TRT World Forum 2018 Participates in Setting The Global News Agenda
The TRT World Forum 2018, recognized as one of the most significant academic events of the year, took place from October 3rd- 4th at the Swissotel in Istanbul gathering together over 600 esteemed guests and panelists. Consisting of 10 public sessions, 12 closed sessions and keynote speeches delivered by some of the most esteemed guests, this year’s Forum succeeded in providing a platform for serious engagement with the most pressing challenges of our time.
3-4 October 2018
The TRT World Forum 2018, recognized as one of the most significant academic events of the year, took place from October 3rd- 4th at the Swissotel in Istanbul gathering together over 600 esteemed guests and panelists. Consisting of 10 public sessions, 12 closed sessions and keynote speeches delivered by some of the most esteemed guests, this year’s Forum succeeded in providing a platform for serious engagement with the most pressing challenges of our time. The themes of the sessions ranged from the future of the Middle East and the European Union to the growing trend of Islamophobia, refugees, Turkish foreign policy in an age of crisis, the crisis of new media and female leadership in a world of conflict. Uniting all of these themes was a focus on the fragmented state of today’s world and a sincere desire to offer meaningful solutions.
Day 1 addressed numerous issues including the historical roots underlying the present-day conflicts in the Middle East. Based on an understanding of today’s Middle East, some panelists argued that the Ottoman period represented one of more order and justice in the region, while others sought to look to the future and what could be. Other issues addressed on day 1 included issues such as the future of the European Union, the economic and political potential of the Global South to overshadow the historical hegemony of Europe and the United States, and the often-ignored contributions women have made to society, ranging from private-sector developments to politics, and educational and humanitarian initiatives. The first day of the Forum hosted distinguished speakers such as Štefan Füle, Former European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Former Turkish Minister of EU Affairs, Franco Frattini and Hamid Karzai, the former Afghan President. Karzai, addressed the TRT World Forum, delivering a keynote speech filled with both realism and hope. Offering a scathing critique of the American record of fighting terrorism in his country, Mr. Karzai told the audience: “America’s stated objective of defeating terrorism did not happen. It faltered. The consequences of that failure have been tragic for the Afghan people.”
Day 2 saw keynote addresses from Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan, a joint keynote given by the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, and a one on one discussion with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan moderated by TRT World’s Director of News, Programmes and Visual, Fatih Er. Former Prime Minister Siniora addressed the need for regional cooperation in the face of growing sectarianism as being key to the future of a stable and secure Middle East. His keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion which featured distinguished speakers such as İbrahim Kalın, Presidential Spokesperson of the Republic of Turkey and Stefan de Mistura, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Syria. Later, Queen Rania of Jordan addressed the audience on the global refugee crisis calling on the world to “refuse to accept the unacceptable.” Her Majesty went on to describe the current refugee crisis as the challenge of our time and that we face a danger of ‘psychic numbing’ because of tendency of the 24 hour news cycle to bombard us with images of death and suffering. She went to add that, “our challenge is to confront the harshest realities… when we falter, it is the innocent that pay the price.” The final panel of the Forum was on “Fostering Global Consciousness in Times of Crisis” with the participation of Francesco Rocca, President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Borge Brende, President of World Economic Forum, Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General and İbrahim Eren, Director General and Chairman of TRT.
President Erdoğan closed out the Forum renewing his call for a radical reform of international institutions, particularly the United Nations Security Council, saying that without reform, it would be “impossible to have peace and justice in the world.” In a candid closing address the President reiterated that: “The world is bigger than five! Does the UN Security Council represent the world? No. Do the countries on the UN Security Council represent all the continents? No. All 7 continents should be represented at the UN Security Council.” When questioned on the apparent increase in the use of chemical weapons, as witnessed recently in Syria, the President said, “If a weapon is causing the death of a human being or en masse, no matter if it is chemical weapons or not, in our understanding, it is an instrument of crime.” Other sessions that took place on day 2 highlighted the dynamic nature of the security equation in the Middle East, such as the shifting situation in Syria, the complex realities of social media and fake news, and the challenges facing international counter-terrorism cooperation.
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