TUSIAD-Brookings Turkey Project

Building on the success of the “Turkey 2007” project, the Brookings Institution and TUSIAD have again partnered in 2008 to raise the level of awareness and understanding in the United States of developments in and around Turkey.  The Turkey Project examines trends and issues that shape Turkey’s identity and the role it plays in its pivotal region.  The project also focuses on the developments on the U.S. front, which present challenges to the U.S.-Turkey partnership.  

The aim of the Turkey Project is to expose Turkey’s most insightful political and strategic analysts to American audiences through three different platforms.

  • Panel discussions open to the general public are a valuable resource for institutions and individuals throughout the country that may have an interest in Turkey.
  • Private events target opinion leaders such as journalists, think-tank representatives, Executive staff, and Congressional staff who understand Turkey’s importance, but generally lack direct knowledge of the country.
  • Roundtable workshops bring together U.S.-based Turkey experts with Turkish counterparts for detailed discussions, generally with a view to producing written policy papers or other material for publication. 

The Turkey Project is directed by Dr. Omer Taspinar, Brookings Fellow and Lecturer at the National Defense University.  Ambassador (ret.) Mark R. Parris, a Brookings Visiting Fellow, serves as Counselor to the Project.

TUSIAD-Brookings Turkey Project Events:

2011 Events

October 25, 2011: a discussion titled “In the Eye of the Storm: Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Domestic Realignment” exploring Turkish foreign policy and assessing the impact of domestic developments and the shifting civilian-military power balance on Turkey’s international relations. Panelists included Ümit Boyner, chair of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), and Soli Özel of Kadir Has University. Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks and Senior Fellow and CUSE Director Fiona Hill moderated the discussion.

June 17, 2011: the event “Assessing the Outcomes of Turkey’s Elections” analyzed the Turkish elections with leading Turkish experts. Panelists included Fuat Keyman of Sabancı University, Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar, and Nuh Yılmaz of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).

April 5, 2011: a private roundtable discussion with leading Turkish diplomat and author Burak Akçapar to discuss Turkey’s rising influence and the enhanced role it is playing to provide security and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Recently appointed as Turkey’s Ambassador to India, Burak Akçapar was previously the Deputy Director General for South Asia at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy in D.C., and Head of Policy Planning Department.  In the session, Mr. Akçapar explained Turkey’s vision for a secure and stable Afghanistan and the enhanced role that its neighbors could play in a constructive regional approach.

March 28, 2011: a private roundtable breakfast discussion with a high-level delegation of influential Turkish business leaders from the Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK). The event was titled “New Horizons: Turkey’s Regional Power in Light of Recent Developments in the Middle East.” Speakers included Hasan Akçakayalıoğlu, Chairman and CEO of BankPozitif; Nuri Colakoglu, Vice-President of Dogan Media Group; Haluk Dinçer, President of the Retail Group of Sabancı Holding; and Mustafa Koç, Chairman of Koç Holding; Cuneyd Zapsu, co-founder of the Justice and Development Party.

February 28, 2011: a discussion of the characteristics of the Turkish model and the recent developments in the Arab world. The historic developments in Tunisia and Egypt have triggered debate about the future direction of political leadership in those countries. Panelists of “Turkey: A Model for the New Middle East?” included Steven Cook, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; Semih İdiz, columnist for Milliyet; Henri Barkey, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment and professor at Lehigh University; and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar. CUSE Director and Senior Fellow Fiona Hill provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.

2010 Events

December 10, 2010: a discussion of the challenges and opportunities that Turkey faces in its effort to resolve the 26-year Kurdish insurgency. The discussion titled “Turkey’s Kurdish Question: New Opportunities and Challenges” featured three leading experts on Turkey and its Kurdish ethnic minority: Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar; Henri Barkey of Lehigh University and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Gönül Tol, director of the Center for Turkish Studies and scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute.

November 29, 2010: a public address by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Turkish foreign policy, Turkish-U.S. relations, and how the two global powers can further develop their strategic partnership in a multipolar world.

