29 March 2012

Our center and one of the leading think-tanks of the US, Washington DC based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) organized a joint meeting in our Ministry to discuss the Turkish, Russian, Iranian and American approaches to the developments in the surrounding region of the first three.

Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru, who gave the opening speech, stated that Turkey has become a stable regional power after improving its economy and consolidating its democracy. Ambassador Koru also pointed out the increasing soft power of Turkey and the positive impact of its historical and cultural ties in contributing to the strategic depth of the country. He said that Turkey does not believe an understanding of security provided at the expense of freedoms.

Deputy Foreign Minister took the opportunity to briefly touch upon the Syria issue. He said that Turkey is not involved in the inflammation of events in Syria, but in support of the establishment of a democratic regime in the country. Ambassador Koru, who stated that Turkey could be a source of inspiration rather than a model and pays attention to regional ownership, added that Turkey pursues a diplomacy in which regional countries can also adopt the solutions that Turkey develops.

As a result of the efforts particularly on part of CSIS to analyze the complexity of relations among Turkey, Russia and Iran, the significance of economic relations especially in the field of energy were emphasized. Possible impact of Turkey’s desire to become an energy hub was evaluated. It was argued that especially NABUCCO and South Stream could be rival projects given both Turkey’s and Russia’s goals in the field of energy.

Representatives of our Ministry, on the other hand, stated that our relations with both Russia and Iran are multidimensional and despite mutual dependency in energy relations with the former has a strategic basis. As far as the EU is concerned, it was stated that since the energy chapter was not opened the possibility of a common energy policy is still vague.

In the exchange of ideas on the Middle East, it was emphasized that Turkey currently targets increasing pressure on the regime and is in favor of negotiation including Russia and Iran rather than a military intervention.

The meeting that took place with the participation of a broad crowd from our Ministry, CSIS and academicians focusing on Iran and Russia provided an opportunity for a fruitful session of exchange of ideas for all.