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Turkey’s foreign policy subject of panel discussion at IWP

On December 3, The Institute of World Politics hosted a panel of experts to debate Turkey’s evolving geopolitical role, both with regards to the country’s aggressive action in the Mediterranean and Ankara’s posture towards Kurdish minorities, as well as the Erdogan government’s failure to normalize relations with Armenia without preconditions. In essence going from a stated policy of “zero problems with neighbors” to “zero ties with neighbors.”

Haykaram Nahapetyan (Journalist, researcher, and correspondent of the Public TV Company of Armenia to the U.S.), Zendy Zemenides (Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council) and Mehmet Yuksel (Representative of the People’s Democratic Party to the U.S.) all contended that the United States must express a higher level of disapproval towards Turkey’s regional activities.

Such activities from the Turkish government include unwarranted military action against the island of Cyprus, an economic development zone that exaggerates Turkey’s allocated maritime boundaries, and a hostile stance toward the Kurdish community. Moreover, the speakers noted, the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide on the threshold of its 100th anniversary in April 2015 shows that Ankara is not willing to recognize this crime against humanity and provide adequate restitution to the Armenian nation. These actions are all taking place within a country that continues to enjoy membership in NATO, has lobbied for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, and has shown aspirations of joining the European Union. 

In their closing statements, when asked to describe Turkey’s future in 2015 with a single word, the panelists responded with “convoluted,” “volatile,” and “difficult.”

The panel was hosted by Vilen Khlgatyan, an alumnus of IWP and Vice Chairman of the Political Developments Research Center (PDRC), a think tank based in Yerevan, Armenia.