October 26, 2010: a private, off-the-record roundtable to explore issues related to Turkey’s foreign policy toward the Middle East. Leading the discussion was Abdullah Akyuz, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD); Steven A. Cook, Council on Foreign Relations; and Alan O. Makovsky, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

September 29, 2010: a roundtable discussion with a Turkish Parliamentary delegation led by AK Party Deputy Chairman for External Affairs Suat Kiniklioglu. The future direction of U.S.-Turkey relations and the foreign policy implications of the recent referendum on constitutional reforms were at the top of the agenda, with questions on the Iranian nuclear program, Turkish-Israeli relations, and cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan rounding out the event. Omer Taspinar moderated the discussion.

June 17, 2010: a panel discussion featuring TUSIAD Chairwoman Umit Boyner and Soli Ozel and moderated by Omer Taspinar on “US-Turkish Relations: A Perspective from the Private Sector.” The event included speeches from Mrs. Boyner and Mr. Ozel that focused on Turkey’s new foreign policy and the recent crises in US-Turkey relations. Mrs. Boyner stressed the need for effective communication between the two nations in addition to arguing against a Turkish ‘axis-shift’ away from the West.

June 15, 2010: a panel discussion centered on “Turkey and Iran: Assesing the New Regional Diplomacy” featuring Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Omer Taspinar, Brookings Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney, and author Stephen Kinzer. The experts explored Turkey’s efforts for diplomacy with Iran and whether it will finally establish Turkey as a key regional power or backfire to the detriment of its traditional Western partnerships, as well as implications for US-Turkey and Turkish-Israeli relations.

April 20, 2010: a panel discussion focusing on the current poltical dynamics in Turkey entitled “Turkey’s Political Journey: From Where to Where?” including Gareth Jenkins, nonresident senior fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Etyen Mahcupyan, director of the democratization program at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). Omer Taspinar provided opening remarks and moderated the discussion.

April 1, 2010: a discussion featuring renowned author and Cyprus expert Hugh Pope focused on “Turkey’s European Aspirations and its Cyprus Dilemma.” Pope spoke about the implications of the presidential election in Turkish Cypriot-controlled Northern Cyprus and the prospects for a deal to restore the island’s division, as well as the current state of Turkey-EU relations.

2009 Events

September 23, 2009: a presentation event featuring “Turkey and Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle,” a report by the Independent Commission on Turkey. After introductory remarks by Brookings Institute President Strobe Talbott, Independent Commission Chairman and Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari advocated the case for Turkey as an EU member. Omer Taspinar moderated the ensuing discussion.

July 15, 2009: a half-day conference on “Turkey, Russia and Regional Energy Strategies” featuring several speakers, including Ambassadors (retired) Volkan Vural, Mithat Balkan, Mark Parris as well as the new US Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Amb. Richard Morningstar.

April 13, 2009: a report presentation event featuring the TUSIAD report “Rebuilding a Partnership: Turkish-American Relations for a New Era – A Turkish Perspective.” Following TUSIAD chairperson Arzuhan D. Yalcındag’s opening speech, Soli Ozel and Omer Taspınar made their presentations.

April 1, 2009: a luncheon and panel discussion considering the topic of “The Future of Turkish Democracy: Assessing Local Election Outcomes.”  Journalist at Radikal Murat Yetkin, Professor at Bilgi University Soli Ozel, and Brookings scholar Omer Taspinar discussed the results of the local elections in the context of current domestic trends in Turkey.

January 7, 2009: a lunch discussion was held featuring Sedat Ergin, who is the Editor-in-Chief ofMilliyet daily newspaper.

2008 Events

October 27, 2008: a lunch discussion was held featuring Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, who is a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

August 6, 2008: a luncheon and panel discussion entitled “The Implications of Turkey’s Constitutional Court Decision on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought three visiting experts from Turkey to address the recent Constitutional Court decision regarding the AKP and the implications of its outcome not to close the party but to find the party guilty and impose a financial penalty.  Cagri Erhan, Vice President of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM), Ibrahim Kalin, Founding Director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), and Murat Yetkin, Columnist for Radikal, participated in the discussions.

