The international TRT World Forum, described as "Turkey's Davos" after the Swiss ski resort where international figures convene every year, opened yesterday in Istanbul.
The form, hosted by the Turkish public broadcaster's English-language channel, focuses on global issues in its first edition. Guests include Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın and other Turkish dignitaries. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also among scheduled speakers for the two-day event.
The foreign guests include Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, prominent Tunisian politician Rached Ghannouchi, activists such as Malcolm X's daughter Ilyasah al-Shabazz, prominent scholars and journalists.
In a keynote speech at the event, Prime Minister Yıldırım said TRT World, established in 2015, was "born in reaction to the current media mindset" and "for true journalism."
"It was established to tell people the truth and be the voice of those who cannot make their voices heard through true journalism," he said. "As a member of a political movement, and a country that has been subjected to great injustice in terms of journalism, I would like to indicate that in journalism, it is enough to just tell the truth."
The prime minister said Turkey acted as the "conscience of the world" and would continue to do so.
"Turkey's mission is to serve the truth, and be the voice, mind and conscience of the oppressed. We see that TRT World is doing this in the best way globally," he said.
The forum aims to create an international platform where global issues are discussed and thoroughly analyzed.
In the first day's sessions, participants discussed changing leading actors in influencing global agenda such as China, India, Brazil and Turkey, new threats and trends in the Middle East and North Africa and the media's responsibility when reporting humanitarian crises.
Speaking in the session "Redefining the Global Agenda: Old Guard vs. New Players," Stephen Chan, a professor at SOAS University, said civilizations and cultures need to put aside differences and view their own ways of doing business supreme to others for global cooperation.
Kingsley Makhubela, CEO of Brand South Africa, a South African initiative, touched upon global uncertainty and terrorism luring the young outcasts "of the system."
Makhubela also said politics across the world was leaning more to the right and breading intolerance that ultimately divided societies and pushed people to extremism. He said there existed a "security dilemma" and resources that should be allocated to address the problems of socio-economic development were instead allocated to the military.
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