Our Ministry’s Center for Strategic Research (SAM) is one of the essential parts of its institutional structure. Even before I began to serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I had emphasized the importance of think tanks such as SAM, especially for countries like Turkey, with an ever expanding range of foreign policy issues. Generally, the bureaucratic nature of state mechanisms tends to function as an impediment to free and efficient academic research. However, it is evident that those very institutions themselves need research centers that can serve as tools for high quality and accurate policy analysis, in particular in countries with an active foreign policy agenda. Policy without strategy is no different from seeking directions without a map. Centers like SAM are the places where these roadmaps are developed.
For years, SAM tried to meet the enormous demands of the Ministry with a very limited and modest capacity. Given the increasing proactivism of our foreign policy and the visibility of Turkey, we can no longer afford to continue the status quo. In this respect, it is among my priorities to strengthen SAM within the Ministry as a powerful and influential research institute. It will be a center that reflects the intellectual resources of the country. Coupled with the restructuring of the Ministry in accordance with our goals as a country, SAM will help us achieve our goals in a much more strategic manner.
Within the restructuring of our Ministry, instituting critical thinking is essential. As a result, what is expected from SAM in this process is to contribute to alternative thinking by means of analyses and policy recommendations. We also expect SAM to establish mutual interaction with the other departments at the Ministry, NGOs, universities and other think tanks.
In accordance with its goals SAM has already taken great steps in a short time. Along with the numerous events that it undertook, SAM turned its traditional journal Perceptions into a much more academic publication. I will also contribute to SAM’s publications in the form of Vision Papers that will be an intellectual venue for me to share my views on different issues.
A stronger and more research-oriented SAM will contribute to the intellectual capital of not only our Ministry, but also the country and even the region at large. Enlarging the network of SAM and its counterparts will help us to disseminate our views and also to benefit from those of other countries. The input provided by SAM will enhance our efforts to respond to the challenges around us and will contribute to the formulation of new policies. This is a goal that we will achieve all together through teamwork. I would like to reiterate my commitment to this goal as I wish SAM success in this endeavor.
Prof. Dr. Ahmet DAVUTOĞLU
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Turkey