As the first meeting of a joint Project between SAM and Washington DC based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) a discussion was held in Washington DC on 30 April.
Participants included the SAM delegation headed by Ambassador Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler and consists of SAM Chairman Prof. Bülent Aras, Deputy Director General for Policy Planning Department Levent Gümrükçü, Head of Human Resources Department Tuncay Babalı, academician Şaban Kardaş and Advisor at SAM Sevgi Akarçeşme; experts from CSIS including the CSIS President Dr.John Hamre, Vice President Dr. Steve Flanagan, Senior Turkey Desk Officer from the State Department Meghan Gregonis, Country Director for Turkey from the Department of Defense Shoshanna Matney, retired analyst from the Congressional Research Center Carol Migdalowitz, Ambassador Robert Pearson and the moderator of the discussion General Brent Scowcroft. Turkish Ambassador to Washington DC, H.E. Namık Tan joined the meeting after the opening speeches due to his previous engagement.
Prof. Bülent Aras briefly summarized the main pillars of Turkish-American relations following the opening remarks of CSIS Turkey Project Director Dr. Bülent Alirıza.
Prof. Aras stated that the Transatlantic Alliance is the main axis of Turkish Foreign Policy while adding that the main challenge is to reconcile Turkey’s regional policies with its transatlantic alliance. Prof. Aras pointed out the three dimensional perspective in relations, namely, the international structure, regional and bilateral. Dr. Alirıza, on the other hand, touched upon the historical background of the relations dating back to Turkey’s accession to NATO.
The fruitful and non attributable comments continued with the participation of all experts on Turkey in the format of a roundtable discussion.
The project aims a follow up meeting in Ankara the findings of which will turn into a joint policy report by SAM and CSIS.