahtisaari, Joschka Fischer, and Mabel van Oranje with initial funding from George Soros's Open Society Foundations, the Communitas Foundation, Sigrid Rausing, Unicredit and Fride. Inspired by the role American think tanks played in helping the U.S. move from isolationism to global leadership, the ECFR's founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency. Today, it has over 50 staff from more than 20 countries and receives funding from a wide range of charitable foundations, national governments, companies and private individuals.
Earlier in March, the Daily Sabah Centre for Policy Studies held its first panel at the University of London's School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS), discussing Turkish foreign policy in Somalia and how the country's comprehensive involvement in Somalia made visible changes to the country in many areas, from health to infrastructure.
The center will hold another panel to discuss Turkey's general elections in Moscow next Wednesday. The panel, titled "Turkey ahead of June 7 elections: Voting the 'New Turkey,' " will look into the possible outcome of the elections and how it will effect Turkey.
A total of 20 political parties will be competing in Turkey's 25th general elections. According to major public research companies, the electoral race will take place between the four parties already represented in Parliament.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has ruled three consecutive governments, remains as the most popular party. Drafting a civil constitution, switching from the parliamentary to a presidential system and bringing the conflict with the PKK to an end top the party's election promises. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) eyes to win votes with economy-related promises and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has pledged to end the reconciliation process with the PKK and is targeting conservative voters. However, the question of whether the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) will be able to pass the 10 percent election threshold to enter Parliament remains the most heated pre-election discussion in the country.