Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University is hosting a special conference under the sponsorship of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division on Thursday regarding the role of Turkey’s foreign policy and soft power tools in the surrounding region around Turkey.
The conference and discussion forum titled “Changing Region: The role of Turkish Foreign Policy and Soft Power” is being held in Istanbul with wide participation of the policy makers from Turkey, NATO and the EU, as well as academics, analysts, and businessmen from Turkey and the wider region, in addition to members of the Turkish and international media.
According to NATO, Turkey’s unique position provides both opportunities and challenges, including the Syrian refugee crisis and border security. NATO names both issues “immediate security priorities for Turkey which also impact NATO allies.”
In the meantime, the conference aims to underline the rapid transformation experienced in the Middle East and North African region including “fragmentation of states, change of governance, transnational challenges such as sectarianism and the rise of radicalisation” that occurs “alongside shifting power plays between the major states in the region.”
“The list of issues that require urgent intra-regional cooperation as well as Turkey-NATO-EU cooperation grows every day,” NATO said.
In the last section, the conference plans to highlight that Turkey’s soft power plays a crucial role as the region is in search of new opportunities of growth and seeks improvement in stability, education, investment and youth employment in order to counter these challenges.
The event is divided into three sections in which the first part is open to the public and will focus on Turkey-NATO relations and regional cooperation, public diplomacy, regional challenges and energy.
NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Jamie Shea, is also set to hold a keynote speech on the second section.