On 24th March, DCU’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR) hosted a conference on the topic of Turkey and the Middle East Crisis: What’s the Price of Stability? The conference was organised in the context of the Irish Research Council-funded New Horizons Grant scheme. The central question of this conference was: While stability is needed for a country and a society to flourish, what is the price that the international community and Turkish society are willing to pay for it? The conference brought together a range of different experts from civil society, international organisations and from academia to analyse both the domestic situation in Turkey and its role in the current crisis in the Middle East. It also went beyond this to tap into broader conversations about instability, anti-systemic movements and authoritarianism in and beyond the region.
The current state of crisis and unruliness that seems to govern the region – torn by the conflict in Syria, Yemen, military intervention in Iraq, the presence of the Islamic State, the challenges connected to the rise of sectarianism, the presence of foreign powers, from Russia to the US, and the massive movement of people – were analysed by adopting a specific point of observation, namely Turkey, which is today at the very centre of it. The conference’s goal was to approach such issues by connecting them to the broader environment, because they do not exist in isolation from local and international dynamics. While the EU and other international powers promote political stability in the country because of the fear of a spillover of the crisis, they strengthen the recent growing authoritarian tendency of the Turkish government and the repression against civil society.
The conference consisted of two sessions. The morning session was dedicated to the examination of aspects of Turkey’s domestic politics, while the afternoon session scrutinised international dynamics and aspects. The conference featured speakers with a mixed profile, from academics to experts and policy-makers.
Dr Halil Ibrahim Yenigun (EUME, Berlin)
Dr Latif Tas (SOAS, London)
Dr Paola Rivetti (DCU)
Mr James Rizzo (Political desk Turkey Unit, Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – European Commission)
Dr Elisa Pascucci (Tampere University, Finland)
Dr Vincent Durac (University College of Dublin)
Ms Lisa McInerney (VOX-Pol, DCU)
Mr Seán Looney (VOX-Pol, DCU)