June 5, 2008: a roundtable discussion with Umit Cizre called “The Anatomy of Confrontation between Turkish Secularism and the AKP” featured Umit Cizre, professor at the department of Political Science at Bilkent University, who specializes in civil military relations, democratic governance of the security sector, and the political Islam-secular establishment nexus.  Cizre assessed the rising tension between the AKP and Turkey’s military/secular establishment and how religion, nationalism, and power struggles have played a role.

June 2, 2008: a conference in Istanbul on “The Implications of America’s Presidential Elections for U.S. – Turkish Relations” allowed American and Turkish analysts to discuss factors determining November’s elections for a new President of the United States as well as how the various outcomes may affect the substance and dynamics of relations between the U.S. and Turkey beginning in January.  For more information click here.

April 17, 2008: a luncheon and panel discussion on the topic of “Turkey’s New Constitutional Crisis: A Judicial Coup d’Etat?” brought former Foreign Minister of Turkey Mumtaz Soysal, Professor of Law at Gazi University, Levent Koker, and Editor of the Turkish Daily News Mustafa Akyol to examine the political and legal dynamics of the closure case against the Justice and Development Party.  The panelists assessed the legal implications of AKP’s potential closure and possible scenarios for how politics would develop following such a decision by the court.  Political and societal changes taking place in Turkey were discussed in the context of the case.

March 20, 2008: a luncheon and panel discussion entitled “Turkey’s Kurdish Conundrum” brought Turkish and American experts together to discuss Turkey’s Kurdish issue and the PKK both as a domestic concern and in the context of Turkish-Iraqi-American relations and of bolstering counter terrorism coordination.  The speakers included Hasan Cemal, senior columnist for the Turkish daily Milliyet; Faruk Logoglu, President of the Eurasian Strategic Studies Center; and Aliza Marcus, Bloomberg News reporter and author of Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence .

January 31, 2008: a conference entitled “Back to the Future: US- Turkish Relations after the Bush Presidency” addressed the Bush Administration’s impact on Turkish-U.S. relations and lessons learned.  Panelists evaluated the past and looked forward to assess what the next administration can do to strengthen the alliance.  Speakers included former Turkish Foreign Minister and current Professor of Economics at Isik University, Prof. Dr. Emre Gonensay, and Members of Parliament Amb. Gunduz Aktan (MHP) and Suat Kiniklioglu (AKP).

2007 Events

October 11, 2007: a luncheon and panel discussion assessed the likely impact of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) success in the July 22 elections.  Professor at Isik University Bulent Aras, professor at TOBB University Mustafa Aydin and journalist at Milliyet Semih Idiz analyzed the potential impact of Abdullah Gul’s presidency on Turkish foreign policy.

July 31, 2007: a luncheon and panel discussion analyzed the results of the July 22 elections and looked ahead to pitfalls in connection with selecting a new president as well as challenges to a second Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration.  Professor at Bilgi Univeristy Soli Ozel was the featured speaker of the session.

June 19 & 20, 2007: a luncheon and panel discussion examined the summer political crisis over the presidential election and the prospects for the upcoming Parliamentary elections, which were called early because of the crisis. Istanbul-based journalists Asli Aydintasbas and Cengiz Candar as well as Brookings scholar Omer Taspinar participated in these sessions.

April 11 &12, 2007: a dinner and panel discussion looked ahead to the Presidential succession in Turkey and discussed the possibility of procedural complications relating to quorum requirements. Economist and former politician Mehmet Ali Bayar, journalist Kerim Balci and professor and columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman participated in the events.

March 20, 2007: a luncheon was hosted by Brookings President Strobe Talbott honoring a TUSIAD Board of Directors delegation headed by newly elected Chair Arzuhan D. Yalcindag.

February 12 & 13, 2007: the Turkey Project kicked off with a dinner and panel discussion highlighting anticipated internal political and foreign policy benchmarks for the coming year. Columnist Fehmi Koru, Professor at Bilgi University Soli Ozel and columnist Murat Yetkin participated in these sessions.


Transcripts to all public events can be found on the Brookings Institution website at:http://www.brookings.edu/cuse/events.aspx


Please Click Here to Access the Press Release Announcing the Beginning of the Brookings-TUSIAD “Turkey 2007” Project

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