18 November 2015, House of Commons
The Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) and Istanbul Policy Center of Sabanci University hosted a rountable titled ‘Post-Election Turkey’ with keynote speakers Prof Fuat Keyman, Director of Istanbul Policy Center and Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University; Prof Izak Atiyas, Senior Scholar at Istanbul Policy Center and Professor at Sabancı University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Lord Peter Hain, Former Labour MP between 1991 and 2015 and former senior minister for twelve years in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s governments.
This roundtable was part of CEFTUS and IPC consecutive meetings in London and in Istanbul on “Post-Election Turkey.” The meetings with expert panels aim to elaborate on Turkey’s domestic dynamics and foreign policy following the general elections.
Hosted by Keith Vaz MP, this event was kindly chaired by Baroness Jan Royall. This was an exclusive roundtable and conducted under Chatham House rules.
Baroness Jan Royall in her opening speech emphasised the important role that Turkey plays with regards to critical developments in the region.
Lord Peter Hain in his speech concentrated on the outcome of the November 2015 elections and the implications of Turkey’s foreign policy in the region. He referred to Turkey’s pivotal role with regards to Syrian refugees. He also shared his views on the emergence of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and how vital it is for the peace process that both the state and the Kurdish armed and political groups remain tolerant to each other. He indicated that only an inclusive government can achieve the ambitions of the peace process.
Prof Fuat Keyman analysed Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. He argued that despite the government’s somewhat totalitarian outlook, one party government may provide stability for Turkey and the region providing that democratic reforms are introduced. He analysed the issues surrounding Turkish foreign and domestic policies with regards to fight against ISIS, Turkey’s neighbours being ‘failed-states’ and the refugee problem. These issues, he argued, are all in relation to each other and affect not only Turkey but also Europe.
Prof Izak Atiyas outlined Turkey’s economic growth over the last decade. He stated that despite high productivity in economy with new growth centres and structural changes for improvement in income distribution, industry has not become more productive and there has been a drop in employment in agriculture. Prof Atiyas also referred to questions over independence of the Turkish Central Bank and polarisation in business community due to the conflict between the AKP and the Gulen movement. He stated that a reform package which will invigorate the economy is expected after the November elections, but how this will manifest is not yet clear.
Professor Fuat Keyman is Director of Istanbul Policy Center and Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University. Keyman is a leading Turkish political scientist and an expert on democratization, globalization, international relations, Turkey – EU relations, Turkish foreign policy, and civil society development.
Prof Izak Atiyas is Senior Scholar at Istanbul Policy Center and Professor at Sabancı University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He is Director of TÜSİAD-Sabancı University Competitiveness Forum since January 2011. Atiyas currently works on good governance, corruption, productivity, industrial policy, competition policy, regulation of network industries and privatisation.
Lord Peter Hain was a Labour MP for Neath between 1991 and 2015. He was a senior minister for twelve years in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s governments, where he served as Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and as Leader of the Commons. He was also Europe Minister, Foreign Minister and Energy Minister. He chaired the UN Security Council, and negotiated international Treaties curbing nuclear proliferation and banning the conflict-inducing trade in blood diamonds.